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VAULT GUIDE TO THE TOP

TEXAS & SOUTHWEST LAW FIRMS

2007 Vault Inc.

VAULT GUIDE TO THE TOP

TEXAS & SOUTHWEST LAW FIRMS

VERA DJORDJEVICH AND THE STAFF OF VAULT

2007 Vault Inc.

Copyright 2007 by Vault Inc. All rights reserved. All information in this book is subject to change without notice. Vault makes no claims as to the accuracy and reliability of the information contained within and disclaims all warranties. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, for any purpose, without the express written permission of Vault Inc. Vault, the Vault logo, and the most trusted name in career informationTM are trademarks of Vault Inc. For information about permission to reproduce selections from this book, contact Vault Inc., 150 W. 22nd St., 5th Floor, New York, NY 10011, (212) 366-4212. Library of Congress CIP Data is available. ISBN 13: 978-1-58131-461-8 ISBN 10: 1-58131-461-2 Printed in the United States of America

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Thank you to all the Vault sales, graphics, editorial and IT staff for their tireless work writing, selling, designing and programming the guide. Special thanks to Claire Blechman and to writers Mindy Grill, Mark Fass, Chris Prior and Rajesh Parameswaran. Many thanks also to the law firm recruiting professionals and hiring partners who put up with our tight deadlines, frantic phone calls and repeated requests for information. This book is dedicated to all the law firm associates who took time out of their busy schedules to complete our survey.

Table of Contents
INTRODUCTION 1

A Guide to this Guide . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 The Year in Law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5

LAW FIRM PROFILES

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Andrews Kurth LLP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16 Baker Botts L.L.P. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23 Baker Hostetler LLP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28 Baron & Budd, P.C. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33 Beckley Singleton, Chtd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36 Beirne Maynard & Parsons, LLP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .42 Bickel & Brewer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46 Bracewell & Giuliani LLP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .50 Brown McCarroll, L.L.P. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .54 Cantey Hanger LLP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .58 Carrington Coleman Sloman & Blumenthal, L.L.P. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .62 Chamberlain, Hrdlicka, White, Williams & Martin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .66 Clark, Thomas & Winters, A Professional Corporation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .69 Cowles & Thompson, PC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .72 Cox Smith Matthews Incorporated . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .78 Crowe & Dunlevy, A Professional Corporation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .83 Fellers, Snider, Blankenship, Bailey & Tippens, P.C. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .86 Fennemore Craig, P.C. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .90 Fish & Richardson P.C. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .96 Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .100 Gallagher & Kennedy, P.A. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .105 Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .108 Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .114
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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Table of Contents

Godwin Pappas Langley Ronquillo, LLP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .119 Graves, Dougherty, Hearon & Moody, P.C. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .122 Haynes and Boone, LLP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .126 Howrey LLP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .132 Hughes & Luce, LLP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .138 Jackson Walker L.L.P. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .144 Jenkens & Gilchrist, A Professional Corporation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .148 Jennings, Strouss & Salmon, P.L.C. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .153 Jones Day . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .156 Lewis and Roca LLP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .162 Lionel Sawyer & Collins . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .168 Locke Liddell & Sapp LLP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .174 Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .180 McAfee & Taft, A Professional Corporation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .185 McGinnis, Lochridge & Kilgore, L.L.P. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .188 Modrall, Sperling, Roehl, Harris & Sisk, P.A. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .192 Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr, P.C. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .195 Perkins Coie Brown & Bain P.A. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .198 Porter & Hedges LLP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .202 Quarles & Brady LLP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .206 Rodey, Dickason, Sloan, Akin & Robb, P.A. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .212 Snell & Wilmer L.L.P. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .218 Squire, Sanders & Dempsey L.L.P. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .224 Strasburger & Price LLP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .228 Susman Godfrey L.L.P. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .233 Thompson & Knight LLP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .236 Vinson & Elkins L.L.P. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .242 Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .248 Winstead Sechrest & Minick P.C. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .254 About the Author . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .259

2007 Vault Inc.

Introduction
Welcome to the third edition of the Vault Guide to the Top Texas and Southwest Law Firms. For the last several years, we have published comprehensive guides to the most prestigious law firms throughout the United States. Realizing, however, that those national guides only scratched the surface of the vibrant law community in the Southwest, in 2003 we published our first-ever Vault Guide to the Top Texas Law Firms. Since then, we have expanded the guide to include top firms throughout the Southwest. We invited associates at the top law firms in Texas, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Oklahoma to tell us about their jobs, offer suggestions to prospective associates and rate their employers on subjects such as hours, compensation, associate/partner relations, training and office space. The candid assessments of these associates regarding life at their firms are included throughout our profiles, which also contain information on major practice areas, recruiting contacts and the most notable perks each firm offers its attorneys. We asked associates what they like about living and working in the Southwest. One significant attraction the entire area has in common is the excellent climate. Who can say no to warm and sunny? The mild winters draw many northern transplants; an associate in Phoenix says, Im not from here originally but I love having the sunshine every day. Associates near the Rockies love the beautiful scenery and outdoor activities the mountains offer. The Southwest is also ripe with opportunity for lawyers who want a sophisticated practice within a small legal community, without the cutthroat competition abundant on either coast. Dallas is on the move, they say, and Texas generally is a strong region for businesses and law firms. Associates in cities like Las Vegas and Albuquerque, which arent traditional legal markets (and therefore arent saturated with lawyers) love the more close-knit legal community and opportunities to do the fun stuff, such as meet with clients and attend depositions and hearings. Working in a smaller market means greater responsibility sooner, and young attorneys seem to have a lot of it. While their friends in the nations largest cities are still doing menial work, in the Southwest those same third-year associates [might] have their own clients. While the legal community is still relatively small, Southwestern cities are growing market[s], which for many lawyers represent unique, groundfloor opportunities. Those craving a high-stakes practice will find it in

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Introduction

Nevada. Las Vegas is booming, and I wanted to be somewhere exciting, says one associate who got in on the game. Gaming and regulatory work is a Vegas niche that draws many attorneys, and the robust economy makes the real estate market lucrative as well. Phoenix is also great for real estate transactions, as it is one of the fastest-growing areas in the country. But perhaps the most significant feature of cities like Phoenix is that it is a major metropolitan area without an entrenched ruling class,' which means that people from other places can come in and succeed right away. Beyond the work, Southwestern attorneys also love their lifestyle. Associates praise the high standard of living in comparison to almost anywhere else. The cost of living is fairly low and the average salaries are very high, explains one associate. If its not the highest effective pay scale for attorneys in the country, then it is very close. Those looking to settle down can easily get into a house on a starting salary. Overall, the atmosphere at Southwest firms is more relaxed. Associates can reap the benefits of a big city and a big law firm, but [with] hours requirements not nearly as bad as in New York City, Chicago and Boston. More relaxed hours allow lawyers to spend time with their families, and for a great many associates, thats the most important reason to stay in the Southwest. One Dallas lawyer with strong ties to the locality is proud to represent the fifth generation to live here. Whether you and you family have enjoyed the Southwestern sunshine for years, or are hoping to relocate to the region, were confident that, with the Vault Guide to the Top Texas and Southwest Law Firms, youll have access to the best information to prepare yourself for interviews at the regions top firms.

A GUIDE TO THIS GUIDE


If youre wondering how our entries are organized, read on. Heres a handy guide to the information youll find packed into each entry of this book.

The Profiles
Our profiles are divided into three sections: The Scoop, Getting Hired and Our Survey Says. Only profiles of firms for which we have associate survey data contain an Our Survey Says section. We received survey data either when a law firm chose to participate in our 2006 national or regional associate survey or when Vault contacted firm associates independently, without the
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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Introduction

participation of the firm. The Scoop: The firms history, major clients, recent deals, major firm developments and other points of interest. Getting Hired: Qualifications the firm looks for in new associates, tips on getting hired, information about the firms summer associate program and other notable aspects of the hiring process. Our Survey Says: Actual quotes from surveys and interviews with current associates in the firms Southwest office(s) on topics such as the firms assignment system, work feedback, partnership prospects, levels of responsibility, summer associate program, culture, hours, compensation, training and much more.

Firm Facts
Locations: A listing of the firms offices, with the headquarters in bold. You may see firms with no bolded location. This means that these are selfproclaimed decentralized firms without official headquarters. Major Departments & Practices: Practice areas that employ a significant portion of the firms attorneys as reported by the firms. Base Salary: The base salary in the firms largest Southwest office(s). Pay is for 20062007 except where noted. Some firms have chosen not to list any salary information at all. Notable Perks: A listing of impressive, interesting or unusual perks and benefits outside the norm. (For example, we do not list health insurance, as every firm we surveyed offers a health care plan.) Uppers and Downers: Good points and bad points about working at the firm, as gleaned from associate surveys. Uppers and Downers are the impressionistic perceptions of insiders and are not based on statistics. (Note that only profiles of firms for which we have survey data contain Uppers and Downers.) Employment Contact: The person the firm identifies as the primary contact to receive resumes or to answer questions about the recruitment process.

The Stats
No. of attorneys firmwide: The total number of attorneys in all offices as of fall 2006.

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Introduction

No. of attorneys in Southwest office(s): The total number of attorneys at the firms largest Southwest offices as of fall 2006. No. of offices: The firms total number of offices worldwide. Summer associate offers firmwide: The firmwide number of second-year law students offered full-time associate positions by the firm in 2006, as well as the number of second-year law students who participated in the firms summer program that year. Summer associate offers in Southwest office(s): The number of secondyear law students offered full-time associate positions in the firms largest Southwest offices in 2006, as well as the number of second-year law students who participated in the firms summer program in those offices that year. Chairman, Managing Partner, etc.: The name and title of the leader of the firm. Sometimes more than one name is provided. Hiring Partner, Hiring Attorney, etc.: The name and title of the attorney in charge of the firms hiring efforts. Sometimes the regional hiring partners name is given.

THE YEAR IN LAW


Change was the operative word this year in law, and many aspects of the industry were anything but consistent. Salaries are up but retention is down. New offices opened in new markets, while old alliances dissolved at home. Despite trials both natural (the continuing aftereffects of Hurricanes Rita and Katrina) and man-made (economic recession and foreign wars) the Southwest remains a strong legal market looking toward the future.

Dad, can you raise my allowance? Everyones doing it


The recent salary wars began when L.A. firm Irell & Manella announced in late 2005 that it was bumping its first-year associate base up to $135,000 per year, sending ripples throughout the Southern California legal community. A year later, the stakes have escalated, and many big-market (New York, California, D.C.) firms are starting associates at $145,000. Texas did not escape the inevitable; Texas Lawyer reports that larger firms have increased first-year associate salaries by 21.7 percent, from $115,000 to $140,000.
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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Introduction

Vinson & Elkins was the first area firm to announce a higher salary scale (with first-years making $140,000, including a $5,000 guaranteed bonus), and Porter & Hedges and Jenkens & Gilchrist were quick to follow its lead.

Is it greener on the other side? and find out.

Hop the fence

While firms nationwide are facing a retention problemaccording to a NALP Foundation study, over 37 percent of associates leave their firms by the end of their third yearSouthwest firms are becoming increasingly appealing to young lawyers, because they offer a balanced lifestyle and definitive partnership prospects (sometimes after only five years). Lateral moves within the region are on the rise as well, and not just among younger associates. Lawyers with established practices are seeking wider influence and successful partners are often poached by rival firms. Perhaps the most conspicuous lateral to alter the face of a Texas-based firm is former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who nabbed a name-partnership at the newly-christened Bracewell & Giuliani (ne Bracewell & Patterson). Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld hired 95 laterals in 2005, the highest number among surveyed firms in Texas. But it also had the highest attrition rate, losing 147 lawyers (17.48 percent) that same year. Meanwhile, Jenkens & Gilchrist dropped from 434 attorneys to a slim and trim 281, but still managed to increase per-partner profits. Despite revolving-door employment, many area firms have actually expanded. On average, each of Texas 25 most profitable law firms grew by about 2.3 percent in 2005. Impressively, Akin Gump made nearly $8 million more than the previous year, even though its total number of attorneys dropped from 822 to 794. Further west, with the addition of 47 associates and five partners, Phoenixs Snell & Wilmer joined a number of Texas stalwarts (Fulbright & Jaworski, Baker Botts, Haynes and Boone, and Andrews Kurth) on The National Law Journals 2005 list of the nations 250 largest law firms (coming in at No. 90), marking the first time in recent history that a Southwestern state outside Texas was home to one of the nations largest law firms. In 2006, Austins Brown McCarroll was one of 10 firms that fell off the NLJ 250 rankings, having dropped from 183 attorneys to 155.

East meets Southwest


For American firms, law is no longer a domestic concern. Two of the Southwests major nichesfinance and energyhave gone global, and firms are now chasing down opportunities across two oceans. Akin Gump invested

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Introduction

some of its $618 million gross annual revenue (the highest of any Texasbased firm) in establishing its office in Dubai, the new oil and financial capital of the Middle East. In addition, the firm has announced plans to open a Beijing office on the Chinese mainland. As China industrializes, the country is poised to become not only a financial cash cow, but also (by far) the largest consumer of petroleum products in the world. This past year, Vinson & Elkins expanded to Hong Kong, joining Fulbright & Jaworski and Baker Botts, who have also established bases in the Pearl of the Orient. Also in 2006, many lawyers had their eyes on foreign affairsand not just as potential new markets. Former Secretary of State and Baker Botts partner James A. Baker III served as co-chair of the Iraq Study Group, a bipartisan committee convened to assess the situation in Iraq and provide policy recommendations based on their findings. The committees final report, titled The Way ForwardA New Approach, was released in December 2006.

A man and his jet


This last year also saw the end of a lawyer-client relationship that goes back more than two decades. In 2006, H. Ross Perot Jr. filed suit against Hughes & Luce, the Dallas-based firm which had long counseled the Perots, both pre and fils, as well as various family businesses. What came between this powerful family of billionaires and the law firm that represented them? An Air Force trainer jet. The junior Perot is suing Hughes & Luce for malpractice, claiming that that the firms handling of the failed purchase of a $20,000 Northrop T-38 Talon (to be donated to an aviation museum) cost him millions in legal fees and exposed him to criminal charges. The plan was to restore the mothballed plane, persuade the federal government to let him fly it and designate it as an operable centerpiece at the Alliance Heritage museum. Unfortunately, the Code of Federal Regulations doesnt permit private individuals to fly or hold title to supersonic jets formerly flown by the Air Force. Meanwhile, Hughes & Luce is counterclaiming for some $375,000 in unpaid legal fees, and has retained Austins Graves, Dougherty, Hearon & Moody as counsel.

Peoples court
Big wins for the little guy scored Dallas-based Baron & Budd an enviable spot on The National Law Journals Plaintiffs Hot List for the third year running. The firm helped hundreds of Tucson-area residents resolve two decades of litigation over groundwater contamination in Arizona, won a

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Introduction

$13.5 million verdict for the family of a Texas man who died as a result of asbestos exposure and helped secure a $3.9 billion settlement with the United States Gypsum Co. in one of the largest bankruptcy settlements on record. In the wake of the Hurricane Katrina tragedy in August 2005, many Southwest law firms came to the aid of their Gulf Coast neighbors. Weil, Gotshal & Manges associates and partners are among many attorneys working pro bono on behalf of Katrina victims, representing them in their appeals of the denial of federal aid by the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA). Others are hard at work on scores of other legal battles resulting from the devastating effects of the hurricane as well as the mishandling of the situation by officials at all levels of government.

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LAW FIRM PROFILES

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Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP


1700 Pacific Avenue, Suite 4100 Dallas, TX 75201-4675 Phone: (214) 969-2800 www.akingump.com

THE STATS
No. of attorneys: Firmwide: 900 Austin: 43 Dallas: 132 Houston: 92 San Antonio: 45 No. of offices: 15 Summer associate offers (2005): Firmwide: 77 out of 92 Austin: 5 out of 5 Dallas: 19 out of 24 Houston: 15 out of 19 San Antonio: 3 out of 6 Chairman: R. Bruce McLean Hiring Partners: Austin: Timothy LaFrey Dallas: Elliot D. Raffkind Houston: Carlos A. Sole III San Antonio: D. McNeel Lane

LOCATIONS
Austin, TX Dallas, TX Houston, TX Los Angeles, CA New York, NY Philadelphia, PA San Antonio, TX San Francisco, CA Silicon Valley, CA Washington, DC Brussels Dubai London Moscow Taipei

MAJOR DEPARTMENTS & PRACTICES


Antitrust Communications & Information Technology Corporate & Securities Energy, Land Use & Environmental Financial Restructuring Global Projects Health Industry Intellectual Property International Investment Funds/Private Equity Labor & Employment Litigation Public Law & Policy Real Estate & Finance Tax

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

UPPERS
Early responsibility Great group of people

EMPLOYMENT CONTACTS
Austin Ms. Connie Willis Director of Administration Phone: (512) 499-6230 Fax: (512) 499-6290 E-mail: cwillis@akingump.com Dallas Ms. Tonia W. Dunlap Attorney Recruiting & Development Coordinator Phone: (214) 969-4737 Fax: (214) 969-4343 E-mail: tdunlap@akingump.com Houston Ms. Kristie Kafka Attorney Recruiting & Development Coordinator Phone: (713) 250-2160 Fax: (713) 236-0822 E-mail: kkafka@akingump.com San Antonio Ms. Christy Meador Attorney Recruiting & Development Manager Phone: (210) 281-7181 Fax: (210) 224-2035 E-mail: cmeador@akingump.com

DOWNERS
No formal assignment system Long hours

NOTABLE PERKS
Free parking in most Texas offices Longevity bonus ($60K) for loyal associates Weekly attorney lunches Nice offices

BASE SALARY (2006)


Texas offices 1st year: $135,000 2nd year: $145,000 3rd year: $155,000 4th year: $170,000 5th year: $185,000 6th year: $200,000 7th year: $205,000 8th year: $215,000 Summer associate: $2,600/week

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

THE SCOOP
Akin Gump is a big fish in a big sea. With nearly 900 attorneys, its consistently ranked among the top 20 in The National Law Journals annual list of the nations largest law firms. Although its largest offices are in Washington, D.C., and New York, the firm got its start in Dallas in 1945, when agents Richard Gump and Robert Strauss left the FBI to form a law firm. The firm just oozes Washington power, but its still got a powerful base in the Southwest. One reason for that is its energy practicea direct outcropping of the firms Texas roots. In a recent headline-making deal, Akin Gump advised Oklahoma-based oil and gas company Kerr-McGee on the $1.34 billion sale of its oil and natural gas properties on the Gulf of Mexico to W&T Offshore. Also in 2006, attorneys from the Houston office represented Plains Exploration & Production Company in its $1.46 billion stock-for-stock acquisition of Stone Energy Corporation. Along with its ranking among the nations leading law firms, Akin Gump has earned a reputation for community involvement and pro bono work. Associates are officially encouraged to volunteer at least 50 hours towards pro bono work each year, and no limit is placed on their total. The firms Dallas office was recently presented with the Law Firm of the Year for Extraordinary Pro Bono Services Award by the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program, a joint venture of the Dallas Bar Association and Legal Aid of Northwest Texas. The firm as a whole, and particularly its Texas offices, have undergone some changes in recent months. In early 2006, for example, nine real estate lawyers left the San Antonio office to launch a local boutique. Meanwhile the firms Dallas office stole away seven intellectual property litigators from local rival Winstead Sechrest & Minick.

GETTING HIRED
Getting a foot in the door at Akin Gump is tough. For its Texas offices, the firm focuses on Texas schools, but also actively recruits from top schools around the country, according to a Dallas associate. The GPA cutoff is tied to the law school attended, reports a colleague. It doesnt hurt to graduate from Harvard or Yale or be in the top 10 percent [of your class], suggests another insider. An Austin associate says the successful candidate is

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

someone who fits in with the culture of the office (laid-back but hardworking, personable). You must be a good writer, so get on law review, counsels a Dallas lawyer. A first-year stresses the importance of being friendly and interesting as well as smart: Personality is a big thing here; they really look to see if you fit in. A person wont get an offer just because they have fantastic grades.

OUR SURVEY SAYS


The vibe at Akin Gump is pretty positive considering its mega-law-firm status. Collegial, laid-back, encouraging, diverse, recites an Austin attorney. The culture of Akin Gump is made up of friendly, helpful colleagues who are knowledgeable and conduct themselves in a professional manner, chimes in an associate from San Antonio. One smug associate asserts that the Dallas office is an extremely collegial environmentwhich tends to set it apart from a number of other firm offices. But dont expect a lot of partying. The attorneys tend to socialize during work hours (lunch, firm events), but [there are] not a lot of non-firm-related social events, says a San Antonio source. Most people just work a lot and they dont tend to socialize together, echoes a Houston associate. Partners treat associates with respect and value associates opinions, says an Austin lawyer. A first-year adds, Partners actually talk to associates here. It is a very approachable firm. One drawback, according to some associates, is the lack of information about firm decisions. The partners are generally nice enough, but a little more candor would be a good thing, suggests a litigation associate. Another downside for some is that the work can be very boring. While many associates enjoy their assignments and the level of responsibility they receive (almost immediate client contact and great support from the partners, boasts a San Antonio lawyer), others are less than thrilled with time spent reviewing documents. A few lawyers also comment on the recent attrition. As one insider observes, Akin Gump is experiencing a tremendous amount of internal change and the Texas offices seem to have been hit very hard. The firms formal training has improved greatly over the years, enthuses a San Antonio associate. Formal training is consistent and useful, and all attorneys are encouraged to attend, reports a colleague in Austin. One of the few complaints, however, is that training sessions are usually done via videoconference, which makes it difficult to learn. Associates are split on
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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

the amount of informal guidance they receive. One lawyer says, I receive very little mentoring from the partners. But a Dallas associate contends that a majority of the firms training is derived from relationships developed between associates and counsel on an informal basis. And according to an associate in the Austin office, Mentoring is definitely availableyou just have to ask. Despite the fact that theres no stated billable hour requirement, Akin Gumps hours are about what youd expect for a firm of its size. This job requires billing about 10 to 12 hours a day six to seven days a week, says a litigator. The firm may say the words about flexibility, but dont count on staying around long if you try to take them up on it, advises a senior associate. On the bright side, there are no face time requirements. Compensation is competitive with other large law firms. Bonuses are tied to hours, but are very generous, says a third-year. And first-years are grateful that their bonus is guaranteed.

