State of the Market-Dalla$

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Roy McAvoy

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Re: State of the Market-Dalla$

Postby Roy McAvoy » Mon Jul 24, 2017 1:24 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Roy McAvoy wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Roy McAvoy wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
law9898 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm median at Vandy pursuing Dallas with ties (and Houston)--Any advice on best firms for my stats?


You're in range but you're going to have to interview very well. I'd say Locke Lorde, TK, JW, Winstead, Gardere, Strasburger, maybe Fulbright and Hay Boo. Probably out at most of the big national firms and BB & VE but there are plenty of marketish paying first that are doable.


thanks! I have mass mailed those or at least bid on them for OCI. do you have any insights for firms that are NOT biglaw but still pay well? Is there Dallas/Houston midlaw type stuff, or boutique stuff? Any advice for pursuing those?


What type of law do you want to do?


I don't have a particularly strong preference. I'm interested in exploring litigation and transactional/corporate work. I don't love writing so maybe I'm leaning less litigation. The type of law I want to do is the type where I can make $100k+ in Texas, basically


Unfortunately both of the boutiques I'm familiar with either do either patent work or litigation, so I don't really have any recommendations then. Good luck.


I def can't do patent but would you mind PM'ing the boutique lit firm? BC I have never practiced law and I really don't know if I dislike lit at all, and I am applying to a lot of primarily lit firms anyway to cast a wide net.


You're anon so I can't PM you, but they're primarily patent lit boutiques. From what it sounds like patent work would be out of your comfort zone.

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Re: State of the Market-Dalla$

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 25, 2017 3:01 pm

Piggybacking off of the Vandy question, what is the approximate cutoff for Dallas BigLaw for someone at MVPB/Duke/Northwestern with ties? Top half or top third? Looking at previous class stats, it looks like the Big 3 and GDC have higher grade cutoffs than the Jackson Walkers of the world.

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Re: State of the Market-Dalla$

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 02, 2017 5:52 pm

My take on Dallas corp work:

First, there is a world of difference between Houston and Dallas corporate work. Almost all of the big deals in Texas are done in Houston. That being said, I practice in Dallas and I love Dallas - you just have to get over the fact that corporate work will never be as strong here. There's simply too much competition from New York and Houston firms, as Dallas is not as energy-focused as Houston, so our work can really be done by anyone.

Second, determining where you want to go should involve a variety of factors. There are essentially four groups of firms in Dallas imo: national satellites, Houston satellites, top Dallas-based firms and more regional firms (most of which are based in Dallas). I'll give my impressions by group:

National satellites: The first few firms listed below are where you should try to go if you don't want to make partner and want to maximize earning potential in the first four-five years. If you want to stay in Dallas, I think the exit ops are very similar for people from these firms as they are from people at Winstead/Gardere (ie, more regional firms) - so its really about maximizing earnings while you're in BigLaw. There is obviously a chance you can still make partner, but its very low (and almost entirely out of your control). And if you do want to make partner and are planning to just get good firm experience and then move down a rung on the "prestige ladder," you may be disappointed in that you'll often end up several rungs down the ladder as VE/BB/HB/TK don't often have mid-senior associate openings (you're more likely to end up at a Wick Phillips, Gardere, etc). These places aren't really the sweatshops people say they are (you'll work really hard elsewhere too). I would rank the satellites in the following order:
-Gibson: great work, partners can be difficult in Corp, good culture
-Weil: great work, office has lost more than half its lawyers in last two years after Sidley raid, almost no Corp partners left, good culture
-Sidley: great lit work, smaller Corp group but very smart team, not sure how much work they have
-Akin: terrible office culture, great firm overall, less sophisticated work than the firms listed above
-Winston: sort of a wildcard, great litigators but their transactional team is really just some Locke real estate PE guys and a couple partners from Greenberg and JD
-Jones Day: good sophisticated work, but a rough culture and a shrinking office - used to be close to 200 now less than half that size; very low pay compared to the other national satellites (probably even lower than the top Dallas-based firms)
-McDermott: has most of the former KL Gates corp group, unclear how busy they are, but nice folks and good pay
-Alston & Bird: not much true corp work, but a great firm with good people in the Dallas office - most of the transactional practice is in the financial regulatory area
-Other satellites that aren't major players (at least not yet) and/or used to be major players but are shells of their former selves and/or pay wayyy below market in Dallas: Holland & Knight, Squire Patton Boggs, Polsinelli, Greenberg, KL Gates

