Christmas came in late November for non-partner lawyers at Vinson & Elkins. In an email Thursday to the firm’s associates, V&E announced it is paying them annual bonuses ranging from $15,000 to $115,000 and increasing their compensation between $10,000 and $20,000 per year. First-year associates will now make $225,000 and eighth-year associates will see their annual comp top $550,000 with the bonus.
In February 2018, the global law firm White & Case opened its Houston office with four lawyers, no associates, no support staff and sublet space in Two Allen Center. The goal, firm leaders announced at the time, was to grow the office to 50 attorneys. Nearly six years later, White & Case now has more than 100 attorneys in its Houston office and occupies three floors in 609 Main Street. The firm has seen revenues double over two years and expects even more growth ahead.
Mike Lynn left the comforts of national corporate firm Akin Gump in 1993 to start a trial-focused shop with two other lawyers. They used a wooden door on cement blocks as a desk. The paralegal was also the office manager, who worked at a table in the hallway. Thirty years later, Lynn Pinker is one of the largest and most prominent litigation boutiques in Texas, boasting 47 lawyers and blue-chip clients such as IBM, Energy Transfer, Neiman Marcus and Xerox — and even a Saudi prince. In three decades, the firm’s lawyers have scored multiple nine-digit courtroom victories for plaintiffs and defendants.
“This is a story that could only happen in Texas,” said Lynn, who is now 73. The stories of nearly all law firms are defined by critical or business-threatening events, enormous courtroom victories, lawyers joining and leaving and strategic decisions on practice groups or business sector focuses. Almost all successful firms in Texas have stories that revolve around one or two legal stars — be they Leon Jaworski or Steve Susman, John Zavitsanos or David Beck, Mike McKool or Paul Yetter. Lynn Pinker is no exception.
In this new thought leadership series, Dallas legal recruiter Kate Cassidy talks with Gibson Dunn’s Trey Cox about litigation trends in Texas, career advice for young attorneys, what he’s reading right now and more.
Porter Hedges founder Bill Porter must have seen something special when he recruited Vanderbilt University second-year law student Joyce Soliman in 1996. Twenty-seven years later, the Houston-based, 125-attorney, full-service law firm has named Soliman, a corporate finance lawyer and the past chair of the Asian American Bar Association’s board of trustees, as its new co-managing partner.
When Bill Munck started his law firm in 1998, he made three decisions that proved critical for success. The firm would be technology-focused. It would be based in DFW. And the partners he chose to join him would be make or break. During the past 25 years, Munck Wilson Mandala has jumped from six to 94 lawyers, has expanded to eight offices, has increased firm revenues and revenue per lawyer each year and developed a national reputation as a leading technology firm. Munck, Wilson, Mandala and several more deserve the credit.
Six decades ago, a rookie Vinson & Elkins lawyer named Harry Reasoner tried his first case in court. Hundreds of jury and bench trials and 59 years later, Reasoner, now 84, tells The Texas Lawbook that he has decided to retire on Dec. 31.
Reasoner has won billion-dollar courtroom victories for plaintiffs and corporate defendants. His service of pro bono is unparalleled. He guided V&E through a time of tremendous growth, adopted progressive workplace policies in the 1990s such as same sex benefits and helped the Houston firm survive the Enron financial scandal.
Texas-based corporate law firms are billing more hours, growing revenues faster and collecting money from clients better and faster in 2023 than most of their counterparts throughout the U.S., according to new data from Citi Private Bank’s Law Firm Group. Demand by business clients for legal work in Texas is also up and leaders at Texas law firms are “slightly more optimistic” about growth for the rest of 2023 and 2024 than corporate lawyers in other regions of the country. But there are negative signs that some corporate clients are taking longer to pay invoices. The Texas Lawbook has the exclusive report.
According to a Citi survey of 140 predominantly Am Law 100 and 200 firms, including six Texas-headquartered firms, the rate of promotions for women and minorities on both a global level and state level steadily declines as lawyers work their way up the ranks — from associates to of counsel to partner to equity partner.
Kirkland’s 21 newly promoted Texas partners is down from 25 last year but it is still likely to be one of the largest new partner classes of any business law firm.