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Dallas Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 17, 2012 2:05 pm

I've seen the chambers and partners tiers for Texas and have a decent sense of the firm hierarchy at the state level. Does that hierarchy apply to Dallas?
What are the best commercial litigation and corporate (M&A, PE, Cap. Markets) practices in Dallas? I'll be doing HayBoo fast track in a few weeks. How does HB stack up against the Big 3 in Dallas? Also how does VE stack up against Jones Day, HB, Weil, and Akin Gump in Dallas?

Thanks!

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Re: Dallas Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 17, 2012 2:34 pm

(Bump)

Wondering this, too.

I know that F&J, VE, and BB are the top of the hierarchy (and Susman, but it's small and uber-competitive I hear)

Behind that, I know HayBoo is pretty good and has big class sizes. Who else, though? What are the less prestigious firms that still have large-ish class sizes?

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Re: Dallas Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 17, 2012 2:50 pm

Anonymous User wrote:(Bump)


I know that F&J, VE, and BB are the top of the hierarchy (and Susman, but it's small and uber-competitive I hear)



See this is the crux of my question. Big 3 are tops in Houston, but are the Big 3 really tops in Dallas? I've heard BB is struggling in Dallas. It seems that VE is the best of the big 3 in Dallas, but are they the best firm in Dallas? Jones Day seems like a big player, as does HB (even though they aren't tops in the state overall).

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Re: Dallas Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 17, 2012 10:07 pm

bump

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Re: Dallas Firms

Postby bdubs » Sun Jun 17, 2012 10:12 pm

You should actually read the Chambers write ups to find out where the ranked practitioners are located. If a firm is highly ranked in a practice area and most of the listed attorneys are in Dallas then the office will be well recognized and get good work.

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Re: Dallas Firms

Postby Aberzombie1892 » Sun Jun 17, 2012 10:20 pm

I was under the impression that Hayboo and T&K were the big local players in Dallas.

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Re: Dallas Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 17, 2012 10:44 pm

Aberzombie1892 wrote:I was under the impression that Hayboo and T&K were the big local players in Dallas.


I was under the same impression, but it seems like VE Dallas draws higher caliber talent than either of those firms.

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Re: Dallas Firms

Postby kalvano » Mon Jun 18, 2012 2:12 am

VE is sort of a Texas traditon, and very well respected in the state.

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Re: Dallas Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 18, 2012 12:44 pm

kalvano wrote:VE is sort of a Texas traditon, and very well respected in the state.


Is that due to the strength of their Houston office, or does Dallas' strength contribute to that perception as well? Again, I'm trying to figure out what the best firm for Dallas is, rather than best for Texas.

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Re: Dallas Firms

Postby VY10 » Mon Jun 18, 2012 5:06 pm

I would also add AK in there. They have a very strong transactional presence in Dallas

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Re: Dallas Firms

Postby kalvano » Mon Jun 18, 2012 7:03 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
kalvano wrote:VE is sort of a Texas traditon, and very well respected in the state.


Is that due to the strength of their Houston office, or does Dallas' strength contribute to that perception as well? Again, I'm trying to figure out what the best firm for Dallas is, rather than best for Texas.



If you simply stick with respected in Texas, you'll be fine.

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Re: Dallas Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:26 pm

Full Disclosure: I am an SA at one of the firms you listed ITT, and I turned down offers from many of the other firms you listed.

I'm not sure how one objectively defines "tops" or "best" firm in Dallas. Chambers uses tiers, not hard rankings, for a reason. Beyond the generic stuff you've already mentioned, what criteria do you have in mind?

You can't separate the Dallas and Houston markets for any of these firms. The firms you are listing ITT represent institutional clients. Yes, region plays a role in the clients an office works for, but it isn't like Big Client X exclusively uses Firm A in Houston and exclusively uses Firm B in Dallas. While institutional clients do use multiple firms, those clients tend to use the same firms across different markets.

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Re: Dallas Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:44 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Full Disclosure: I am an SA at one of the firms you listed ITT, and I turned down offers from many of the other firms you listed.

I'm not sure how one objectively defines "tops" or "best" firm in Dallas. Chambers uses tiers, not hard rankings, for a reason. Beyond the generic stuff you've already mentioned, what criteria do you have in mind?

You can't separate the Dallas and Houston markets for any of these firms. The firms you are listing ITT represent institutional clients. Yes, region plays a role in the clients an office works for, but it isn't like Big Client X exclusively uses Firm A in Houston and exclusively uses Firm B in Dallas. While institutional clients do use multiple firms, those clients tend to use the same firms across different markets.


