Jonathan Henderson wanted to work for local law firms back in 2011 after growing frustrated with his Dallas health care law practice. He received a call from Polsinelli Shugart, a firm from Kansas City that wanted to open an office in Dallas, according to The Dallas Morning News.
“It was like I had found someone I’d been looking for all my life,” he said. “Polsinelli was the perfect fit — a great match.”
Just three years from opening its doors, Polsinelli has more than 30 lawyers in its Dallas office. Polsinelli is just one of 30 firms from across the country that have opened offices in Texas over the past five years.
“The Texas market is so hot and so large in the energy space that it is hard to believe that every major law firm in the U.S. isn’t here,” said Michael Dillard, who started the Houston office of Latham & Watkins in 2010.
“The practice of law is global, but in many respects, it is also very local,” said Dillard. “We hired lawyers who are deeply rooted within the community and who have established relationships.”
Latham has just 12 lawyers back in 2010 working in Texas. Now, the firm boasts 75 lawyers on its payroll within the state. Dillard said that the firm should have some 100 lawyers working in Texas by the time 2014 ends.
According to Mergermarket, a global M&A research firm, a little more than half of the firms that worked on mergers and acquisitions in Texas within the first six months of 2014 were from outside the state.
“There is no coincidence that the flow of national law firms into Texas coincides with the boom in the shale gas and oil markets,” said Jim Rice, who helped open the Houston office of Sidley Austin.
“Deals are plentiful, and the legal work on those deals is not price-sensitive,” he said.