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PARTNER MOVES - O’Melveny continues march into Texas, opening Houston Office and adding three top dealmakers

05 May 2022

Continuing its expansion in Texas, O’Melveny announced that it will open an office in Houston—its third new office in the state in just ten months. The office will be anchored by three transactional partners—Angela Olivarez, Steven V. Torello, and Ryan Cicero—who join the firm from Willkie Farr & Gallagher’s Houston office, and partner Monica Hwang, who joined O’Melveny in November. With these additions, O’Melveny will have a total of 47 lawyers in its Dallas, Austin, and Houston offices, including 20 partners. Firmwide, some 33 lateral partners have joined O’Melveny since the beginning of 2021.

Olivarez, Torello, and Cicero bring first-rate M&A, private equity, and finance experience, especially in the energy and technology sectors. Their talent will help O’Melveny meet surging client demand in private equity, M&A, capital markets, and finance transactions. Olivarez and Torello will join O’Melveny’s Mergers & Acquisitions Practice, and Cicero will join the Corporate Finance Practice.

“We’re delighted to welcome Angela, Steve, and Ryan, whose arrival delivers on our firm’s strategy in a number of important ways,” said Bradley J. Butwin, Chair of O’Melveny. “In addition to continuing our rapid Texas growth, they strengthen our successful and growing middle-market private-equity practice and broaden our offerings for sophisticated clients in the energy and technology sectors. They also advance our commitment to diversity.”

“We are fully committed to Texas,” said C. Brophy Christensen, Co-Chair of O’Melveny’s Corporate Department. “In just ten months, we’ve opened three offices and brought on 47 lawyers in the state. We go where our clients need us, and today that means Houston. We’re pleased to be able to make strategic investments that help us better serve our clients’ needs.”

Speaking for the group, Olivarez said, “We have been impressed by O’Melveny’s entry into the Texas market and the quality and caliber of lawyers who have joined the firm in such a short time. O’Melveny has a well-earned reputation for excellence along with a uniquely collaborative culture and a client-first approach. The firm’s strategic emphasis on Texas, energy, and technology makes it a great fit for us, and we can’t wait to be part of the team.”

A few O’Melveny partners have already been working in Houston, and the new office will allow them to better serve their clients there. Hwang—a Houston resident—will continue to build her dynamic practice at the leading edge of LNG and energy transition work. In addition, O’Melveny partner Jason Schumacher—a Dallas resident who splits his time between exploration and production (E&P) clients in Dallas and Houston—will work closely with the new Houston team to support E&P companies there.

O’Melveny plans to recruit other prominent Houston lawyers in multiple practice areas, including litigation, restructuring, M&A, intellectual property, and labor. The firm is focusing on those with experience in energy, technology, private equity, and other key segments of the Houston market.

About the Team

Angela Olivarez has a diverse corporate practice focused on mergers and acquisitions, capital markets transactions, and other corporate and securities matters. She regularly advises private-equity sponsors and their portfolio companies, and represents other public and private acquirors and targets in a broad range of transactions, including mergers, asset acquisitions, stock-purchase transactions, recapitalizations, and other business combination deals. In the securities and capital markets areas, she has represented issuers, underwriters, and investors in public and private offerings of both equity and debt securities, and she also counsels on disclosure and corporate-governance matters. Olivarez has been recognized by The Legal 500 US in Capital Markets: High Yield Debt Offerings. Her experience includes numerous cross-border transactions in software and tech-enabled services, industrials, and a wide range of other industries. She has practiced in New York, London, and Houston.

Steve Torello practices primarily in the energy sector, focusing on the upstream and midstream oil and gas industry, energy transition, and private equity transactions, both domestically and internationally. He regularly advises private-equity funds and other investors in structuring energy or technology investments and leveraged acquisitions. His clients include portfolio companies, publicly-traded operators, and service and national oil companies in all aspects of natural resources exploration, production, gathering, and transportation. Torello also has broad experience in corporate M&A in a variety of sectors, including retail, healthcare, and energy finance. He has been recognized by IFLR1000 as a “Notable Practitioner” in corporate M&A, project development, and project finance. Thomson Reuters’ Super Lawyers has repeatedly recognized Torello as a “Rising Star” and “Top Rated Energy & Natural Resources Attorney.”

Ryan Cicero focuses on finance, bankruptcy, workout, and corporate matters, primarily in the energy, industrial, and digital-asset spaces. He has experience representing both lenders and borrowers in a variety of transactions. Cicero regularly negotiates and documents secured-lending transactions, including senior, second lien, third lien, and mezzanine loans; syndicated loans; and structured commodity agreements. He also regularly negotiates and documents complex intercreditor arrangements and debt restructurings and manages disputes between creditors and debtors. Ryan has been recognized by Chambers for Banking & Finance (Texas) multiple times.

O’Melveny in Texas

As part of the firm’s client-centric growth strategy, O’Melveny opened its first Texas office on June 7, 2021, in Austin, with four Chambers-ranked lawyers: partners Phillip Oldham, Katie Coleman, and Benjamin Hallmark, and senior counsel Rex VanMiddlesworth. Three weeks later, the firm announced the opening of its Dallas office, anchored by partners Louis R. Strubeck, Jr., Scott Paul Drake, H. Douglas Wabner, and Gregory M. Wilkes. Ten partners have joined O’Melveny in Texas since, including Chambers-ranked trial lawyer Timothy S. Durst, “Rising Star” trial and appellate lawyer Kristin Cope, renowned energy dealmaker Monica Hwang, white collar partner Danny S. Ashby, and a six-partner corporate team comprised of Richard Whitfield “Whit” Roberts, Michelle Earley, Jack E. Jacobsen, Jason A. Schumacher, Will S. Becker, and Christine “Chrissy” Williford Metcalf. Today we announce the opening of our Houston office, led by former Willkie Farr & Gallagher partners Angela Olivarez, Steven V. Torello, and Ryan Cicero.

News Category
Lateral Partner Moves