Vinson & Elkins Promotes Eight to Partnership
December 18, 2014 — Vinson & Elkins announces the promotion of eight lawyers to its partnership, effective January 1, 2015: David Cole, Devika Kornbacher and Kai Haakon Liekefett in Houston; Tirzah Lollar and Jeremy Marwell in Washington, DC; John Grand and Russell Oshman in Dallas; and Tzvi Werzberger in New York.
“We are extremely appreciative of the hard work and outstanding leadership of each of these individuals and are pleased to welcome them to the partnership,” said Mark Kelly, Chairman of V&E. “These promotions are a reflection of their strong commitment to V&E and our clients.”
The new partners will enhance seven of the firm’s practice areas, including appellate, complex commercial litigation, finance, intellectual property, mergers and acquisitions, real estate and tax.
“These incredibly talented lawyers have made significant contributions to the firm, and they each exhibit the qualities we look for in our partners,” said Scott Wulfe, Managing Partner of V&E. “They have demonstrated a high level of skill in their respective practice areas and a dedication to excellent client service. We look forward to their continued success.”
The following is a list of V&E’s new partners by practice:
Jeremy Marwell is an appellate litigator with experience handling a broad range of civil and criminal matters before the U.S. Supreme Court and numerous federal and state courts. Marwell was recently a key member of the V&E team that secured dismissal, on appeal, of all claims against Avnet, Inc. in False Claims Act litigation involving potentially $1 billion in damages. The groundbreaking decision upended prior understandings of the federal “E-rate program.” He also successfully briefed and argued a case on behalf of the Nevada Commission on Ethics before the en banc Nevada Supreme Court, defending the constitutionality of state conflict-of-interest laws. Marwell graduated from New York University School of Law in 2006 and Yale in 1999. He clerked for Judge Stephen F. Williams of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and for Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor of the Supreme Court of the United States.
Complex Commercial Litigation
Tirzah Lollar's practice focuses on white-collar criminal defense, government investigations and litigation. Lollar handles trial and grand jury work and defends clients in cases related to the False Claims Act, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and government contracts and procurement fraud. She is representing KBR, Inc. in FCA litigation filed by a former KBR employee alleging the company overcharged the U.S. Army for services performed in Iraq. The district court ruled that the former employee was entitled to review KBR’s internal investigation documents, rejecting the company’s assertion of the attorney-client privilege, but the D.C. Circuit reversed and vindicated KBR’s privilege claim. Lollar also successfully defended KBR against the U.S. in a $1.4 billion fraud trial, resulting in a favorable judgment on all contested claims. Lollar received her law degree from University of Virginia School of Law in 2004 and her bachelor’s degree from University of Virginia in 1999.
Tzvi Werzberger practices finance law and represents corporate borrowers, private equity sponsors and portfolio companies, high net worth individuals, financing providers, hedge funds and other alternative lenders in many types of complex debt facilities. His experience spans a variety of industries, including shipping, oilfield services, upstream and midstream oil and gas, restaurant franchises, airlines, commodity trading, nuclear materials, power generation and professional sports franchises. He has advised on a number of maritime deals, including transactions aggregating $4 billion for the construction and permanent financing of eight ultra-deepwater drillships. Werzberger also counseled a private equity fund in connection with the establishment of a $6 billion leveraged unitranche loan origination platform, including the negotiation of loan facilities providing $3.7 billion of leverage. Werzberger received his law degree from New York University School of Law in 2006 and his bachelor’s degree from Queens College in 2003.
