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Greenberg Traurig Continues Growth in Texas, Welcoming Four New Houston Attorneys in Energy Litigation, Real Estate and Immigration

HOUSTON (June 11, 2014) -- Continuing its strategic growth in Texas, the international law firm Greenberg Traurig LLP welcomes four new Houston attorneys to the firm’s Energy Litigation, Real Estate and Immigration practices.

  • James R. Leahy joins Greenberg Traurig as its Chair of Energy Litigation, resident in its Houston office.  Leahy, who has decades of energy litigation experience, will further enhance the firm's highly regarded energy and litigation practices. Leahy was formerly the Chair of the Energy Litigation Practice Group for Locke Lord, LLP.
  • Grant Cook, a highly respected, seasoned practitioner with extensive complex commercial litigation experience spanning multiple industries, joins Greenberg Traurig’s Houston office from private practice.
  • Wayne A. Yaffee, who possesses a wide array of  real estate finance experience, also joins as a shareholder in the firm’s Houston office to continue expansion of the breadth of its highly regarded real estate practice.
  • He is joined by associate Grant Cohen. Both attorneys join from Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP where they worked closely together.

“Texas is a key part of our strategic growth plan. Having these top-tier practitioners place their trust in us and share our vision is another vote of confidence as well as building block as we move towards our place as a premier, full service, multi-market Texas firm, and an integral part of the Texas legal, business and civic communities,” said Richard A. Rosenbaum, Chief Executive Officer of Greenberg Traurig. “Each quality hire reaffirms our strategy of disciplined growth rather than growth for growth's sake, which dilutes both quality and culture. The Texas spirit is found in our culture of respect and empowerment of each individual and our meritocracy, while also offering an unmatched U.S. platform and key global locations--the Texas legal community and client base have come to embrace the commitment we have shown to them and these values."

The firm recently celebrated its 10th anniversary in Texas, where it maintains a strong presence in Austin, Dallas and Houston with more than 100 attorneys in the state, and approximately 2000 attorneys in a total of 29 markets in the U.S. as well as seven locations in Europe, the Middle East, Latin America and Asia. Elsewhere, the firm continues to attract top-level teams and individuals as part of its strategy to grow and bolster key areas of practice important to clients addressing the impact of global market issues, whether locally, regionally or internationally.

“It is a privilege to welcome my former partners and mentors to Greenberg Traurig,” said Mary-Olga Lovett, Greenberg Traurig co-regional operating shareholder for Texas and Houston co-managing shareholder. “I have witnessed firsthand Jim’s and Grant’s peerless talent and professionalism – they are standard-bearers for our profession and exquisite role models for all of us.  Most importantly, we are excited to be able to offer our local and global clients the benefit of their experience and judgment.  They are without equals as energy trial lawyers.”

“Having Jim Leahy join us offers our clients a key area of practice in a key market with an attorney who is at the height of his career and experience. Few trial lawyers can claim the ‘boots-on-the-ground’ experience of Jim Leahy, and at this vital time of growth and opportunity in the global energy markets, our clients will be able to entrust their bet-the-company disputes to a seasoned veteran. Jim does not merely ‘litigate,’ but tries complex commercial and regulatory matters through a prism of energy-industry experience that is matchless in virtually every context,” Rosenbaum said.

Leahy, a Fellow of both the American College of Trial Lawyers and the American Board of Trial Advocates, has extensive experience in general civil litigation proceedings in federal and state courts in the oil and gas industry and in commercial and business disputes, lender liability, white collar criminal defense and internal investigations, and securities litigation, as well as complex litigation matters involving fraud, insurance, deceptive trade practices, and trade secrets.  Leahy regularly advises energy-industry clients on a wide variety of litigation, regulatory, and environmental issues.  He has tried more than 100 jury cases to verdict and also has extensive appellate experience.   He has been consistently listed in Best Lawyers and Chambers, where clients praised his “efficiency and consistent ability to get great results.”  Texas Lawyer has named him one of its Top Five “Go-To” Lawyers for Energy Disputes.  A former United States Marine, JAG prosecutor, and military judge, Leahy received his J.D. from The University of Texas School of Law and his B.B.A. from The University of Texas at Austin, where he also played football for the Texas Longhorns.