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

Partners actually talk to associates here. It is a very approachable firm.


Akin Gump associate

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Andrews Kurth LLP


600 Travis, Suite 4200 Houston, TX 77002 Phone: (713) 220-4200 www.andrewskurth.com

THE STATS
No. of attorneys: Firmwide: 400+ Houston: 227 Austin: 31 Dallas: 80 The Woodlands: 9 No. of offices: 9 Summer associate offers (2005): Firmwide: 27 out of 34 Houston: 19 out of 22 Austin: 3 out of 4 Dallas: 4 out of 7 The Woodlands: 1 out of 1 Managing Partner: Howard T. Ayers Hiring Partners: Houston: Martha Marty Smith, Alex Gomez Austin: Lino Mendiola III Dallas: Kay Lynn Brumbaugh The Woodlands: Craig L. Stahl

LOCATIONS
Houston, TX (HQ) Austin, TX Dallas, TX Los Angeles, CA New York, NY The Woodlands, TX Washington, DC Beijing London

MAJOR DEPARTMENTS & PRACTICES


Antitrust Appellate Arbitration/Mediation Banking & Finance Bankruptcy & Restructuring Biotechnology Corporate & Securities Corporate Compliance, Investigations & Defense Energy Environmental ERISA/Employee Benefits/Executive Compensation Health Care Intellectual Property International Labor & Employment Litigation Mergers & Acquisitions Personal Tax Planning Project Finance Public Law Real Estate Securitization South Asia Taxation & Estate Planning

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Andrews Kurth LLP

UPPERS
Sophisticated work with lots of responsibility Very competitive salary

BASE SALARY (2006)


All Texas offices 1st year: $135,000 Summer associate: $2,700/week

DOWNERS
Little-to-no formal training Inadequate support staff

EMPLOYMENT CONTACT
Ms. Melissa Waldrop Manager of Recruiting Phone: (713) 220-4026 Fax: (713) 220-4285 E-mail: melissawaldrop@andrewskurth.com

NOTABLE PERKS
Free dinners, charity events and paid retreats Weekly happy hours Free parking 401(k) matching

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Andrews Kurth LLP

THE SCOOP
Like many Texans, this 100-year old firm prides itself on straight talk. Formed in Houston in 1902 by Frank Andrews and U.S. Congressman Thomas Ball, the firm earned its stripes counseling railroad clients and was integral in forming the Gulf Coast Lines and assisting many other burgeoning railroad entrepreneurs. As longtime counsel to the Hughes Tool Company, Andrews Kurth had front-row seats in the 20-year dispute over the estate of the eccentric Howard Hughes Jr., son of the companys founder. In 2002, as its centennial neared, AK cemented its place as a Texas powerhouse by merging with Mayor, Day, Caldwell & Keeton, L.L.P., another large Texas firm. Today, associates can expect to work on high-level litigation and corporate matters, such as 2005s $458 million judgment for client Paragon Trade Brands, which accused another company of fraud in an earlier asset sale, and the representation of Landrys Restaurants in its purchase of the Golden Nugget Casino in Las Vegas. Like some other prominent firms, Andrews Kurth has become entangled in the Enron web; in 2004, the University of California, as lead plaintiff in the shareholders lawsuit, added Andrews Kurth to the list of defendants accused of securities fraud in connection with the energy giants collapse. In 2005, the firms Houston, Dallas and Austin offices were voted among the Best Places to Work by local business journalsmaking Andrews Kurth the only law firm to win the 2005 award in three regions. The kudos will no doubt continue in the wake of the firms recent hiring of Amy Sladczyk Hancock in the newly created position of director of professional development. Hancock will help attorneys bone up on their legal skills, enhance client development know-how and promote work/life balance, among other things.

GETTING HIRED
Its not easy to land a spot at Andrews Kurth. A Dallas associate tells us that the firm looks for the top 25 percent at the University of Texas and also interviews at Vanderbilt, Duke, Harvard and SMU. A Houston lawyer believes that AKs requirements are even more stringent, reporting that the firm requires at least top 15 percent, if not top 10 percent. According to the firm, other recruiting targets include national law schools like Columbia,

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Andrews Kurth LLP

University of Chicago and UVA, as well as regional favorites such as Baylor, South Texas, Tulane and University of Houston. In addition to top grades, personality match plays a large role in recruiting, says a first-year.

OUR SURVEY SAYS


A litigation associate raves that AK is a great place to work. A real estate attorney brags about lots of responsibility early on. Associates appreciate challenging assignments as well as the firms respect for the balance between work and home life. One fifth-year laments, however, that the firm has moved toward running itself like a business, claiming that the emphasis is less on [quality of life] and more on treating associates like numbers. But most describe the firm culture as congenial and supportive, pleasant and fairly relaxed. Associates seem to really enjoy each others company, with a lot of socializing after hours. The lawyers know how to have fun and how to get the job done when the time comes, says one litigation associate. If there were a contest among Texas offices, associates would vote Dallas more relaxed than Houston. Most partners treat the associates with respect and care about our advancement, says one lawyer. Others agree that partners recognize the benefits associated with training associates and grooming associates to become future partners. Partners are definitely concerned with doing what is necessary to reduce attrition and retain the best and brightest associates, adds a litigator. While most sources say that the partners keep associates well informed, one midlevel complains that associates are generally kept in the dark about a lot of things. As at most large firms, associates do not participate in firmwide decisions. But one contact in Houston tells us that there is an effort to infuse those [partner-dominated] committees activities with input gathered from day-to-day interaction with associates. When it comes to hours, one associate is realistic: I work at a big firm. Im at the office a lot. Not a big surprise. Other lawyers feel the firm has a very healthy approach to hourly requirements, and is very flexible with flextime and part-time work arrangements. But one litigator gripes that even when work is scarce, associates are expected, by some partners at least, to spend face time in the office. The verdict on training, at least formal training, is that there is none. Theres more of a learn while you work approach, associates agree. However, a change may be on the horizon. There is no real formal training program, but the firm has just hired a new
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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Andrews Kurth LLP

director of attorney development, so that should change rather soon, observes a Houston lawyer. Others feel that the excellent, albeit informal, mentoring that partners and senior associates provide may fill the void. Doors are always open and you can always ask questions, says a fourthyear. Once a mentoring relationship is established through informal channels, partners are generally dedicated to seeing it through and guiding successful associates through to partnership, adds another source. Associates are satisfied with the money they make, as compensation hovers at market rate. A first-year appreciates that the firm really went to bat when the Texas firms raised the salary scale. As of the time the survey was taken, the firm had announced an intent to raise associate salaries in order to match recent increases around the nation, although associates have yet to learn the details of the raise.

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Andrews Kurth LLP

The lawyers know how to have fun and how to get the job done when the time comes.
Andrews Kurth associate

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Baker Botts L.L.P.


One Shell Plaza 910 Louisiana Houston, TX 77002-4995 Phone: (713) 229-1234 www.bakerbotts.com

THE STATS
No. of attorneys: Firmwide: 759 Austin: 64 Dallas: 173 Houston: 281 No. of offices: 10 Summer associate offers (2006): Firmwide: 97 out of 100 Austin: 12 out of 13 Dallas: 27 out of 27 Houston: 40 out of 42 Managing Partner: Walter J. Smith Hiring Partners: Austin: Joseph Knight Dallas: Craig Adams Houston: John Anaipakos

LOCATIONS
Austin, TX Dallas, TX Houston, TX New York, NY Washington, DC Dubai Hong Kong London Moscow Riyadh

MAJOR DEPARTMENTS & PRACTICES


Corporate Environmental Global Projects Intellectual Property Litigation Tax

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Baker Botts L.L.P.

UPPERS
Great salaries Excellent partners

BASE SALARY (2006)


Texas offices 1st year: $140,000 2nd year: $145,000 3rd year: $150,000 4th year: $160,000 5th year: $170,000 6th year: $180,000 7th year: $185,000 8th year: $190,000 Summer associate: $2,700/week

DOWNERS
With great pay come great expectations Dont come here for the formal training

NOTABLE PERKS
Treos (the new BlackBerries!) Annual retreats to nice resorts Soup and hot chocolate Liberal client-development budgets

EMPLOYMENT CONTACTS
Austin Ms. Jennifer Carman Manager of Attorney Employment Phone: (512) 322-2516 Fax: (512) 322-2501 E-mail: jennifer.carman@bakerbotts.com Dallas Ms. Lauren E. Sager Manager of Attorney Employment and Development Phone: (214) 953-6708 Fax: (214) 661-4708 E-mail: lauren.sager@bakerbotts.com Houston Ms. Melissa O. Moss Manager of Attorney Employment Phone: (713) 229-2056 Fax: (713) 229-7856 E-mail: melissa.moss@bakerbotts.com

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Baker Botts L.L.P.

THE SCOOP
Founded in 1840, the firm now known as Baker Botts is just three years younger than its hometown of Houston. In the 19th century, the firm represented mainly agricultural interests. Then, in 1901, oil was discovered just outside of Houston. Baker Botts soon represented the likes of Humble Oil (the predecessor to Exxon), Gulf Oil (now a part of Chevron), Texas Co. (which became Texaco) and Howard Hughes oil-related interests (now Baker Hughes). The firms Lone Star presence now extends well beyond Houston, just as its practice goes well beyond energy law. The office in the state capital of Austin is home to two former Supreme Court of Texas chief justices, adding to the firms stature as one of the preeminent Texas appellate practices. The Dallas office, which opened in 1985, is the firms fastest-growing outpost, with nearly 160 lawyers. Over the last 15 years, Baker Botts has also expanded to a number of the worlds economic and oil capitals, including New York, Moscow, London and Dubai. In 2005, the firm opened up its first Asian office, in Hong Kong, and a Beijing outpost hovers on the horizon. The firm is well known for its technology work, complex litigation, whitecollar criminal defense and appellate advocacy. Along with energy-related companies like Shell, Amoco and Halliburton, the firms clients include KPMG, Cisco Systems, Electronic Data Systems and Hines Interests. Baker Botts has represented Merck in Vioxx-related litigation, defended the former directors of Pennzoil-Quaker State Company against a shareholders classaction lawsuit and is currently representing Connecticut General Life Insurance Company against a suit filed by the Houston Astros.

GETTING HIRED
Associates repeat two themes in describing Baker Botts hiring strategy: hiring partners favor Harvard and the University of Texas, and the hiring process for the Austin office is particularly competitive. We do have grade cutoffs by school, usually at least the top 50 percent, reports a senior Austin associate. Other offices will give more leeway, particularly for candidates with highly-desired skill sets. We did not do that so much in Austin, but I believe that is now changing, which is a very good thing. Another Austin associate adds, Its never been easy to get a job here, but the current

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Baker Botts L.L.P.

employment committee has some very high (and fairly inflexible) grade requirements. With the recent raises, I assume it will only get more competitive.

OUR SURVEY SAYS


Associates call Baker Botts one of the best large boutique litigation shops around, expressing thanks for the excellent pay and excellent work. As one first-year puts it, The workload is a grind sometimes, but the firm treats me well. They dont tend to make me jump through hoops or set artificial deadlines. An experienced IP lawyer says, I think Baker Botts provides a unique opportunity to interact with very good clients and learn a variety of skills early in ones legal career. This is challenging, but well worth it. Baker Botts very homogeneous culture is intellectual, tight-knit, collegial and family-oriented, associates say. As one young attorney puts it, The atmosphere is very cooperative and friendly. The younger associates tend to socialize together. According to a litigator, however, The Dallas office is quite conservative. Most associates are married and many have children. We dont socialize much outside the office, other than at firm events like recruiting or community service functions. Along a similar vein, associates praise the partners as generally excellent, though they do fear encounters with a couple of extreme outliers. One contact raves, The number-one asset of the Dallas trial section is the obvious camaraderie among the partnership and even between partners and associates. Flat-out nice people are substantially overrepresented here relative to their representation in the general population of litigators. Associates would, however, like to see institutional communication improve. As one attorney suggests, More transparency would be appreciated. While not autocratic, some decisions do feel like they are made from distant committees. The formal training, alas, is essentially nonexistent. Training, more or less, is on the job, says one second-year. An Austin associate concurs: There was some formal training when I first started, but mostly I learn by doing. On the other hand, associates give the firms compensation extremely high marks, particularly following a recent round of raises. A Houston associate boasts, Hey New York, can you say no state or city income tax and affordable real estate? A Dallas associate calls the pay simply incredible given the hours, the cost of living and no income tax. But this is not to say
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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Baker Botts L.L.P.

that associates are without complaint about their pay. The bonus plan appears nonexistent, gripes a Houston associate. Really, it seems we have no incentive to work more hours. And as one associates notes, with great pay come great expectations. We are very well compensated, and in return we are expected to work very hard, he says. The expectation is 2,000 billable hours, with increasing bonuses at 2,150 and 2,300 hours.

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Baker Botts L.L.P.

Flat-out nice people are substantially overrepresented here relative to their representation in the general population of litigators.
Baker Botts associate

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Baker Hostetler LLP


1000 Louisiana Street, Suite 2000 Houston, TX 77002-5009 Phone: (713) 751-1600 www.bakerlaw.com

THE STATS
No. of attorneys: Firmwide: 600+ Houston: 65 No. of offices: 10 Summer associate offers (2005): Firmwide: 34 out of 40 Houston: 4 out of 4 Executive Partners: R. Steven Kestner, Alec Wightman Hiring Partner: W. Robert Shearer

LOCATIONS
Cleveland, OH (HQ) Cincinnati, OH Columbus, OH Costa Mesa, CA Denver, CO Houston, TX Los Angeles, CA New York, NY Orlando, FL Washington, DC International affiliates: Juarez So Paulo

MAJOR DEPARTMENTS & PRACTICES


Business Employee Benefits Employment Global Practices Intellectual Property International Trade Legislative & Regulatory Litigation Private Wealth Real Estate Tax

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Baker Hostetler LLP

UPPERS
Early responsibility and client contact Ability to have life outside work

BASE SALARY (2006)


Houston, TX 1st year: $135,000 Summer associate: $2,600/week

DOWNERS
Unpredictable workflow Compensation considered below market

EMPLOYMENT CONTACT
Ms. Liz Turney Recruiting Coordinator Phone: (713) 276-1647 Fax: (713) 751-1717 E-mail: sames@bakerlaw.com

NOTABLE PERKS
Free parking Free coffee Moving expenses and bar exam stipend Bar dues for national and minority bar associations

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Baker Hostetler LLP

THE SCOOP
When partner Newton D. Baker founded Baker Hostetler in 1916 in Cleveland, Ohio, he likely didnt imagine that by 2006 his firm would grow to more than 600 lawyers and rank among the 100 top-grossing law firms in the world. The firm has respected practices in such areas as tax, litigation, business and employment law, and represents clients like GE, Major League Baseball and the Progressive Corporation, the third-largest insurance company in the United States. The firm has 10 offices across the country, including a thriving Houston office, and has recently begun using the tag line, Counsel to Market Leaders, to highlight its prestigious client base. The firm also recently dropped the ampersand in Baker & Hostetler as part of its marketing makeover. The Houston office is home to more than 60 attorneys and serves both regional and international clients. Naturally, the office has a thriving energy practice, but it also caters to clients on matters involving real estate, global trade, health care, and motor vehicles and heavy equipment. In April 2006 the office added new talent to its health care group when seven attorneys and a policy analyst defected from Vinson & Elkins LLP. As a whole, the firm has grown by some 27 percent in the last several years. Among other recent matters handled by Houston attorneys, the firm helped Finnish company Wrtsil Corporation structure an engineering, procurement and construction contract for a new power facility in Northern California for Pacific Gas and Electric Company, known as the Humboldt Bay Power Project. Baker Hostetlers title, Counsel to Market Leaders, may have been chosen by the firms head honchos (in consultation with branding experts, naturally), but its rank as one of the best places to work was secured by the rank-andfile. In AmLaws 2006 survey of midlevel associate satisfaction, Baker Hostetler ranked No. 1 in Houston; nationwide, the firm ranked among the 50 Best Places to Work.

GETTING HIRED
Associates at Baker Hostetler say that while the firm seeks candidates with good grades, its just as interested in finding great people. Houston associates think that 3.0 is probably the cutoff for grades and agree that recruiting is mostly concentrated at University of Texas-Austin and University of

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Baker Hostetler LLP

Houston. The firm puts a lot of effort into recruiting a diverse group of lawyers. In addition to actively seeking women and minority candidates, the firm offers an annual scholarship, called the Paul D. White Scholarship after the firms first minority partner. Started in 1997, the program awards a scholarship annually to law students of African-American, Hispanic, AsianAmerican or American Indian descent and includes a paid summer internship with the firm and a $6,000 award.

OUR SURVEY SAYS


Houston insiders describe Baker Hostetler as a collegial, sociable place to work. The atmosphere is casual but professional. Many lawyers socialize together, says a bankruptcy associate. A midlevel associate describes the office as relaxed, collegial and positive. Attorneys tend to socialize together in small groups of friends. Nothing strained or artificial. However, one detractor believes that the firms growth has resulted in a less congenial environment: The firm has not made the transition to a midsized office well. The collegial atmosphere that used to prevail is no longer present. An upperlevel associate touts the professional environment but adds that there is minimal socializing. Most associates respond positively when asked about associate/partner relations. I have always been treated with the utmost respect by all partners with whom I have had contact, gushes a second-year. The firm management as a whole treats associates well, says another insider. Although individual partners obviously have different management styles, our partners generally treat associates well. Though sources think Baker still has a way to go when it comes to increasing diversity, especially at the partner level, an experienced attorney notes that there are many mentoring opportunities because there are more women here than at many other places. New associates at Baker Hostetler go through a program called The Associate Academy, which includes training on topics such as negotiation skills, drafting and client development. Many find the program useful; others say its not enough. Formal training is minimal and I have found the firm reluctant to approve paying for formal training that is offered outside the firm, complains a midlevel associate. Fortunately, informal training is available from partners and senior associates willing to step up to the plate. I am fortunate to work for excellent partners who have trained me very, very

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Baker Hostetler LLP

well, says a fifth-year associate. But another midlevel claims that partners simply have very little time for mentoring. Hours at Baker Hostetler are often long and sporadic, although one associate finds it a perk to be able to see his family every day. In my experience, there really is no face time in our office, says a litigator. We work hard when there is work to be done. A second-year notes that the firm is very flexible with hours. Associates are less satisfied with their compensation, and many Texans gripe that the firm pays under market. The firm has consistently been below market for all midlevels for some time, grouses one attorney. The firm has failed to match the raises announced by other similarly-situated firms. The firm purports to be a quality of life choice, yet the billable expectation (1,950) and bonus structure (1,950/2,100) is similar to other firms. At least the bonus policy is clear. According to insiders, associates receive 5 percent of their base salary at 1,950 billable hours plus an additional 2.5 percent of base salary at 2,100 billable hours, and an additional merit-based bonus is available if you bill at least 1,950 hours.

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Baron & Budd, P.C.


3102 Oak Lawn Avenue, Suite 1100 Dallas, TX 75219 Phone: (214) 521-3605 www.baronandbudd.com

THE STATS
No. of attorneys: Firmwide: 83 Dallas: 79 No. of offices: 5 Summer associate offers (2006): Firmwide: 3 out of 5 Dallas: 3 out of 5 Managing Shareholder: Russell W. Budd Hiring Attorney: Steve Baughman Jensen

LOCATIONS
Dallas, TX (HQ) Baton Rouge, LA Beverly Hills, CA Canton, NY Cleveland, OH

NOTABLE PERKS MAJOR DEPARTMENTS & PRACTICES


Class Actions Commercial Litigation Securities Fraud Toxic Tort Litigation Water Contamination Litigation Subsidized sports club membership Paid parking 401(k) Safe Harbor Plan Firm pays 100 percent of health/dental insurance premiums

BASE SALARY (2006)


Dallas, TX Summer associate: $1,750/week

EMPLOYMENT CONTACT
Ms. Mary Beth Short Director of Human Resources Phone: (214) 521-3605 Fax: (214) 523-9112 E-mail: mshort@baronbudd.com

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Baron & Budd, P.C.

