Cynthia Mabry
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Partner, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, Houston
29 FortyUnder40 Mabry, Cynthia

Cynthia Mabry, partner with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, hit the ground running when she started her career in oil and gas. In the last three years at Akin Gump, she has led or co-led financings and strategic transactions in the oil and gas industry valued well in excess of $20 billion.

“As my dear friend and colleague says, I didn’t start at Akin Gump, but I got here as soon as I could. I was promoted to partner less than three years after joining the firm,” she said.

Still, Mabry has remained humble and determined. “This success would not have been possible without the support of my colleagues, clients and family—and a hell of a lot of hard work,” she added.

In addition, Mabry strives to empower her junior colleagues. “I believe a leader must have the ability to empower and inspire others around them by trusting others to do great things. Relationships built on mutual trust are essential for successful leaders,” she said.

Whirlwind of deals

“In the first half of 2019, I helped lead teams at Akin Gump that closed three transformative transactions during the same time period. On Feb. 1, 2019, our client CenterPoint Energy closed its $6 billion merger with Vectren Corp., a utility company headquartered in Indiana. Shortly thereafter, on March 1, 2019, our client Cimarex Energy Co. closed its $1.6 billion acquisition of Resolute Energy Corp., followed immediately thereafter by a related $500 million notes offering by Cimarex. At the same time, our client Rattler Midstream LP was in the process of launching its $764 million IPO, which closed on May 28, 2019.

“Our team helped navigate these clients through multiple (and simultaneous) work streams—from employment matters to tax structuring to debt finance—successfully achieving our clients’ goals and timing objectives. I am very proud to have been part of the Akin Gump teams on these transactions.”

Getting started

“I grew up in Houston, where we are surrounded by the oil and gas industry. After finishing law school, oil and gas was where the deals were, and I wanted to be a deal lawyer. As a junior lawyer, I worked on anything and everything for oil and gas clients, from title opinions to company formations. My first significant deal as a junior lawyer was a secured notes offering to fund the acquisition of crude assets—and I was hooked.”

The people business

“Law firms are in the people business, and, as a member of the firm’s Houston office recruiting committee, I firmly believe that successful recruiting, development and retention of talent is fundamental to a successful firm. From technical guidance to work-life integration and college football, I spend meaningful time each day on mentorship and development of our junior attorney talent at Akin Gump. Each of us is responsible for fostering a culture that encourages intellectual curiosity, rewards excellence and values individuality. I believe the right balance between support and empowerment allows an individual to grow professionally.”

Value of listening

“In our busy lives, it is more important than ever to take time to listen and learn from others, especially those outside your peer group. Over time, you will have a better understanding of what matters and motivates others, from the rig hand to the dealmaker. I believe that if you take the time to listen to others and understand different perspectives and interests before taking action or a position, you are more likely to achieve a result for all stakeholders.”

Industry outlook

“We are in a very interesting time in the market and a pivotal point in the energy industry. The next few years will be challenging for the oil and gas industry and the companies that service the industry. But with challenge also comes opportunity. I look forward to helping clients navigate the potential pitfalls and achieve their goals. I believe the industry must continue its proud history of innovation, focusing on efficiencies through technological developments, specifically reducing waste, surface usage and environmental impacts.”

“Always anticipate the next question and next step, and make a plan to address and resolve before there is even an issue.”