Best Transactional / Corporate Firms in Dallas?

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Anonymous User
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Best Transactional / Corporate Firms in Dallas?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 17, 2013 10:25 pm

I've done a search and found some info on Dallas firms, but a lot of it doesn't seem up to date and I know the landscape has changed recently. Can anyone shed some light on the top firms for transactional / corporate work in Dallas / Fort Worth, particularly in terms of work quality, exit opps and partnership prospects? I've heard that Haynes & Boone, Gibson Dunn, V&E and Baker Botts are big players.

WhirledWorld
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Re: Best Transactional / Corporate Firms in Dallas?

Postby WhirledWorld » Wed Sep 18, 2013 12:14 am

Chambers has a "Texas" ranking, which though skewed by folks in Houston, still will be somewhat informative: http://www.chambersandpartners.com/usa/Editorial/99153

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Re: Best Transactional / Corporate Firms in Dallas?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 18, 2013 10:49 am

I think the handful of firms you mentioned are all great firms in terms of transactional work (see Chambers), and I would add Weil's PEMA (Private Equity & M&A) group, Jones Day corporate (especially M&A) and Akin Gump's Investment Fund group to the list of high-end transactional practices in Dallas.

In terms of top firms in Dallas, Weil, V&E, GDC, Jones Day, and Baker Botts are at the top of the list (at least in terms of deal complexity/size, WSJ-type deals, with the other firms (H&B, Akin, Andrews Kurth) a notch below.

V&E's practice is very energy-centric and is heavily slanted towards capital markets, and has been really busy. Recently got a huge partner who lateraled over from Weil. Culture is described as a little more "fratty" but may depend on practice group.

Baker Botts, who gets its fair share of deals in energy, also does a good amount of deals in the science/tech and healthcare space. Culture is a little different. Heard it described as "stuffy" or "nerdy," but regardless, really top-notch attorneys.

Weil's PEMA group is really good, and their Dallas office does a lot of the work that NY associates are doing, but I wouldn't suggest Weil, for a plethora of reasons.

Gibson's corporate practice is very high-end (with some laterals from V&E and a couple other firms), but their group is very small in numbers, but still one of the best in town. They do primarily public M&A, and some cap markets, and the group is incredibly busy. Know someone who worked there and heard they often staff New York associates on the deals because the Dallas associates are so busy, and also said that people there are extremely intelligent and genuinely nice. Also heard that GDC's exit options for corporate associates are excellent. Two associates left: one became the head of M&A for Tenant Healthcare, and one went to Comerica (each making about 250K, which is very good for a 4th or 5th year going in house).

One thing about Gibson/Weil is that your chances of making partner are extremely slim. With coastal ties, it doesn't have the same Texas roots and as nationally elite firms they staffs primarily from Harvard, Stanford, Chicago, and T14. That said, the chances of making partner at a firm like V&E are also slim. Maybe 5% chance at Gibson/Weil, and 15% chance at V&E/Baker Botts. To me, that difference isn't enough to be a deciding factor.

In terms of compensation, Gibson and Weil are lock step with Cravath in NY, both on yearly and salary. This puts them slightly ahead of V&E (just changed their compensation), Baker Botts (have a tiered-compensation system where sometimes you can advance faster) and Jones Day (black-box system), and all of the other Texas firms.

If cultural fit is a bigger factor in your decision, HayBoo is in the discussion because they have a reputation for a great culture, good people, and their corporate group is also very respectable. I've heard varying things about Akin, based on the practice group and partner you're in, but their Investment Funds group is top-notch while I think their corporate, while good, is not on the same tier as the others listed above.

I think in Dallas, the exit opportunities for the V&E, Baker Botts, Jones Day are all fairly comparable. A lot of associates that go in house tend to go to work for the firm's clients, so just look at deals that the firms have done recently to get an idea of what kind of places may be potential exits.

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Re: Best Transactional / Corporate Firms in Dallas?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 18, 2013 8:53 pm

Thanks, that's a very helpful reply! How does Bracewell & Giuliani fit into the picture?

Anyone else have any input?

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Re: Best Transactional / Corporate Firms in Dallas?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 19, 2013 12:52 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Thanks, that's a very helpful reply! How does Bracewell & Giuliani fit into the picture?

Anyone else have any input?


Different anon. Bracewell is good, but I've heard that everything is run out of their Houston office. Do a good bit of energy transactions, and some finance/corporate/cap. markets/etc., but they're not on the same plane as V&E, Baker Botts, GDC, Weil. In terms of energy work, they're probably on par with (or even a little above) Fulbright and Andrews Kurth (Houston).

Also, the firm has a strong presence in policy work/lobbying, if that has any interest to you. Kay Bailey Hutchison and her husband are both are in the Dallas office <http://www.bracewellgiuliani.com/news-publications/news-releases/senator-kay-bailey-hutchison-joins-bracewell-giuliani%E2%80%99s-dallas-offic> which is cool.




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