After working together closely for 28 years as deals lawyers at Vinson & Elkins, Mark Kelly and Scott Wulfe will take over leadership of the 734-lawyer, Houston-based firm on Jan. 1, 2012. The firm announced today that the partnership has confirmed the nomination of Kelly as chairman and Wulfe as managing partner for a two-year term. They will succeed Joe Dilg, who will step down as managing partner at the end of the year after 10 years in that role. Kelly, currently capital markets practice group leader, says he and Wulfe, currently co-head of the corporate department, were nominated for the management jobs in April, and the partnership confirmed the nominations in late June. The chairman/managing partner management structure is a departure for V&E, which until now has had a managing partner at the helm, Kelly says. He says the partners agreed to replace a single managing partner structure with a chairman and managing partner, because the firm is far-flung with 15 offices worldwide, and because he and Wulfe both want to devote as much as half of their time to their practices. “We thought . . . and our management committee and partners agreed, it would be helpful to have two people,” Wulfe says. Kelly says they haven’t formally split up duties, but he expects to run the management committee and have an external focus, while Wulfe will have more of an internal focus as managing partner. Kelly says they will be up for “affirmation” votes every two years, as Dilg was, and will be limited to a total of 10 years in their management jobs. Dilg did not immediately return a telephone message.
-- Brenda Sapino Jeffreys