THE SCOOP
If you are interested in pursuing a career in plaintiffs litigation, Dallas-based Baron & Budd is the place to be. Founded in 1977, the firm has been the victor in some of the largest tort lawsuits and settlements on record. The firm specializes in litigation against former asbestos manufacturers and companies that used asbestos products. Its clients, most with a rare form of cancer called mesothelioma, seek compensation for injuries that were allegedly caused by asbestos exposure. But asbestos litigation is just one of the firms many practice areas; other mass tort specialties include Benzene exposure, Fen-Phen diet drug litigation and water contamination. And while toxic tort litigation remains the cornerstone of Baron & Budds practice, the firm has diversified in recent years to include practices in securities fraud, commercial litigation and class actions. B&B attorneys consider themselves crusaders for environmental justice and claim to be championing the rights of people and communities harmed by corporate misconduct. Of course, the fact that the firm has earned hundreds of millions of dollars in contingency fees along the way is an added perk. The firm and its attorneys have been frequently honored for their successes. In October 2006, for example, The National Law Journal named Baron & Budd to its Plaintiffs Hot List, citing among other noteworthy cases the efforts of firm founder Russell Budd that helped secure a $3.9 billion settlement with the United States Gypsum Co. on behalf of the asbestos creditors committee in one of the largest bankruptcy settlements on record. The NLJ also singled out the firms work on behalf of 7-Eleven shareholders who sought a larger tender offer when the publicly traded company wanted to go private; B&B ultimately helped the shareholders obtain an additional $145 million. Also in 2006, Baron & Budd attorneys were honored with the Trial Lawyer of the Year Award by Trial Lawyers for Public Justice, in recognition of the firms work in precedent-setting litigation involving groundwater contamination in Arizona. The firm represented more than 1,600 Tucson-area residents in claims against an aircraft manufacturer, the city of Tucson and the Tucson Airport Authority over groundwater contamination caused in part by industrial solvents containing trichloroethylene (TCE), a suspected carcinogen. In June 2006 the insurers agreed to fund settlements for residents who had filed their original claim back in 1985. Other recent notable victories include a $13.5 million verdict on behalf of the family of an East Texas man who died of mesothelioma as a result of asbestos exposure in his childhood, and a $15.5 million jury verdict in a Mississippi lawsuit involving dioxin emissions. Among current cases, the firm is serving

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Baron & Budd, P.C.

as one of the plaintiffs lead counsel in multidistrict MTBE (methyl tertiarybutyl ether) groundwater contamination litigation brought by nearly 200 municipalities, water providers and private well owners in 19 states. Baron & Budd also represents a host of municipalities in California and Texas, including the cities of Los Angeles, San Diego and San Antonio, in lawsuits involving claims for unpaid hotel occupancy taxes. Firm founders and namesakes Fred Baron and Russell Budd are considered among the top lawyers in Texas by sources such as D Magazine and Law & Politics Media, which recently listed Budd as one of the top 10 Texas Super Lawyers. In 2002 Fred Baron and his wife, fellow shareholder Lisa Blue, sold their interest in the firm to Russell Budd. Despite a lawsuit filed in 2006 by the couple against the firm, claiming they have been denied payments due under the contract of sale, the two attorneys remain as of counsel to the firm, and both sides hold out hope that the dispute will be settled amicably and without protracted litigation. B&B may bring in the big bucks, but its also generous in giving back to the community. Whether it involves collecting holiday presents for underprivileged children, donating to a local food drive, running in various charitable race events or building a Habitat for Humanity home, B&B attorneys are always willing to pitch in. By participating in pro bono programs run by the Dallas Bar Association, the State Bar of Texas, Trial Lawyers Care and Trial Lawyers for Public Justice, Baron & Budd attorneys have represented victims of September 11, represented claimants in First Amendment lawsuits and donated their services to draft simple wills and contracts, and argue landlord/tenant disputes and family law mattersall without fee. The firm donates more than just its services and time, however. In 2005, Baron & Budd pledged up to $3 million to the International Pleural Mesothelioma Program at Brigham & Womens Hospital in Boston, in honor of victims of asbestos exposure.

GETTING HIRED
Not surprisingly, Baron & Budd is looking for lawyers with a strong interest in plaintiffs and toxic tort litigation. Hiring criteria include top academics, coupled with mock trial, moot court, law review or other law-related activities. Those who land a summer spot will be assigned to a shareholder who serves as a mentor and ensures that the summer associate has challenging and diverse assignments. Summers can expect to get their feet wet in a number of litigation projects, including trials, depositions, research and writing assignments.
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Beckley Singleton, Chtd.


530 Las Vegas Boulevard South Las Vegas, NV 89101 Phone: (702) 385-3373 www.beckleylaw.com

THE STATSNo. of attorneys:


No. of attorneys: Firmwide: 38 Las Vegas: 28 Reno: 10 No. of offices: 2 Summer associate offers (2006): Firmwide: 3 out of 3 Las Vegas: 3 out of 3 President: Ike Lawrence Epstein Hiring Partner: J. Christopher Jorgensen

LOCATIONS
Las Vegas, NV (HQ) Reno, NV

MAJOR DEPARTMENTS & PRACTICES


Appellate Practice Business & Commercial Litigation Business, Corporate & Real Estate Transactions Complex Litigation Corporate Restructuring & Insolvency Energy Law Gaming & Administrative Law Labor & Employment Personal Injury Litigation Pharmaceutical, Medical Device & Health Care Industry Litigation Sports & Entertainment Tax Law & Asset Protection

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Beckley Singleton, Chtd.

UPPERS
Sophisticated work and great working environment Good pay for the area

BASE SALARY (2006)


Las Vegas, NV 1st year: $98,000 Summer associate: $1,500/week

DOWNERS
Emphasis on billing Mixed reviews for formal training

EMPLOYMENT CONTACT
J. Christopher Jorgensen, Esq. Hiring Partner Phone: (702) 385-3373 Fax: (702) 385-9447 E-mail: cjorgensen@beckleylaw.com

NOTABLE PERKS
Great benefits Marketing budget 401(k) matching plan

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Beckley Singleton, Chtd.

THE SCOOP
Beckley Singleton, founded in 1962 by Bill Singleton, was Nevadas first professional law corporation. Naturally, the firm developed an expertise in Nevadas primary industrygamingand began representing some of Nevadas largest hotels and casinos, such as MGM-Mirage, Flamingo Las Vegas, and New York New York Hotel and Casino. But gaming law isnt this firms only gig. Beckleys active construction law department has been kept busy by a recent development boom in Las Vegas. Its energy department enables clients interested in Nevada energy deals to negotiate the maze of regulatory issues they face. The firm recently negotiated on behalf of one of the top solar photovoltaic developers for the installation of a PV system at the Las Vegas Valley Water District. It also has a strong pharmaceuticals department, anchored by heavy-hitting clients such as Pfizer, Wyeth, Johnson & Johnson and Roche Laboratories. The firm is proud to boast that several famous Nevadans have passed through its doors. For example, Harry Reid, a past chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission and current U.S. Senate majority leader, is a former shareholder. Among current shareholders, firm President Ike Lawrence Epstein gained fame for representing boxer George Foreman in his lawsuit against the World Boxing Association, which gave Foreman the opportunity to win the heavyweight championship of the world. Another shareholder, Daniel Polsenberg, is a past president of the State Bar of Nevada and has been called one of the best appellate lawyers in Nevada. The firm recently added two partners and four associates to its Reno office, expanding its presence in Northern Nevada, especially in bankruptcy law. Las Vegas gaming partner Sean McGuinness also relocated to the Reno office, and one of the new partners, Bruce Beesley, currently serves as vice president of the State Bar of Nevada. Attorneys at the firm engage in a range of civic, pro bono and charitable activities. Several attorneys teach classes at local law schools, and the firm is active in the Clark County Pro Bono Project, in which attorneys offer free legal services on matters ranging from landlord/tenant disputes to death penalty cases.

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2007 Vault, Inc.

Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Beckley Singleton, Chtd.

GETTING HIRED
Associates say Beckley Singleton is looking for candidates who are hardworking, with excellent writing skills and an eagerness to learn. According to the firm, it seeks associates looking for a challenging work environment. More specifically, the ideal candidate is in the top half of his or her law school class, with a strong undergraduate record and experience on law review. The firm only interviews on campus at a handful of law schools. These include Brigham Young University, University of Nevada Las Vegas, William S. Boyd School of Law and Vanderbilt University. But current associates also hail from schools a little further afield, including American University in Washington, D.C., Northeastern University in Boston, and UCLA and Pepperdine University in Southern California.

OUR SURVEY SAYS


Associates, for the most part, speak fondly of life at Beckley Singleton. The firm is very warm and family-oriented. Everyone is friendly and helpful. There is a definite emphasis to a team-based approach to practice, says a second-year associate. Lawyers socialize together and with staff very well, says another associate. It is, however, a hardworking environment with a high premium on billing, the same associate adds. Most insiders give the firm high marks when asked about relations between partners and associates. Though one lawyer comments on a lack of amiable interaction between partners and associates, this doesnt reflect everyones experience. As one associate tells us, By committing myself to the work, Ive been able to forge a great working and mentoring relationship with an outstanding senior partner. Because it is not a large firm with an entrenched hierarchy, there is no senior-associate buffer between that senior partner and me. The firms relatively small size, however, does have its disadvantages. An insider observes, As a local, 35-attorney firm, many executive decisions appear to be made with a short-sighted, small-business, immediate-bottomline outlook. Another associate finds that this approach leaves associates with little autonomy when it comes to their schedules, noting that theres not a lot of freedom to choose when to bill ... or when to arrive at the office. Nevertheless, associates consider the firms billable hour requirement reasonable. And the firm notes that the two-part bonus program, which

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Beckley Singleton, Chtd.

includes a year-end discretionary bonus and a nondiscretionary bonus based on hours billed per trimester, gives associates some control over their destiny. We hear no complaints when it comes to compensation, which one associate notes is high for the area. Although the firms formal training earns decidedly mixed reviews (some give it a 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale, while others rate it a 2 or 3), associates are appreciative of the informal training and mentoring, which is described top-notch. It seems that Beckley Singleton could do more to promote pro bono workor at least to clarify the firms policy. When it comes to calculating the number of pro bono hours that receive billable credit, associates dont know exactly how it works. Claims vary from 10 hours to 50 hours per year. A third-year tells us that threefourths of the first 20 hours of pro bono hours per year count toward billables, while another lawyer contends that the rule is 75 percent credit, up to 30 hours.

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2007 Vault, Inc.

Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Beckley Singleton, Chtd.

By committing myself to the work, Ive been able to forge a great working and mentoring relationship with an outstanding senior partner.
Beckley Singleton associate

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41

Beirne, Maynard & Parsons, LLP


1300 Post Oak Boulevard Suite 2500 Houston, TX 77056 Phone: (713) 623-0887 www.bmpllp.com

THE STATS
No. of attorneys: Firmwide: 104 Houston: 93 Dallas: 11 No. of offices: 2 Managing Partner: Martin D. Beirne Hiring Partner: Mark Waite

LOCATIONS
Houston, TX (HQ) Dallas, TX

MAJOR DEPARTMENTS & PRACTICES


Administrative Appellate Alternative Dispute Resolution Commercial Litigation Condemnation/Eminent Domain Environmental Intellectual Property International Labor & Employment Maritime Litigation Mass Tort/Toxic Tort Products Liability Professional Risk Real Estate Securities

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2007 Vault, Inc.

Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Beirne, Maynard & Parsons, LLP

UPPERS
Associates choose their own path Top-of-the-market pay

BASE SALARY (2006)


All offices 1st year: $135,000 Summer associate: $2,100/week

DOWNERS
Inadequate dissemination of information Just like any other big firmlots of hours

EMPLOYMENT CONTACT
Mrs. Janis Bright Human Resources Director Phone: (713) 963-5663 Fax: (713) 963-5681 E-mail: jbright@bmpllp.com

NOTABLE PERKS
Snazzy offices with full model courtroom Free parking Corporate credit cards Interest-free loans

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Beirne, Maynard & Parsons, LLP

THE SCOOP
Beirne, Maynard & Parsons (BMP) bills itself as Texas largest litigationonly law firm. The firm was founded in 1987 and hasnt veered from its stated goal of providing high-quality, hard-hitting representation for complex litigation. Attorneys at BMP can expect constant training to keep abreast of new developments in trial law. The Houston office even has a model courtroom for use in training sessions that include mock trials and motion practice, jury selection and trial exhibits. But interviewees shouldnt make the mistake of referring to BMP as a boutique litigation firm. Staffed by more than 100 lawyers, the firm considers itself too large and significant for that label. The firm bases its approach to litigation on three Aristotelian principals: ethos, pathos and logos, in which it strives to use the ethos or character of its attorneys to present the pathos or emotions of a clients case and persuade a jury with logos or logic, to rule on its side. Using this technique, the firm represents clients ranging from major insurance companies (AIG, Lloyds of London) and pharmaceutical giants (Wyeth, Pfizer) to titans of energy (ConocoPhillips, Marathon Oil, BP) and motor vehicle manufacturers (Ford, Freightliner, Toyota, Volvo, Mazda, Porsche). New attorneys and clients alike may be amazed at the firms capabilities to produce what it calls a trial-in-a-box. This is how the firm describes its ability to mobilize everything one would need to try a case in a remote locationcomputers, printers, fax machines, phones, BlackBerries, office supplieshave it packed up and shipped out on a moments notice. Pretty cool.

GETTING HIRED
Associates say that it may be difficult to land a job at Beirne, but once youre there, its even harder to lose one. The summer clerkship is very comfortable and conducive to getting an offer, says an associate. BMP usually hires as many clerks as it foresees giving offers. In other words, once youre in, its your job to lose. That said, last year the firm made offers to only two of its three summer associates. BMP conducts on-campus interviews at such law schools as Baylor, SMU, South Texas, St. Marys, the University of Houston and the University of Texas. Applicants must be in the top 25 percent of their class.

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2007 Vault, Inc.

Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Beirne, Maynard & Parsons, LLP

OUR SURVEY SAYS


BMP associates love their jobswell, they love their jobs as much as its possible to love being a lawyer. I truly enjoy working here, professes one associate. The work is interesting and the people are great. I couldnt imagine working anywhere else. It definitely helps that everyone here is a litigatoryou have to be personable to be successful. However, another insider complains, In big-firm life, it is difficult these days to get the trial and/or court experience that is desired by many young litigators. Among the best aspects of BMP life are the opportunities to choose your own path. As one lawyer explains, Even though BMP litigates in almost every area imaginable, the lawyers are not grouped into sections. So, as an associate, you can work in 15 different areas of litigation or focus on oneit is pretty much left up to you. This is especially advantageous to new lawyers that are finding out what areas of the law interests them. As for the work environment, BMP has the best atmosphere of any firm I have been around, says an enthusiastic young associate. The lawyers genuinely enjoy working with each other and socializing outside of the office. Even though we have over 100 litigators, you still feel like you get to know just about everyone. But another source describes the firm culture as generally conservative and notes that associates socialize together, but rarely with partners or staff. In fact, there seems to be a communication gap between the partner and associate ranks. Although not necessarily mistreated, associates are kept at a distance pertaining to firm information or decisions, says one junior associate. Another lawyer adds, The lack of information is sometimes frustrating. Being a specialized, litigation-only firm facilitates a strong training program, associates say. The firm provides excellent in-house trial and litigation training programs for all associates, says one insider. We have numerous advocacy training workshops in all facets of litigationfrom depositions to closing argument, reports another associate. Personal guidance rounds out the formal sessions, associates say. Several of the partners are adjunct faculty at local law schools, according to one lawyer. So, many partners are mentors at heart. As for the hours, the firms expectations are typical for a big firm, though not unduly onerous. As one associate puts it, The number of hours you bill is important in determining the quality and quantity of work a young associate will get down the road. But if they work hard, associates are also well rewarded. BMP pays as much as any other big-name firm in the state, boasts one lawyer. It immediately matched the recent hike in associate salaries.

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Bickel & Brewer


4800 Bank One Center 1717 Main Street Dallas, TX 75201 Phone: (214) 653-4000 www.bickelbrewer.com

THE STATS
No. of attorneys: Firmwide: 29 Dallas: 22 No. of offices: 2 Co-Managing Partners: John W. Bickel II & William A. Brewer III Hiring Partner: Michael S. Gardner

LOCATIONS
Dallas, TX (HQ) New York, NY

NOTABLE PERKS MAJOR DEPARTMENTS & PRACTICES


Corporate Governance Hotel & Hospitality Law Intellectual Property Law Antitrust & Trade Regulation Law Environmental Law Oil & Gas Law Real Estate Law General Contract & Business Torts Law Insurance Law Bankruptcy Law New Technology & E-Commerce Law Five-year partnership track Paid membership fees for state bar association 401(k) plan Dental benefits

BASE SALARY (2006)


Dallas, TX 1st year: $175,000 Summer associate: $2,300/week

EMPLOYMENT CONTACT
Director of Recruiting Phone: (214) 653-4000 Fax: (214) 653-1015 E-mail: counsel@bickelbrewer.com

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2007 Vault Inc.

Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Bickel & Brewer

THE SCOOP
Founded in Dallas in 1984, Bickel & Brewer is a litigation boutique that promises to be the go-to guys for what it calls bet-the-business litigation. A simple glance at the firms web site, which shows an image of well-worn boxing gloves, tells you that attorneys at Bickel & Brewer are not afraid of a good legal battle. Known for taking on complex commercial litigation, the firm and particularly its main partners, William Brewer and John Bickel, have been met by the Texas Bar with a combination of distaste and admiration. While other Southern lawyers are leery of the no-holds-barred tactics, sometimes referred to as Rambo style of litigation, that the firm practices, most grudgingly admit that the firms skill and track record has enabled it to build and maintain a stable of prestigious business clients. In October 2006, the firm undertook to represent several founders of the Black Family Channel, including one member of the Jackson 5, in their lawsuit against Florida millionaire attorney Willie Gary. The plaintiffs, all represented by William Brewer, claim that they were cut out of their 20 percent ownership of the channel and are seeking either the return of their shares or their financial value, which could amount to hundreds of millions of dollars. The firm is also currently on the other end of a battle royal with the city of Dallas over the rights to certain terminals at Dallas Love Field Airport. The dispute involves recently signed federal legislation, which phases out restrictions on flights out of Love Field. The legislation also calls for the Love Field Airport to reduce its number of terminals from 32 to 20. The Dallas mayor announced her intention to invoke eminent domain and destroy 19 of the Love Field terminals owned by Bickel & Brewers client, Love Terminal Partners LP. The client, which had intended to auction off the terminals to interested airlines, intends to fight the eminent domain proceedings. To make itself a one-stop shopping source for all litigation needs, the firm has added some in-house components. First, theres the legal consulting group, where the firm employs consultants with backgrounds in areas such as finance, tax, securities and engineering to help in preparing cases. Theres also an inhouse investigation unit, headed by a former FBI agent, that uses computerized research and other investigative techniques to shore up the firms legal strategies when needed. And an in-house public relations division helps clients deal with bad press and other public-image issues that may come up in highprofile litigation. The PR division also makes sure that Bickel & Brewer itself doesnt take image hits when engaged in potentially sensitive cases.

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Bickel & Brewer

Right in line with its unique style of litigation is the firms approach to pro bono. In 1995, the firm opened the Bickel & Brewer Storefront to provide legal services to those normally unable to pay for them. Firm attorneys and other staff members volunteer their time to the Storefront and clients are charged according to their ability to pay. The Storefront handles mainly commercial disputes, evictions and foreclosures, and employment matters. The firm is also the administrator of the Bickel & Brewer Foundation, which serves as a flow-through for charitable donations and distributes the funds to various recipients. Beneficiaries of the Bickel & Brewer Foundation are many and varied, ranging from the Childrens Cancer Fund, to the Dallas Opera Ball, to the National Jewish Medical and Research Center.

GETTING HIRED
No doubt the number one prerequisite for a Bickel & Brewer candidate is the desire to litigate. If judges make you quake and depositions leave you queasy, you should probably drop your resume and run. Thats because, according to the firms web site, Bickel & Brewer looks for attorneys who possess the extraordinary talent and competitive drive to enable them to assume substantial responsibility for major cases. In addition to stellar academics, successful candidates will also demonstrate ambition, motivation and drive. Not surprisingly, excellent writing ability, journal experience and oral advocacy experience are also essential. The firms web site has a pretty extensive section on recruiting and is worth a read to get a sense of what the firm expects from an attorney and what an attorney can expect at Bickel & Brewer.

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2007 Vault, Inc.

Bracewell & Giuliani LLP


11 Louisiana Street, Suite 2300 South Tower Pennzoil Place Houston, TX 77002 Phone: (713) 223-2300 www.bracewellgiuliani.com

THE STATS
No. of attorneys: Firmwide: 400+ Houston: 220 Austin: 17 Dallas: 50 San Antonio: 30 No. of offices: 9 Summer associate offers (2006): Firmwide: 58 out of 64 Houston: 43 out of 46 Dallas: 8 out of 9 San Antonio: 4 out of 5 Managing Partner: Patrick C. Oxford Hiring Partners: Houston: Andrew Edison Austin: Steve Benesh Dallas: Brock Bailey San Antonio: Mark Jones

LOCATIONS
Houston, TX (HQ) Austin, TX Dallas, TX New York, NY San Antonio, TX Washington, DC Almaty, Kazakhstan Astana, Kazakhstan London

MAJOR DEPARTMENTS & PRACTICES


Antitrust Appellate Bankruptcy & Corporate Restructuring Biosciences Business & Technology Capital Markets Caspian Region Construction Corporate & Securities Defense & Homeland Security E-Commerce Election & Ethics Law Emerging Companies Eminent Domain Employee Benefits Energy Environmental Finance Global Projects Government Relations, Advocacy & Strategy Health Care Hospitality, Sports & Entertainment Indian Law Insurance Intellectual Property International Labor & Employment Latin American Business Leveraged Buyout Manufacturing Not-forProfit Private Equity Products & Premises Liability Public Law Real Estate Renewable Energy School Law Securities Litigation Strategic Communications Tax Telecommunications Water Law Wealth Management

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2007 Vault, Inc.

Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Bracewell & Giuliani LLP

UPPERS
Good work opportunities Amiable colleagues

BASE SALARY (2006)


Austin, Dallas & Houston, TX 1st year: $140,000 Summer associate: $2,700/week

DOWNERS
Concern that culture is becoming less congenial Grumbles about compensation

EMPLOYMENT CONTACT
Ms. Jean P. Lenzner Director of Attorney Employment Phone: (713) 221-1296 Fax: (713) 221-1212 E-mail: jean.lezner@bracegiuliani.com

NOTABLE PERKS
$1,200 annual client development budget BlackBerries Free/subsidized parking Graduation and acceptance bonuses

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Bracewell & Giuliani LLP

THE SCOOP
Founded in Houston just after World War II by attorney J. S. Bracewell, his sons Searcy and Fentress, and Judge Bert H. Tunks, Bracewell & Tunks quickly became one of the regions top firms. Searcy Bracewells election to the Texas Senate in 1946 helped establish the firms long record of political connectedness, which culminated in its selection of former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani as a named partner in 2005. With Giulianis presence came a new name, a New York office and a new national presence. While the firm now known as Bracewell & Giuliani began as a general business firm, its specialties now include finance, energy law, labor and employment, and federal and state government relations. The firm is still best known for its energy group. The 2006 Chambers Global ranked Bracewells energy practice among the U.S. leaders in oil and gas work and regulatory expertise. Euromoney Institutional Investors 2005 Guide to the Worlds Leading Energy and Natural Resources Lawyers included four of the firms energy partners. The firms energy clients include Tampa Electric/Peoples Gas System, the Valero Energy Corporation, Coral Energy, Dynegy Inc. and FPL Energy. But the firm represents a much broader spectrum than just energy concerns. Other major B&G clients include AOL Time Warner, Apple Computer, Bank of America, Bechtel Corporation, and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

GETTING HIRED
Bracewell & Giuliani looks for accomplished students with records of experience and involvement, associates report. There is a specific GPA cutoff which differs from school to school, advises a Houston associate. However, the firm looks for high-achievers not only grade-wise but also in other areas such as community involvement, social responsibility and other experiences. A second associate adds, Bracewell has become extremely competitive and raised the bar for its candidates. This is partly a result of the dilution of the pool of quality candidates and partly a result of B&G moving up the ranks as a firm.

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2007 Vault, Inc.

Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Bracewell & Giuliani LLP

OUR SURVEY SAYS


Generally, B&G associates rate their job satisfaction quite highly, but a number of associates voice some frustration. A Houston source says, From the level of responsibility Ive been given as a young associate, the friends and mentors I have gained from working here, and the quality of work as well as the quality of life, I cant imagine ever working at another law firm. But a more experienced source complains, The partners used to appear to have a genuine interest in our lives and wanted to know what else we were involved with. Now, they just seem angry because they felt like they had to respond to the market and raise our salaries. We chose Bracewell because we did not want to work in a sweatshop, but that is what the management is trying to make it. A junior Texas associate laments the lack of guidance: The mentorship and development is severely lacking. I feel like I am on my own. There does not seem to be a long-term development plan. On the other hand, a second-year has nothing but raves for firm partners: As a whole, the partners treat associates with respect here. I am often asked for my opinion on a wide range of issuespolitical, work-related, recruiting-related, social. I also feel that we, as associates, are almost always kept informed of goings-on at the firm, either by the management or by individual partners. I am very close with many partners and have never felt discouraged from asking questions. Some of the harshest criticism is reserved for the firms compensation plan. In a word, deceitful, admonishes a Houston lawyer. They are trying to say they are matching the other big firms (in order to impress the recruits). In the process, they have screwed the mid- and upper-level associates. Those at the top of their pay scales before raises are now $25,000 and more below their advertised pay scales. Another Texan observes, The firm recently announced that it was meeting the market. However, the salary is not lock-step and, consequently, most associates here do not get paid market. But clearly not everyone is unhappy. As one litigator tells us, I am not unsatisfied in the least. When it comes to the hours, partners always want more, gripes a Dallas associate. Theres no focus on life balance. Another lawyer claims, We could not even keep a Supreme Court clerk, top of her class at Harvard Law, because we were not flexible with her time after having a child. But, as all lawyers know, there are two sides to every issue. A Houston litigator offers a very different perspective: I feel that my firm makes every effort to allow associates to have a life outside of work. With few exceptions, my work schedule as a full-time associate is almost always as flexible as I need it to be. Also, the firm offers attractive leave policies and flexible work schedules for those in need.

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53

Brown McCarroll, L.L.P.


111 Congress Avenue, Suite 1400 Austin, TX 78701-4093 Phone: (512) 472-5456 www.brownmccarroll.com

THE STATS
No. of attorneys: Firmwide: 156 Austin: 89 Dallas: 43 Houston: 17 No. of offices: 5 Chairman: Robert W. Dupuy Managing Partner: Robert Werner

LOCATIONS
Austin, TX (HQ) Dallas, TX El Paso, TX Houston, TX Longview, TX

MAJOR DEPARTMENTS & PRACTICES


Administrative Law Appellate Practice Bankruptcy, Reorganization & Creditors Rights Business Litigation Construction Corporate, Tax & General Business Environmental Law Estate Planning & Probate Family Law General Civil Litigation Golf & Resort Industry Health Care Hospitality Industry Intellectual Property Labor & Employment Law Personal Injury Litigation Legislative & Governmental Affairs Local Government Pharmaceutical & Medical Device Litigation Products Liability Litigation Real Estate Toxic Tort, Asbestos & Environmental Litigation Utility Law

NOTABLE PERKS
Unlimited vacation and sick leave Firm contributes to 401(k) Moving allowance for entry-level attorneys

EMPLOYMENT CONTACT
Phone: (512) 472-5456 Fax: (512) 479-1101 E-mail: General Attorney Recruiting: recruiting@mailbmc.com Summer Associate Recruiting: cbhamani@mailbmc.com

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2007 Vault Inc.

Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Brown McCarroll, L.L.P.

THE SCOOP
Brown McCarroll has been a presence on the Texas legal scene for over 60 years. With its largest office in Austin, the states governmental hub, the firm represents several governmental and quasi-governmental entities. In fact, it is considered the largest Austin-based law firm, thanks to a 2003 merger with Austins Hilgers & Watkins, P.C. The firm merged once more in 2005, with Carroll, Reeder & Drews, LLP. This merger was a strategic attempt to gain more of a toehold in the public utilities industry. While the 2003 merger went smoothly, it brought some well-publicized legal trouble to the firm. Although Brown McCarroll was not named as a defendant, in 2006 the firm agreed to pay a total of $5 million to settle a lawsuit brought against several former Hilgers & Watkins partners. The suit alleged that the partners aided a real estate investment scam by not properly checking the background of the alleged scammer and also helped to bring prestige and investors to the deal. The case also received attention from the Texas legal bar, as the Hilgers & Watkins law firm had several partners, some even named in the lawsuit, who were renowned legal ethics experts. After a couple of belttightening years (in late 2004 Brown McCarroll laid off 38 employees in the asbestos defense group and in March 2006 it lost several more attorneys), the firm welcomed a new crop of summer associates in 2006. According to a November 13, 2006 National Law Journal article, the firms total number of attorneys declined from 183 to 155, a drop large enough to knock the firm off the NLJ 250, the Journals list of the largest law firms in the country. The firms clients range from Fortune 500 companies to individuals, and span the whos who of Texas industry. Brown McCarroll is particularly well known in the area of health care law; other strengths include bankruptcy, estate planning and privacy issues. The firm is also developing its corporate, intellectual property and commercial litigation practices. The firm is very proud of the caliber of its attorneys. In 2006, 19 of the firms attorneys were named Texas Super Lawyers, a recognition bestowed by Law & Politics Media, Inc., which bases these designations on peer reviews and outside research. Super Lawyers represent the top 5 percent of lawyers in the state. Six Brown McCarroll attorneys were also listed in the 2006 Chambers USA Guide, another attorney ranking publication. The firms clients and the community at large also appreciate the prowess of Brown McCarroll attorneys. In March 2005, one of the firms longstanding clients, Austin White Lime, awarded the firm its External Vendor of the Year award, for its work as an outstanding service provider to the company. And

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Brown McCarroll, L.L.P.

in August 2006 partner Brian Hoyle was appointed a justice on the 12th Texas Court of Appeals in Tyler, Texas. As a law firm with roots all over Texas, Brown McCarroll and its attorneys are involved with many local charitable and civic organizations. For example, in 2006, Austin-based partner Adam Hauser was named board chair of Meals on Wheels and More, an organization that brings food to the poor, elderly and disabled. Since 1996, the firm has contributed more than $100,000 to fund the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program. Partner Hal Katz was recently elected president of the board of directors of the Paramount Theatre and State Theatre Company, two local nonprofit performance venues.

GETTING HIRED
Brown McCarroll is a medium-sized firm that looks for exceptional attorney recruits. Because of its size, the firm only hires between three and five new associates each year, most of whom, according to the firm, will eventually make partner. The firm recruits heavily from local Texas law schools and boasts that many of its attorneys have advanced academic degrees and technical knowledge.

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2007 Vault, Inc.

Cantey Hanger LLP


Burnett Plaza, Suite 2100 801 Cherry Street, Unit #2 Fort Worth, TX 76102-6881 Phone: (817) 877-2800 www.canteyhanger.com

THE STATS
No. of attorneys: Firmwide: 74 Fort Worth: 50 Austin: 14 Dallas: 7 Southlake: 3 No. of offices: 4 Summer associate offers (2006): Firmwide: * out of 5 Fort Worth: 0 out of 3 Austin: * out of 2 Managing Partner: T. Pollard Rogers Hiring Partner: Michael G. Appleman *Undetermined at this time

LOCATIONS
Fort Worth, TX (HQ) Austin, TX Dallas, TX Southlake, TX

MAJOR DEPARTMENTS & PRACTICES


Administrative Law Alternative Dispute Resolution Antitrust & Trade Regulation Appellate Banking & Finance Law Bankruptcy Business Commercial Law Business Organization Civil Rights Commercial Litigation Construction Law Corporate County & Municipal Law Employment Law Environmental Law Estate Planning Ethics & Professional Responsibility Family Law Franchise Law Health & Health Care Law Hospital Malpractice Immigration Law Insurance Law Intellectual Property Law International Labor Law Medical Affairs Medical Malpractice Natural Resources & Energy Law Personal Injury Probate & Estate Administration Products Liability Law Professional Malpractice Law Real Estate Law Regulatory Law Science & Technology Law Securities Law Taxation Law Toxic Torts Workers Compensation Law

UPPERS
Firms reputation and relaxed atmosphere The people are fantastic

DOWNERS
Lack of training Compensation not competitive

NOTABLE PERKS
Unlimited vacation and sick time 401(k) pension plan Cancer insurance (in addition to regular medical insurance)

EMPLOYMENT CONTACT
Michael G. Appleman, Esq. Phone: (817) 877-2803 Fax: (817) 877-2807 E-mail: mappleman@canteyhanger.com

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2007 Vault Inc.

Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Cantey Hanger LLP

THE SCOOP
Cantey Hanger, formed in 1883, is the oldest law firm in the Fort Worth and Dallas area. With offices across Texas, a full 70 percent of the firms attorneys are based out of the Fort Worth office, the firms first and largest. The firm was founded by attorneys William Capps and S.B. Cantey Sr. William Hanger, a state senator and criminal law attorney, joined the practice in 1905. The firm spent its early years representing banks, utilities and transportation companies. It continues to do so, with the addition of clients in many other industries, including insurance, telecommunications, health care and energy. Todays clients have names you will recognize, like Frito Lay, Prudential Insurance, Wells Fargo and Winn-Dixie Stores. As a true general practice, attorneys at Cantey Hanger can expect to work on a broad spectrum of matters from commercial litigation to high-profile transactions. The firm was recently involved in the leasing of 18,000 acres belonging to the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport to the Chesapeake Energy Corporation. The firm also beefed up its state legislative lobbying arm by adding partner George Christian as head of the firms public and regulatory law section. In spring 2006 the Austin Business Journal called Cantey Hanger a company to watch in the State Government sector. Individual firm attorneys have also received acclaim for their professional accomplishments. Sixteen Cantey Hanger attorneys, including the firms managing partner, Pollard Rogers, were named 2006 Super Lawyers by Texas Monthly magazine. Cantey Hanger extends its reach beyond Texas through its membership in Meritas, an association of over 200 law firms in the United States and abroad.

GETTING HIRED
Associates at Cantey Hanger say the firm is looking for sharp individuals with very strong ties to the local area. Some associates suggest that the firms interview process can be improved upon. While one source describes the callback interview as very daunting, another associate found the hiring process lethargic and somewhat unorganized. Naturally, the firm recruits at local Texas law schools, such as The University of Texas and St. Marys University. Among other law schools attended by Cantey Hanger associates are Tulane University, Southern Methodist University and Texas Wesleyan University.

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Cantey Hanger LLP

OUR SURVEY SAYS


The atmosphere at Cantey Hanger is described as low-key and relaxed, but most attorneys agree its not the place for those looking to party. Lawyers do not tend to socialize together, says a litigation associate. Lawyers tend to socialize together at work, but only somewhat outside of work, another attorney elaborates. Regardless, one associate gushes, the people are fantastic to work with. Politically, adds a first-year, the firm is overwhelmingly conservative. Associates are treated as lawyers, very respectfully within the firm, although generally they have no input on firm decisions, reports one inside source. Other associates agree that the partnership is not always good at keeping the associates informed about decisions. Individually, however, many of the partners are approachable and willing to assist with questions. Formal training at the firm is definitely not a priority and associates feel the loss. The firm does not have a well-organized formal training program, says a midlevel. A few of the partners are happy to answer questions for you, and other associates lend a hand as needed, but the fact is there should be something in place. Figuring out things on your own is not efficient or productive, laments a newbie. Another associate, who dubs firm training virtually nonexistent, points out that a structured program would bring new associates up to speed faster and increase efficiency of first- through fourth-year associates dramatically. In the absence of such training, associates observe that several of the partners are very willing to provide feedback and to assist associates in developing. In fact, says one contact, I have received a great deal of mentoring from several partners, not just the partner to whom I am assigned. This is one of the most positive aspects of the firm. Although most associates seem happy enough with their hours, one source complains that the workload is unevenly distributed: The pressure to bill at least 40 hours a week is very dependant upon the section in which you work. The sections in which associates are billed out at higher rates do not put as much emphasis on billing a high amount of hours. As associates have no control over the rate at which they are billed, this causes some tension. Money is clearly a sore spot. According to one Fort Worth associate, the compensation is not commensurate with the billable hours required. Others comment that while the pay is fairly competitive for the city, it is far behind the state average for a firm of our size. Associates are not in consensus when it comes to the firms slightly unorthodox bonus structure. Bonus = one-fourth collections over two-and-a-half times your salary, explains an associate. This formula is touted as one of the best around, by

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one associate. But others complain that the bonus program is based entirely upon collections, something over which associates have no control.

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Carrington Coleman Sloman & Blumenthal, L.L.P.


901 Main Street, Suite 5500 Dallas, TX 75202 Phone: (214) 855-3000 www.carringtoncoleman.com

THE STATS
No. of attorneys: 94 No. of offices: 1 Summer associate offers (2006): 9 out of 10 Managing Partner: Fletcher L. Yarbrough Hiring Partner: Kelli Hinson

LOCATION
Dallas, TX

MAJOR DEPARTMENTS & PRACTICES


Alternative Dispute Resolution Antitrust & Trade Regulation Appellate Aviation Banking Bankruptcy & Financial Reorganization Business Litigation Class Actions Computer & Internet Condemnation & Land Use Construction Corporate Governance & Compliance Corporate Securities/Mergers & Acquisitions Creditors Rights & Lenders Liability Directors & Officers Employment Energy Environmental Fraud & Deceptive Trade Practices General Corporate Health Care Insurance Coverage Intellectual Property International Legal & Accounting Malpractice Medical Malpractice Non-Compete & Trade Secret Litigation Products Liability & Mass Torts Professional Liability Real Estate Securities & Shareholders Litigation Tax Technology & Telecommunications White Collar Crime & Investigations Wills, Trust & Estates

UPPERS
Early experience and responsibility Little billable hour pressure

DOWNERS
Firm is tightlipped about partnership issues/finances Usual stresses inherent to the practice of law

NOTABLE PERKS
Friday happy hour at the City Club Subsidized parking Paid maternity leave

BASE SALARY (2006)


Dallas, TX 1st year: $135,000 Summer associate: $2,600/week

EMPLOYMENT CONTACT
Ms. Andrea Glover Recruiting Administrator Phone: (214) 855-3536 Fax: (214) 758-3762 E-mail: recruit@ccsb.com

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Carrington Coleman Sloman & Blumenthal, L.L.P.

THE SCOOP
Carrington Coleman Sloman & Blumenthal bills its attorneys as lawyers lawyers. According to the Dallas firm, other lawyers and law firms often rely on the firm to represent them when need for legal counsel arises. Beyond its fellow counsel, Carrington Coleman represents a broad array of clients ranging from individuals to large multinational corporations. The firms practice is similarly wide-ranging, with emphasis on complex litigation, business and real estate transactional matters, and insolvency issues. When you visit Carringtons web site, the first thing you see is the firms obvious interest in the arts. With a click of a button, you can peruse an online presentation of the firms impressive collection of modern art, which includes pieces by acclaimed contemporary artists Robert Rauschenberg and Christo, among others. The firms collection hangs in its brand new Dallas offices, which were professionally designed, in part, to highlight the artwork. The firm strives to be active in both the legal community and the community at large. In October 2006, 14 Carrington attorneys were named Texas Super Lawyers by Texas Monthly magazine. The firm was also recently honored by the Dallas Bar Association for contributing the most pro bono hours of any Dallas firm, and received the W. Frank Newton Award from the State Bar of Texas for outstanding pro bono legal services. Firm partner Diane M. Sumoski was awarded the Dallas Bar Associations 2005 Pro Bono Coordinator of the Year award for her hard work organizing the firms pro bono endeavors.

GETTING HIRED
This is not an easy firm to get into, according to associates. The firm seeks candidates at the very top of the classes, and insiders warn that the interview process is very competitive. One lawyer says that Carrington is pretty focused on academic accomplishments but also fairly selective about finding good fits with the firm culture. Another associate echoes this sentiment, adding that although top-notch grades are essential, they wont get you an offer unless the interview process goes well. In addition to fairly rigorous academic requirements, the firm looks for candidates with diverse interests. One source observes that firm attorneys have outside interests

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Carrington Coleman Sloman & Blumenthal, L.L.P.

ranging from the athletic to the artsy to the politically motivated to barmotivated to those involved in the community.

OUR SURVEY SAYS


Intellectual, laid-back, friendly and diverse are among the terms used to describe Carringtons environment. We respect each other as people, notes one associate, and another comments on the strong interpersonal relationships that firm attorneys enjoy. My firm has the reputation for being an intellectual firm, andindeedI believe that the attorneys live up to this reputation, the associate adds. Professionally, associates enjoy early litigation experience and responsibility. I have a lot of autonomy to run the cases that I am on, which is exactly what a senior associate wants and needs, states a satisfied lawyer. On the social side, We have a firm-sponsored happy hour every Friday afternoon that is generally well attended, reports a litigator, who adds that politically, the firm is mixed, with people active in both Democratic and Republican politics. Associate/partner relations at Carrington are especially rosy. The treatment and interaction between partners and associates strikes the greatest difference between my experience and [that of] my friends at other firms. You just never hear horror stories, gushes one lawyer. Associates appreciate that partners are generally respectful of associates time and professional development. Lawyers are kept abreast of firm developments through an annual state of the firm address by [the] managing partner, and as many meetings as associates request to receive information about what is afoot. Although associates dont actually participate in firmwide decisions, the partnership looks for feedback from the associates. Formal training at the firm is okay, but informal training is considered great. While one litigator gives high marks to the firms formal offeringsfrom initial orientation to a years worth of bimonthly training sessionsa transactional associate notes, The formal training lags behind that gained from the mentoring system. Indeed, the partners take their roles as the mentors and trainers of future partners pretty seriously, according to this associate. Our system is set up to encourage mentoring relationships with the partners, explains another lawyer. An associate is assigned to one or two partners every year or two, which is a natural environment for mentoring and training. I have felt comfortable seeking the advice and wisdom from the

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Carrington Coleman Sloman & Blumenthal, L.L.P.

partners to whom I have been assigned, even on cases in which he or she was not involved. Associates love that there is very little billable hour or face time pressure. The firm has an aspirational goal rather than a minimum billable requirement, notes one contact, who is nevertheless quick to add, This does not mean that we do not work hard, especially as our cases require long hours. Compensation is competitive on an hours-worked basis, but does not try to keep up with the bonuses given by its competitors in the marketplace, complains one associate. Another observes that first-year compensation is competitive with the Dallas market, but it is not the firm culture to discuss finances. Indeed, agree other associates, The firm is very private about partnership issues/finances.

