It is not unusual for firms to take advantage of growth opportunities in a particular market by the opening of a branch office. And while much news is often generated by office openings in major U.S. and international markets, occasionally there is a stand out local market that perhaps doesn’t garner as much as attention as it should. A good example is the area southwest of Pittsburgh around Canonsburg, which is home to a growing number of firms drawn by energy work in the Marcellus Shale, an enormous natural gas reserve that lies beneath an area spanning from West Virginia through central and western Pennsylvania to southern New York.
As the focal point of the largest shale gas “play” in the United States, and with the advent of large-scale drilling in central and western Pennsylvania, a number of firms with a significant presence in the energy industry have opened offices in the region. From large global players like Fulbright & Jaworski to boutiques like Houston, Texas-based Burleson, firms are eager to take advantage of what has been called “this century’s gold rush.”
Recent examples include:
- In September, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney opened an office in the Southpointe area of Canonsburg, to be closer to clients centrally located in the area.
- Burleson, which has operated a Southpointe office since September 2009, now has 30 attorneys based there.
- Fulbright & Jaworski opened a six-lawyer office in the Southpointe Energy Complex headed by partner Ken Komoroski, an expert in shale gas, in April 2011.
- Steptoe & Johnson PLLC, in 2010, acquired the energy practice group of Culbertson, Weiss, Schetroma and Schug (based in Meadville, PA), and also opened a new office in Southpointe.
Recent developments in drilling technology have opened up considerable gas reserves that were previously unavailable to drillers, and with the United States keen on reducing its dependence on imported petroleum, it comes as no surprise that firms see opportunities to serve energy clients in the region.
Posted by Marianne Purzycki