2018 Dallas Thread

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Re: 2018 Dallas Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 14, 2018 12:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Thoughts on culture and quality of work at Kirkland Dallas? I know they are new to the market. Is most of the work originated in Houston, or are they servicing Dallas clients as well?

I looked into Kirkland Dallas a couple of months ago - happy to give you my thoughts though they may be a out of date.

If you are interested in energy work, I think it is a compelling proposition. Their Houston office is killing it, and based on what they told me, the Houston office apparently has enough work to support another several dozen attorneys. If you want to live in Dallas and do top of the market energy work, it really is a great option. But given the nature of energy work, this will likely be Houston-based clients with relationships that originate from the Houston office.

What is less certain and will take some time to see is whether the Dallas Kirkland office will be able to build a Dallas-based practice that is more industry diverse. I think that is definitely the intention but none of the partners that opened the office really had a significant Dallas-based book of business. That said, they seem to be a driven and entrepreneurial bunch and it sounds like they are hitting the ground running on business development so that may change but when I looked into it, they were doing mostly work that came from the Houston office.

I think if you are interested in non-energy work, it is a wait a see sort of proposition. Kirkland nationally definitely has a compelling platform, especially for private equity, but we will have to see if they can convince Dallas clients to pay their rates.

As someone who also looked into Kirkland Dallas, I would agree. The partners that I know who opened the office are bright, entrepreneurial, nice people who should help establish a good culture for the office. I think all of them have strong business development potential as well. My only hesitation as a senior associate is that I would be surprised if they are able to make many equity partners in that office (given that Dallas seems to be a less lucrative market than Houston), and, if not, is non-equity partner something I would be interested in long-term. Perhaps I would be, but I am happy where I am, and partnership at my current firm is a very real possibility, so it just seemed too risky given my situation. My guess is that the Dallas office grows to 30-40 lawyers, is profitable for the firm but does not reach the heights that the Houston office has. I could obviously be very wrong about that, though.

You’re prob right about the size - I guess I wasn’t really thinking about the fact that Kirkland can probably keep 100 people in Dallas busy on solely Houston work (until there’s a downturn in the economy) - so anything Dallas generates is just gravy for them. I guess my main concern is that I just don’t see how sustainable that model is if Dallas isn’t generating the kind of volume that Houston is (and I don’t see how they could - there just isn’t as much corporate work in Dallas, and certainly only a fraction of the energy work). Do many other firms have 100+ person offices that are largely dependent on a different office?

I am the original anon who gave my thoughts above.

I still find it hard to believe that Kirkland Dallas will grow to 100+ corporate lawyers any time soon. Most firms in town don't come anywhere close to that number in their M&A groups. I think if Kirkland is going to pull it off, they would have to convince F500 companies with major offices in Dallas to staff some of their deals with a Dallas team rather than their typical NY/Houston firms. But I am not sure exactly how much business can be ginned up that way. It is a small universe of Dallas clients I am aware of who are willing to pay national rates to local Dallas lawyers and I think poaching these clients from other firms will be difficult.

Honestly, I think Kirkland Dallas bit off more than they can chew by hiring 14 summer associates. I've heard they are having a hard time finding quality first and second years so it may create a strange office dynamic where you have a lot of newly minted first years without more senior juniors to train them up.

Certainly, it is a good thing for Dallas corporate associates generally to have Kirkland shaking things up in the market so I am interested to see what they are able to do but I agree that it likely won't replicate the Houston office's success.

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