Lateral Look: Vinson & Elkins

Drawn by the light of the Lone Star State or the glow of V&E’s energy expertise, associates were proud to call this firm home.

New York may be the traditional BigLaw stronghold, and California the largest state economy in the US, but if we’re talking energy, Texas is undoubtedly the place to be. Houston-born Vinson & Elkins taps into the booming energy economy here, and for many commentators, it’s at the pinnacle of the Texan legal market. Among a veritable power grid of nationwide Chambers USA rankings, V&E glows brightest with top spots for oil and gas work (regulatory, transactional and litigious) as well as renewables projects. But its recognition in Texas is more widespread: V&E ranks as a leader in banking & financebankruptcy, corporate/M&A, environment law and tax in the Lone Star State. The DC base picks up lesser awards for antitrust and environment; and New York earns a corporate M&A prize.

View the firm's Chambers USA rankings here>>

Why did you choose Vinson & Elkins?

Great people and demonstrated commitment to pro bono/public service.

“One of the top firms in Texas.”

 "It represents the pinnacle of the Texas market. The work is high-caliber and the lawyers are high-quality, both as professionals and as people. The firm is also large enough to allow junior associates to find almost any niche, with strong practices in areas as diverse as IP and employment."

"Outstanding firm reputation among lawyers, excellent people, and unparalleled opportunity for substantive work."


Strategic recruitment focuses 2022

M&A/capital markets careers

The view from the firm: Vinson & Elkins’ M&A/capital markets attorneys make up the largest practice group at the firm. This dynamic practice includes public and private M&A, capital markets, private equity, tech transactions, venture capital, shareholder activism, investment funds and management, REIT, corporate governance, and ESG. Associates work on a variety of deals across industries and markets. Clients are public and private corporations, private equity and other financial sponsors, boards of directors and special committees, and financial advisors across a diverse array of industries. Please visit for examples of notable deals and clients.

V&E is always looking to deepen its existing strong bench of associates with lateral talent. Key markets for lateral associate growth include New York, Austin, Houston, Dallas, and London. 

M&A clients: Apollo Global Management, Bonanza Creek Energy, Enable Midstream Partners.

Recent highlight: Represented Woodside Petroleum in its merger with BHP Petroleum.

 Energy evolution/project finance careers

The view from the firm: Vinson & Elkins’ Renewables practice leverages the firm’s leading energy and infrastructure experience to provide clients with valuable market knowledge and experience in the construction, development, acquisition, financing, and disposition of clean energy transactions and projects.

With the recent addition of a nationally recognized renewables team in early 2021 (including four partners), V&E is now considered the market leader in this fast-growing sector and looking to expand with talent that complements its renowned team. Key markets for lateral growth include Los Angeles, New York, Houston, and Austin. 

Energy clients: Blackstone Alternative Credit Advisors, Energy Transfer, Carlyle Investment Management.

Recent highlight: Advised funds managed by affiliates of Apollo Global Management in connection with an agreement with Arthur Kill Termina for the exclusive right to invest in the Arthur Kill Terminal project, a major offshore wind energy staging and assembly port under development in Staten Island, New York.

Complex commercial litigation careers

The view from the firm: Complex commercial litigation attorneys make up the second largest practice group at the firm. V&E’s seasoned trial lawyers have substantial experience in jury and bench trials and in appeals in U.S. state and federal courts, select international courts, and the U.S. Supreme Court, as well as before administrative agencies and in international arbitration. In addition, V&E lawyers frequently appear before both U.S. and other government agencies on behalf of companies and individuals

V&E’s cornerstone practice specialties — including antitrust, government investigations and white-collar defense, intellectual property, international dispute resolution, and shareholder litigation and enforcement — have recently seen considerable growth in workload as well as through numerous strategic hires. Key markets for lateral growth include Dallas, Houston, Washington, D.C., and New York.

Litigation clients: Goldman Sachs, Barclays, Regency Energy Partners. 

Recent highlight: Represented Coca-Cola in a $2.4 billion litigation dispute with Keurig Dr Pepper in Delaware Superior Court concerning the distribution of BodyArmor, a popular sports drink co-owned by Mike Repole (the founder of Vitaminwater), Kobe Bryant, and a host of other celebrity athletes. 

Tax/executive compensation careers

The view from the firm: Vinson & Elkins’ tax/executive compensation & benefits department comprises over 60 attorneys located on the East and West Coasts, and in Texas, Washington, D.C., and London. These specialists support V&E’s corporate practices in transactions and also handle day-to-day counseling work and litigation.

V&E’s tax team has particular expertise in the taxation of energy (including renewables tax equity), partnerships (particularly MLPs), REITs, SPACs, and Up-Cs. Our executive compensation & benefits team is one of the largest and most active groups in the nation. Key markets for lateral growth include New York, Dallas, Houston, Austin, and Washington, D.C.

Litigation clients: Cascade Investment, EVgo Holdings, Crestline Investors. 

Recent highlight: Advised Hygo Energy Transition on the tax aspects of its $5 billion merger with New Fortress Energy.  

Finance careers

The view from the firm: Vinson & Elkins’ nationally ranked finance practice includes lawyers from Houston, Dallas, New York, and London. This broad practice serves clients across industries providing them expertise on a range of financing transactions.  While V&E is known to be one of the premier syndicated finance law firms worldwide, the practice also includes asset-based lending, reserve-based lending, leveraged/acquisition finance, mezzanine finance, structured finance, and distressed debt. V&E provides associates with a broad and diverse practice. V&E looks for lateral associate candidates in key markets to support its dynamic practice and clients.

