2018 Dallas Thread

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Re: 2018 Dallas Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 30, 2018 2:56 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:To summarize the consensus in this thread, seems like for Dallas lit:

GDC > McKool if you really want trial experience (but rough culture and hours), VE, Winston > Sidley (good work but bad culture) > Jones Day (weird compensation and bad culture), Baker Botts, NRF-type places > everywhere else


I would include TK, HB and LL in the JD/BB/NRF tier. And would prob pick TK or LL for Lit over the other firms in your list other than GDC and Winston for culture reasons (only reason I wouldn’t pick HB is because their lit group is notoriously slow). Wouldn’t want to work at VE, BB, JD, Akin or Sidley personally.


I hear LL has a really rough culture. Just word of mouth from some associates and a good friend who summered there.


Scratch that one off the list. Honestly, I don't know why anyone would choose to do litigation. I'm not sure I know a single associate over a 4th year who's a litigator that doesn't regret doing transactional work.

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Re: 2018 Dallas Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 30, 2018 3:44 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:To summarize the consensus in this thread, seems like for Dallas lit:

GDC > McKool if you really want trial experience (but rough culture and hours), VE, Winston > Sidley (good work but bad culture) > Jones Day (weird compensation and bad culture), Baker Botts, NRF-type places > everywhere else


I would include TK, HB and LL in the JD/BB/NRF tier. And would prob pick TK or LL for Lit over the other firms in your list other than GDC and Winston for culture reasons (only reason I wouldn’t pick HB is because their lit group is notoriously slow). Wouldn’t want to work at VE, BB, JD, Akin or Sidley personally.


I hear LL has a really rough culture. Just word of mouth from some associates and a good friend who summered there.


I don't know anything about LL culture, but seems like they had a 71% offer rate in Dallas (2017).

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Re: 2018 Dallas Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 30, 2018 5:17 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:To summarize the consensus in this thread, seems like for Dallas lit:

GDC > McKool if you really want trial experience (but rough culture and hours), VE, Winston > Sidley (good work but bad culture) > Jones Day (weird compensation and bad culture), Baker Botts, NRF-type places > everywhere else


I would include TK, HB and LL in the JD/BB/NRF tier. And would prob pick TK or LL for Lit over the other firms in your list other than GDC and Winston for culture reasons (only reason I wouldn’t pick HB is because their lit group is notoriously slow). Wouldn’t want to work at VE, BB, JD, Akin or Sidley personally.


I hear LL has a really rough culture. Just word of mouth from some associates and a good friend who summered there.


I don't know anything about LL culture, but seems like they had a 71% offer rate in Dallas (2017).


Jesus, 5/7 in the firm’s supposed home office is terrible. I wonder if it was a bad batch of SAs?

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Re: 2018 Dallas Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 02, 2018 7:56 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Going to piggyback previous post. Sidley is ranked low on corp side and none of the M&A partners in Dallas office are listed. Is this just a result of partners being young or are they doing less sophisticated work than say V&E, GDC, Weil


not the OP of this, but am also still wondering about this and sidley corp in general

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Re: 2018 Dallas Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 04, 2018 1:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Anyone have insight on Hunton AK Dallas? In terms of work/life balance, respect in dallas, type of work, etc. Looking at transactional work.


Also interested in this

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Re: 2018 Dallas Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 13, 2018 12:45 pm

boysbearswolves wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
boysbearswolves wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Can anyone shed some light on the new Katten office in Dallas?


Only really worth going to if you want white-collar and don’t have offers from any other firms with that practice area.


Interesting. I heard that they poached some corporate partners from Hunton Andrews Kurth. I haven't heard anything about their white-collar practice. Does anyone have insights on the corporate practice?


What are your other offers?



Mostly V50 NY firms.


I work at the Katten Dallas office. If you or anyone else has any questions, please let me know and I can PM you. I lateraled over shortly after the office opened and have been happy with my decision so far.

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Re: 2018 Dallas Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 13, 2018 7:03 pm

Anonymous User wrote:McKool Smith associate here to set the record straight on a few issues. Also, I'm happy to answer questions.