Thanks for the info. I'm looking for top-notch work and a firm that provides a lot of substantive work early on. I also value partner prospects, but since those are probably low at every firm I'm also trying to determine which firm provides the best exit options. Culture is important to me, but I'm willing to sacrifice a bit for better exit options or partner prospects. So far, based on my criteria and the people I've met, I like HB and VE the most.


I have HB's fast track in a few weeks, so I'll be able to check that out. But Beyond that I really don't have much access to information outside of whats in Chambers and on here.


EDIT: Do you have a general sense of the reputation each of these firms have in Dallas? What kind of cultures are they known for? What did you like and not like about these firms?

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Re: Dallas Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 18, 2012 10:33 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Thanks for the info. I'm looking for top-notch work and a firm that provides a lot of substantive work early on.


How do you define top notch work? As far as substantive work early on, you're more likely to get it at firms with lower associate-to-partner ratios. I am under the general impression that the higher the leverage, the less likely you are to get substantive work.

Culture is important to me, but I'm willing to sacrifice a bit for better exit options or partner prospects.


IMHO, you have this backwards. Do enough callbacks and you'll realize that all of these firms have different personalities and they attract different personalities to their firms. Some are more conservative than others, some are more formal, others more fratty, etc .... From what I can tell, if you don't fit in with a firm's culture you won't last long enough to worry about partnership prospects or meaningful exit options.

So far, based on my criteria and the people I've met, I like HB and VE the most. I have HB's fast track in a few weeks, so I'll be able to check that out. But Beyond that I really don't have much access to information outside of whats in Chambers and on here.


IMHO, V&E and H&B are different firms. I don't think you should have trouble deciding if you have to choose between the two. To clarify, I have no idea what the right choice is for you. This is kind of like dating. You might find certain traits attractive while I might focus on different traits.

EDIT: Do you have a general sense of the reputation each of these firms have in Dallas? What kind of cultures are they known for? What did you like and not like about these firms?


My sense is that, generally, students choose a Big 3 firm over other Dallas firms (again, this is a generalization).

In no particular order, I focused on associate-to-partner ratio, firm culture, summer associate offer rates, summer associate acceptance rates, the people I interacted with at the firms, firm growth strategy, partner compensation structure (in so far as it impacts day-to-day quality of life at a firm), and my general feel for where I would fit in. I also wanted to avoid satellite offices, so I mostly focused on Texas-based firms. My second-half choice was easy. For first-half, I was torn between two firms I really liked (choosing between a firm you've listed ITT and one you haven't listed).

As far as specific cultures/reputation, I'll let somebody else address that.

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Re: Dallas Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 18, 2012 11:35 pm

I'm at a national firm's satellite office in Dallas, and one of the perks is the NY pay scale. So that's one other thing to consider.

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Re: Dallas Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 18, 2012 11:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm at a national firm's satellite office in Dallas, and one of the perks is the NY pay scale. So that's one other thing to consider.


How much does the NY scale differ from the TX scale? What are the Dallas firms that have the NY scale? Weil and Jones Day?

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Re: Dallas Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 19, 2012 12:04 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm at a national firm's satellite office in Dallas, and one of the perks is the NY pay scale. So that's one other thing to consider.


How much does the NY scale differ from the TX scale? What are the Dallas firms that have the NY scale? Weil and Jones Day?


I think TX firms vary (some go in 5K increments, some are NYC-scale, and others are in between)

Weil, GDC, Patton, Akin, Sidley -- pretty much all the non-TX firms

Jones Day has this black box non-lockstep system, but that's a firmwide thing.

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Re: Dallas Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 19, 2012 12:13 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm at a national firm's satellite office in Dallas, and one of the perks is the NY pay scale. So that's one other thing to consider.


How much does the NY scale differ from the TX scale? What are the Dallas firms that have the NY scale? Weil and Jones Day?


I think TX firms vary (some go in 5K increments, some are NYC-scale, and others are in between)

Weil, GDC, Patton, Akin, Sidley -- pretty much all the non-TX firms

Jones Day has this black box non-lockstep system, but that's a firmwide thing.


Does anyone know if JD's blackbox system is closer to the NY scale or TX scale?

