“Texas Firms See Opportunity In Shunning Merger Frenzy”
Texas law firms are operating against a drumbeat of new entrants to the market, competitive lateral hiring and mergers that have swept up several long-established firms, but the stalwarts say their partners and clients prefer independence and say they’ve got plenty of room to grow and thrive.
…Mark Sloan, managing partner of Thompson & Knight LLP, said it’s too early to tell how 2018’s mergers will affect the Texas legal landscape. Thompson & Knight considered a merger with Reed Smith LLP in 2010, but the firms ultimately called off their talks.
“We’ve stayed that course since then,” he said. “Our last three years are three of the best in our firm history. Right now our strategy is to remain independent.”
Sloan said firms that are considering a merger have to be careful of the consequences even if they don’t go through with a deal. Rumors of a potential tie-up can create a “feeding frenzy” for recruiters who sense instability and weakness at a firm and seek to poach away groups because of a perception firm leadership doesn’t know what it’s doing, he said.
That said, he keeps an eye on what’s happening in the market and listens when leaders of other firms call him to talk about a combination.
“Obviously, there’s been a trend toward consolidation across the U.S. and now happening some in Texas,” Sloan said. “I look at that. But I also want to make sure we don’t just jump in and do something like that just because we think it’s what everybody else is doing.”
Sloan said the mergers haven’t had as much of an impact on the industry as the steady influx of national firms into Houston and Dallas that boast global reach, higher-than-average compensation packages for partners and other perks designed to entice well-respected lawyers away from the firms they grew up in.