Houston satellites: You'll make less money than the national satellites (especially if you don't have super high hours) but have slightly better partnership chances. I would only accept at one of these if I couldn't get a national firm and didn't want to make partner. Exit ops are similar from here as from the national firms and the Dallas-based firms.
-VE: best Corp work in the state but mostly out of Houston, awkward satellite office culture with a big inferiority complex, great associates but difficult partner personalities
-BB: not really a player in Dallas corp work and just lost two partners to Sidley (not much of a corp group left)
-Fulbright: even less of a Dallas player in corp work
-Andrews Kurth: great Houston office, very little corp work in Dallas and rough culture
-Bracewell: no corp work in Dallas

Top Dallas firms: You'll make less money (but still good - basically the same base as above but just smaller bonuses unless you're really killing it in the hours department), but have much better partnership prospects, as these firms aren't nearly as leveraged as the above firms and also because you'll know the power players at the firm rather than just a few partners out of hundreds.
-TK: smaller corp group than HB BUT much more sophisticated energy work, less of a national practice but often against the top Houston firms (KE, Latham, VE, etc), great culture, TK has the highest revenue per lawyer of any Dallas firm
-HB: biggest corp group in town, lots of middle market work in a variety of industries, work quality is mixed but culture is great and a great fit for people who'd like to be somewhere for a while (virtually no energy work to speak of though, which means smaller deals, lower fees, and less profitability)
-Locke: not really a player in the corp world in Dallas, has a strong energy group in Houston, but most of its higher profile transactional lawyers went to Winston, recent mergers are taking a toll, other practice groups in Dallas are strong though

Regional firms: Even less money than above, but also good partnership prospects. Less sophisticated work than the top Dallas shops but different practices are very well-respected (i.e., finance at Winstead is very well regarded).
-Winstead: good culture, good finance group
-Jackson Walker: great culture, similar work as HB but on a smaller scale, more RE work than true corp work
-Gardere: like a smaller HB in that they do even more "mid" midmarket work in the Corporate/PE arena, good culture
-Munsch Hardt: good group, even more regional than Winstead/JW/Gardere but not going anywhere anytime soon
-Strasburger: avoid

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Re: State of the Market-Dalla$

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 02, 2017 6:02 pm

Anonymous User wrote:My take on Dallas corp work:

First, there is a world of difference between Houston and Dallas corporate work. Almost all of the big deals in Texas are done in Houston. That being said, I practice in Dallas and I love Dallas - you just have to get over the fact that corporate work will never be as strong here. There's simply too much competition from New York and Houston firms, as Dallas is not as energy-focused as Houston, so our work can really be done by anyone.

Second, determining where you want to go should involve a variety of factors. There are essentially four groups of firms in Dallas imo: national satellites, Houston satellites, top Dallas-based firms and more regional firms (most of which are based in Dallas). I'll give my impressions by group:

