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Y'all Go to Texas!

Vivia Chen

April 4, 2011

Texas Is Texas the cool destination for lawyers? Judging from the news coming out of that market, you might want to check it out.

First, a confession: I grew up in Houston, and I couldn't wait to get out of there. I remember it as a hot, suffocating, aesthetically and intellectually stifling city. (Nota Bene: Check out Texas Monthly article about the culture wars at the school I attended in Houston; Gawker covered it too.)

But Texans tell me that the state is a lot more cosmopolitan and diverse. So as your ever faithful career sherpa, I'll put aside my prejudices and tell you why you might consider moseying over to the city where zoning is a dirty word.

First, the energy sector is booming, and a lot of non-Texas firms are invading the turf. In fact, glam firms from New York, California, and now possibly London are rushing to Houston. The Lawyer, a U.K. publication, reports that just in the past year, "Houston has moved from an also-ran to one of the U.S.’s hottest markets, driven in part by the rise of shale gas."

Consider the big players that recently opened offices there: Latham & Watkins; Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft; Winston & Strawn--and that's not counting Orrick and Reed Smith, which both tried (unsuccessfully) to merge with Texas firms. What's more, the Lawyer reports that there are hot rumors that U.K. firms are eyeing The Big H--namely, Linklaters, Freshfields, and Norton Rose.

Second, Texas firms are making partners. Overall, the 23 largest firms in Texas "named nearly twice as many Texas partners/shareholders in 2011 as they did last year--120 compared to 61--a 97 percent increase," reports Texas Lawyer. (See chart for list of firms and profiles of partners.) What's more, according to the list of schools that the new partners attended, you don't have to go to some fancy top ten law school to make it in Texas. University of Houston, SMU, Texas Tech, and Baylor law schools are just fine, thank you ma'am.

Third, the lateral hiring market is on the uptick. "At the Texas offices of 19 of the 26 largest firms in the state, lateral hiring rose 10.3 percent in 2010 compared to lateral hires made by the same firms in 2009," reports Texas Lawyer.  "The 19 firms hired a total of 182 lateral attorneys in Texas in 2010, compared to 165 the year before." Two Am Law firms that top the list of lateral hires are Greenberg Traurig, which hired 18 lawyers for its Texas offices, and Vinson & Elkins, which hired 17.

Still not convinced that it's time to go to the land of giant malls and freeways? Well, you can probably swap that studio apartment in Hell's Kitchen for a big house with a sparkling pool and a garage the size of a cineplex in some newsy neighborhood in Houston.

Texans, are you ready for a little Yankee invasion? How's the lawyering life there?

P.S. I'll be in Houston speaking at the NALSC conference this Friday at the Four Seasons Hotel. Come by and say howdy.

Do you have topics you'd like to discuss or tips to share? E-mail The Careerist's chief blogger, Vivia Chen, at VChen@alm.com.

Follow The Careerist on Twitter: twitter.com/lawcareerist

 

Comments

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What about the paralegal job market? Or do they count?

A great read! It's great that you publish the positive news when it's available Vivia!

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About The Careerist

The Careerist takes an inside look at how lawyers shape their careers and manage their lives. The blog aims to dissect developments in the profession, provide useful information and advice, and give lawyers a platform to voice their views. The goal is to provide a fresh, provocative take on the state of lawyering.

About Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen, The Careerist's chief blogger, has been covering the business and culture of law firms for a decade. A former corporate lawyer, Chen is fascinated by those who thrive (as well as those who don't) in the legal profession. Her take: Success in the law (and life) doesn't always travel a linear path. If you have topics you'd like to discuss or information to share, contact her: VChen@alm.com

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