Devika Kornbacher, a former structural engineer, provides intellectual property advice to clients in the software, hardware, energy, entertainment, sports, aviation and construction sectors. Her practice focuses on obtaining, licensing and enforcing IP rights, with a particular emphasis on IP law in the context of mergers, acquisitions and other business transactions. Kornbacher currently counsels sports leagues, a cable network, and early stage companies regarding open source software, digital media and other information technology issues. Recently, she served as lead IP and IT attorney for a private equity firm’s acquisition of multiple power plants. She was also part of an international team of lawyers advising Huntsman Corporation in a complex, cross-border deal spanning multiple countries, where Huntsman acquired the titanium dioxide, color pigments and timber treatment business of Rockwood Holdings Inc. for $1.1 billion. Kornbacher is a 2006 graduate of Harvard Law School and received her bachelor’s degree from University of Houston in 1998, cum laude.
Mergers and Acquisitions
John Grand's practice focuses on private equity investments and energy transactions. He has experience handling matters in the energy sector, with an emphasis on upstream and midstream joint ventures; acquisitions and divestitures; investments in oil services and mining companies; and renewable energy transactions. He has teamed on some of V&E’s largest energy deals, including representing Pioneer Natural Resources in its $1.8 billion joint venture with Sinochem Petroleum; and Denbury Resources in its $2 billion exchange with Exxon Mobil and XTO Energy. In the private equity space, Grand advised TPG Capital in its $1.8 billion purchase of Jonah Field operations from Encana Oil & Gas, and Apollo Global Management in Double Eagle Energy’s $200 million sale of its SCOOP and STACK assets in Oklahoma. Grand received his law degree from Louisiana State University Law Center in 2006 and his bachelor’s degree from Centenary College in 2006.
Kai Haakon Liekefett's practice focuses on mergers and acquisitions and shareholder activism. Liekefett advised on some of V&E’s largest M&A transactions in 2014, including representing Oiltanking Holdings Americas in its $4.41 billion sale of the general partner and its limited partner interests in Oiltanking Partners to Enterprise Products; C&J Energy Services in its $2.86 billion merger with Nabors’ completion and production businesses; and Energy XXI in its $2.3 billion acquisition of EPL Oil & Gas. His shareholder activism experience includes representing Endeavour International in its proxy contest defense against the Talisman Group, and Crest Financial in its proxy contest against the merger of Clearwire with Sprint Nextel. Liekefett received his U.S. law degree from Columbia University School of Law in 2006; Ph.D. from University of Freiburg Law School in 2004; Executive MBA from University of Muenster Business School in 2003; and he passed the German First and Second Legal State Exam in 2000 and 2004, respectively.
Russell Oshman advises private equity investors, REITs, hedge funds, developers, financial institutions and energy firms in complex commercial real estate transactions, including forming joint ventures and acquiring, financing, developing and selling commercial real property. He also handles real estate matters related to MLPs, mergers and acquisitions and syndicated finance transactions. Oshman advised a private REIT in connection with its acquisition of a portfolio of seven REITs owning fourteen industrial buildings in seven states, and Milestone Apartments in connection with a $278 million Fannie Mae credit facility. He provided real estate advice to Western Refining, Inc. in its initial contribution of assets to its MLP, and Valerus Compression Services in its $435 million sale of Valerus Field Solutions. Oshman received his law degree and bachelor’s degree from Southern Methodist University, J.D. 2006, B.B.A. 2003.
David Cole handles tax aspects of domestic and international matters for corporations, partnerships and high net worth individuals. He represents clients in all phases of tax disputes, from audit to IRS appeals to litigation. In his transactions practice, Cole has counseled foreign issuers in their initial public offerings of publicly-traded MLP interests. His clients span a number of industries, including oil and gas exploration and production, offshore drilling, private equity funds, domestic and foreign manufacturing, shipping, real estate and medical devices. Cole has represented multinational corporations in developing and implementing transfer pricing strategies and disputing proposed transfer pricing adjustments in IRS appeals and U.S. Tax Court. His experience includes providing tax advice on Seadrill Partners’ $220 million IPO; Seadrill Partners’ $380 million second equity offering; and KNOT Offshore Partners’ $180 million IPO. Cole graduated from University of Texas School of Law in 2002 and received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas in 1992.