Cook is a highly respected, seasoned practitioner with extensive complex commercial litigation experience spanning multiple industries, and an active arbitration practice.  He handles a wide range of litigation matters, including shareholder derivative actions, hostile takeovers, general contract disputes, common law fraud, business torts, libel and slander, intellectual property, trade secrets, construction litigation and partnership disputes.  He represents clients as both plaintiffs and defendants in complex commercial litigation in federal and state courts at the trial and appellate level. Cook is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and the American Board of Trial Advocates. He has been consistently ranked among the top five percent of Texas attorneys by Texas Super Lawyers magazine. Cook received his LL.B. from Baylor Law School and his B.A. from Tulane University.

Yaffee works on a broad range of real estate finance matters, with an emphasis on all forms of affordable housing financings involving low income housing tax credits.  He also has experience in bond financings and new market tax credit transactions.  Rated as AV® Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell®, Yaffee is also experienced in market real estate financings, including construction and permanent financing of office buildings, as well as retail and multifamily projects.  His clients include many money market and regional financing institutions. Yaffee received his J.D. from Vanderbilt University Law School and his B.A. from Hamilton College.

Cohen focuses his practice on general real estate matters, including mortgage lending, lease negotiations and asset-based financing matters. His clients include sellers, purchasers, investors and lenders. He earned his J.D. from Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law and his B.B.A. from The University of Texas at Austin.

In December, the firm grew both its Intellectual Property/Technology Practice and its Texas platform with the addition of Weil Gotshal senior patent litigators Kevin Kudlac and Amber Lee Hagy as shareholders and attorney Rene Anthony Treviño as of counsel.   In February, the firm expanded on that commitment, enhancing both its national white-collar and Texas platform with the addition of Locke Lord shareholders Jason Lewis and David W. Klaudt.  Also recently joining the firm in Texas as shareholders in the Global Energy and Infrastructure Practice were Erika D. Benson and Dane McKaughan, both resident in Austin.

To further illustrate what Greenberg Traurig is achieving as “one team with one voice,” according to Rosenbaum, below are some of the many additional strategic hires he announced in just the past few months across the firm’s U.S. offices and practice teams:

  • Thomas R. Snider – Washington, D.C., Litigation, International Arbitration
  • John J. Buttita, Debra M. Doyle, John “Jack” W. Newlin – Chicago, Trusts & Estates
  • Jon Zimring – Chicago, Labor & Employment
  • Lori S. Nugent, Marc H. Trachtenberg – Chicago, Intellectual Property
  • Michael R. McGinnis – Denver, Public Finance
  • Meshach Y. Rhoades – Denver, Litigation
  • Tom Ara, Robert J. Sherman – Los Angeles, Entertainment
  • Jennifer L. Gray – Los Angeles, Litigation
  • Ryan D. Bailine – Miami, Land Development
  • Robert J. Downing – Miami, Corporate & Securities
  • Ron E. Deutsch, Matthew B. Hoffman, Nicole A. Perez – New York, Corporate & Securities, M&A
  • Wendy Li – New York, Financial Regulatory & Compliance, Corporate & Securities
  • William Mack – New York, Government Law & Policy Practice
  • Phillip Weingold – New York, Tax
  • Masahiro Noda – New York, Intellectual Property
  • Laura McAllister Cox – Philadelphia, Gaming, Corporate & Securities
  • Koray J. Bulut – San Francisco, Labor & Employment
  • Nicholas Secco – Tampa, Litigation
  • Mark G. Davis, Stephen K. Shahida, Ronald J. Pabis – Washington, D.C., Intellectual Property