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Sheppard Mullin is Latest Big Law Firm to Roll Into Houston

July 20, 2022, 9:44 PM

Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton is on the move again, as the law firm opens a new office in Houston.

The outpost—the firm’s second in Texas—will be headed by John Keville, an intellectual property litigator who joins from Winston & Strawn. Keville is among nine founding partners in the office, including other additions from Winston, Texas stalwart Norton Rose Fulbright and other competing firms.

Sheppard Mullin is focusing its Houston play on the renewable energy, private equity and health care markets, Lucantonio Salvi, the firm’s chairman, said in an interview. Houston is “an exciting new market for us and our future growth,” said Salvi, who last year took over as the firm’s leader.

The firm, which has more than 1,000 lawyers, reported a roughly 16% gain in gross revenue ($1 billion) and profits per equity partner ($2.3 million) last year, according to data compiled by the American Lawyer.

The Houston office, the firm’s sixteenth worldwide, follows the expansion last month of the firm’s decade-old Chicago office. The Los Angeles-headquartered firm launched an outpost in Dallas in 2018.

“We’ve got a mix in Houston,” Keville said in an interview. “It’s very much an oil and gas town, but a number of players are looking at the renewables area.”

Partners Michelle Replogle and Robert Green are also joining Sheppard Mullin from Winston. Other additions include Andrus Kontrimas and Barclay Nicholson from Norton Rose; Chad Mills and Kathryn Shurin from Haynes and Boone; Steve Peterson from Locke Lord; and Eric Schlichter from McGuire Woods.

The firm will look to compete in the Houston market with some of the largest national law firms, like Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and Sidley Austin.

Sheppard Mullin also plans to grow.

“Our model is to try to build to 50 or so lawyers, which is a good size internally and, externally, it starts to grow naturally,” Salvi said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elizabeth Olson at egolson1@gmail.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com