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The following is an excerpt from Practice Perspectives: Vault's Guide to Legal Practice Areas.

A partner in the firm’s Houston office, Erland brings more than a decade of knowledge and experience, particularly with respect to the entire energy value chain and energy transition-related matters. He is adept at developing flexible structures for companies in volatile energy markets. Throughout his career, Erland has provided counsel to lenders and borrowers across a wide variety of debt financing transactions, including LBOs, acquisition financings, general refinancings, restructurings, back leverage, holdco, and asset-based and reserve-based financings.

Highly ranked in Chambers, Erland is a member in the firm’s Banking and Credit practice, advising clients in a wide variety of industries across the energy sector, including in the oil and gas exploration and production, midstream, and oilfield services sector. He has been described as “extremely commercial, knowledgeable and creative…always eager to help find solutions for clients” by The Legal 500. Clients have described him as “do[ing] a fantastic job and prov[iding] really good advice” and as having a “deal and detail-oriented mindset.” Moreover, Erland has been named a “Next Generation Partner” by The Legal 500 and a “Rising Star” by Law360. He was recognized as a “Rising Star” by Texas Lawyer earlier in his career.

Erland is Co-Hiring Partner for the firm’s Houston office and serves on the firm’s Opinion and Recruiting committees.

Describe your practice area and what it entails.

I’m a partner in Simpson Thacher’s Credit group, based in the firm’s Houston office. Our global Credit team represents a wide variety of financial institutions and borrowers in connection with a broad spectrum of financial transactions, including advising on “ordinary course” working capital facilities that enable companies to run their businesses, acquisition financings to acquire assets, refinancings, and restructuring-related financings in distressed situations, as well as a host of other lending transactions.

Unlike most law firms, Simpson Thacher enjoys a balanced practice between lender and borrower work: we enjoy longstanding ties to many of the country’s foremost banking institutions and also have a robust private equity practice, generating an array of work on both sides of a transaction. Advising clients on both sides gives us invaluable insight into lender and borrower perspectives, making us better lawyers overall. As they become more senior, lawyers in our Credit group tend to focus on either lender or borrower work; I now handle more lender-side transactions.

What types of clients do you represent?

I regularly represent major financial institutions, including JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, and the Bank of Montreal. On the borrower side, I’ve represented a variety of companies, including Arsenal Resources, NGL, First Reserve Corporation and several of its portfolio companies, and numerous additional companies in different sectors.

What types of cases/deals do you work on?

The Houston Credit group advises clients on a broad range of transactions. Our firm is a leader in the energy space, counseling clients across the energy value chain, including “upstream” companies engaged in energy exploration, “midstream” companies that store and transport energy, and “downstream” companies that refine and market finished energy products. Beyond our energy work—which includes traditional oil and gas as well as alternative and renewable energy—we regularly advise clients across a variety of other sectors, giving Houston associates exposure to many exciting industries. For example, I recently helped arrange financing for Raising Cane Restaurants, a fast-food chain based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. To offer a glimpse of my work, recent deals include advising:

  • JPMorgan Chase in TechnipFMC’s $1.25 billion senior secured multicurrency revolving credit agreement, in a refinancing of Noble Corporation’s $550 million senior secured revolving credit facility, in connection with financing for Double Eagle IV Midco’s existing credit agreement, and in committed debt financing for Cactus’ announced acquisition of FlexSteel Technologies Holdings and its affiliates.
  • DNB Markets and DNB Bank in TechnipFMC’s $500 million senior secured multicurrency performance letter of credit facility.
  • Bank of America Securities in the refinancing and extension of GIP III Stetson I L.P. and GIP III Stetson II L.P.’s approximately $700 million senior secured Term Loan B.
  • Bank of Montreal in VoltaGrid’s senior secured revolving credit facility and in an amendment to VoltaGrid’s credit agreement, upsizing its revolving credit facility.
  • Wells Fargo in a refinancing of Weatherford International’s credit agreement.


  • The administrative agent in the upsizing and extension of DT Midstream’s $1 billion revolving credit facility and $750 million Term Loan B.
  • NGL Energy Partners in connection with its $3.5 billion refinance, including a $700 million senior secured term loan and in amendments to its senior secured asset-based revolving credit facility.

How did you choose this practice area?

A hallmark of Simpson Thacher’s corporate training is our rotation program. Associates in the Corporate Department rotate through different practice groups before selecting their permanent professional home, obtaining a broad corporate foundation and providing the opportunity to test out their skill sets in different practice areas while meeting new groups of people and experiencing various types of work.