National satellites: The first few firms listed below are where you should try to go if you don't want to make partner and want to maximize earning potential in the first four-five years. If you want to stay in Dallas, I think the exit ops are very similar for people from these firms as they are from people at Winstead/Gardere (ie, more regional firms) - so its really about maximizing earnings while you're in BigLaw. There is obviously a chance you can still make partner, but its very low (and almost entirely out of your control). And if you do want to make partner and are planning to just get good firm experience and then move down a rung on the "prestige ladder," you may be disappointed in that you'll often end up several rungs down the ladder as VE/BB/HB/TK don't often have mid-senior associate openings (you're more likely to end up at a Wick Phillips, Gardere, etc). These places aren't really the sweatshops people say they are (you'll work really hard elsewhere too). I would rank the satellites in the following order:
-Gibson: great work, partners can be difficult in Corp, good culture
-Weil: great work, office has lost more than half its lawyers in last two years after Sidley raid, almost no Corp partners left, good culture
-Sidley: great lit work, smaller Corp group but very smart team, not sure how much work they have
-Akin: terrible office culture, great firm overall, less sophisticated work than the firms listed above
-Winston: sort of a wildcard, great litigators but their transactional team is really just some Locke real estate PE guys and a couple partners from Greenberg and JD
-Jones Day: good sophisticated work, but a rough culture and a shrinking office - used to be close to 200 now less than half that size; very low pay compared to the other national satellites (probably even lower than the top Dallas-based firms)
-McDermott: has most of the former KL Gates corp group, unclear how busy they are, but nice folks and good pay
-Alston & Bird: not much true corp work, but a great firm with good people in the Dallas office - most of the transactional practice is in the financial regulatory area
-Other satellites that aren't major players (at least not yet) and/or used to be major players but are shells of their former selves and/or pay wayyy below market in Dallas: Holland & Knight, Squire Patton Boggs, Polsinelli, Greenberg, KL Gates

Houston satellites: You'll make less money than the national satellites (especially if you don't have super high hours) but have slightly better partnership chances. I would only accept at one of these if I couldn't get a national firm and didn't want to make partner. Exit ops are similar from here as from the national firms and the Dallas-based firms.
-VE: best Corp work in the state but mostly out of Houston, awkward satellite office culture with a big inferiority complex, great associates but difficult partner personalities
-BB: not really a player in Dallas corp work and just lost two partners to Sidley (not much of a corp group left)
-Fulbright: even less of a Dallas player in corp work
-Andrews Kurth: great Houston office, very little corp work in Dallas and rough culture
-Bracewell: no corp work in Dallas

Top Dallas firms: You'll make less money (but still good - basically the same base as above but just smaller bonuses unless you're really killing it in the hours department), but have much better partnership prospects, as these firms aren't nearly as leveraged as the above firms and also because you'll know the power players at the firm rather than just a few partners out of hundreds.
-TK: smaller corp group than HB BUT much more sophisticated energy work, less of a national practice but often against the top Houston firms (KE, Latham, VE, etc), great culture, TK has the highest revenue per lawyer of any Dallas firm
-HB: biggest corp group in town, lots of middle market work in a variety of industries, work quality is mixed but culture is great and a great fit for people who'd like to be somewhere for a while (virtually no energy work to speak of though, which means smaller deals, lower fees, and less profitability)
-Locke: not really a player in the corp world in Dallas, has a strong energy group in Houston, but most of its higher profile transactional lawyers went to Winston, recent mergers are taking a toll, other practice groups in Dallas are strong though

Regional firms: Even less money than above, but also good partnership prospects. Less sophisticated work than the top Dallas shops but different practices are very well-respected (i.e., finance at Winstead is very well regarded).
-Winstead: good culture, good finance group
-Jackson Walker: great culture, similar work as HB but on a smaller scale, more RE work than true corp work
-Gardere: like a smaller HB in that they do even more "mid" midmarket work in the Corporate/PE arena, good culture
-Munsch Hardt: good group, even more regional than Winstead/JW/Gardere but not going anywhere anytime soon
-Strasburger: avoid


This person has posted this exact thing already in an older thread. I don't find it particularly accurate, but make of it what you wil. VE/BB pay Cravath if you hit 2000 hours and I'd say both offer a good chance at partnership if you want it. You'll make more than Cravath if you hit 2300. The idea that Gardere/Winstead have comparable exit options as national and top Dallas firms is laughable.