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Re: Dallas Firms

Postby birdlaw117 » Tue Jun 19, 2012 12:57 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm at a national firm's satellite office in Dallas, and one of the perks is the NY pay scale. So that's one other thing to consider.


How much does the NY scale differ from the TX scale? What are the Dallas firms that have the NY scale? Weil and Jones Day?


I think TX firms vary (some go in 5K increments, some are NYC-scale, and others are in between)

Weil, GDC, Patton, Akin, Sidley -- pretty much all the non-TX firms

Jones Day has this black box non-lockstep system, but that's a firmwide thing.


Does anyone know if JD's blackbox system is closer to the NY scale or TX scale?

All I know is that associates there are very happy with it.

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Re: Dallas Firms

Postby kalvano » Tue Jun 19, 2012 8:44 am

OP, you're thinking about this the wrong way. It's not like, if you work at a HayBoo or Fulbright or Akin Gump or VE and want to lateral out to somewhere else, they are going to say "I mean, he seems OK, but can you believe he worked at the Dallas office? What a maroon!" If you can get on with one of the big, well-respected Texas firms, you'll have excellent opportunities within the state.

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Re: Dallas Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:15 am

kalvano wrote:OP, you're thinking about this the wrong way. It's not like, if you work at a HayBoo or Fulbright or Akin Gump or VE and want to lateral out to somewhere else, they are going to say "I mean, he seems OK, but can you believe he worked at the Dallas office? What a maroon!" If you can get on with one of the big, well-respected Texas firms, you'll have excellent opportunities within the state.


I wasn't thinking about it that way. At least not in the sense that I'll get dinged for working in the Dallas office. I was just trying to figure out which few firms were the best in 2 particular practice areas and I wasn't sure if VE's rep extended beyond their HQ office. Maybe I'm a bit neurotic, but I want to make sure I have the best career opportunities, not just excellent. I worked hard for my grades and want the best firm, given my criteria.

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Re: Dallas Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:32 am

From an overall best reputation perspective, it's probably safest to go with a Big3. V&E/BB for corporate; F&J for litigation.

Texas isn't as focused on rankings as say, NY. Some firms are better regarded than others, but the gap between any two is never that huge (like between a V10 and V100 in NYC). You would see laterals even at the top firms come from "lesser" firms. (This is what a BB senior associate told me, btw)

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Re: Dallas Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 19, 2012 2:25 pm

This is a very difficult analysis for Dallas, imo. Unlike Houston where, imo, 5 big firms are tops for work quality (VE, AK, BG, and BB for corp, FJ for lit) with very few other strong offices (with the exception of Latham and all of the lit boutiques), Dallas is very, very different.

Dallas has a large number of firms in the 100-200 lawyer range, and very few strong Dallas-based firms in the mix (with the exception of HB, TK, and LL). However, contrary to most of the other people in this thread, I think there is a HUGE difference when it comes to working for a satellite office of a BigTex firm versus the home office. Not career debilitating-huge, but still very important. Personally, I would never work at BB, VE, and BG Dallas - sure, they draw great students, but they are afterthoughts to both firm's strategies. Both firms see Houston, NY, and International as growth areas with Dallas and Austin as markets they simply need a presence in. There are also very significant cultural differences between the Dallas and Houston offices of each of those firms (VE, in particular, is a stark contrast - VE Houston is extroverted and social while VE Dallas is like a smaller version of BB Houston).

If you aren't overly concerned about making partner, you should absolutely try to work for Weil, Gibson or Jones Day. You may work a little harder, but you will get compensated for it after the first couple of years as compared to working for Texas firms.

However, if partnership is a factor, I would only really consider HB or TK for corporate work or LL (and lit boutiques) for litigation. If you decide you don't want to make partner, you can always lateral from HB to a national satellite office - the turnover is so high at those places, they are always looking for new associates. However, the reverse isn’t true – HB and TK almost never take laterals from within Dallas after the first couple years of practice. They hire big classes and focus on retention for a reason. And if it turns out when you get to be an 8th year at HB or TK that partnership isn’t in your future, your options will be the same as they would be at VE or BB – you can go in house or you can make partner at Gardere or Winstead.

With all of that said, if you want to do corporate/m&a/capital markets/private equity work, HB is by far the largest group in town and they are known for having a manageable work life balance and friendly people. If it doesn’t work out, there will be no shortage of exit opportunities, but the upside could be huge.