Litigation clients: Wells Fargo, Royal Bank of Canada, Chevron Phillips Chemical Company.  

Recent highlight: Advised Talos Energy in a $950 million syndicated, senior secured, reserve-based revolving credit facility with JPMorgan Chase Bank.

International and secondment opportunities

Common secondment destinations: London, New York, Houston, Dallas.

Client secondment examples: Confidential

The view from the firm: Vinson & Elkins’ London Trainee Solicitors have the opportunity to be seconded to offices outside of the UK; including Houston and Dubai, for example. Associates are often seconded to clients in an effort to help develop associates’ legal skills and to gain a deeper understanding of clients’ businesses, while filling an important need for the client in-house. Secondment opportunities are available to associates in V&E’s U.S. and international offices.  


Career development & the path to partnership



2.3 : 1


partners made in 2022

associate : partner gearing

of junior associates intend to make partner




felt partnership was achievable for attorneys with children strongly agreed the firm’s name adds value to their resume agreed partners
are nurturing
future leaders


The view from the firm: Vinson & Elkins is committed to hiring and developing excellent lawyers. Through its robust talent management and professional development initiatives, V&E offers comprehensive training and career development programs for attorneys to advance their professional growth at all stages of their careers. V&E lawyers are provided opportunities to gain valuable, hands-on work experience, early on, with lawyers across the firm; and associates participate in a wide variety of in-house and external training programs. Associates are provided with practice outlines, practice-specific training, and benchmarks that serve as a roadmap for advancement. In addition, individualized professional development is facilitated through evaluations, feedback, mentoring, and customized career plans.


Hours & compensation





billable hours

average number of vacation days associates took in one year

average number of hours associates worked in one week




agreed that the bonus amount awarded is fair

found the bonus allocation fair and transparent




  • 1st year: $215,000
  • 2nd year: $225,000
  • 3rd year: $250,000
  • 4th year: $295,000
  • 5th year: $345,000
  • 6th year: $370,000
  • 7th year: $400,000
  • 8th year: $415,000


The view from the firm: Vinson & Elkins pays New York-market salaries and bonuses across offices. High performing associates have the ability to earn an above-market bonus. 2,000 hours target (including “Legal Development Hours”). Legal Development Hours include: Pro-bono, DE&I and women’s initiative activities, business development, recruiting, professional development & mentoring, and knowledge management.


Is Vinson & Elkins the right firm for you?





said they’d chosen the right firm

were happy in their current role

felt comfortable being themselves

The view from the firm: Vinson & Elkins recognizes the importance of recruiting experienced lawyers who can contribute to the growth of the firm and its practices, supporting its broad client base. V&E looks for exceptional lawyers at a variety of seniority levels and with diverse perspectives and backgrounds who reflect the firm’s commitment to excellence, professionalism, connectivity, and inclusion.

What stands out about the firm's culture?

The non-competitive environment.

There was a fairly high retention rate for junior associates, and the associates all seemed to enjoy spending time together.

"The number of real friendships that extended beyond work hours. The general kindness and openness of the attorneys."
"Our firm's partners set the tone: they are serious about their work and their clients but still manage to cultivate a fun, collaborative atmosphere for those working under them."

Diversity, inclusion and wellbeing






reported strong performance in inclusivity training

agreed  that the firm strives to retain and promote diverse associates

of partners are women

of associates identify as ethnically diverse


The view from the firm: Vinson & Ellins blends DE&I efforts into the fabric of the firm, and its structure and programs support its focus on inclusion:

  • Diversity & Inclusion Executive Committee with top leadership
  • Ongoing DE&I learning programs, including on unconscious bias and powerful allyship
  • Diversity Council |Women’s Initiative | Affinity Groups
  • Monitor work allocation for opportunities and quality assignments for all attorneys

Mansfield 4.0 Certification achieved; we are participating in 5.0.


Pro bono




average pro bono
per US attorney    

    found the pro bono
work interesting


The view from the firm: Vinson & Elkins is guided by the principle that pro bono clients — like all of its clients — should be fully and effectively represented. As a result, the firm devotes significant time and financial resources to the legal needs of underrepresented individuals, organizations, and small businesses that cannot afford legal representation. From senior partners to first-year associates, V&E lawyers donate their skills and time to personal passions that make lasting impacts on others in need.

On average, 30,000 hours or more of pro bono legal services are provided each year by V&E lawyers. In support of long-standing firm values, V&E commits that each attorney has a personal goal of providing at least 50 hours of pro bono legal services per year.


Sustainability and CSR

The view from the firm: At Vinson & Elkins, helping our clients navigate sustainability, climate change, human rights, diversity, and the energy transition positions us as a leader in these areas among our peers. But our Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) impact does not stop with client work. Internally, we apply our learnings, and some examples include:

  • Lawyers and staff contribute their time, and Vinson & Elkins provides financial support to more than 500 charitable and arts organizations annually across the globe.
  • Providing pro bono legal representation for social justice and to those in need is part of our history and culture; and in 2020 alone, our lawyers worked on more than 400 pro bono matters.
  • Our diversity, equity and inclusion efforts are focused on meaningful solutions to attract and retain top talent. We start early through mentoring and scholarships for underrepresented students. We are proud to have been involved from the beginning in developing the Mansfield Rule concept, and actively work to maintain our Mansfield Certification.
  • Our sustainability efforts to date have included focusing on a LEED-certification for our new office locations, including in our headquarters city of Houston.



 See opportunities at the firm here>>

Recruitment contact: Heather Ades, Director of Lateral Attorney Recruitment.

Visit the firm's website here>>