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Meet the Clifford Chance Houston Team

Published: Oct 10, 2023

 Education       Grad School       Law       
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Clifford Chance announced the expansion of its global energy & infrastructure practice in the US with the launch of an office in Houston, TX in June 2023. Meet two of the firm's newest partners in Texas, David Sweeney and Jonathan Bobinger.

Meet David


Describe your role.

From a title and role perspective, I am a partner in the Houston office and head of the oil and gas group. More informally, I see my role as bolting on to an already-robust energy and infrastructure practice to help create opportunities across the Clifford Chance platform.

What are you hoping to achieve in your new role?

It's not so much what I myself am hoping to achieve. Clifford Chance is excellent worldwide from an energy perspective. Professionally, I'd like to think that what I am will become part of a practice that is in the conversation for any meaningful energy mandate, worldwide. Personally, I'd like to couple that with a level of fun and collegiality that I think used to be a bigger part of large law firms (at least in Houston). Somewhere along the way, we started taking ourselves more seriously than is probably warranted. We can be really, really good at this and have a lot of fun as well.

What are some of your favorite hobbies or interests?

I'm a licensed pilot (private with instrument rating, working on commercial). If you ask me what I'd like to be doing at any given time, "flying" would be up there. In a smaller airplane at ~10,000 feet and below (generally), you see the world in a different way than you do at 40,000 feet in a jet, and you frequently get to see places that you otherwise couldn't easily see. I flew a friend out to Lajitas (a town on the Texas/Mexico border that has a famous golf resort and used to have a beer-drinking goat as the mayor) for lunch one day. On the way we flew over a very large runway and hangar complex in the middle of nowhere. My friend took a picture of it and sent it to me after the flight. I tagged the photo to a little-known (or at least I didn't know about it) ranch/resort in West Texas that looked so good online that my wife and I had our anniversary there. I never would have even known of its existence had I not flown over it, and, even if I did know it was there, it would have taken 7 or 8 hours in a car to get there vs. less than two hours in a plane.

In addition, I grow ultra-hot chili peppers. Think ghost peppers, chocolate bhutlahs, and the biggest and baddest of all – the Carolina Reaper. I make it a point to try at least one of each variety that I grow raw. I thought that I might need the emergency room when I ate a Reaper. They make great sauces and dried chili flakes, though. At least if you like that kind of thing (like Yogi Berra said, "you'll like it if it's the kind of thing you like").     

Where are you from?

I was born in Seattle, Washington and lived all over the place (including in England) as a kid, but most of my life has revolved around Houston in some way.

What's your favorite travel destination?

Vail, Colorado.

Who is your dream dinner guest?

Devika Kornbacher, for sure. (Devika is the Houston Office Managing Partner and Co-Head of the Clifford Chance Tech Group).

Meet Jonathan


Describe your role

I am a corporate partner in the new Houston office focusing on energy transactions. Prior to joining Clifford Chance, I was a partner at Baker Botts in Houston. During my time at Baker Botts, I regularly handled M&A transactions, joint ventures and securities offerings in the energy and tech sectors. I started my career at Seward & Kissel in New York where I focused on M&A transactions in a variety of industries, including for investment managers/hedge funds.

What are you hoping to achieve in your new role at Clifford Chance?

I hope to be (1) a reason that the new Houston office thrives, (2) a key part of Clifford Chance's expanding Energy & Infrastructure practice in the US and (3) a driver for a fun, but hardworking, office culture in Houston.

What are some of your favorite hobbies or interests? 

I really enjoy coaching my kids' sports teams. I am currently coaching football for my oldest son, which I've done for the past 7 years, I will be coaching teeball for my youngest son this fall, and I've coached basketball and softball/teeball for my daughters in the past. I am also involved in the West Houston Aquatic League, a summer swim league on the west side of Houston that my kids have participated in for the past 9 years, and am currently the president of the league.

When I have a morning or afternoon to spare, I love to golf, although my handicap and wicked slice would tell you otherwise.

Last, but definitely not least, I really enjoy hunting in West Texas. Spending a weekend out in nature, usually with family or close friends, is a welcomed break from the concrete jungle of Houston. It has become quite a family affair over the last few years, with my kids fighting over who gets to go on weekend hunts. While the trips aren’t always successful, spending quality time around a campfire, in a hunting blind or goofing off never gets old.

Where are you from? 

I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and lived there until I was 8. I then moved to Detroit, Michigan, and lived there until going to law school at Fordham in New York City. I made my way down to Houston about a decade ago.

What's your favorite travel destination? 

Bora Bora was the best vacation spot that I have ever been to, but I've only been there once. For more regular trips, I enjoy hunting in West Texas or skiing in Colorado.

Who is your dream dinner guest? 

My older brother, who passed in 2008.

Connect with Clifford Chance

Follow the firm on LinkedIn at Clifford Chance Americas and on Instagram at @CliffordChanceCareers to meet more of the team.

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To learn more about Clifford Chance, check out their Vault Law profile.

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