Hours. There is no hours requirement. On average (I've seen the numbers), McKool associates bill 170-180 per month. That's around 2100 hours per year. The 2400 hours mark that is thrown around is a throwback to an outdated benchmark from years ago. Some associates still target that number for whatever reason. The quality of your work is vastly more important than the quantity. That said, the Dallas office has been slammed with huge cases this year, which has caused the associates to be busier this year than last. Since the firm has had several trials this year, many associates' hours have jumped. Naturally, you will be busy in the months leading up to and including trial. After trial finishes, you are strongly encouraged to take time off, so you don't burn out.

Culture. I don't know what is leading to the perception that the culture is "terrible." That's just inaccurate. You have a tremendous amount of autonomy with respect to the cases you work on, the partners you work with, and your work schedule. There are no practice groups or rigid case assignment procedures. Associates are encouraged to build relationships with partners they click with. If I don't enjoy a particular client/partner/practice area, once the matter wraps up I will jump on a different case that is a better fit. No hard feelings. I've never been yelled at, and generally enjoy everyone I work with. That said, the trial-oriented nature of the firm means that you are given a substantive role in cases and expected to do your part. Generally, associates relish the opportunity to take on these roles. Contrary to perception, the firm is not chalk-full of type-A jerks. We like A-players, not A-holes.

Experience. I think you'd be hard pressed to find another major firm in Dallas that affords young associates opportunities more substantive experience. Junior/midlevel associates regularly take depositions, argue in court, interface with the client, handle experts, draft dispositive motions, participate in case strategy, and take witnesses at trial. Senior associates are expected to run the day-to-day on cases. Last month a Dallas senior associate delivered a closing argument in California federal court that resulted in a nine-figure verdict. The list of firms that would happen at is short. The quality of the experience, though generally very good, is also dependent on your ambition to take on challenges and the good fortune to get on cases that end up proceeding to jury trial.

Exit options. This is a little hard to gauge, since the firm is not huge and doesn't have high turnover. The last associate to leave became an AUSA. By the time she left, she had a substantial track record as a stand-up trial lawyer that would be on par with many partners at national firms. Several other lawyers who have left over the years have gone to other litigation boutiques. Of course, there are always big firm lateral options, too. While there are certainly opportunities to go in house, most of the associates view themselves as developing trial lawyers who prefer to be in a firm/government role.



Another McKool Smith Dallas associate here--couldn't have said it better myself. This year has certainly been busier than usual, which can be taxing at times, but I wouldn't want to be at any other firm. The quality of people and substantive experience is unparalleled, at least in Dallas.

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Re: 2018 Dallas Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 13, 2018 8:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:McKool Smith associate here to set the record straight on a few issues. Also, I'm happy to answer questions.

Hours. There is no hours requirement. On average (I've seen the numbers), McKool associates bill 170-180 per month. That's around 2100 hours per year. The 2400 hours mark that is thrown around is a throwback to an outdated benchmark from years ago. Some associates still target that number for whatever reason. The quality of your work is vastly more important than the quantity. That said, the Dallas office has been slammed with huge cases this year, which has caused the associates to be busier this year than last. Since the firm has had several trials this year, many associates' hours have jumped. Naturally, you will be busy in the months leading up to and including trial. After trial finishes, you are strongly encouraged to take time off, so you don't burn out.

Culture. I don't know what is leading to the perception that the culture is "terrible." That's just inaccurate. You have a tremendous amount of autonomy with respect to the cases you work on, the partners you work with, and your work schedule. There are no practice groups or rigid case assignment procedures. Associates are encouraged to build relationships with partners they click with. If I don't enjoy a particular client/partner/practice area, once the matter wraps up I will jump on a different case that is a better fit. No hard feelings. I've never been yelled at, and generally enjoy everyone I work with. That said, the trial-oriented nature of the firm means that you are given a substantive role in cases and expected to do your part. Generally, associates relish the opportunity to take on these roles. Contrary to perception, the firm is not chalk-full of type-A jerks. We like A-players, not A-holes.

