Paul Lavelle (pictured, left) will be managing shareholder of the new New Orleans office. Shareholder Richard "Rick" Simses and of counsel Charles Miers and Jon Vicklund started work on Sept. 24 in Winstead’s office in The Woodlands. All four lawyers came from Beirne, Maynard & Parsons of Houston. They do energy, environmental and commercial litigation, and admiralty law.
Tom Hutcheson (pictured, right), chairman of Winstead’s energy and environmental law practice, says the group is a plus for the firm because Winstead has a number of clients that regularly do business in Louisiana or offshore Louisiana, and many Texas clients are involved in litigation in Louisiana.
“We believe that opening a Louisiana office with seasoned Louisiana trial lawyers like Paul Lavelle and Rick Simses will enable us to provide better and broader legal service to our clients. At the same time, we are adding significant admiralty law expertise to our firm,” he says.
Simses says he and Lavelle were roommates in law school at Loyola University College of Law in New Orleans, and they both have done a lot of work in Louisiana over the years, although Lavelle officed in New Orleans and he was in Houston.
Simses says the move to Winstead was in part a quality of life change for him, because he lives in The Woodlands and is enjoying the short commute. However, from a practice perspective, Simses says his group’s admiralty law practice and experience in Louisiana brings a lot to the table at Winstead. “The firm has Texas-based clients with operations in Louisiana that we can help out a lot in and we add another dimension,” Simses says.
Simses says the group’s clients include FMC Technologies, Chartis (a unit of AIG) and Swiss Re.
Winstead has 298 lawyers with Texas offices in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio and The Woodlands; Charlotte, N C., Washington, D.C., and New Orleans.
Brit Brown, managing partner of Beirne, Maynard, says the firm enjoyed having the four lawyers at the firm and it wishes them the “very best of luck at their new firm.”
Despite Lavelle’s departure, Brown says, “The plan is for that office to stay open.”
-- Brenda Sapino Jeffreys