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Re: State of the Market-Dalla$

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 02, 2017 6:21 pm

Anonymous User wrote:This person has posted this exact thing already in an older thread. I don't find it particularly accurate, but make of it what you wil. VE/BB pay Cravath if you hit 2000 hours and I'd say both offer a good chance at partnership if you want it. You'll make more than Cravath if you hit 2300. The idea that Gardere/Winstead have comparable exit options as national and top Dallas firms is laughable.


All I know is anecdotal - I've had multiple friends at VE dallas get great reviews for 7-8 years and then not make partner (and they wanted it). I also know people who've made partner there, so it is certainly possible. It just really helps if there are less people up in Houston the year you go up. I know less about BB - but how much of a Corp group do they really have in Dallas? Maybe I'm wrong, but I thought it was basically just a handful of partners at this point (when you take out finance and real estate). And I recognize that VE/BB pay Cravath at 2000, which is higher than any of the lower firms in my list, but there are national satellites that pay Cravath no matter whether you hit 2000 or not (GDC and Weil for sure - not sure about Sidley). Akin has an hours threshhold that matches VE/BB. And as for exit options, Gardere and Winstead are a touch below the other firms on the list, but I'm always surprised how much of the in-house process seems to be about fit and less about school/firm prestige. The difference in exit ops, imo, is primarily with respect to partners - a GDC/VE/Weil partner is much more likely to snag a good in-house gig than a Gardere/Winstead partner. But a fourth year from any of those firms is going to be looking at a roughly similar pool of jobs. That being said, I don't see any difference in exit ops (associate or partner level) among GDC/Weil/VE/BB/Akin/Sidley/TK/HB.

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Re: State of the Market-Dalla$

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 02, 2017 6:28 pm

I'd also add that if you do make partner at GDC/Weil/Akin/VE/BB, the pay will be significantly higher than any of the Dallas-based or more regional firms. So it may well be worth the gamble.

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Re: State of the Market-Dalla$

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 02, 2017 6:38 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:This person has posted this exact thing already in an older thread. I don't find it particularly accurate, but make of it what you wil. VE/BB pay Cravath if you hit 2000 hours and I'd say both offer a good chance at partnership if you want it. You'll make more than Cravath if you hit 2300. The idea that Gardere/Winstead have comparable exit options as national and top Dallas firms is laughable.


All I know is anecdotal - I've had multiple friends at VE dallas get great reviews for 7-8 years and then not make partner (and they wanted it). I also know people who've made partner there, so it is certainly possible. It just really helps if there are less people up in Houston the year you go up. I know less about BB - but how much of a Corp group do they really have in Dallas? Maybe I'm wrong, but I thought it was basically just a handful of partners at this point (when you take out finance and real estate). And I recognize that VE/BB pay Cravath at 2000, which is higher than any of the lower firms in my list, but there are national satellites that pay Cravath no matter whether you hit 2000 or not (GDC and Weil for sure - not sure about Sidley). Akin has an hours threshhold that matches VE/BB. And as for exit options, Gardere and Winstead are a touch below the other firms on the list, but I'm always surprised how much of the in-house process seems to be about fit and less about school/firm prestige. The difference in exit ops, imo, is primarily with respect to partners - a GDC/VE/Weil partner is much more likely to snag a good in-house gig than a Gardere/Winstead partner. But a fourth year from any of those firms is going to be looking at a roughly similar pool of jobs. That being said, I don't see any difference in exit ops (associate or partner level) among GDC/Weil/VE/BB/Akin/Sidley/TK/HB.


Agreed, my response was probably over done. I think your summary overall is good but to me it also just makes it seem like someone should choose between like Weil/GDC/Sidley and then TK/HB/Winstead (not that I necessarily think that's your actual advice, just the impression I got). It definitely sounds like you know more overall than I do about the market though. I would say both of VE/BB have solid corporate groups and are busy. For me personally, I would say do the big national firms if you want to coast and/or go in-house early and then other than that look for fit. It would scare me to start out a lower firm though with the thought that it will pay off because I'll make partner. You may be right about the exit options, although I have seen a decent number of people on the corp side exit to clients where it seems like the client picked them, rather than posted a job application and selected them from the pool. Certainly though, people have gotten burned in terms of partnership track at those upper firms where they had little reason to know they weren't going to get it.