Experience. I think you'd be hard pressed to find another major firm in Dallas that affords young associates opportunities more substantive experience. Junior/midlevel associates regularly take depositions, argue in court, interface with the client, handle experts, draft dispositive motions, participate in case strategy, and take witnesses at trial. Senior associates are expected to run the day-to-day on cases. Last month a Dallas senior associate delivered a closing argument in California federal court that resulted in a nine-figure verdict. The list of firms that would happen at is short. The quality of the experience, though generally very good, is also dependent on your ambition to take on challenges and the good fortune to get on cases that end up proceeding to jury trial.

Exit options. This is a little hard to gauge, since the firm is not huge and doesn't have high turnover. The last associate to leave became an AUSA. By the time she left, she had a substantial track record as a stand-up trial lawyer that would be on par with many partners at national firms. Several other lawyers who have left over the years have gone to other litigation boutiques. Of course, there are always big firm lateral options, too. While there are certainly opportunities to go in house, most of the associates view themselves as developing trial lawyers who prefer to be in a firm/government role.



Another McKool Smith Dallas associate here--couldn't have said it better myself. This year has certainly been busier than usual, which can be taxing at times, but I wouldn't want to be at any other firm. The quality of people and substantive experience is unparalleled, at least in Dallas.

Has McKool raised to $190K? It wasn't that long ago that comp was far above market.

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Re: 2018 Dallas Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:31 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:McKool Smith associate here to set the record straight on a few issues. Also, I'm happy to answer questions.

Hours. There is no hours requirement. On average (I've seen the numbers), McKool associates bill 170-180 per month. That's around 2100 hours per year. The 2400 hours mark that is thrown around is a throwback to an outdated benchmark from years ago. Some associates still target that number for whatever reason. The quality of your work is vastly more important than the quantity. That said, the Dallas office has been slammed with huge cases this year, which has caused the associates to be busier this year than last. Since the firm has had several trials this year, many associates' hours have jumped. Naturally, you will be busy in the months leading up to and including trial. After trial finishes, you are strongly encouraged to take time off, so you don't burn out.

Culture. I don't know what is leading to the perception that the culture is "terrible." That's just inaccurate. You have a tremendous amount of autonomy with respect to the cases you work on, the partners you work with, and your work schedule. There are no practice groups or rigid case assignment procedures. Associates are encouraged to build relationships with partners they click with. If I don't enjoy a particular client/partner/practice area, once the matter wraps up I will jump on a different case that is a better fit. No hard feelings. I've never been yelled at, and generally enjoy everyone I work with. That said, the trial-oriented nature of the firm means that you are given a substantive role in cases and expected to do your part. Generally, associates relish the opportunity to take on these roles. Contrary to perception, the firm is not chalk-full of type-A jerks. We like A-players, not A-holes.

Experience. I think you'd be hard pressed to find another major firm in Dallas that affords young associates opportunities more substantive experience. Junior/midlevel associates regularly take depositions, argue in court, interface with the client, handle experts, draft dispositive motions, participate in case strategy, and take witnesses at trial. Senior associates are expected to run the day-to-day on cases. Last month a Dallas senior associate delivered a closing argument in California federal court that resulted in a nine-figure verdict. The list of firms that would happen at is short. The quality of the experience, though generally very good, is also dependent on your ambition to take on challenges and the good fortune to get on cases that end up proceeding to jury trial.

Exit options. This is a little hard to gauge, since the firm is not huge and doesn't have high turnover. The last associate to leave became an AUSA. By the time she left, she had a substantial track record as a stand-up trial lawyer that would be on par with many partners at national firms. Several other lawyers who have left over the years have gone to other litigation boutiques. Of course, there are always big firm lateral options, too. While there are certainly opportunities to go in house, most of the associates view themselves as developing trial lawyers who prefer to be in a firm/government role.



Another McKool Smith Dallas associate here--couldn't have said it better myself. This year has certainly been busier than usual, which can be taxing at times, but I wouldn't want to be at any other firm. The quality of people and substantive experience is unparalleled, at least in Dallas.

Has McKool raised to $190K? It wasn't that long ago that comp was far above market.


Yes, McKool has raised to 190K for first year associates. To my knowledge, this is still generally above market as many firms have not adopted the new scale.

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Re: 2018 Dallas Thread

Postby Pneumonia » Fri Sep 14, 2018 11:40 am

Anonymous User wrote:Yes, McKool has raised to 190K for first year associates. To my knowledge, this is still generally above market as many firms have not adopted the new scale.