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Chamberlain, Hrdlicka, White, Williams & Martin


1200 Smith Street, 14th Floor Houston, TX 77002-4310 Phone: (713) 658-1818 www.chamberlainlaw.com

THE STATS
No. of attorneys: Firmwide: 100 Houston: 61 No. of offices: 2 Summer associate offers (2006): Firmwide: 4 out of 14 Houston: 4 out of 14 Managing Shareholder: Wayne Risoli

LOCATIONS
Houston, TX (HQ) Atlanta, GA

MAJOR DEPARTMENTS & PRACTICES


Admiralty & Maritime Corporate, Securities & Finance Construction Law Employment Law & Employee Benefits Energy Law Estate Planning & Administration International & Immigration Litigation Real Estate Tax Planning & Tax Controversy

NOTABLE PERKS
Paid parking Business casual dress code Profit sharing

BASE SALARY (2006)


Houston, TX 1st year: $107,500 Summer associate: $2,000/week

EMPLOYMENT CONTACT
Ms. Tiffiny Y. Fayle Director of Marketing and Recruiting Phone: (713) 658-1818 Fax: (713) 658-2553 E-mail: tiffany.fayle@chamberlainlaw.com

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Chamberlain, Hrdlicka, White, Williams & Martin

THE SCOOP
Founded in the 1960s by name partners Hank Chamberlain and George Hrdlicka, former members of the Justice Departments tax division, Chamberlain, Hrdlicka, White, Williams & Martins roots are in tax law. But with the addition of more partners, the Houston firm has expanded on its tax expertise to include other core practice areas, such as estate planning, securities and finance. The firm also expanded its geographic reach with the opening of an Atlanta office in 1986. Chamberlain recently added a new admiralty and maritime section with the addition of several attorneys specializing in those areas. This department will focus on offshore drilling and production, marine transportation, marine construction, dredging and other affairs involving the waterfront. A typical case for Chamberlain Hrdlicka is the firms ongoing representation of J.D. Martin Co. in its much-publicized case against the Atlantic Mutual Insurance Company. J.D. Martin alleges that the insurance company failed to cover damages under the employee dishonesty policy that it maintained. J.D. Martin (and co-plaintiff Vynckier Enclosure Systems) sustained losses in excess of $1 million when two of the companies workers conspired to steal insulated copper. Atlantic Mutual then refused to pay the claims because it considered the two workers actions to be part of the same theft, even though the thefts occurred on two separate occasions. Atlantic Mutual argued that the insurance policys per-occurrence limit of $300,000 applied to the plaintiffs total loss. The plaintiffs are currently seeking both damages for breach of contract and attorneys fees, in addition to the amount allegedly owed under the insurance policy. A decision from a Texas state court judge is expected shortly. Such cases have translated into a number of honors, both for the firm and for its individual attorneys. Chamberlain Hrdlickas upstart Atlanta office, for example, was named one of the top tax firms in Georgia by Chambers USA: Americas Leading Lawyers for Business for 20062007. Chambers also named the offices managing partner, David D. Aughtry, one of the states top tax attorneys. Partner Charles E. Hodges II was selected as the one and only Up and Comer tax attorney in Georgia. For those looking for the softer side of this firm, its definitely there as well. In 2005, the firm pledged to match employee contributions for Hurricane Katrina relief dollar for dollar. Chamberlain attorneys are also active in advising a local law schools moot court teams, and even helped coach the South Texas College of Laws team to victory in 2006.

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Chamberlain, Hrdlicka, White, Williams & Martin

But perhaps Chamberlain Hrdlicka has tired of flying under the radar, grown weary of being considered a well-kept secret. The firm recently hired the renowned advertising and public agency of Rives Carlberg to define its brand, create and place advertising, and manage its public relations activities. Assuming Rives Carlberg lives up to its reputation, now may be the time get in with Chamberlain Hrdlicka, while its still possible. Speaking of which, if you interview at Chamberlain, and you know the names of the attorneys youll be meeting with, it is imperative that you check out the attorney profile section of the firms web site. The firm has clearly devoted a lot of time to profiling each attorney. From these profiles, you can glean tons of information that might help you impress the powers that be, such as a particular attorneys clients, representative matters, even style of lawyering. Another fact of note: founding partner Hank Chamberlain no longer works at the firm, having sold out to the remaining partners in 1988 and moved on to solo practice.

GETTING HIRED
Chamberlain Hrdlicka has a small and selective summer associate program. And unlike other major firms, this one hardly guarantees that landing one of its summer positions all but ensures you of landing a full-time job. Although the firm professes to extend offers to about three-fourths of its summer associates, in 2006 less than one-third of the summer staff (four out of 14) were invited back. So, no spending those hot summer months in Houston (or Atlanta) resting on your laurels. The firm relies primarily on on-campus recruiting and focuses mainly on the mainstays of Texas law: e.g., University of Texas, University of Houston and South Texas College of Law. The firm also encourages recent grads and applicants from other schools to submit resumes. Chamberlain applicants must demonstrate superior academic achievement (top 25 percent required). Though good law school grades are essential, the firm also considers other factors. Our criteria include a strong academic background, related work experience and well-rounded interests that extend beyond the law, the firm reports. We work to give as much weight to the right personality fit as we do to other credentials.

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Clark, Thomas & Winters, A Professional Corporation


300 West 6th Street, 15th Floor Austin, TX 78701 Phone: (512) 472-8800 www.ctw.com

THE STATS
No. of attorneys: Firmwide: 111 Austin: 105 No. of offices: 3 President: Larry McNeill Hiring Attorney: Paul S. Ruiz

LOCATIONS
Austin, TX (HQ) Rio Grande Valley, TX San Antonio, TX

NOTABLE PERKS
Firm is politically connected Austin is a great town Relatively short seven-year partnership track

MAJOR DEPARTMENTS & PRACTICES


Administrative Appellate Automotive Product Liability Banking Commercial Law Commercial Litigation Construction Corporate & Securities Credit Unions Employee Benefits/ERISA Employment Energy & Public Utilities Entertainment Law Environmental Regulatory Federal Taxation Gaming Health Care Land Use & Government Affairs Mergers & Acquisitions Pharmaceuticals & Medical Devices Real Estate State & Local Taxation Telecommunications Water Utilities & Districts Wills, Probate & Family Wealth Planning

BASE SALARY (2006)


Austin and San Antonio, TX 1st year: $105,000 Summer associate: $1,850/week

EMPLOYMENT CONTACT
Ms. Lea Walker-Clark Recruiting Coordinator Phone: (512) 472-8800, Ext. 1344 Fax: (512) 474-1129 E-mail: lwc@ctw.com

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Clark, Thomas & Winters, A Professional Corporation

THE SCOOP
Clark, Thomas & Winters, or CTW, is the largest law firm in Austin and has a long and venerable history. Everett Looney and Edward Aubrey Clark, two bigwigs on the Texas political scene at the time, started the firm in 1935. They later became advisors and legal counsel to future President Lyndon B. Johnson, with Clark ultimately serving as ambassador to Australia during the Johnson presidency. Early partners all seemed to come with an affinity for politics. Don Thomas was a close friend of President Johnson and took over as legal counsel after Looney had a stroke. Final name partner Sam Winters was also active in state and local political campaigns. Although the firms heart and soul is in Austin, the firm also has established important offices in San Antonio and, more recently, in the Rio Grande Valley. This latter office opened just last summer, when the firm hired most of the lawyers from Minter Joseph, the now-defunct Brownsville firm. The introduction of the Rio Grande office was a strategic move to beef up the firms land use and governmental affairs department. Firm attorneys practice in a variety of specialties, from civil litigation and corporate transactions to state and federal administrative law. Its position as a large Austin law firm ensures that CTW represents an array of entities throughout their dealings with Texas government. The firm also has a thriving products liability practice, in which it represents manufacturers, including pharmaceutical companies and businesses accused of asbestos exposure. The firm has been involved in Fen-Phen litigation and recently celebrated a defense victory in an asbestos premises liability lawsuit, in which client Hoffman-LaRoche was sued for $75 million dollars by a former employee who claimed to be exposed to asbestos while working at a company plant. The firm has also won several much-appreciated victories in Texas courts on behalf of client Wyeth, the pharmaceutical giant that has battled products liability lawsuits against those claiming health problems after taking Wyeth-manufactured drugs. In addition to the well-known firm founders, many great legal minds and charismatic individuals have hung their hats at Clark Thomas over the years. In the 1940s, Martin Harris, a UT law school graduate, joined the firm. He later became one of the states foremost experts on water rights. Also in the 1940s, Columbia Law School graduate Dean Moorhead joined CTW. According to the firm, Moorhead held the dual distinction at Columbia of having the highest grade point average on record at the time and of being a recipient of all three awards given to graduating seniors. Another firm

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Clark, Thomas & Winters, A Professional Corporation

alumnus, Frank Denius, was one of World War IIs most highly decorated soldiers. And in 1955, CTW attorney Mary Jo Carroll became the first female full-time lawyer hired by any major Texas law firm. Indeed, the firm is proud of its longstanding commitment to diversity. In 2006, the firm earned an A+ on the annual Minority Hiring Report Card issued by Austins Hispanic Bar Association and Black Lawyers Association, for its efforts in recruiting and retaining minority attorneys. The firm also has a strong pro bono program. Through Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas, CTW attorneys have devoted many hours free of charge to handle housing, family law and bankruptcy matters for those who cant afford representation.

GETTING HIRED
Clark Thomas conducts local on-campus interviews at Baylor Law School, University of Houston Law Center and University of Texas School of Law, and participates in several minority student job fairs, including the Sunbelt Minority Recruitment Program and Rocky Mountain Region Job Fair. The firm is looking for candidates with good research and writing skills, strong academics and extracurricular activities. Law students might want to note that the firms hiring attorney personally conducts seminars on resume writing and interviewing skills at the University of Texas, University of Houston, St. Marys University, Texas Tech and Thurgood Marshall School of Law. And anyone wishing to send a resume to Clark Thomas should know this: the firm does not accept resumes by e-mail. Snail mail only, please.

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Cowles & Thompson, PC


901 Main Street, Suite 4000 Dallas, TX 75202 Phone: (214) 672-2000 www.cowlesthompson.com

THE STATS
No. of attorneys: Firmwide: 68 Dallas: 51 Addison: 14 Tyler: 3 No. of offices: 3 Summer associate offers (2006): Firmwide: 4 out of 6 Dallas: 3 out of 5 Addison: 1 out of 1 Managing Shareholder: David R. Woodward Hiring Attorney: David R. Woodward

LOCATIONS
Dallas, TX (HQ) Addison, TX Tyler, TX

MAJOR DEPARTMENTS & PRACTICES


Appellate Aviation Banking & Credit Transactions Bankruptcy & Creditors Rights Commercial Litigation Construction Corporate & Business Family Law Health Care Hospitality & Lodging Insurance Coverage & Litigation Intellectual Property Litigation Labor & Employment Land Use Landlord/Tenant Municipal & Public Law Negligence & Tort Oil, Oil Field & Gas Premises Liability Product Liability Professional Liability Real Estate/Real Estate Finance Tax Litigation Toxic, Mass Tort & Environmental Transportation & Trucking Wills, Trust, Estate Planning & Probate Workers Compensation

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Cowles & Thompson, PC

UPPERS
Early responsibility in a teamoriented culture Respect for quality of life

BASE SALARY (2006)


All offices 1st year: $72,000* Summer associate: $1,400/week *Plus signing and holiday bonuses

DOWNERS
Below-market pay Litigation overstaffed at the moment

EMPLOYMENT CONTACT
Ms. Jessica Gage Recruiting Coordinator Phone: (214) 672-2000 Fax: (214) 672-2020 E-mail: jgage@cowlesthompson.com

NOTABLE PERKS
Free snacks and drinks Free parking 401(k) contributions Business casual dress

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Cowles & Thompson, PC

THE SCOOP
Cowles & Thompson was started in 1978 by a group of six Dallas attorneys, who pledged to be the best lawyers we could possibly be and still enjoy the practice of law. The firm has its roots in insurance litigation, but now provides a host of other legal services, including corporate, real estate and tax law. In addition to its main Dallas office, theres a small office in Tyler, Texas, and the Addison office, which opened in 2006 when the firm merged with Higier Lautin Foxman McKinney & Owen. This merger should give the litigation-heavy Cowles & Thompson a stronger foothold in transactional law. If you win a big case or an appeal at Cowles & Thompson, you just might earn yourself a GTL or a GAL. What are these, you ask? The letters stand for Great Trial Lawyer and Great Appellate Lawyer. The firm celebrates its legal victories with signs proclaiming a GTL or GAL, which are hand-made and tacked to the lucky lawyers office door. (Check out the firms web site to see who has recently received these honors.) Representative cases include successful arbitration on behalf of a financial advisor who was accused of making unsuitable investment recommendations, and the dismissal of a legal malpractice case where the client, an out-of-state lawyer, was sued in Texas for work performed out of state on behalf of a Texas-based client. Higher-ups at the firm actively support participation in pro bono activities and civic involvement. The firm accomplishes most of its pro bono work through Legal Aid of Northwest Texas. Young associates in particular are encouraged to participate in pro bono projects through which they can get firsthand experience in family law, landlord/tenant law and other civil matters. The firm is also very active in the Human Rights Initiative and works on many political asylum cases.

GETTING HIRED
An associate at Cowles & Thompson says that the firm is looking to hire good litigators and lawyers who fit in with the rest of the firm. The firm generally recruits at Texas schools, including Baylor University, SMU, University of Houston, University of Texas and Texas Tech University, for a relatively short summer associate program: six weeks in the first half of the summer. A few associates suggest that would-be litigators might have to wait

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Cowles & Thompson, PC

for a spot. They contend that the firm is not looking for new recruits at the moment, since it is currently overstaffed in litigation [and] moving associates to the transactional practice, which is booming. One associate notes, We have a great recruitment program for minorities, and the firm adds that it is placing increasing emphasis on diversity.

OUR SURVEY SAYS


Most sources find Cowles & Thompson a friendly, sociable place. Friendly, cooperative, team-oriented, supportive, laid-back, are adjectives used by one associate to describe the firm culture. A few detractors describe the firm as hierarchical and political and claim you have to be in with the right people to get anything accomplished. But the majority describe a social atmosphere in which lawyers and staff enjoy each others company. All of the lawyers socialize with each other as well as with the staff, observes a first-year. There is no delineation between attorneys and staff. We are all one team. According to a Dallas associate, The firm encourages a qualityof-life approach to both the practice of law and your pursuit of interests outside the office, especially family and community involvement. One lawyer reports that Cowles is a good place in which to develop litigation skills quickly. And another gushes, I love my clients and the work that I do. Not everyone is entirely content, however, though it seems to reflect dissatisfaction with the practice of law generally, rather than any problem specific to the firm. I dont have any complaints about the work at my firm, just the practice of law in general, says a midlevel. And a senior associate shrugs: The other attorneys are very good to work with. The work is not all that exciting (it is law after all). The firms training program gets mostly high marks. Our firms training program has been upheld in the legal community as exemplary, says a litigation associate. Informal training and mentoring is there, but the quality varies from partner to partner. The shareholders treat the associates well and give the associates quite a bit of autonomy on their cases, says an appreciative litigator. Generally, associates are not involved in firmwide decisions, but there are a number of committees on which associates participate and contribute. Still, one associate gripes that the partnership does not do a good job of informing or allowing associates to participate in firmwide decisions.

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Cowles & Thompson, PC

Unlike associates at many firms, our sources at Cowles & Thompson dont complain about their hours. Keeping hours is a necessary evil of the practice, but this work environment leaves lots of time for outside interests and commitments, says an upper-level associate. But many associates would appreciate better compensation. In fact, the relatively low pay may be the most frequently cited firm downer. Pay is half that of other firms, grumbles a midlevel. However, a more experienced associate admonishes critics: Quality of life is worth something in terms of the dollars you might give up to work in a sweatshop.

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Cowles & Thompson, PC

Keeping hours is a necessary evil of the practice, but this work environment leaves lots of time for outside interests and commitments.
Cowles & Thompson associate

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Cox Smith Matthews Incorporated


112 E. Pecan Street, Suite 1800 San Antonio, TX 78205 Phone: (210) 554-5500 www.coxsmith.com

THE STATS
No. of attorneys: Firmwide: 131 San Antonio: 121 No. of offices: 4 Summer associate offers (2006): Firmwide: 8 out of 12 San Antonio: 8 out of 12 Managing Director: James B. Smith Jr. Hiring Attorney: Scott B. Bankler

LOCATIONS
San Antonio, TX (HQ) Austin, TX Dallas, TX McAllen, TX

MAJOR DEPARTMENTS & PRACTICES


Antitrust & Trade Regulation Bankruptcy & Creditors Rights Banking & Financial Institutions Corporate & Securities Employee Benefits/ERISA Energy & Natural Resources Estate Planning & Trust Health Care Intellectual Property Labor & Employment Litigation Public Law Real Estate Tax

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Cox Smith Matthews Incorporated

UPPERS
Sophisticated work at wellrespected firm Friendly work environment

BASE SALARY (2007)


All offices 1st year: $120,000 2nd year: $125,000 3rd year: $130,000 4th year: $135,000 5th year: $140,000 6th year: $145,000 7th year: $150,000 Summer associate: $2,300/week

DOWNERS
Higher salary may mean higher billable requirement Formal training could be better

NOTABLE PERKS
CLE courses and bar association expenses Free Spanish classes Tickets to sports/cultural events Paid parking

EMPLOYMENT CONTACT
Ms. Anna T. Friesenhahn Recruiting Coordinator Phone: (210) 554-5217 Fax: (210) 226-8395 E-mail: afriesen@coxsmith.com

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Cox Smith Matthews Incorporated

THE SCOOP
In 2004, San Antonios Matthews and Branscomb, founded in 1874, and Cox & Smith, founded in 1939, combined to create Cox Smith Matthews, the largest law firm in South Texas. David Bryant, a litigator who specializes in bankruptcy law, heads the firms Dallas office, which opened in 2005. The office was opened to give Cox Smith an opportunity to expand its bankruptcy and intellectual property practices across the Lone Star State. The McAllen office also opened in 2005 and is currently headed by Raymond Cowley who specializes in labor and employment law as well as general litigation The firm represents a spectrum of clients ranging from family-owned businesses, to individual entrepreneurs, to members of the Fortune 100. The firm is well known for its heavy-hitting clients, which include AT&T, Clear Channel Communications, Valero Energy Corporation, International Bancshares Corporation and City Public Servicesome of the San Antonio areas largest companies. Its no doubt that many of these clients are attracted to attorneys who are renowned in their practice areas. For example, Deborah Williamson, head of the firms bankruptcy department, was recently named chair of the Bankruptcy Law Section of the State Bar of Texas and has been recognized as one of the states top 10 bankruptcy attorneys (by Chambers USA) and one of the Top 50 Women Lawyer in Texas (Texas Monthly). Other firm attorneys have been honored as Super Lawyers and Texas Rising Stars by various legal publications. In May 2006, founding partner J. Burleson Smith received the prestigious Joe Frazier Brown Sr. Award from the San Antonio Bar Association. This award recognizes outstanding attorneys who exhibit the qualities of integrity, community service, intelligence and idealism.

GETTING HIRED
Associates at Cox Smith rate the firm as pretty competitive, while the firm describes ideal candidates as those in the top 25 percent of their law school class, with law review, moot court and mock trial [experience] preferred. The most recent summer associate class includes students from a variety of regional law schools, including Baylor University, Loyola University, Southern Methodist University, Texas Tech University, Tulane University, University of Houston and the University of Texas. One current first-year wishes the firm would recruit more outside of Texas, though it should be

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Cox Smith Matthews Incorporated

noted that several of our survey respondents attended schools outside the state. In choosing a summer associate class, the firm says it looks for diversity of backgrounds and interests. Other assets include an excellent attitude and a flexible and adaptive personality.

OUR SURVEY SAYS


Overall, Cox Smith associates profess great satisfaction with the firm. In fact, asked to name the worst things about working at your firm, many associates apparently had nothing bad to say. They get the best of both worlds, according to one associate: a competitive firm with a friendly work environment. Associates praise the sophisticated work and the social and friendly atmosphere. Its easy to get work, says a litigator, and a real estate lawyer notes that the people are fun, helpful and intelligent. A corporate associate describes the culture as very friendly, diverse and professional and says many attorneys socialize outside of the office. A first-year elaborates: The firm sponsors many community events, charitable or otherwise. Older shareholders tend to be more conservative. Newer shareholders and associates are a mix of liberal and conservative. Many of the lawyers are people I would choose to hang out with, even if I didnt work with them every day! exclaims a second-year. Still, an associate in a different class longs for the fun-loving days of summer: When I clerked I thought the lawyers were a very social group. However, now that I am here, I find the lawyers indifferent. Associates appreciate that partners always take time to train and explain new issues and tasks, and the firm earns high marks for mentoring and informal training. Along the same lines, associate/partner relations represent another high point, though one experienced lawyer believes that there are too many layers of management and a lack of communication between departments. Perhaps thats partly a result of the firms relatively large size; one contact says that the size makes it difficult to maintain inner-office relationships. Formal training earns the firm its lowest marks, though associates dont elaborate on the programs limitations. As for the workload, its a big firm but not a pressure cooker, according to one inside source. Another associate describes the hours as fairly flexible for morning people. But a first-year worries that the recent increase in salary
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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Cox Smith Matthews Incorporated

will result in a higher minimum billable hour requirement. Other attorneys express concern that the absence of a part-time policy makes it harder for the firm to retain women with families. Speaking of salary, associates are all smiles when it comes to compensation. Moreover, one contact considers it a plus that the bonus is based in part on community involvement.