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Re: State of the Market-Dalla$

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 02, 2017 6:59 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:This person has posted this exact thing already in an older thread. I don't find it particularly accurate, but make of it what you wil. VE/BB pay Cravath if you hit 2000 hours and I'd say both offer a good chance at partnership if you want it. You'll make more than Cravath if you hit 2300. The idea that Gardere/Winstead have comparable exit options as national and top Dallas firms is laughable.


All I know is anecdotal - I've had multiple friends at VE dallas get great reviews for 7-8 years and then not make partner (and they wanted it). I also know people who've made partner there, so it is certainly possible. It just really helps if there are less people up in Houston the year you go up. I know less about BB - but how much of a Corp group do they really have in Dallas? Maybe I'm wrong, but I thought it was basically just a handful of partners at this point (when you take out finance and real estate). And I recognize that VE/BB pay Cravath at 2000, which is higher than any of the lower firms in my list, but there are national satellites that pay Cravath no matter whether you hit 2000 or not (GDC and Weil for sure - not sure about Sidley). Akin has an hours threshhold that matches VE/BB. And as for exit options, Gardere and Winstead are a touch below the other firms on the list, but I'm always surprised how much of the in-house process seems to be about fit and less about school/firm prestige. The difference in exit ops, imo, is primarily with respect to partners - a GDC/VE/Weil partner is much more likely to snag a good in-house gig than a Gardere/Winstead partner. But a fourth year from any of those firms is going to be looking at a roughly similar pool of jobs. That being said, I don't see any difference in exit ops (associate or partner level) among GDC/Weil/VE/BB/Akin/Sidley/TK/HB.


Agreed, my response was probably over done. I think your summary overall is good but to me it also just makes it seem like someone should choose between like Weil/GDC/Sidley and then TK/HB/Winstead (not that I necessarily think that's your actual advice, just the impression I got). It definitely sounds like you know more overall than I do about the market though. I would say both of VE/BB have solid corporate groups and are busy. For me personally, I would say do the big national firms if you want to coast and/or go in-house early and then other than that look for fit. It would scare me to start out a lower firm though with the thought that it will pay off because I'll make partner. You may be right about the exit options, although I have seen a decent number of people on the corp side exit to clients where it seems like the client picked them, rather than posted a job application and selected them from the pool. Certainly though, people have gotten burned in terms of partnership track at those upper firms where they had little reason to know they weren't going to get it.


I basically agree - though I make a pretty big distinction between choosing to go to TK/HB for better partnership prospects and going to the more regional firms. You often see lateral associate movement between GDC/Weil/VE/BB/Akin/Sidley/TK/HB firms, but rarely see associates from a Gardere or a Winstead jump to one in the first group. As for your impression, I am of the mindset that (in Dallas) I would probably be deciding between Weil/GDC/Sidley and TK/HB - but only because of the anecdotal evidence I've seen about VE and my perceived lack of a corp practice at BB Dallas. That being said, I don't think VE/BB is a bad choice in Dallas at all - just lower down (but still in the overall first tier) on my personal list.

In Houston, the calculus would be entirely different and I would probably pick VE, then a Latham/KE/GDC, then Bracewell/AK, then BB (BB last only bc of culture - and fwiw I've heard BB's dallas culture is great).

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Re: State of the Market-Dalla$

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 02, 2017 7:06 pm

Aren't Jackson Walker and Gardere ostensibly on the Cravath scale?

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Re: State of the Market-Dalla$

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 02, 2017 7:21 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Aren't Jackson Walker and Gardere ostensibly on the Cravath scale?


I don't believe so. Maybe for first years but I don't much beyond that. Happy to be corrected, though.

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Re: State of the Market-Dalla$

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 03, 2017 12:32 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Aren't Jackson Walker and Gardere ostensibly on the Cravath scale?