190 is market, not above. https://abovethelaw.com/2018/06/salary- ... ises-2018/

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Re: 2018 Dallas Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 14, 2018 1:19 pm

Anyone aware of any Dallas (or Houston) firms hiring 3Ls for 2019? Hoping to switch markets to somewhere in Texas.

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Re: 2018 Dallas Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 14, 2018 3:02 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:McKool Smith associate here to set the record straight on a few issues. Also, I'm happy to answer questions.

Hours. There is no hours requirement. On average (I've seen the numbers), McKool associates bill 170-180 per month. That's around 2100 hours per year. The 2400 hours mark that is thrown around is a throwback to an outdated benchmark from years ago. Some associates still target that number for whatever reason. The quality of your work is vastly more important than the quantity. That said, the Dallas office has been slammed with huge cases this year, which has caused the associates to be busier this year than last. Since the firm has had several trials this year, many associates' hours have jumped. Naturally, you will be busy in the months leading up to and including trial. After trial finishes, you are strongly encouraged to take time off, so you don't burn out.

Culture. I don't know what is leading to the perception that the culture is "terrible." That's just inaccurate. You have a tremendous amount of autonomy with respect to the cases you work on, the partners you work with, and your work schedule. There are no practice groups or rigid case assignment procedures. Associates are encouraged to build relationships with partners they click with. If I don't enjoy a particular client/partner/practice area, once the matter wraps up I will jump on a different case that is a better fit. No hard feelings. I've never been yelled at, and generally enjoy everyone I work with. That said, the trial-oriented nature of the firm means that you are given a substantive role in cases and expected to do your part. Generally, associates relish the opportunity to take on these roles. Contrary to perception, the firm is not chalk-full of type-A jerks. We like A-players, not A-holes.

Experience. I think you'd be hard pressed to find another major firm in Dallas that affords young associates opportunities more substantive experience. Junior/midlevel associates regularly take depositions, argue in court, interface with the client, handle experts, draft dispositive motions, participate in case strategy, and take witnesses at trial. Senior associates are expected to run the day-to-day on cases. Last month a Dallas senior associate delivered a closing argument in California federal court that resulted in a nine-figure verdict. The list of firms that would happen at is short. The quality of the experience, though generally very good, is also dependent on your ambition to take on challenges and the good fortune to get on cases that end up proceeding to jury trial.

Exit options. This is a little hard to gauge, since the firm is not huge and doesn't have high turnover. The last associate to leave became an AUSA. By the time she left, she had a substantial track record as a stand-up trial lawyer that would be on par with many partners at national firms. Several other lawyers who have left over the years have gone to other litigation boutiques. Of course, there are always big firm lateral options, too. While there are certainly opportunities to go in house, most of the associates view themselves as developing trial lawyers who prefer to be in a firm/government role.


Another McKool Smith Dallas associate here--couldn't have said it better myself. This year has certainly been busier than usual, which can be taxing at times, but I wouldn't want to be at any other firm. The quality of people and substantive experience is unparalleled, at least in Dallas.

Would you recommend McKool to someone who wasn't trying to get into IP work? I understand that a science background isn't required for McKool, but what percentage of the work generated in Dallas is general commercial work vs. IP work (I know this is a very specific question, but I am trying to get a general sense for the practice)?

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Re: 2018 Dallas Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 15, 2018 2:46 pm

Full disclosure: Interviewed with McKool and decided not to go there.

My impression, and what I was told, was the associates work a lot but part of that is the experience you are getting early on. A senior associate told me that junior associates are expected about 2400 hours a year; however, you can bill travel. Everybody seemed really nice.

I also talked to a friend who split at McKool, but ultimately went to a big Texas firm, about his experience. He basically echoed what I was told in the interview. He said the main reason he chose his firm over McKool was not the hour but the focus on IP work. He said he liked it but that did want that much of his career to be IP focused.