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Crowe & Dunlevy, A Professional Corporation


20 North Broadway, Suite 1800 Oklahoma City, OK 73102 Phone: (405) 235-7700 www.crowedunlevy.com

THE STATS
No. of attorneys: Firmwide: 114 Oklahoma City: 85 Tulsa: 25 Norman 4 No. of offices: 3 Summer associate offers (2006): Firmwide: 3 out of 3 Oklahoma City: 3 out of 3 Firm President: Brooke S. Murphy Hiring Attorneys: Oklahoma City and Norman: William H. Hoch III Tulsa: Victor Morgan

LOCATIONS
Oklahoma City, OK (HQ) Norman, OK Tulsa, OK

MAJOR DEPARTMENTS & PRACTICES


Business Energy & Natural Resources Litigation

NOTABLE PERKS
Matching contribution to 401(k) plan Bar review and exam expenses Relocation costs

BASE SALARY (2006)


Oklahoma City, OK 1st year: $90,000* Summer associate: $1,500/week (2L); $1,250/week (1L) *Plus signing bonus

EMPLOYMENT CONTACT
Ms. Lindsey A. Esplin Recruiting Coordinator Phone: (405) 234-3259 Fax: (405) 272-5213 E-mail: esplinl@crowedunlevy.com

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Crowe & Dunlevy, A Professional Corporation

THE SCOOP
Crowe & Dunlevy is one of the oldest and largest law firms in Oklahoma. Since its founding in Oklahoma City in 1902, the firm has enjoyed steady and consistent growth, adding an office in Tulsa in 1989 and one in Norman in 1991. With more than 110 lawyers, Crowe & Dunlevy represents clients in various aspects of the law, focusing on complex business transactions, complex litigation, labor and employment, energy law and all forms of dispute resolution. The firms clients range from individuals and small businesses to large national and multinational corporations. In one recent case, the firm represented a number of business and civic group leaders in a challenge to Initiative Petition No. 726, the so-called Taxpayer Bill of Rights, that has drawn sharp reactions from Oklahoma business and civic groups and received extensive media coverage. TaBOR is designed to limit the states ability to tax by tying allowable taxation rates to inflation and population increases. However, it also limits available tax revenue for social programs like education. Together with other opponents of the bill, Crowe & Dunlevys efforts were successful, and the Oklahoma Supreme Court rejected Petition No. 726 in August 2006. Crowe & Dunlevy attorneys also recently assisted Tom L. Ward, former president and chief operating officer of Chesapeake Energy Corporation, in connection with his acquisition of approximately 40 percent of the common stock of SandRidge Energy, Inc. (formerly Riata Energy) from SandRidges controlling shareholder for $500 million. Crowe & Dunlevy has substantial experience in energy litigation and in proceedings before the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, which regulates all phases of the exploration and production of oil and gas in Oklahoma. Firm attorneys regularly practice before the commission in contested proceedings over well spacing and increased density applications, as well as in enforcement proceedings. The firm has been involved in royalty underpayment class actions in both state and federal courts, and has defended major and independent energy companies in all manner of energy litigation, from pollution cases to contract disputes over processing of natural gas and extraction of natural gas liquids. The Chambers USA Guide has given the firms litigation, corporate, and labor and employment departments its highest ranking in the state of Oklahoma. Individual attorneys from the firm recently received the top-tier rating in each

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Crowe & Dunlevy, A Professional Corporation

of these areas. Most recently, 49 of the firms lawyers (nearly half the firms attorney roster) appeared in the 2007 edition of Best Lawyers in America. Crowe & Dunlevys diversity programs also deserve special mention. In addition to sponsoring the ABA Legal Opportunity Scholarship and Spirit of Excellence Awards (celebrating the achievements of diverse lawyers) and establishing its own minority scholarship program at the University of Oklahoma College of Law, the firm has made several historic steps in furthering diversity. Judy Hamilton Morse, who currently chairs the litigation department, was president of Crowe & Dunlevy from 1997 to 1999and the only woman ever to head a major Oklahoma-based law firm. In April 2006, the firm elected its second female president, Brooke S. Murphy, whose practice focuses mainly on health care and insurance litigation. As of 2006, women represent 18 percent of the firms shareholders and 35 percent of its associates. Minorities also fare well here, comprising 13 percent of the firms associates and 10 percent of shareholders, well above the nationwide average for minority partner representation. In another historic move, Jerome Holmes, chair of the firms diversity committee, was recently confirmed by the U.S. Senate for appointment to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. Holmes is the 10th Circuits first African-American judge.

GETTING HIRED
According to the firm, Crowe & Dunlevy hires lawyers and law students who have outstanding scholastic achievements, strong intellectual abilities, work experience and well-developed interpersonal skills. And associates seem to agree. A first-year reports, Crowe & Dunlevy is extremely selective and only considers applicants in the top 5 percent at their law school or lateral hires with extensive business experience. The firm interviews on the campuses of several area law schools, including the University of Oklahoma, the Oklahoma City University and the University of Tulsa, and also participates in the Sunbelt Minority Recruiting Program in Dallas, Texas. In addition, Crowe & Dunlevy welcomes resumes from qualified students at all ABA-accredited law schools who have an interest in practicing at Crowe & Dunlevy or in Oklahoma.

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Fellers, Snider, Blankenship, Bailey & Tippens, P.C.


Chase Tower 100 N. Broadway, Suite 1700 Oklahoma City, OK 73102-8820 Phone: (405) 232-0621 www.fellerssnider.com

THE STATS
No. of attorneys: Firmwide: 52 Oklahoma City: 37 Tulsa: 15 No. of offices: 2 Managing Director: Kevin R. Donelson

LOCATIONS
Oklahoma City, OK (HQ) Tulsa, OK

EMPLOYMENT CONTACTS
Mr. Brent Johnson Recruiting Coordinator Phone: (405) 232-0621 Fax: (405) 232-9659 E-mail: bjohnson@fellerssnider.com Ms. Kelli M. Masters Recruiting Coordinator Phone: (405) 232-0621 Fax: (405) 232-9659 E-mail: kmasters@fellerssnider.com

MAJOR DEPARTMENTS & PRACTICES


Aircraft Title & Financing Banking & Bank Regulation Bankruptcy Business, Corporate & Securities Law Domestic Relations Employment & Labor Law Energy, Environmental & Natural Resources Equine & Agricultural Law Intellectual Property Litigation Native American Law Real Estate & Commercial Transactions Tax Telecommunications Trusts, Probate & Estate Planning Workers Compensation

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Fellers, Snider, Blankenship, Bailey & Tippens, P.C.

THE SCOOP
A relatively young law firm, Fellers, Snider, Blankenship, Bailey & Tippens has been growing steadily over the last 40-plus years. Founded in Oklahoma City in 1963, the firm has since added a second office in Tulsa. Fellers Snider offers diverse services of both local and national scope, ranging from litigation to banking, from civil rights to corporate law, and from real estate to intellectual property. Among the firms nationally known clients are Aetna, American Express, Hertz, Wal-Mart and the beleaguered Enron. The firms litigation practice enjoys a particularly strong reputation. In 2006, Fellers Snider was named to The Chambers USA Guide, with some commentators describing the firm as easily top-tier. The firm rates as one of the top five law practices in Oklahoma, according to a recent Corporate Board Member magazine survey of board directors and in-house counsel. In addition, Best Lawyers in America has listed six Fellers Snider attorneys in its 2007 edition. As for individual commendations, Fellers Snider director (and Miss Oklahoma 1997) Kelli Mastersa sports agent who represents such local legends as Olympic gymnast Guard Young, Olympic weightlifter Shane Hamman and Tennessee Titans quarterback Cody Hodgeswas named the 2006 Woman of the Year by the Oklahoma City Journal Record. Some of the firms specialties have a distinctly Southwestern flavor. For example, attorneys in the firms Native American law group serve as counsel to several tribes. In energy-related matters, the firm represents such entities as BP, ExxonMobil, Halliburton, Reliant Energy and Oklahoma Gas & Electric. The states thriving equine industry provides a source of litigation for the firm, as the group confronts issues of ownership, syndication and the building of racinos (entertainment complexes featuring casino gambling and horse racing). Fellers also houses a practice group focused on aircraft title and licensing; with the FAAs Aircraft Registry located in Oklahoma City, the firm has ready access to the governmental office for recording title documents related to all civil aircraft in the United States. In one typical recent deal, Fellers Snider represented the Caliber Development Co. in its purchase of more than 1,000 acres in East Edmond from Frankfurts & Associates and Pleasant Valley Development for $13.4 million. According to press reports, Caliber intends to use the vast stretch of land for residential development. In one of the firms largest recent cases, a Fellers Snider attorney convinced the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate an $18 million damages award in favor of its client, Unitherm Food Systems, an industrial oven manufacturer. The

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Fellers, Snider, Blankenship, Bailey & Tippens, P.C.

case also established a critical (if esoteric) new rule of procedural law. Unitherm alleged that food manufacturer ConAgra Foods committed antitrust violations in connection with a Walker Process claim. Specifically, Unitherm claimed that ConAgra acquired a patent by committing fraud on the patent office and subsequently attempted to illegally monopolize the market by utilizing the ill-gotten patent. After Unitherm succeeded at trial, ConAgra successfully appealed, with an appellate panel ordering a new trial. Fellers Snider then took the case to the Supreme Court, where the firm argued that ConAgra failed to properly appeal the case. The lands highest court agreed, holding that ConAgra waived its right to a new trial by not filing a required motion after the jury verdict in timely fashionan $18 million, precedentsetting mistake.

GETTING HIRED
Fellers Sniders strong intellectual property practice translates into a strong emphasis on attracting and hiring lawyers with technical backgrounds. Approximately one-fourth of the firms 50-plus attorneys are degreed scientists and engineers, and numerous others have extensive experience handling technical legal mattersa quick glance through the attorney profiles on the firms web site uncovers more BSs and MSs than LLMs. Even many of the humanities majors have backgrounds in such fields as electrical engineering, geology, physics, geophysics, chemistry and biomedical science. That said, as a general-practice firm with a diverse range of departments and services, Fellers Snider seeks a diverse range of attorneys. Unlike firms that limit their search to, say, Ivy League standouts, charismatic rainmakers or prototypical litigators, Fellers Snider prides itself on not having a specific type.

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Fennemore Craig, P.C.


3003 North Central Avenue Suite 2600 Phoenix, AZ 85012-2913 Phone: (602) 916-5000 www.fennemorecraig.com

MAJOR DEPARTMENTS & PRACTICES


Administrative Law & Government Procurement Agribusiness Alternative Dispute Resolution Antitrust Law & Trade Regulation Appeals Bankruptcy & Creditors Rights Business & Finance Business & Personal Injury Torts Commercial Litigation Commercial & Real Estate Finance Condemnation Construction Disputes & Defects Construction Law ERISA & Employee Benefits Environment Estate Planning & Probate Government Lands Government Relations Health Care & Bioscience Immigration Indian Law Insurance Coverage & Bad Faith Intellectual Property International Labor & Employment Land Use & Zoning Litigation Medical Negligence Defense Mergers & Acquisitions Mining Natural Resources & Endangered Species Nonprofit Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Product Liability Professional Liability Public Utilities & Telecommunications Real Estate & Real Estate Litigation Securities Litigation Securities Regulation Sports Tax & Tax Controversies Toxic Torts Transportation & Distribution Water White Collar Criminal Defense Workers Compensation

LOCATIONS
Phoenix, AZ (HQ) Las Vegas, NV Nogales, AZ Tucson, AZ

THE STATS
No. of attorneys: Firmwide: 170 Phoenix: 155 No. of offices: 4 Summer associate offers (2005): Firmwide: 9 out of 10 Phoenix: 9 out of 10 Management Committee Chair: Timothy J. Berg Hiring Attorney: Lori A. Higuera

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Fennemore Craig, P.C.

UPPERS
Challenging, interesting work Excellent balance between work and family

BASE SALARY (2006)


Phoenix, AZ 1st year: $110,000 Summer associate: $1,825/week

DOWNERS
Sometimes long hours Those in smaller practice groups can feel isolated

EMPLOYMENT CONTACT
Ms. Laura J. Zilmer Attorney Recruitment & Development Administrator Phone: (602) 916-5272 Fax: (602) 916-5957 E-mail: lzilmer@fclaw.com

NOTABLE PERKS
Great benefits Regular catered lunches Annual retreat at a nice resort The offices are beautiful, which is important. Youll spend a lot of time at work!

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Fennemore Craig, P.C.

THE SCOOP
Founded in 1885three decades before Arizona became a stateFennemore Craig rates as one of the oldest and largest law firms in the Southwest. The firm now employs nearly 200 attorneys and maintains four offices: its Phoenix headquarters, branches in Nogales and Tucson, and a recently opened Las Vegas outpost. The firms Southwest locale translates into emphases in such areas as transportation, telecommunications, real estate and finance. In recent years, Fennemore Craig has also developed a strong technology practice. Based on a survey of directors from companies listed on NASDAQ and the New York and American Stock Exchanges, the 2006 issue of Corporate Board Member magazine ranked Fennemore Craig as the second-best corporate law firm in Phoenix (behind only Snell & Wilmer). The firms list of representative clients ranges from 7-Eleven Inc. and Apple Computer to the Arizona Cattle Growers Association and the Home Builders Association of Central Arizona. Fennemore also has a substantial sports practice and serves as outside counsel to the Phoenix Suns. The firm not only represented the NBA team in its negotiations with the city to develop the America West Arena but now also serves as counsel to that arena. The firm also represents the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority, a state governmental corporation, and advised the Miami Heat in connection with the development and operation of the American Airlines Arena in Miami. In recent litigation, the firm represented former Pinal County Manager Stanley Griffis in a lawsuit involving the privacy of government officials personal emails. Griffis had been suspended in 2005 pending an investigation into whether hed used public funds to buy firearms, and Phoenix Newspapers Inc. sought access to his e-mails. In August 2006 the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Griffis, holding that the public is not entitled to read the private e-mails of public officials, even if theyre located on a government computer.

GETTING HIRED
Simply put, the Phoenix legal market is less competitive than those in other major cities, associates say. If you come from a top-10 school and want to live and work in Phoenix, no problems, assures one inside source. As for specific criteria, a junior litigator advises, Law school grades are important and, for young associates, are necessary for getting an interview. But the

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Fennemore Craig, P.C.

firm is also looking for a well-rounded candidate who, for example, is involved in the community and takes on leadership opportunities. A transactional attorney suggests the firm may have more stringent requirements: Applicants must be from a top-rated law school, ranked in the top 15 percent of their class, and [have] served on their schools law reviews, law journals, or moot court or mock trial teams.

OUR SURVEY SAYS


Fennemore Craigs associates report a high level of happiness with their work and their firm. Im very satisfied with the variety of projects Im working on, and that Im getting more and more responsibility even over the course of one year, says a second-year in the Phoenix headquarters. The firm provides an excellent balance of challenging and interesting work associated with large firms and understanding of attorneys personal lives, adds a more experienced source. Associates refer to the firms culture as professional, friendly, conservative, collegial, relaxed, supportive and easygoing, noting that there is significant socialization outside of the office. A young litigator observes, Younger lawyers tend to hang out together on weekends and evenings. It is not the type of firm where you need to ingratiate yourself with certain partners for political reasons. Although associates praise the generally collegial atmosphere, a few note that there could be more of a team approach in organizing cases and assignments. The firm can be very segregational and if [you are] in a small practice group you can feel very isolated, notes one such isolated sort. Associates give the firms partners extremely high marks, calling them professional, respectful and supportive. According to a midlevel lawyer, The firm has an excellent open-door policy. All of the attorneys are very approachable and open to helping associates with their work. And, unlike many firms, associates actually seem to have a role in firmwide actions. A litigator tells us, The partners are probably overly concerned with obtaining associate input. Associates serve on most of the major firm committees and the partners seem to consider associate input in most decisions. Fennemore Craigs young lawyers offer enthusiastic praise for the firms formal training program. All first-year litigators receive extensive advocacy training in a mock-trial program that lasts over six months and culminates in a trial,
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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Fennemore Craig, P.C.

says one trial attorney. This is in addition to seminars on writing and other associate training. A senior associate enthuses, Best training programs I have ever seen offered at a law firm! We have real estate continuing education classes during lunch on most Fridaystraining associates is a top priority. Provided you work the hours, the firms compensation plan is line with other major firms in the area, according to associates. The firm is tops for the Phoenix market, says a third-year. If you work big firm hours you will receive a significant bonus. A senior associates response is more measured: Compensation is commensurate with expectations. This is not the most high-paying firm in Phoenix, but few of the associates are billing at the rates expected at firms of comparable size. In addition, the bonus structure is established to reward those attorneys willing to bill beyond the firms minimum requirementsmaking pay more comparable to other firms. One common gripe: the firm does not duly reward pro bono work. As one junior attorney complains, I would like to see pro bono work better promoted and rewarded within the firms billable hour and compensation structure.

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Fennemore Craig, P.C.

Best training programs I have ever seen offered at a law firm! Training associates is a top priority.
Fennemore Craig associate

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Fish & Richardson P.C.


1717 Main Street, Suite 5000 Dallas, TX 75201 Phone: (214) 747-5070 www.fr.com

THE STATS
No. of attorneys: Firmwide: 375+ Austin: 23 Dallas: 54 No. of offices: 10 Summer associate offers (2006): Firmwide: 62 out of 66 Austin: 2 out of 2 Dallas: 11 out of 12 President: Peter Devlin Hiring Attorney: Firmwide: John F. Hayden

LOCATIONS
Atlanta, GA Austin, TX Boston, MA Dallas, TX Minneapolis, MN New York, NY Redwood City, CA San Diego, CA Washington, DC Wilmington, DE

MAJOR DEPARTMENTS & PRACTICES


Corporate & Securities Intellectual Property Licensing Litigation & Dispute Resolution Media & Entertainment Patent Prosecution & Strategic Counseling Regulatory & Government Affairs Trademarks & Copyrights

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Fish & Richardson P.C.

UPPERS
Friendly, nonhierarchical culture Relatively reasonable hours

BASE SALARY (2006)


Austin, Dallas, TX 1st year: $135,000 Summer associate: $2,600/week (2007)

DOWNERS
Little training Narrow IP focus

EMPLOYMENT CONTACT
Ms. Kelly E. Anderson Recruiting Coordinator, Austin & Dallas Phone: (214) 747-5070 Fax: (214) 747-2091 E-mail: work@fr.com

NOTABLE PERKS
$500/year tech budget 401(k) contribution Moving expenses Discounts at local retailers

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Fish & Richardson P.C.

THE SCOOP
Theres more than one Fish in the sea (though not according to the firms 2005 ad campaign), but theres only one Fish & Richardson P.C. Fish & Richardson traces its roots back to 1878, when Frederick Perry Fish was part of a law partnership in Boston that specialized in patents and patent litigation. Fish teamed with William K. Richardson in 1889 and Charles Neave in 1893. In 1969 the descendants of that firm split in two, and Fish & Richardson remained in Boston, while IP rival Fish & Neave has since been folded into Ropes & Gray. F&R now has more than 375 attorneys in 10 offices across the country, including Austin and Dallas. Though the firm has changed since its founding, it has remained true to its patent beginnings. Fish & Richardson is one of the top IP firms in the country, and has been cited numerous times by trade publications as the top patent litigation firm in the industry. The firm practices in a handful of other areas, including corporate, regulatory and government affairs. In a settlement approved in December 2005, Dallas-based bankruptcy lawyers won $8 million for Fish & Richardson clients, former investors in an internet service provider that went belly-up. In other Dallas news, the firm snagged a major score for that growing office when it hired former City Attorney Madeleine Johnson as a principal. Johnson will handle commercial litigation, whitecollar defense and government investigations.

GETTING HIRED
Fish & Richardson has high standards. The firm looks for top-tier schools and very good grades, says one source. An Austin lawyer agrees that potential Fishes must have strong grades from top schools and notes that an engineering background helps. We are primarily looking for candidates with a strong aptitude in a technical field who have good personalities, observes a contact. Another insider claims the firm is looking for a particular type of personality that fits in well with our friendly, eclectic bunch of lawyers. The firms high standards apply firmwide. Fish & Richardson hires only top-tier candidates, which really helps the already great interoffice working relationships because you know that whoever is assigned to your case, even if from another office, is going to be really good at what they do, says a Dallas lawyer.

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Fish & Richardson P.C.