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Re: Dallas Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 19, 2012 3:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:This is a very difficult analysis for Dallas, imo. Unlike Houston where, imo, 5 big firms are tops for work quality (VE, AK, BG, and BB for corp, FJ for lit) with very few other strong offices (with the exception of Latham and all of the lit boutiques), Dallas is very, very different.

Dallas has a large number of firms in the 100-200 lawyer range, and very few strong Dallas-based firms in the mix (with the exception of HB, TK, and LL). However, contrary to most of the other people in this thread, I think there is a HUGE difference when it comes to working for a satellite office of a BigTex firm versus the home office. Not career debilitating-huge, but still very important. Personally, I would never work at BB, VE, and BG Dallas - sure, they draw great students, but they are afterthoughts to both firm's strategies. Both firms see Houston, NY, and International as growth areas with Dallas and Austin as markets they simply need a presence in. There are also very significant cultural differences between the Dallas and Houston offices of each of those firms (VE, in particular, is a stark contrast - VE Houston is extroverted and social while VE Dallas is like a smaller version of BB Houston).

If you aren't overly concerned about making partner, you should absolutely try to work for Weil, Gibson or Jones Day. You may work a little harder, but you will get compensated for it after the first couple of years as compared to working for Texas firms.

However, if partnership is a factor, I would only really consider HB or TK for corporate work or LL (and lit boutiques) for litigation. If you decide you don't want to make partner, you can always lateral from HB to a national satellite office - the turnover is so high at those places, they are always looking for new associates. However, the reverse isn’t true – HB and TK almost never take laterals from within Dallas after the first couple years of practice. They hire big classes and focus on retention for a reason. And if it turns out when you get to be an 8th year at HB or TK that partnership isn’t in your future, your options will be the same as they would be at VE or BB – you can go in house or you can make partner at Gardere or Winstead.

With all of that said, if you want to do corporate/m&a/capital markets/private equity work, HB is by far the largest group in town and they are known for having a manageable work life balance and friendly people. If it doesn’t work out, there will be no shortage of exit opportunities, but the upside could be huge.


This poast is highly credited.

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Re: Dallas Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 19, 2012 4:03 pm

Anonymous User wrote:This is a very difficult analysis for Dallas, imo. Unlike Houston where, imo, 5 big firms are tops for work quality (VE, AK, BG, and BB for corp, FJ for lit) with very few other strong offices (with the exception of Latham and all of the lit boutiques), Dallas is very, very different.

Dallas has a large number of firms in the 100-200 lawyer range, and very few strong Dallas-based firms in the mix (with the exception of HB, TK, and LL). However, contrary to most of the other people in this thread, I think there is a HUGE difference when it comes to working for a satellite office of a BigTex firm versus the home office. Not career debilitating-huge, but still very important. Personally, I would never work at BB, VE, and BG Dallas - sure, they draw great students, but they are afterthoughts to both firm's strategies. Both firms see Houston, NY, and International as growth areas with Dallas and Austin as markets they simply need a presence in. There are also very significant cultural differences between the Dallas and Houston offices of each of those firms (VE, in particular, is a stark contrast - VE Houston is extroverted and social while VE Dallas is like a smaller version of BB Houston).

If you aren't overly concerned about making partner, you should absolutely try to work for Weil, Gibson or Jones Day. You may work a little harder, but you will get compensated for it after the first couple of years as compared to working for Texas firms.

However, if partnership is a factor, I would only really consider HB or TK for corporate work or LL (and lit boutiques) for litigation. If you decide you don't want to make partner, you can always lateral from HB to a national satellite office - the turnover is so high at those places, they are always looking for new associates. However, the reverse isn’t true – HB and TK almost never take laterals from within Dallas after the first couple years of practice. They hire big classes and focus on retention for a reason. And if it turns out when you get to be an 8th year at HB or TK that partnership isn’t in your future, your options will be the same as they would be at VE or BB – you can go in house or you can make partner at Gardere or Winstead.

With all of that said, if you want to do corporate/m&a/capital markets/private equity work, HB is by far the largest group in town and they are known for having a manageable work life balance and friendly people. If it doesn’t work out, there will be no shortage of exit opportunities, but the upside could be huge.


interesting. I didn't realize HB was so strong. This is somewhat of a tangent, but does anyone know if I'm limiting my career by not working for a big 3 in Houston? I'm not from the state so I don't know very much about either city. I've been to each city once and I thought dallas seemed a bit nicer, but would it be better in the long term to work in houston?




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