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Re: 2018 Dallas Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:37 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:To summarize the consensus in this thread, seems like for Dallas lit:

GDC > McKool if you really want trial experience (but rough culture and hours), VE, Winston > Sidley (good work but bad culture) > Jones Day (weird compensation and bad culture), Baker Botts, NRF-type places > everywhere else


I would include TK, HB and LL in the JD/BB/NRF tier. And would prob pick TK or LL for Lit over the other firms in your list other than GDC and Winston for culture reasons (only reason I wouldn’t pick HB is because their lit group is notoriously slow). Wouldn’t want to work at VE, BB, JD, Akin or Sidley personally.


I hear LL has a really rough culture. Just word of mouth from some associates and a good friend who summered there.


Scratch that one off the list. Honestly, I don't know why anyone would choose to do litigation. I'm not sure I know a single associate over a 4th year who's a litigator that doesn't regret doing transactional work.


What are people's views on Norton Rose Dallas? Pros and cons compared to other litiigation firms in its tier like BB and HB? How about for transactional?

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Re: 2018 Dallas Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 17, 2018 12:48 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:To summarize the consensus in this thread, seems like for Dallas lit:

GDC > McKool if you really want trial experience (but rough culture and hours), VE, Winston > Sidley (good work but bad culture) > Jones Day (weird compensation and bad culture), Baker Botts, NRF-type places > everywhere else


I would include TK, HB and LL in the JD/BB/NRF tier. And would prob pick TK or LL for Lit over the other firms in your list other than GDC and Winston for culture reasons (only reason I wouldn’t pick HB is because their lit group is notoriously slow). Wouldn’t want to work at VE, BB, JD, Akin or Sidley personally.


I hear LL has a really rough culture. Just word of mouth from some associates and a good friend who summered there.


Scratch that one off the list. Honestly, I don't know why anyone would choose to do litigation. I'm not sure I know a single associate over a 4th year who's a litigator that doesn't regret doing transactional work.


What are people's views on Norton Rose Dallas? Pros and cons compared to other litiigation firms in its tier like BB and HB? How about for transactional?


Good for lit. Non-factor for transactional work.

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Re: 2018 Dallas Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Nov 10, 2018 10:38 pm

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?

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Re: 2018 Dallas Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Nov 11, 2018 11:36 am

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.

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Re: 2018 Dallas Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 12, 2018 5:14 pm

Is it just me or are the Chambers rankings very off-the-mark when it comes to Texas?

For corporate/M&A, Kirkland is at Band 3, way below Baker Botts (at Band 1). Everyone knows Kirkland and V&E rule Houston/Texas M&A. Baker Botts is struggling, at least in Houston. Even Latham lost their biggest partner to Kirkland recently. And Sidley is way down at Band 5 along with Foley Gardere.

For lit, not sure too many Texas lawyers would put McKool at the same band at Susman, especially given that it's not generally considered to be the best litigation firm in its own headquarters market (Dallas). For Dallas lit specifically, odd that Sidley is ranked two bands below Jackson Walker. Not sure about the lesser known Houston boutiques and where they should be ranked.

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Re: 2018 Dallas Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 12, 2018 11:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Is it just me or are the Chambers rankings very off-the-mark when it comes to Texas? For corporate/M&A, Kirkland is at Band 3, way below Baker Botts (at Band 1). Everyone knows Kirkland and V&E rule Houston/Texas M&A. Baker Botts is struggling, at least in Houston. Even Latham lost their biggest partner to Kirkland recently. And Sidley is way down at Band 5 along with Foley Gardere.


I'm going to KE Houston so I'm all about that Kool-Aid, but here's some things that explain the rating.

1) BB is still holding onto many respected transactional partners, which accounts for their rating.

2) KE partners tend to be younger super stars who didn't want to wait their turn at a lock-step firm. They're great, but probably hasn't had quite the time to build up the reputation that long-time practitioners might have.

3) Texas exists outside of Houston and KE has no footprint in San Antonio and Austin. Their Dallas office is like 2 months old.

4) Wheeler left after the latest edition was published so the rating hasn't updated to reflect his move. Even so, he's more a capital markets partner than an M&A one--though well-respected in both arenas.

5) My impression is that people are too hard on LW's slightly diminished status. They're still holding onto a stock of influential partners.

No idea about Sidley.

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Re: 2018 Dallas Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 13, 2018 6:26 pm

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.