I don't believe so. Maybe for first years but I don't much beyond that. Happy to be corrected, though.


JW bumped first years but kept the upper years lower, the condensed/fake Cravath scale.

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Re: State of the Market-Dalla$

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 03, 2017 1:29 pm

Does Dallas invite callbacks on the New York timsescale (within a day of screener) or do they take a little longer?

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Re: State of the Market-Dalla$

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 03, 2017 1:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Agreed, my response was probably over done. I think your summary overall is good but to me it also just makes it seem like someone should choose between like Weil/GDC/Sidley and then TK/HB/Winstead (not that I necessarily think that's your actual advice, just the impression I got). It definitely sounds like you know more overall than I do about the market though. I would say both of VE/BB have solid corporate groups and are busy. For me personally, I would say do the big national firms if you want to coast and/or go in-house early and then other than that look for fit. It would scare me to start out a lower firm though with the thought that it will pay off because I'll make partner. You may be right about the exit options, although I have seen a decent number of people on the corp side exit to clients where it seems like the client picked them, rather than posted a job application and selected them from the pool. Certainly though, people have gotten burned in terms of partnership track at those upper firms where they had little reason to know they weren't going to get it.


I basically agree - though I make a pretty big distinction between choosing to go to TK/HB for better partnership prospects and going to the more regional firms. You often see lateral associate movement between GDC/Weil/VE/BB/Akin/Sidley/TK/HB firms, but rarely see associates from a Gardere or a Winstead jump to one in the first group. As for your impression, I am of the mindset that (in Dallas) I would probably be deciding between Weil/GDC/Sidley and TK/HB - but only because of the anecdotal evidence I've seen about VE and my perceived lack of a corp practice at BB Dallas. That being said, I don't think VE/BB is a bad choice in Dallas at all - just lower down (but still in the overall first tier) on my personal list.

In Houston, the calculus would be entirely different and I would probably pick VE, then a Latham/KE/GDC, then Bracewell/AK, then BB (BB last only bc of culture - and fwiw I've heard BB's dallas culture is great).


Agreed that TK is comparable in terms of work/quality/prestige to VE/BB for Dallas corp and defer to you on HB because I don't know enough about them.

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Re: State of the Market-Dalla$

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 03, 2017 2:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Does Dallas invite callbacks on the New York timsescale (within a day of screener) or do they take a little longer?


Varies wildly by firm (and sometimes by what school you attend if the firm has a small program and wants to extend callbacks to its target schools first), but it is typically pretty quick.

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Re: State of the Market-Dalla$

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 09, 2017 10:43 pm

Anyone have thoughts on Sidley Dallas?

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Re: State of the Market-Dalla$

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:16 pm

How hard is it to lateral to one of the big national firms from VE/BB?

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Re: State of the Market-Dalla$

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 14, 2017 11:11 am

Anonymous User wrote:How hard is it to lateral to one of the big national firms from VE/BB?


Not hard at all - as long as there is a need. Though I do think all firms in Houston/Dallas have a preference for someone lateraling from another market than from within the same market, all else being equal. If you are moving from another market, there is the presumption that you are moving because you want to relocate, while those are who looking to lateral within the same market are sometimes suspected of having been pushed out.

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Re: State of the Market-Dalla$

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 14, 2017 11:12 am

Anonymous User wrote:Anyone have thoughts on Sidley Dallas?


Very strong for litigation, but the Lit partners have some strong personalities to navigate. They have some very bright Corp partners, but it is a bit unclear how much work the group will have. The associates are generally very friendly. Exit ops are strong - partnership chances are not great (but certainly no worse than GDC, Weil or Akin).

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Re: State of the Market-Dalla$

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 14, 2017 11:29 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Anyone have thoughts on Sidley Dallas?


Very strong for litigation, but the Lit partners have some strong personalities to navigate. They have some very bright Corp partners, but it is a bit unclear how much work the group will have. The associates are generally very friendly. Exit ops are strong - partnership chances are not great (but certainly no worse than GDC, Weil or Akin).


