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Sydney Isaacs Managing Director, Head of Houston Office

Houston T: 713.343.0427

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Sydney Isaacs advises companies on transactions, crises and other times of transition, as well as strategic investor relations and corporate communications needs. She serves a wide range of industries with particular expertise in the oil and gas sector. She has helped several companies announce and position transformative or complex M&A transactions. She has also closely supported the successful bankruptcy reorganizations of more than three dozen companies.

Sydney regularly counsels companies as they work through difficult circumstances including regulatory investigations (including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act), litigation, proxy fights and responses to activist shareholders, data losses, unexpected management transitions, poor financial results, physical disasters and other crises.​​

A native Houstonian, Sydney joined Abernathy MacGregor in 2005 in the firm’s Los Angeles office before moving to Houston when the firm expanded in the market. She is the past president of the Turnaround Management Association’s Houston chapter, a group for restructuring professionals. She also served for several years as a board member for the Houston chapter of the National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI). She is a frequent speaker on topics ranging from crisis management to investor activism defense. 

Representative Experience

Sydney has advised:

  • California Resources Corporation on its spin-off from Occidental Petroleum
  • A major oilfield services company on its response to crises including violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
  • A major utility following a deadly gas pipeline explosion, including navigating a largely hostile political and regulatory environment and complex litigation
  • A restaurant chain on crisis preparedness and response to crises including a viral social media crisis
  • Stratus Properties on its successful defense against activist investor Carl Berg
  • Omega Protein on projects including its defense against activist investor Wynnefield Capital
  • Tidewater in its acquisition of GulfMark Offshore
  • Parker Drilling in its restructuring
  • Heritage Home Group on its bankruptcy filing and sale process
  • Brookstone on its bankruptcy filing, sale process, and closure of mall stores
  • A major utility, an E&P company, an OFS company and an offshore driller on their crisis preparedness
  • Several private schools on issues management and crisis planning
  • Philadelphia Energy Solutions on its bankruptcy filing and emergence
  • Energy XXI Gulf Coast in its sale to Cox Oil
  • An oilfield services company on multiple simultaneous management transitions
  • Rice Energy on its disputed acquisition by EQT Energy
  • Spectra Energy on its $28 billion merger with Enbridge


  • Claremont McKenna College, dual B.A. Economics & Government (cum laude)

Memberships and Affiliations

  • Advisory Board, National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) Houston chapter
  • Turnaround Management Association, Houston Chapter, Past-president
  • National Investor Relations Institute – fmr. Houston Chapter Board member, Southwest Conference Chair (2013) and co-Chair (2015)
  • The Woods Project, Advisory Board member
  • Graduate, Center for Houston’s Future’s Business/Civic Leadership Forum, Spring 2014

News, Publications and Achievements

  • Panelist, Latham & Watkins Colorado Executive Energy Summit, June 13, 2019
  • Moderator, National Association of Corporate Directors Houston chapter, “Crisis readiness and board oversight,” May 10, 2019
  • Panelist, Crisis Management Fundamentals for In-House Counsel & Management, joint presentation with Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, Houston, January 24, 2019
  • Panelist, King & Spalding Energy Forum: Incident Response & Preparedness, September 20, 2018
  • Presentation: “What Lawyers Need to Know about M&A Communications,” multiple venues
  • Houston Business Journal, “5 questions to ask about your communication strategy
  • Houston Business Journal Deals of the Year award, 2015, Judge

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