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Re: 2018 Dallas Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:00 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Is it just me or are the Chambers rankings very off-the-mark when it comes to Texas?

For corporate/M&A, Kirkland is at Band 3, way below Baker Botts (at Band 1). Everyone knows Kirkland and V&E rule Houston/Texas M&A. Baker Botts is struggling, at least in Houston. Even Latham lost their biggest partner to Kirkland recently. And Sidley is way down at Band 5 along with Foley Gardere.

For lit, not sure too many Texas lawyers would put McKool at the same band at Susman, especially given that it's not generally considered to be the best litigation firm in its own headquarters market (Dallas). For Dallas lit specifically, odd that Sidley is ranked two bands below Jackson Walker. Not sure about the lesser known Houston boutiques and where they should be ranked.


I think the Chambers ratings have become increasingly detached from reality (partly due to the fact that the legal market has become increasingly fractured, and firms are less viewed as institutions than they used to be and more as places where individual lawyers co-office), and I don't think they are a resource that is widely consulted by clients. I also think they generally penalize national firms that are newer in a market vis-a-vis the local firms. That being said, they are probably the most accurate ranking system out there, even in spite of the fact that you can pretty much take any Chambers ranking and find some pretty glaring examples of two firms that are in different bands than common sense (and reality) would otherwise suggest.

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Re: 2018 Dallas Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:23 pm

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.


I think the office will be well above 40 lawyers soon. There are 26 attorneys listed on the website in the Dallas office, and there are 14 incoming 2019 SAs. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the office hit 100 attorneys by 2021.

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Re: 2018 Dallas Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:46 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Is it just me or are the Chambers rankings very off-the-mark when it comes to Texas?

For corporate/M&A, Kirkland is at Band 3, way below Baker Botts (at Band 1). Everyone knows Kirkland and V&E rule Houston/Texas M&A. Baker Botts is struggling, at least in Houston. Even Latham lost their biggest partner to Kirkland recently. And Sidley is way down at Band 5 along with Foley Gardere.

For lit, not sure too many Texas lawyers would put McKool at the same band at Susman, especially given that it's not generally considered to be the best litigation firm in its own headquarters market (Dallas). For Dallas lit specifically, odd that Sidley is ranked two bands below Jackson Walker. Not sure about the lesser known Houston boutiques and where they should be ranked.

Out of curiosity, who is considered to be the best lit firm in Dallas if not McKool? Lynn Pinker? Or are you referring to larger firms like Gibson Dunn and Winston?

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Re: 2018 Dallas Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 13, 2018 9:23 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Is it just me or are the Chambers rankings very off-the-mark when it comes to Texas?

For corporate/M&A, Kirkland is at Band 3, way below Baker Botts (at Band 1). Everyone knows Kirkland and V&E rule Houston/Texas M&A. Baker Botts is struggling, at least in Houston. Even Latham lost their biggest partner to Kirkland recently. And Sidley is way down at Band 5 along with Foley Gardere.

For lit, not sure too many Texas lawyers would put McKool at the same band at Susman, especially given that it's not generally considered to be the best litigation firm in its own headquarters market (Dallas). For Dallas lit specifically, odd that Sidley is ranked two bands below Jackson Walker. Not sure about the lesser known Houston boutiques and where they should be ranked.

Out of curiosity, who is considered to be the best lit firm in Dallas if not McKool? Lynn Pinker? Or are you referring to larger firms like Gibson Dunn and Winston?


I think the OP's rankings are pretty accurate. Having said this, it's probably not very helpful to create an aggregate ranking of Dallas lit firms, given the major differences between firms and their practices. I think the rankings are more or less accurate on the basis of general prestige, selectivity, sophistication of work, but McKool would probably top the list if you're focusing on boutique-style trial practice/patent lit/mix of plaintiff-defense side work. My impression (correct me if I'm wrong) is that McKool's position in Dallas is similar to that of Quinn in NYC or LA.

I guess my general point was that the rankings have too many random inaccuracies. Puzzling that Latham is Band 1 for corp but Kirkland is somehow band 3. Or how Hunton is Band 2.

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Re: 2018 Dallas Thread

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 13, 2018 10:58 pm

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?



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