Yesterday Elie offered some predictions for 2012. I’ll get even more specific and offer a prediction for January 2012: energy lawyers will be making moves this month.

January is generally a popular time for partner moves, and energy lawyers are popular people. Right now their practice area is as hot as New York City is cold. As you may recall, this time last year a slew of energy attorneys moved from McDermott to Cadwalader.

We’ve recently received word that at least two prominent partners in the energy space are switching firms. Let’s find out who they are and where they are heading….

UPDATE (2:30 PM): After the jump, we’ve added an update with additional context, details, and partner names. A source states that five partners are leaving and that the departures constitute a major move — a much bigger deal than our original report might have suggested.

Two of the energy lawyers in question are Kevin Lipson and Lee Alexander, from the Washington, D.C. office of Hogan Lovells. Lipson leads the firm’s energy practice and serves as co-leader of the global energy industry group. Alexander is a veteran energy lawyer with more than 30 years of experience, including government service in various positions at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Where are they heading? This isn’t 100 percent confirmed, but word on the street is that they’re bound for DLA Piper. (Through its public relations firm, Greentarget, DLA declined to comment.)

The co-CEO of Hogan Lovells, Warren Gorrell — who has presided over major growth at the firm, as recently reported by Marisa Kashino of Washingtonian magazine — had this reaction to the departures:

While we wish our former colleagues well, it’s important to keep in mind that Hogan Lovells has a global platform with more than 200 high-quality energy lawyers working with many of the world’s leading energy companies. Our global pool of talent, including more than 50 energy lawyers in the United States alone, allows us to deliver both local insight and global perspective to meet our clients’ most sophisticated needs anywhere they do business and we continue to have the ability to provide high-quality advice to our energy clients across the full spectrum of the energy regulatory practice — electric, gas, oil, federal lands, nuclear and other areas.

It certainly seems that, if anything, Hogan Lovells has been growing in the energy area in the past year. In February 2011, the firm recruited David Locascio and José Luis Vittor over from McDermott Will & Emery, as well as Michael Yuffee (a move that we previously reported). In May 2011, the firm picked up Matthew Williams and John Deacon in London.

It’s not clear how many lawyers besides Lipson and Alexander will be leaving Hogan Lovells. But it appears that the firm’s practice in this area will remain robust even after the departures.

UPDATE (2:30 PM): A source at Ho Love, describing the partner losses as “a significant blow” to Hogan Lovells and “a tremendous gain” to DLA Piper, adds these details:

  • a total of five partners will be leaving (Lee Alexander, Stefan Krantz, John Lilyestrom, Kevin Lipson, and Chris Schindler);
  • the departure of Lipson is significant because it’s the first major leadership departure since the merger of Hogan & Hartson and Lovells;
  • the departing group represents about $20 million in business; and
  • some associates will likely follow the partners to their new home.

UPDATE (2:50 PM): Here’s the report of DealBook, which confirms that the defectors are DLA-bound and refers to Hogan’s energy practice as “highly regarded,” especially “in the natural gas sector, an area that has seen a flurry of deal-making activity over the past year.”

We’re always interested in prominent partner moves. If you know of a major move that has not yet been reported elsewhere, please feel free to let us know, by text message (646-820-8477 / 646-820-TIPS) or by email. Thanks.

P.S. The (rather impressive) bios of Kevin Lipson and Lee Alexander are still on the Hogan Lovells website (here and here). But in case they get removed at some point, we’ve reproduced them on the next page of this post as well (or just click here).

Earlier: Quote of the Day: Lawyer, Poet, Salesman
More on Cadwalader’s Capture of Energy Lawyers from McDermott
Musical Chairs: Energy Lawyers Going from MWE to CWT


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