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.
I have worked in a law firm in TX for a while now, and this seems about right. The only question I have is, do you really think it is easier to make partner at Locke Lord than at F&J if you are interested in litigation primarily?
Also, you mention litigation bouriques, are there any good ones in Dallas worth mentioning? (Good pay, good work, decent partner prospects?)