Vinson & Elkins Expands in New York With Akin Gump Tax Partner

June 21, 2021, 3:28 PM

Vinson & Elkins is continuing its expansion efforts in New York with the addition of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld tax partner Ron Nardini.

Nardini, a longtime partner at Akin Gump, will lead Vinson & Elkins’ New York tax practice as the Texas-founded firm builds out its practice in the Big Apple ahead of President Joe Biden’s planned tax overhaul and infrastructure plan.

The chance to build out the firm’s New York tax practice, coupled with the firm’s existing strengths in tax, energy and infrastructure ahead of the proposed Biden plans, presented him with an exciting opportunity, Nardini said in an interview with Bloomberg Law.

“Vinson & Elkins is positioned right now in an incredible place for the next five to 10 years,” he said.

Nardini has advised clients in a wide array of sectors and industries on domestic and international tax matters over the course of his roughly two decades long career in the tax space. He focuses primarily on the formation and operation of investment funds and has represented numerous private equity, venture capital, and hedge funds in structuring investments in sectors ranging from health care to entertainment.

He also advises funds formed to invest in the credit space, including loan origination, secondary market credit purchases, trade claims, distressed debt, nonperforming loans, rescue, bridge and debtor-in-possession financing and structured credit.

Nardini has advised the likes of Washington Mutual in connection with its Chapter 11 restructuring and Diamondback Energy, Inc. in connection with its acquisition of Energen Corp., among others.

Vinson & Elkins’ corporate tax practice has long been a core strength of the firm, said firm chairman Mark Kelly in a statement, and Nardini’s experience in key areas like private equity, M&A, restructuring, real estate and SPACs, among others, will add value to clients.

The tax group at Vinson & Elkins is already integrated and as head of its New York tax group, Nardini said his aim is to create another geographic area where there is a large tax presence by having additional associates and partners. The effort dovetails with Vinson & Elkins’ strategic expansion push to expand in New York.

Since 2018, the firm has grown its headcount in New York by 50% through lateral additions, promotions, and associate hiring, noted James Fox, co-managing partner of the Vinson & Elkins New York office, in a statement.

The firm picked up a 15-lawyer team from Kasowitz Benson Torres as well as international arbitration partner Camilo Cardozo and white collar litigation partner Palmina Fava from Paul Hastings. It also added Boies Schiller Flexner trial partner Chris Duffy, who has represented Barclays Plc, Goldman Sachs Group, and the New York Yankees, and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom restructuring partner George Howard and Linklaters partner Gabriel Silva.

The firm announced last February that it would be relocating its New York office to the Grace Building in Midtown Manhattan.

“I can’t really wait to see how this office is going to look like in five years,” Nardini said.

The firm has also seen some some departures as it expands. McGuireWoods announced on Monday it picked up Vinson & Elkins private equity lawyer Jeffrey Shah as a part of its expansion efforts.

In addition to its New York expansion efforts, Vinson & Elkins announced in May that it would change its leadership model from a chair and managing partner duo to a four-member executive committee, headed by Houston-based Keith Fullenweider who will become firm chair in January 2022.

He will work with a trio of vice-chairs that includes Fox as well as Dallas-based co-head of complex commercial litigation Michael Holmes, and New York and Austin, Texas-based IP and technology litigation chair Hilary Preston.

To contact the reporter on this story: Meghan Tribe in New York at mtribe@bloomberglaw.com

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

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