OUR SURVEY SAYS


What makes Fish & Richardson a great place to work? Amazing work experience, great people [and] manageable hours, according to a Dallas associate. Another insider says the firm provides very interesting case work, direct client and partner contact and is very supportive of outside pro bono projects. The quality of clients and work is excellent, says an attorney from the firms Austin office. There is a lot of opportunity for early responsibility, as well as opportunities to work with other offices. The lovefest continues. The cases that we tend to attract are interesting, difficult cases, says a junior associate. As a result, the work experience is great and made better by the people I work with. A strong culture buoys F&Rs Texas associates. Our lawyers definitely tend to socialize and the office culture is very collegial, reports a Lone Star lawyer. This is a great place to workthe people are very friendly, always willing to help and give advice or constructive criticism, as needed, says a Dallas insider. The type of attorneys at this firm are very Type A and are really go-getters, notes another contact. You wont have to worry about problem partners. The firms associates enjoy great relationships with partners and feel almost no hierarchy/distinction. The partnership is very open with associates on firmwide issues like finances, direction and so on, a Dallas lawyer tells us. Dont expect a lot of hand-holding, however. The firm offers almost no formal training and is, in fact, almost all trial-by-error. Texas lawyers are cashing in. Base salary is well above market and hoursbased bonuses are generous and attainable, says one source in Dallas. Salary and potential end-of-year bonuses are above market and superior in Dallas, agrees another lawyer from that office. An Austin attorney is similarly pleased, saying that billable hours are very reasonable and the bonus structure for hours-based bonuses is generous. Fish & Richardson manages to be generous without completely ruining your life. The firms expectations regarding hours versus what associates are compensated is better than any other firm I have seen or heard of, says one appreciative source. Our hours are fairly average and I do not feel like the goals are unattainable, agrees a Dallas associate who enjoys a good balance of personal and work lives. The firm has no such thing as face time. As long as you are completing your work and meeting your billable goal, you will be considered to be performing satisfactorily, states another contact.

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Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P.


Fulbright Tower 1301 McKinney, Suite 5100 Houston, TX 77010-3095 Phone: (713) 651-5151 www.fulbright.com

THE STATS
No. of attorneys: Firmwide: 985 Houston 323 Austin 81 Dallas 123 San Antonio 63 No. of offices: 14 Summer associate offers (2005): Firmwide: 128 out of 145 Houston: 38 out of 48 Austin: 13 out of 15 Dallas: 19 out of 22 San Antonio: 3 out of 5 Chair of Executive Committee: Steven B. Pfeiffer Hiring Partners: Houston: Rachel Clingman, Carter Crow Austin: Sherrard (Butch) Hayes Dallas: Walter Herring San Antonio: Steven Jansma

LOCATIONS
Houston, TX (HQ) Austin, TX Dallas, TX Los Angeles, CA Minneapolis, MN New York, NY San Antonio, TX St. Louis, MO Washington, DC Dubai Hong Kong London Munich Riyadh

MAJOR DEPARTMENTS & PRACTICES


Admiralty Alternative Dispute Resolution Appellate Bankruptcy, Reorganization & Creditors Rights Biotechnology & Technology Transfer Bond Financing Corporate & Securities Employee Benefits Energy Environmental Facility Management Family Law Government Relations Health Care Information Technology Intellectual Property & Technology International Labor & Employment Litigation Product Liability Project Finance Public Finance Public-Private Partnerships & Economic Incentives Real Estate & Development Records Management Semiconductor Industry Tax Technology & Emerging Companies Trademarks Trust & Estates Utilities & Energy Regulation Venture Capital

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P.

UPPERS
Relaxed culture Sophisticated work

BASE SALARY (2006)


All Texas offices 1st year: $135,000 Summer associate: $2,700/week

DOWNERS
Difficult partnership track Cases too important to gain early experience

EMPLOYMENT CONTACTS
Houston Ms. Katie Mattingly Manager of Attorney Recruiting Phone: (713) 651-3715 E-mail: kmattingly@fulbright.com Austin Ms. Leigh Christie Recruiting Manager Phone: (512) 536-5324 E-mail: lchristie@fulbright.com Dallas Ms. Jaimee Slovak Recruiting Manager Phone: (214) 855-8000 Fax: (214) 855-8200 E-mail: jslovak@fulbright.com San Antonio Ms. Kate Crawford Recruiting Coordinator Phone: (210) 224-5575 Fax: (210) 270-7205 E-mail: kcrawford@fulbright.com

NOTABLE PERKS
Tickets to theater and sporting events Paid moving expenses Free or subsidized parking

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P.

THE SCOOP
Founded in Houston in 1919, Fulbright Jaworski is the largest law firm in Texas. Houston attorneys R. Clarence Fulbright and John Crooker were the first to sign on, while name partner Leon Jaworski, who served as special prosecutor for the infamous Watergate scandal, came along later in the century. The firm specializes in corporate finance and litigation, with a lot of its clients, such as Exxon and Mobil, coming from the oil and gas industry. In fact, the firm is considered one of the top energy law firms in the country. Fulbright has also been building up its already substantial practice in the health care industry. Among other recent victories, the firm won dismissal of a class-action lawsuit against clients Baptist Health System and American Hospital Association in which the plaintiffs alleged that BHS charged unfair rates for treatment of uninsured patients. Fulbrights Texas offices have separate identities and subspecialties and have also gained many accolades over the years. Two Houston attorneys, Linda Addison and Mark Baker, were recently voted two of the 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America by The National Law Journal, and the Houston office has been named to the Houston Business Journals list of the Best Places to Work for several years in a row. Meanwhile, the Dallas office is busy celebrating its 25th anniversary. Fulbrights Austin office, located in Texas tech corridor, naturally specializes in areas of law pertinent to technology companies, such as patent and trademark, information technology and intellectual property. It recently gained 35 patent, trademark and technology attorneys and scientific advisors, many of whom came from Austin specialty firm Arnold, White & Durkee.

GETTING HIRED
Associates at Fulbright agree that hiring is extremely competitive. Fulbright looks for candidates that are smart and outgoing, says a Dallas associate. Fulbright seems to favor candidates that are well rounded and will work well with clients. There are grade cutoffs at every school. Insiders say the firm concentrates its efforts on the University of Texas and top-10 ranked schools (though one attorney thinks the firm is way too lax about its hiring standards with University of Texas students as compared to other schools). According to a Houston lawyer, Our firm is looking for top-of-their-class students, driven to succeed, competitive, willing to work hard, tough-skinned,

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P.

but who still like to have a life outside the office. Austin associates say their office is particularly competitive because a lot of people want to live here. A litigator in that office reports, Our recruits have excellent resumes, frequently with advanced degrees in something other than law or interesting work experience.

OUR SURVEY SAYS


There must be something in the air at Fulbrights Texas offices, because our survey found associates to be almost uniformly content. FJ is a firm in which work is taken very seriously, but people are friends and definitely care about each other, says one Houston associate. The atmosphere is described as friendly and outgoing, and socially collegial, politically diverse. We tend to socialize during the week, often going out to lunch together and going out for drinks after work a few times a month, says a first-year associate. But it is also very family-friendly (in the Dallas office in particular), as the office is relatively young in general, adds a Dallas attorney. On a daily basis relationships are very good between partners and associates, says a Houston insider who notes, however, that information is sometimes very slow to trickle down to the associates and associates do not participate in firm decision making. Dallas associates may be kept more in the loop; according to one source, The managing partners in the Dallas office regularly meet with the associates and give updates on firmwide developments, office developments and firm finances. While the firm has a thorough formal training program for first-year litigation attorneys, corporate attorneys feel less prepared. Transactional training is more sporadic and tends to be more theoretical instead of practical, says a corporate associate. On a more informal level, says a fifthyear, partners and senior associates are very good about reaching out to younger associates and providing them with guidance. The partners you work with are constantly providing feedback and mentoring, agrees an IP lawyer. On the flip side, one fourth-year complains, With the exception of one or two brilliant mentors, the majority wont even bother to say hello let alone spend time mentoring you. Associates are surprisingly happy with both their hours and their compensation. My big and prestigious firm is actually less of a sweatshop than most, says a Houston contact. They are flexible about when you are in the office, as long as you get your hours billed and work done. The hours
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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P.

are long when there is something that needs to be done, but otherwise, I can maintain an 8:30-to-6:30 day, reports an Austin associate. But one Dallas lawyer contends that face time here is horrific. Associates laud the very good part-time work schedule, saying the firm is wonderful about adjustments to scheduling. Plus, recent pay increases have associates beaming. The firm raised associate salaries last month, so associates are very happy with their compensation level at this time, says an Austin associate. We are paid exceptionally well and have a very satisfying bonus structure, adds a third-year. Still, some worry about increased billable hour pressure, and others concede that while they make a ridiculous amount of money, it is also a ridiculous amount of work.

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Gallagher & Kennedy, P.A.


2575 East Camelback Road Phoenix, AZ 85016-9225 Phone: (602) 530-8000 www.gknet.com

THE STATS
No. of attorneys: Firmwide: 102 Phoenix: 99 No. of offices: 3 Summer associate offers (2006): Firmwide: 5 out of 6 Phoenix: 5 out of 6 Managing Shareholder: Dean C. Short II Hiring Shareholder: Michael K. Kennedy

LOCATIONS
Phoenix, AZ (HQ) Prescott, AZ Santa Fe, NM

MAJOR DEPARTMENTS & PRACTICES


Business Law Environmental & Natural Resources Health Law Intellectual Property Litigation Real Estate Taxation

NOTABLE PERKS
Profit sharing and 401(k) plans Bar review/exam expenses plus study stipend Free parking Relocation expenses

BASE SALARY (2006)


Phoenix, AZ 1st year: $110,000 Summer associate: $1,900/week

EMPLOYMENT CONTACT
Ms. Amanda R. Powell Attorney Recruitment Coordinator Phone: (602) 530-8000 E-mail: arp@gknet.com

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Gallagher & Kennedy, P.A.

THE SCOOP
Founded in 1978, the full-service, Phoenix-based law firm Gallagher & Kennedy has grown to over 100 attorneys. The firm now also maintains teeny tiny offices in Santa Fe, N.M. (two lonely attorneys) and Prescott, Ariz. (one lonely attorney). Gallagher & Kennedy is generally considered to be among the top five business firms in Phoenix, as evidenced by a recent survey conducted by Corporate Board Member magazine. Although the firms greatest strength is probably its litigation practice, Gallagher & Kennedy maintains seven departments, including business, health, real estate, and environmental and natural resources. Representative clients include Phelps Dodge Corporation, Opus West Corporation, the Arizona Cardinals, the Arizona Diamondbacks and Motorola, Inc. Gallagher & Kennedy has recently won a number of high-profile cases, including most notably the dismissal of a federal lawsuit against its client, Senator John McCain. In Soling v. McCain, plaintiff Chester Soling alleged that Sen. McCainthe co-author of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance billunlawfully accepted campaign contributions from out-of-state contributors in 2004. Gallagher & Kennedy moved to dismiss, pointing out that Solings suggestion that the constitutional guarantee of a republican government requires senators to be beholden only to their own constituents and therefore precludes out-of-state contributionshad no support in case law. The district court agreed and dismissed the case. The firms litigation department recently won a 100 percent condemnation verdict against the Maricopa County Flood Control District. The case centered on the taking of a 10-acre parcel, which the state appraiser valued at only $95,000 per acre, in order to construct a water detention basin. Following a four-day trial, a Maricopa County jury awarded the firms client the full amount of just compensation he sought$150,000 per acre, for a total of $2.1 milliona very rare award in condemnation cases. In another notable win, Gallaghers litigators successfully defended the nations largest homebuilder, D.R. Horton, in a potentially massive construction-defect suit brought by homeowners in a Chandler, Ariz., subdivision. Initiated as a class action, the suit alleged a variety of construction defects in the 66-home subdivision. Gallagher & Kennedy first successfully prevented the class certification and, subsequently, succeeded in persuading the Arizona state court to dismiss all but four of the plaintiffs. After the four remaining plaintiffs rejected a $40,000 settlement offer, a jury awarded them a total of only $6,225.

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Gallagher & Kennedy, P.A.

In 2006, the firms real estate department closed one of the largest land deals (based on price) in Arizona history, a two-stage $317 million acquisition of 10,000 acres just outside of Mobile. The firm will now guide the venture a joint project by Montage Holdings and Weyerhaeuser Realty Investors through the annexation, the development of a land plan, the entitlement process, and the sale of individual parcels to developers and home builders. In recent years, the firm has consistently had a handful of attorneys listed in The Best Lawyers in America (20 in 2006) and Chambers USA: Americas Leading Lawyers for Business (10 in 2006). Gallagher & Kennedy was also ranked as a leading Arizona firm by Chambers in five areas: environmental law, general commercial litigation, white-collar crime and governmental investigations, real estate (general) and real estate (zoning/land use). Perhaps of even greater moment for potential future associates, the firm recently won the Maricopa Country Bar Associations Quality of Life Award in the large law firm category and was also selected as one of the Best Places to Work in the Valley by The Business Journal.

GETTING HIRED
Gallagher & Kennedy seeks motivated, bright and energetic students who combine intelligence with strong interpersonal skills and a variety of interests. Each years summer class consists of approximately a half-dozen well-rounded and creative students who are dedicated to the practice of law. The firm keeps the summer program comparatively small in order to provide individualized attention and training. Each summer associate is matched with two mentorsa shareholder and an associatewho periodically review and discuss their work. In 2006, Gallagher & Kennedy conducted on-campus interviews at more than a dozen schools across the country, including Arizona State University, University of Arizona, Brigham Young University, Northwestern University, University of Kansas, University of Iowa, University of Oklahoma, University of Michigan, University of Notre Dame, UCLA, University of Southern California, University of Texas and Vanderbilt University. The firm also participated in the Sunbelt Minority Job Fair and the Rocky Mountain Diversity Legal Career Fair.

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Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP


1601 Elm Street, Suite 3000 Dallas, TX 75201 Phone: (214) 999-3000 www.gardere.com

THE STATS
No. of attorneys: Firmwide: 286 Dallas: 171 Houston: 93 Austin: 15 No. of offices: 4 Summer associate offers (2005): Firmwide: 16 out of 25 Dallas: 9 out of 16 Houston: 7 out of 9 Managing Partner: Stephen D. Good Hiring Partners: Dallas: Michael H. Newman Houston: Stephen D. Elison

LOCATIONS
Dallas, TX (HQ) Austin, TX Houston, TX Mexico City

MAJOR DEPARTMENTS & PRACTICES


Antitrust Appellate Banking Bankruptcy Biotechnology Corporate Governance Corporate Securities Employee Benefits Energy Environmental Food & Beverage Industry Government Contracts Health Care Immigration Intellectual Property Labor & Employment Litigation Oil & Gas Real Estate Tax Trusts & Estates White-Collar Crime & Compliance

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP

UPPERS
Good compensation Variety and quality of work

BASE SALARY (2006)


Dallas & Houston, TX 1st year: $135,000 Summer associate: $2,300/week (2L); $2,100/week (1L)

DOWNERS
Two-tiered partnership track No firm-provided BlackBerries

EMPLOYMENT CONTACT
Ms. Tammy Patterson Director of Recruiting and Professional Development Phone: (214) 999-4177 Fax: (214) 999-3177 E-mail: tpatterson@gardere.com

NOTABLE PERKS
Generous expense accounts Subsidized parking Annual associate-only retreat Lavish recruiting events

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP

THE SCOOP
Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP has been around for almost a hundred years, having opened its doors in Dallas in 1909. In 1995, the firm merged with Houston-based Sewell & Riggs. Today, Gardere is almost 300 attorneys strong, including lawyers in Mexico City who work at Gardere, Arena y Robles, S.C., a partnership of U.S. and Mexican attorneys. The Austin office basically serves as the firms lobbying branch and is comprised of a few partners, senior attorneys and government-savvy consultants. Associates interested in Gardere can take their pick of over 40 practice areas and expect to service big-name clients and work on high-profile cases. Gardere boasts that it represents 22 of the 43 Fortune 500 companies headquartered in Texas. The firm was among successful defense counsel for Wal-Mart in an $8 million product liability suit alleging that the retail giant sold a dangerous bicycle. In February 2006, after an eight-week trial, a California jury cleared the defendants of all liability. Gardere prides itself on its community connections and pro bono commitment. The firm has received many awards from the Dallas Bar Association for its pro bono work, including Pro Bono Law Firm of the Year and induction into its Pro Bono Hall of Fame. Beneficiaries of the firms services include such organizations as Dallas Habitat for Humanity, Youth for Tomorrow Foundation, I Have a Dream Foundation, North Texas Legal Clinic, Dallas International School, Legal Services of North Texas and the Jingle Bell Run. The firm is also well regarded in the local legal community. Associate Latosha Lewis was recently named president of the Houston Lawyers Association for 20062007, and partner Beverly Bell Godbey will lead the Dallas Bar Association in 2007.

GETTING HIRED
Like every big firm, it is highly competitive, says a Houston associate when asked about the firms hiring practices. University of Texas, SMU and University of Houston are [the] main schools, says one contact. The firm also recruits candidates from St. Marys and South Texas, but they have to have really good grades, according to a third-year. An insider notes that though the firm tends to focus more on Texas law schools, this summer we have more clerks coming from out of state than we do in state. In addition

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to high GPAs, the firm looks for interesting personalities. The firm wants people that are well rounded and know how to have a life outside of work, but are also in the top 5 to 10 percent of their class, says a litigation associate. Moreover, writing skills are a must to work here. A senior associate warns that candidates writing samples are scrutinized fairly heavily prior to making an offer.

OUR SURVEY SAYS


Gardere is a very nice place to work, according to our contacts. I am basically happy doing the work I do, with the people Im around, says a Dallas lawyer. Its not thrilling or meaningful or anything like that, says one associate, but its a nice place to work, and the work is nice, and the hours are nice, and the salary is nice. Open-door, friendly, down-to-earth, hardworking, is how one Houston associate describes the firm. Lawyers socialize together and the firm has a very collegial atmosphere, reports a litigator in Dallas. The culture and quality of life couldnt be better for a firm of this size, gushes a second-year. Even at work, people tend to have a pretty good time, and happy hours and social functions are regular occurrences. One associate describes the firm as diverse and very tolerant, with attorneys spanning the political spectrum from ultraconservative to liberal. Associates also feel that partners are approachable and willing to tackle any issues associates pose. But that doesnt mean they let associates rule the roost. Unsurprisingly, the partnership makes the key firmwide decisions. However, partner-associate relations are fairly informal and generally healthy, says a second year. But one midlevel points out that the quality of relations varies from partner to partner. Some are better than others. Many associates say that Gardere has excellent and extensive training programs. According to one insider, Both the litigation and corporate groups provide extensive and interactive (i.e., mock trials, depositions) training programs for all new associates. From what I have seen or heard about at other firms, our program is second to none, brags another associate. That opinion isnt shared by all: asked about formal training, one banking attorney tells us, There isnt much of it. Instead, she says, Whatever I know at this point, I learned from the partners in my department, not from any firmwide training program. Another associate observes, As there is not much turnover compared to some large or midsized firms, there is more time and effort spent in mentoring or informal training.

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP

The hours are long but reasonable, according to our respondents. Like every big firm, the hours requirement takes a toll on mind and body. However, the firm is very flexible in regards to making sure the associate takes care of personal things, says a litigation associate. One firm newcomer notes, I think we have to work less than many firms that pay comparably. While the firm has no stated billable hours requirement, bonuses started last year at 2,000 hours, but are much more significant at 2,050 and up, an associate explains. In a rare display of enthusiasm over compensationan area in which lawyers typically find something to complain about associates couldnt say enough good things about their salaries. Cannot complain about the compensation. It is great, raves a first-year. Outstanding, exclaims a second-year, adding that the firm recently raised associate compensation, matching and often exceeding the packages offered by larger firms. You get paid more than most, and still get to have a life.

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP

The culture and quality of life couldnt be better for a firm of this size.
Gardere Wynne Sewell associate

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Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP


2100 McKinney Avenue, Suite 1100 Dallas, TX 75201 Phone: (214) 698-3100 www.gibsondunn.com

THE STATS
No. of attorneys: Firmwide: 800+ Dallas: 41 No. of offices: 13 Summer associate offers (2005): Firmwide: 137 out of 140 Dallas: 7 out of 7 Managing Partner: Kenneth M. Doran Hiring Partner: David L. Sinak

LOCATIONS
Century City, CA Dallas, TX Denver, CO Irvine, CA Los Angeles, CA New York, NY Palo Alto, CA San Francisco, CA Washington, DC Brussels London Munich Paris

MAJOR DEPARTMENTS & PRACTICES


Antitrust & Trade Regulation Appellate & Constitutional Law Business Crimes & Investigations Business Restructuring & Reorganization Communications Consumer Class Action Corporate Transactions & Securities Crisis Management Emerging Technologies Employee Benefits Environment & Natural Resources Executive Compensation Financial Institutions Global Finance Government & Commercial Contracts Insurance & Reinsurance Intellectual Property International Trade Regulation & Compliance Labor & Employment Latin America Legal Malpractice Defense Litigation Media & Entertainment Private Equity Public Policy Real Estate Securities Litigation Tax

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP

UPPERS
Challenging work The moneys good

BASE SALARY (2006)


Dallas, TX 1st year: $135,000 2nd year: $140,000 3rd year: $155,000 Summer associate: $2,600/week

DOWNERS
Little to no formal training Slim partnership prospects

EMPLOYMENT CONTACT NOTABLE PERKS


Firmwide retreats in Palm Springs $1,000 annual client development budget Free laptops, BlackBerries & home wireless routers Free dinners Ms. Karen Castleman Recruiting Coordinator Phone: (214) 698-3211 Fax: (214) 571-2925 E-mail: kcastleman@gibsondunn.com

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP

THE SCOOP
While Gibson Dunn & Crutcher has nearly 135 years of experience behind it (the firm was founded in Los Angeles in 1872), the firms 22-year old Dallas office is still a youngster. Although the office remains relatively small, it has already joined the ranks of the elite Dallas law firms in terms of quality clients and sophisticated cases. Clients of the Dallas office include such household names as PricewaterhouseCoopers, Dell, Wal-Mart and Travelocity.com. Like Gibson Dunn associates elsewhere, lawyers in the Texas office can expect to work on complex deals and high-profile matters. The firms corporate attorneys recently represented D.R. Horton, Inc., the nations largest homebuilder, in a $750 million public offering. Gibson Dunn also represented Atmos in its $1.93 billion purchase of the natural gas assets from TXU to make Atmos the largest pure natural gas utility in the United States. Litigators also get their share of juicy cases. The firm has one of the countrys top antitrust practices, whose co-chair, M. Sean Royall, is a former deputy director at the Federal Trade Commission and a partner in the Dallas office. In 1999, the firm was part of a legal team that defended client Tenet Health Care against accusations that patients were held against their will, defrauded and mistreated in its psychiatric facilities. The National Law Journal lauded the case as the years Biggest Defense Win. Dallas partner-in-charge Karl Nelson won a recent press-worthy dismissal in a labor and employment suit in which employees of client Textron Inc. alleged that Textrons stock wasnt a good investment for the company to include in its company savings plan.

