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Willkie Houston

Post by Anonymous User » Mon May 09, 2022 2:20 pm

Anybody have any insight as to what's up at Willkie Houston? Seems like they're rapidly losing partners and associates -- any idea why?

Edit to add: I also welcome any speculation as to "what happens next." I assume a few more partners and senior associates will leave, a few summers/incoming folks will renege, and then Willkie will invest some money to pull partners from other firms to fill the shop back up, and in a year or two everyone will have forgotten about this. Thoughts?

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Re: Willkie Houston

Post by Anonymous User » Mon May 09, 2022 3:31 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon May 09, 2022 2:20 pm
Anybody have any insight as to what's up at Willkie Houston? Seems like they're rapidly losing partners and associates -- any idea why?

Edit to add: I also welcome any speculation as to "what happens next." I assume a few more partners and senior associates will leave, a few summers/incoming folks will renege, and then Willkie will invest some money to pull partners from other firms to fill the shop back up, and in a year or two everyone will have forgotten about this. Thoughts?
O'Melveny just started a Houston office and basically raided Willkie to be the core of it. Not sure how much of value was left behind.

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Re: Willkie Houston

Post by Anonymous User » Wed May 11, 2022 3:54 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon May 09, 2022 3:31 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon May 09, 2022 2:20 pm
Anybody have any insight as to what's up at Willkie Houston? Seems like they're rapidly losing partners and associates -- any idea why?

Edit to add: I also welcome any speculation as to "what happens next." I assume a few more partners and senior associates will leave, a few summers/incoming folks will renege, and then Willkie will invest some money to pull partners from other firms to fill the shop back up, and in a year or two everyone will have forgotten about this. Thoughts?
O'Melveny just started a Houston office and basically raided Willkie to be the core of it. Not sure how much of value was left behind.
Lol, O'Melveny got the scraps and had little to do with this. The talent/rainmakers in that office went to Gibson and Latham for the most part. OP, basically what happened is what eventually happens to most middle-tier v50 firms when they try to break into an established, major market and compete against richer firms - their partners with good books and talent were poached by much better firms who could afford to pay them a lot more. From there it all falls like dominos - associates are left staring down the decision to either follow (if asked, and if they respect/enjoy working with the partners who left), stick around and have basically nothing to do in their established practice areas, or lateral to a different, more well-established firm. Once a big-name partner leaves, other firms smell blood in the water and move in to take what's left taking out of the rest.

Going forward, it's going to be very hard for Willkie to attract real talent at the partner level - the market for rainmakers/talented partners is brutal and Willkie is going to get outbid 100% of the time. They'll level off eventually, but hard to say exactly when that will be and what the office will look like at that point. Not somewhere I'd be angling to go on the corporate side for at least the next year or two.

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Re: Willkie Houston

Post by Anonymous User » Wed May 11, 2022 10:36 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon May 09, 2022 3:31 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon May 09, 2022 2:20 pm
Anybody have any insight as to what's up at Willkie Houston? Seems like they're rapidly losing partners and associates -- any idea why?

Edit to add: I also welcome any speculation as to "what happens next." I assume a few more partners and senior associates will leave, a few summers/incoming folks will renege, and then Willkie will invest some money to pull partners from other firms to fill the shop back up, and in a year or two everyone will have forgotten about this. Thoughts?
O'Melveny just started a Houston office and basically raided Willkie to be the core of it. Not sure how much of value was left behind.
Shockingly incorrect. The two WFG partners with books of business left to Latham and Gibson Dunn, respectively.

Then a couple of the remaining partners went to OMM because remaining at WFG was not a viable option.

Remains to be seen whether Willkie can, or wants to, salvage a Houston office.

Sackboy

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Re: Willkie Houston

Post by Sackboy » Thu May 12, 2022 1:23 pm

I have never worked at Willkie and am assuming I never will, but this is some weird flame regarding Willkie's place in the market. Willkie has come into Chicago and successfully grown their office and just announced they're acquiring more office space. If middle-tier V50s or whatever the OP called them were doomed to fail when entering into new markets with established firms, that certainly hasn't shown in Chicago, which has also had Cooley enter and I believe 1 or 2 other V50s in the past few years. The firm has a $3.9MM profit per partner, which is not far off from GDC's $4.4M PPP where all of this talent is apparently hemorrhaging and getting "outbid" at. It seems like Willkie didn't set up the energy M&A platform well in the market, and other firms offered a much better path for these partners to grow their practices. They may or may not have offered better money. Some time ago, IIRC, there was a survey on why equity partners lateral, and more compensation got less than half of the votes with better platform/future growth/practice area support getting the majority.

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