When I started at the firm, I didn’t really know what it meant to be a “Credit” lawyer. I rotated through M&A and Capital Markets as well, but ultimately found Credit to be the best fit for me. Our Credit group tends to staff matters very leanly; while there is a steep learning curve, there is also a rapid increase in responsibility for junior lawyers, which I really liked. Early on in your career, you start drafting substantive documents, and I found that challenge exciting and professionally rewarding. Credit offers a lot of opportunity for quick career growth.

What is a typical day like and/or what are some common tasks you perform?

Our deals are complex and have many moving parts, so it’s critical that everyone on the team stays on the same page, working through the necessary steps as a cohesive group. One of my key roles as a partner is to facilitate that process, making sure each member of our team is rowing in the same direction.

Every day involves substantial coordination among team members through in-person meetings, emails, conference calls, and Zoom meetings. I spend a lot of time reviewing and revising deal documents and frequently advise my team and the client in connection with an array of questions that arise. In addition, I regularly confer with colleagues in my department on thorny questions and collaborate with lawyers in other departments in connection with related note issuances or acquisitions. Simpson Thacher is a very collaborative firm, and we lean on one another to provide the best possible work product for our clients.

What training, classes, experience, or skills development would you recommend to someone who wishes to enter your practice area?

In addition to Corporations and Business Associations, I recommend that students take Secured Transactions and Bankruptcy, as both provide exposure to issues that arise daily. In terms of skill development, I encourage young lawyers to speak publicly as much as they can. We live in a texting and emailing society, and young lawyers are often uncomfortable speaking on large conference calls or in front of a group. Dive into those opportunities as much as you can; strong interpersonal skills will pay big dividends with your colleagues as well as your clients.

I know from experience that most of the training and skill development takes place on the job. There is simply no substitute for hands-on, personal experience to fast-track your professional growth and expand your knowledge base. Beyond mentoring and guidance from senior associates and partners, Simpson Thacher also offers two in-depth training programs. STB Ready, a program we put together with Columbia Business School, is our first-year associate program designed to prepare incoming lawyers to meaningfully contribute to their matters from day one. STB Advance is a multi-day program available to fifth-year associates, offering leadership, management, and business-development training.

What do you like best about your practice area?

I really enjoy the collaborative nature of credit work: it gives me the chance to work closely with colleagues in my practice group, lawyers in other areas of the corporate department, and a fantastic group of clients. Even negotiations with opposing counsel tend not to be adversarial; we’re all trying to find solutions to the problems that arise and to get the deal across the finish line. In addition, our deals are bespoke and there is a lot of complexity in the documents, which keeps me plugged in mentally. At the same time, common themes arise, giving us insight that can be quite helpful to clients.  

Another thing I love about our work is the long-term relationships we develop with clients as well as with the other business and legal professionals on the deal. Credit agreements often have long lifespans, so we get to know the other lawyers on our transactions very well. Many of the people I work with today are folks I’ve known for a decade. Young associates have their own junior counterparts with whom they will grow professionally, which is a great way to cultivate your network.

What is unique about your practice area at your firm?

I believe the breadth and depth of Simpson Thacher’s Credit practice is unique in the market. Our group boasts a very even split between lender- and borrower-side work, which stands out from our peers—most firms have a noted strength in one area or the other. The balance of work is highly beneficial to our associates’ professional growth. In addition, Simpson Thacher has broad capabilities across the credit platform, as we handle the full range of financing transactions for many different types of clients. Finally, I’d suggest that Simpson Thacher’s strength across the corporate practice as a whole, coupled with our highly collaborative firm culture, offers unique opportunities for professional growth.

What are some typical tasks that a junior lawyer would perform in this practice area?

Simpson Thacher is eager to get junior Credit associates involved in all aspects of the deal from the get-go, participating in all major calls and meetings. Because we staff our deals leanly, junior associates are valuable team members with critical responsibilities; their participation and work are key. First-year associates typically have primary drafting responsibility for the ancillary deal documents, including short agreements, amendments, letters, resolutions, and certificates. They maintain the “checklist” of items necessary to get the deal done and are usually tasked with tracking the deliverables to ensure that the transaction is progressing smoothly and on schedule.

How do you see this practice area evolving in the future?

Houston is the energy capital of the world; the industry is rapidly changing. We’re excited that Simpson Thacher’s Credit practice is growing in step with these major industry shifts. There has been a tremendous influx of public and private money into clean energy, and our alternative energy work has experienced significant growth in those areas. We’ve recently done multiple finance deals for leading renewable energy companies such as NextEra—the world’s largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and sun—and others. It’s very rewarding to help arrange financing for companies that are changing the future.