Associate at another Sidley office here - as far as I can tell, Sidley Dallas' corporate group is plenty busy (also, the work seems to skew toward finance, but it's hard to tell from afar).

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Re: State of the Market-Dalla$

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 19, 2017 12:39 am

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Re: State of the Market-Dalla$

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 27, 2017 11:30 am

Anonymous User wrote:My take on Dallas corp work:

First, there is a world of difference between Houston and Dallas corporate work. Almost all of the big deals in Texas are done in Houston. That being said, I practice in Dallas and I love Dallas - you just have to get over the fact that corporate work will never be as strong here. There's simply too much competition from New York and Houston firms, as Dallas is not as energy-focused as Houston, so our work can really be done by anyone.

Second, determining where you want to go should involve a variety of factors. There are essentially four groups of firms in Dallas imo: national satellites, Houston satellites, top Dallas-based firms and more regional firms (most of which are based in Dallas). I'll give my impressions by group:

National satellites: The first few firms listed below are where you should try to go if you don't want to make partner and want to maximize earning potential in the first four-five years. If you want to stay in Dallas, I think the exit ops are very similar for people from these firms as they are from people at Winstead/Gardere (ie, more regional firms) - so its really about maximizing earnings while you're in BigLaw. There is obviously a chance you can still make partner, but its very low (and almost entirely out of your control). And if you do want to make partner and are planning to just get good firm experience and then move down a rung on the "prestige ladder," you may be disappointed in that you'll often end up several rungs down the ladder as VE/BB/HB/TK don't often have mid-senior associate openings (you're more likely to end up at a Wick Phillips, Gardere, etc). These places aren't really the sweatshops people say they are (you'll work really hard elsewhere too). I would rank the satellites in the following order:
-Gibson: great work, partners can be difficult in Corp, good culture
-Weil: great work, office has lost more than half its lawyers in last two years after Sidley raid, almost no Corp partners left, good culture
-Sidley: great lit work, smaller Corp group but very smart team, not sure how much work they have
-Akin: terrible office culture, great firm overall, less sophisticated work than the firms listed above
-Winston: sort of a wildcard, great litigators but their transactional team is really just some Locke real estate PE guys and a couple partners from Greenberg and JD
-Jones Day: good sophisticated work, but a rough culture and a shrinking office - used to be close to 200 now less than half that size; very low pay compared to the other national satellites (probably even lower than the top Dallas-based firms)
-McDermott: has most of the former KL Gates corp group, unclear how busy they are, but nice folks and good pay
-Alston & Bird: not much true corp work, but a great firm with good people in the Dallas office - most of the transactional practice is in the financial regulatory area
-Other satellites that aren't major players (at least not yet) and/or used to be major players but are shells of their former selves and/or pay wayyy below market in Dallas: Holland & Knight, Squire Patton Boggs, Polsinelli, Greenberg, KL Gates

Houston satellites: You'll make less money than the national satellites (especially if you don't have super high hours) but have slightly better partnership chances. I would only accept at one of these if I couldn't get a national firm and didn't want to make partner. Exit ops are similar from here as from the national firms and the Dallas-based firms.
-VE: best Corp work in the state but mostly out of Houston, awkward satellite office culture with a big inferiority complex, great associates but difficult partner personalities
-BB: not really a player in Dallas corp work and just lost two partners to Sidley (not much of a corp group left)
-Fulbright: even less of a Dallas player in corp work
-Andrews Kurth: great Houston office, very little corp work in Dallas and rough culture
-Bracewell: no corp work in Dallas

Top Dallas firms: You'll make less money (but still good - basically the same base as above but just smaller bonuses unless you're really killing it in the hours department), but have much better partnership prospects, as these firms aren't nearly as leveraged as the above firms and also because you'll know the power players at the firm rather than just a few partners out of hundreds.
-TK: smaller corp group than HB BUT much more sophisticated energy work, less of a national practice but often against the top Houston firms (KE, Latham, VE, etc), great culture, TK has the highest revenue per lawyer of any Dallas firm
-HB: biggest corp group in town, lots of middle market work in a variety of industries, work quality is mixed but culture is great and a great fit for people who'd like to be somewhere for a while (virtually no energy work to speak of though, which means smaller deals, lower fees, and less profitability)
-Locke: not really a player in the corp world in Dallas, has a strong energy group in Houston, but most of its higher profile transactional lawyers went to Winston, recent mergers are taking a toll, other practice groups in Dallas are strong though

Regional firms: Even less money than above, but also good partnership prospects. Less sophisticated work than the top Dallas shops but different practices are very well-respected (i.e., finance at Winstead is very well regarded).
-Winstead: good culture, good finance group
-Jackson Walker: great culture, similar work as HB but on a smaller scale, more RE work than true corp work
-Gardere: like a smaller HB in that they do even more "mid" midmarket work in the Corporate/PE arena, good culture
-Munsch Hardt: good group, even more regional than Winstead/JW/Gardere but not going anywhere anytime soon
-Strasburger: avoid



I don't agree with much of this but why avoid strasburger? If not on the high end of prestigious firms. What makes them different from munsch

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Re: State of the Market-Dalla$

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 27, 2017 12:53 pm

I largely agree with the long overview post above, with a couple of caveats. From what I have seen/heard Sidley's corp group is doing really well. Everyone in the grohp has hit their hours for full market bonus several years in a row and they seem to have a good growth plan. Several partners and associates I know (I have a lot of friends there) have told me that the senior partners there seem hyper-focused on making as many new partners out of the Dallas office as quickly as possible, so they're making sure mid and senior associates are doing deals with all the influential players in the firm. IMO partnership outlook looks better there than at other peer firms. Can't comment on the quality of work.

BB Dallas corp looks like a sinking ship to me. They still have time to turn it around but they are losing people left and right to other firms and they don't seem to have a solid growth strategy. I know recent BB laterals at almost every major office in Dallas.

Weil is a sunken ship pretending not to be. It was dying long before the mass exodus of 2013, that was just the final straw. They are doing a good job of trying to keep a positive front, and their recruiting is killer, but there's not much a long term prognosis IMO. The NY office runs the show there and they don't give a damn about Dallas.

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Re: State of the Market-Dalla$

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 27, 2017 1:16 pm

Thoughts on Sidley, VE, BB, etc. on patent Lit work?

Will they be hurt by the lessenin amount of patent cases in ED Tx?

It seems that the possibility of making partner isn't that great from Sidley. Is this because of a lack of contact with partners at their major offices?

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Re: State of the Market-Dalla$

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 28, 2017 4:39 pm

How are the national satellites in Dallas for lit (patent and/or general)?

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Re: State of the Market-Dalla$

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 29, 2017 3:24 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I largely agree with the long overview post above, with a couple of caveats. From what I have seen/heard Sidley's corp group is doing really well. Everyone in the grohp has hit their hours for full market bonus several years in a row and they seem to have a good growth plan. Several partners and associates I know (I have a lot of friends there) have told me that the senior partners there seem hyper-focused on making as many new partners out of the Dallas office as quickly as possible, so they're making sure mid and senior associates are doing deals with all the influential players in the firm. IMO partnership outlook looks better there than at other peer firms. Can't comment on the quality of work.

BB Dallas corp looks like a sinking ship to me. They still have time to turn it around but they are losing people left and right to other firms and they don't seem to have a solid growth strategy. I know recent BB laterals at almost every major office in Dallas.

Weil is a sunken ship pretending not to be. It was dying long before the mass exodus of 2013, that was just the final straw. They are doing a good job of trying to keep a positive front, and their recruiting is killer, but there's not much a long term prognosis IMO. The NY office runs the show there and they don't give a damn about Dallas.


Author of the long post above - don't know much about Sidley but that analysis sounds pretty reasonable to me. As for BB/Weil, totally agree - BB just lost another Corp partner to Akin Gump this week.



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