GETTING HIRED
Gibson Dunn associates across the board agree that if you dont have the grades, it will be tough, if not impossible, to get through the door. Gibson Dunn utilizes very strict grade cutoffs and allows no exceptions, says a Dallas associate. Moreover, a transcript full of As is only the beginning of the story. Interviews are important, and the firm is careful to only attract extremely intelligent people who can work within our culture, warns one associate. If the interview processwhich may involve interviews with up to 10 people, from partners to young associates, as everyone needs to have a good idea of youseems daunting, keep in mind that it also provides an

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP

opportunity for the applicant to [pose] different questions to different categories of persons.

OUR SURVEY SAYS


Overall, say insiders, Gibson Dunn has a culture of collegiality. Everyone is pretty normal and easy to get along with, says an experienced Dallas attorney. But that doesnt mean the firm is party-central. Gibson Dunns Dallas office is not very social, says a third-year. The people here mostly have families and tend to come in, get their work done and head home. Unfortunately no one really socializes at the firm outside of going to lunch, says a wistful first-year. It would be nice if they did, but its just not done. (However, one newcomer seems to have found a more actively social crowd, telling us, Yes, people hang out outside of work. There are a lot of social activities sponsored by the firm.) Politically, the firm leans right, shares one Dallas source, which is nice for those looking for a haven in the sea of left-leaning firms. The most-often praised aspects of Gibson Dunn-Dallas include the highlevel and challenging work, the people and the compensation. The firms free-market approach to work assignment seems to extend to its training methods. There is little formal training here. Training occurs by doing, not by formal instruction, reports a second-year. Another source confirms that theres no formal training. Its all on the job, though you have almost unlimited access to whatever CLE you are interested in. Similarly, dont expect a hand-holding senior associate or partner to guide your way. I have found a partner and a practice group that has a lot of one-on-one training and mentoring, but it seems to be the exception, not the rule, says a third-year associate. Dallas associates work hard but are fairly satisfied with their hours. There is no question that the firm expects a lot out of its associates, but the number of hours required still falls a little below similar firms, says a third-year. Most of the time the hours are not that bad, but there are peaks when the hours can become somewhat oppressive, adds a litigation associate. Another contact appreciates that the firm is great about technology, so you can work from home. No one is looking over your back, monitoring when you are in the office.

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP

Associates say the compensation is particularly good, especially in light of the cost of living in Dallas, and note that bonuses have risen enough to make the billable requirements more than fair. A first-year reports, Its a great salary for the hours you have to work. I mean, we are at the top of the Dallas market. One associate explains the bonus structure: There is a soft billable hour requirement of 1,950 that will usually put you in a pool to receive the standard bonus (at least at my experience level). Bonuses are still awarded at levels below 1,950, but they are smaller. Larger bonuses are provided to those whose billable hours reflect an abnormally high number of billable hours worked.

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Godwin Pappas Langley Ronquillo, LLP


Renaissance Tower 1201 Elm Street, Suite 1700 Dallas, TX 75270 Phone: (214) 939-4400 5 Houston Center 1401 McKinney Street, Suite 2700 Houston, TX 77010 Phone: (713) 425-7400 www.godwinpappas.com

THE STATS
No. of attorneys: Firmwide: 89 Dallas: 72 Houston: 17 No. of offices: 2 Chairman and CEO: Donald E. Godwin Managing Partner: Marcos G. Ronquillo

EMPLOYMENT CONTACT LOCATIONS


Dallas, TX Houston, TX E-mail: employment@godwinpappas.com

MAJOR DEPARTMENTS & PRACTICES


Appellate Banking Bankruptcy Commercial Litigation Energy Construction & Surety Corporate & Securities Employee Benefits Energy Environmental Estate Planning, Probate & Estate Litigation Family Law Health Law Litigation Immigration Intellectual Property Labor & Employment Mass Tort Litigation Personal Injury Trial Law Product Liability Public Law Tax Wills & Estates Litigation

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Godwin Pappas Langley Ronquillo, LLP

THE SCOOP
Just 26 years old, Godwin Pappas Langley Ronquillo, LLP has become one of Texas leading litigation boutiques. Founded in 1980, the firm has close to 100 lawyers in its Dallas and Houston offices and boasts a diverse clientele that ranges from Fortune 500 companies to regional businesses to successful individuals. We Solve the Problem is the firms trademarked motto, and Godwin Pappas strives to do just that in key areas such as appellate work, business litigation, corporate and securities, intellectual property, mass torts, environmental law, tax and estates. Godwin Pappas Langley Ronquillo was formerly Godwin Gruber, a 140lawyer firm. But in late 2005, after seven years with the firm, name partner G. Michael Gruber and three other partners (Brian N. Hail, Michael K. Hurst and John Martin) left to form their own high-end trial boutique: Gruber Hurst Johansen & Hail. The firm was renamed to reflect its new leadership. The public law section of Godwin Pappas has represented large public entities in litigation and governmental disputes at every level, including international trade and immigration disputes, among others. Notably, the firm won summary judgment in favor of its client Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in a lawsuit involving more than 200 noise complaints filed by homeowners in response to the airports noise abatement program. Recently, Godwin Pappas won a motion to dismiss in federal court on behalf of KBR, a Halliburton subsidiary and the Pentagons largest private contractor in Iraq. The plaintiffs, five KBR employees, claimed that Halliburton owed millions of dollars in overtime pay to its workers in Kuwait and Iraq. But the U.S. District Court judge agreed with Godwin Pappas attorneys that federal wage-and-hour laws dont apply to work done outside the United States and the overseas workers are bound by contracts providing for straight-time pay for hours worked in excess of 40 per week. Firm founder Donald E. Godwin had also served as lead counsel in Halliburtons asbestos litigation, helping the Houston-based company reach a $4 billion settlement in 2004, thereby resolving more than 380,000 asbestos-related claims. Presumably, its continuing successes such as these that led Halliburton to name Godwin Pappas its Go-To Law Firm in the areas of intellectual property and commercial transaction litigation. The honor was accorded the firm in Corporate Counsel magazines annual survey of the general counsel of Fortune 500 companies. The survey asks in-house counsel at the nations top

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Godwin Pappas Langley Ronquillo, LLP

companies, Which law firms do Americas largest companies turn to first to handle their legal affairs? If Godwin Pappas attorneys work hard, the firm also encourages them to play hard. Volunteers participate in the DAYL Teddy Bear Drive, Habitat for Humanity, the Red Line Drivers co-ed softball team, and many walks and runs for charity. And Godwin Pappas also knows how to combine hard play with hard legal work. Three associates recently won a victory for the plaintiff in the firms in-house mock trial competition, judged by six partners. This year, 14 teams competed for the title of top Trial Dog, an honor that comes with a monetary reward, immortalization on the mock-trial winners plaque and an iron trial dog figurine with the winners names engraved on the dog tag.

GETTING HIRED
The firm doesnt have a formal recruiting program but is open to both young and experienced lawyers who have passion for a client-focused law practice and who want to uniquely design their careers. Go-getters who are eager to hit the ground running may find the firm a good fit. Because of the firms relatively small size and leanly staffed cases, associates can expect to take on a high level of responsibility early on. The firm notes that it is not unusual for a four- or five-year associate to present the opening argument in a high-stakes, multimillion-dollar trial.

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Graves, Dougherty, Hearon & Moody, P.C.


401 Congress, Suite 2200 Austin, TX 78701 Phone: (512) 480-5600 www.gdhm.com

THE STATS
No. of attorneys: 66 No. of offices: 1 President: John J. (Mike) McKetta III Hiring Shareholder: Edward S. McHorse

LOCATION
Austin, TX

NOTABLE PERKS
Parental leave Domestic partner benefits Subsidized parking Subsidized health-club membership

MAJOR DEPARTMENTS & PRACTICES


Administrative & Regulatory Litigation Banking & Finance Commercial Transactions Corporate & Securities Employment Law Entertainment Estate Planning, Tax & Probate Mergers & Acquisitions Natural Resources: Oil, Gas & Water Real Estate: Acquisition, Financing & Development Tax Exempt/Non-Profit Organizations Technology Trial & Appellate Litigation

BASE SALARY (2006)


Austin, TX 1st year: $105,000 Summer associate: $1,950/week

EMPLOYMENT CONTACT
Ms. Teresa Kennedy Recruiting Coordinator Phone: (512) 480-5667 Fax: (512) 480-5867 E-mail: tkennedy@gdhm.com

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Graves, Dougherty, Hearon & Moody, P.C.

THE SCOOP
The full-service firm of Graves, Dougherty, Hearon & Moody was founded in Austin in 1946 and now constitutes one of the citys leading law practices. A recent issue of Corporate Board Member magazine ranked the firm fourthbest in its survey of Austin firms. The highest-ranked local firm in the rankings, Graves Dougherty was behind only the mega-firms of Akin Gump, Fulbright & Jaworski, and Vinson & Elkins. The firms resume for the last year is dotted by numerous noteworthy accomplishments. Attorneys from the firms corporate department represented THP Capstar in its purchase of DMX Music, one of the worlds leading suppliers of music to airlines, retail stores and cable companies. Because DMX Music operates in over 100 countries, the acquisition constituted a complex international undertaking, which entailed resolving legal issues around the world. One key result of the deal was the relocation of DMXs headquarters from Los Angeles to Austin, which brought many new jobs to the area (and, presumably, a sizeable amount of ongoing work for the firm). The firms real estate department handled several major transactions in 2005, including one involving a long strip of land in Bee Cave. The deal stemmed from a decision by the Baldwin familyAustin stalwarts who have been clients of the firm for more than two decadesto develop a large tract of their real estate holdings. First, the firm oversaw a lawsuit to determine the lands use and zoning rights. Once the right to develop the property was established, the firm negotiated with the potential developers of The Galleria, which resulted in the sale of the property for the massive, mixed-use project. The firms litigators have also been busy. In 2005, Graves Dougherty successfully litigated a trade secrets action involving the theft of computerized designs for semiconductor manufacturing equipment, and persuaded the state Supreme Court to reverse certification of a class action against firm client State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance. The firm also defended the first Can Spam Act lawsuit in Texas and defended a subsequent Can-Spam case brought by Microsoft. Graves Doughertys representative clients include such national names as Bank of America and Wachovia Bank, and such local institutions as Morrison Homes of Texas and the Texas General Land Office. Shareholder and firm president Mike McKetta is currently representing the Dallas-based law firm Hughes & Luce, LLP in a lawsuit brought by that firms former client, H. Ross Perot Jr. (son of the Texas billionaire and former presidential hopeful, H. Ross Perot Sr.), claiming breach of fiduciary duty and professional negligence in

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connection with Perots failed efforts to restore and fly the original T-38 Talon supersonic training jet, and to make it the centerpiece in a now-defunct flight museum. As one of the better known legal brands in the state, Graves Doughertys ranks have included an assistant U.S. attorney general, an assistant Texas attorney general, a general counsel for a Texas governor and a member of the U.S. solicitor generals office. The firm also prides itself on having the most attorneys of any Austin-based firm listed in the 2006 edition of the Best Lawyers in America, a total of 21. (That total went up by one to 22 with the recently released 2007 edition.) In 2005, 13 Graves Dougherty attorneys were named Super Lawyers by Texas Monthly magazine, and seven were named Rising Stars. The industry publication Chambers USA has listed the firm among Americas leading lawyers for its insurance practice. As for individual honors, shareholders Mike McKetta and Karen Bartoletti were included by the Austin Business Journal in its rankings of the Best Business Attorneys and Corporate Counsel. Graves Dougherty also takes pride in its commitment to pro bono work and the community of Austin. In 2005, the firms sixth annual Engaging Conversations fundraiser raised more than $50,000 for Hospice Austin. In 2006, Engaging Conversations raised $52,650 for The Capital Area Food Bank of Texas. Indeed, the firms public interest efforts have earned it a handful of awards over the last few years. Noting that Graves Dougherty has taken on more of its cases over the last two years than any other Austin law firm, Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas awarded the firm with its Joseph H. Hart Award. In addition, the United Way Capital Area recently presented its Outstanding Leadership Giving Campaign Award to Graves Dougherty.

GETTING HIRED
When it comes to hiring, Graves Dougherty makes no pretensions to large firm resources. In 2005, for example, the firm partook in on-campus interviews at one, and only one, law schoolAustins own University of Texas. The firm also takes a nontraditional approach to the summer program itself, hiring only first-year law students, as opposed to the usual emphasis on 2Ls. This policy is not set to change anytime soon; the firm has already announced that it will not be hiring 2Ls in 2007 either. The firm makes its hiring decisions based on that first summer, expecting that candidates
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second-summer experiences elsewhere will help them evaluate whether or not Graves Dougherty offers the right fit. For a sense of the firms selectivity, note that it employed five summer associates in 2005. (At least one summer associate received an offer!)

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Haynes and Boone, LLP


901 Main Street, Suite 3100 Dallas, TX 75202-3789 Phone: (214) 651-5000 www.haynesboone.com

THE STATS
No. of attorneys: Firmwide: 453 Austin: 21 Dallas: 199 Fort Worth: 19 Houston: 117 Richardson: 33 San Antonio: 17 No. of offices: 10 Summer associate offers (2006): Firmwide: 50 out of 62 Austin: 1 out of 2 Dallas: 30 out of 35 Fort Worth: 1 out of 1 Houston: 11 out of 13 Richardson: 5 out of 6 San Antonio: 2 out of 5 Managing Partner: Robert E. Wilson Hiring Partners: Austin: Mary S. Mendoza Dallas/Firmwide: Kathleen M. Beasley Fort Worth: Stephen M. Pezanosky Houston: Bradley J. Richards Richardson: J. Andrew Lowes San Antonio: Lamont A. Jefferson

LOCATIONS
Austin, TX Dallas, TX Fort Worth, TX Houston, TX New York, NY Richardson, TX San Antonio, TX Washington, DC Mexico City Moscow

MAJOR DEPARTMENTS & PRACTICES


Antitrust Appellate Aviation BioScience & Medical Technology Business Litigation Business Reorganization/Bankruptcy Corporate/Securities Employee Benefits/Executive Compensation Energy/Power Environmental ERISA Litigation Finance Franchise & Distribution Government Contracts Health Care HIPAA Privacy & Security Immigration Insurance Coverage Intellectual Property Intellectual Property Litigation International Investment Funds Iraq Transactions & Claims Labor & Employment Media Law Mergers & Acquisitions Outsourcing Projects Practice Real Estate Restaurant & Food Service Sarbanes-Oxley/Corporate Governance Securities Litigation Tax, Business & Estate Planning Technology Contracts Venture Capital White Collar Criminal Defense

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UPPERS
Early client contact Lock-step compensation

BASE SALARY (2006)


All offices 1st year: $135,000 Summer associate: $2,600/week

DOWNERS
Full business dress required Perceived stinginess

EMPLOYMENT CONTACT
Ms. Joanne Krassy Fall Recruiting Coordinator Phone: (214) 651-5438 Fax: (214) 200-0846 E-mail: joanne.krassy@haynesboone.com

NOTABLE PERKS
401(k)/profit sharing Frequent happy hours BlackBerries and laptops Discounts on gym memberships

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Haynes and Boone, LLP

THE SCOOP
Haynes and Boone is a young firm that has experienced remarkable growth. Founded in 1970 by Richard Haynes and Michael Boone, the partners used their expertise in IPOs to attract corporate clients and immediately began growing. Today, the firm has 453 attorneys in 10 offices and is the fifthlargest Texas-based firm. The firm offers a full range of legal services; niche practices include franchise and distribution, outsourcing, bioscience and technology, and HIPAA privacy and security. Among other recent transactions, the firm helped Dallas-based Panda Ethanol complete a $90 million merger agreement and private placement with Cirracor, Inc. The firm also strives to be a leader in service to the community through pro bono projects and participation in a wide range of community events. In April 2006, for example, Haynes and Boone lawyers serving on a pro bono basis succeeded in winning a new trial on behalf of Alberto Sifuentes, who was convicted of the murder of a Panhandle convenience store clerk 10 years earlier. To further its civic interests, the firm created the Haynes and Boone Foundation, which uses firm and partner contributions to fund local nonprofit organizations. Another area in which Haynes and Boone strives to be in the forefront is technology. As a two-time highest scorer on The American Lawyer Tech Scorecard, the firm has almost every gadget and gismo from wireless internet to its own portal, where attorneys and support staff can access documents, do their billing and input client information.

GETTING HIRED
Haynes and Boone wants to recruit Ivy Leagues but tends to recruit Texasbased schools mainly, say insiders, and it seems to have a soft spot for SMU law grads. Our grade cutoff varies depending on the tier of law school, says a fifth-year, who adds that the firm also looks for law review or journal experience. Grades aside, the firm looks for outgoing, very motivated candidates. To get a permanent offer, we will need someone who can do good work, makes an earnest effort and generally has a pleasant personality (no jerks), explains a third-year. You also need to be able to carry on a conversation and be relaxed, but not informal. The firm is looking for professionals, adds a real estate associate. One senior associate offers the

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No.1 piece of advice to summer associates: write well. Turn in near-perfect written work product.

OUR SURVEY SAYS


Our contacts find Haynes and Boone a pleasant and professional workplace. The firm has its own personality, which is made up of a diverse group of people who are encouraged to work together and learn from each other. Honest communication is encouraged and lawyers can often be found socializing outside of work, says a Dallas associate. Another lawyer touts the friendly atmosphere, helpful partners and noncompetitive associates. The firms culture is pretty laid-back, as far as law firms go, says an insider. But many note that the culture isnt uniform; some groups have better reputations than others. Associates appear to be genuinely fond of the partners. This is one of the best things about this firm, the partners are wonderful to work for, says a Houston associate. I have been treated with nothing but the utmost respect, raves a third-year. But again, others warn that relations are very inconsistent between practice groups. In my section, relations are generally very good. However, Ive heard that some partners in other sections are hard to work with, says a real estate associate. I do not believe that the firm actually adheres to its no jerk policy, laments a fourth-year. Others complain that the firm does not keep associates informed or allow them to participate in firmwide decisions. Associates receive two days of formal training at the start and then training from practice groups throughout their career, explains a contact. While a few associates praise the program, others claim it is not overly helpful. Associates fill the gaps through informal training and mentoring. Most of the training occurs on the job and comes from working with a variety of people, says a Houston lawyer. I receive a lot of informal training, advice, feedback and mentoring, adds a third-year. But at least one litigation associate disagrees. There is pretty much no mentoring or informal training. There are a handful of partners that make an effort but they are rare and busy, says the associate. Most sources agree that the hours are quite reasonable. I dont feel required to be here any longer than it takes to do my work at a high level, says a corporate associate. Of the bigger firms in town, H&B has some of the most
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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Haynes and Boone, LLP

humane hours, remarks a Dallas associate. The firm has recently established written policies for flexible and part-time schedules. Beginning in January 2006, the firm has announced a formal part-time policy, observes one happy part-timer. Part-timers can now make partner and salary is directly proportional to hours worked. Other associates appreciate that there are no formal minimum billable hours requirements. Nevertheless, the firms pay scale garners mixed reviews from associates. I am paid very well, especially considering that most firms expect much higher billable hours, says one associate. But others feel their time is worth more. Similarly-situated associates at other large firms in Dallas receive a higher base salary, complains a fourth-year. I think we are consistently below our peers in terms of compensation (both in terms of hard numbers and intangibles like parking, firm amenities and so on), agrees another associate, who adds, that may be because we are completely lock-step and there is no individual-based merit bonus (but we have bonuses based on associate performance as a whole).

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The firm has its own personality, which is made up of a diverse group of people who are encouraged to work together and learn from each other.
Haynes and Boone associate

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Howrey LLP
1111 Louisiana, 25th Floor Houston, TX 77002 Phone: (713) 787-1400 www.howrey.com

THE STATS
No. of attorneys: Firmwide: 575+ Houston: 76 No. of offices: 15 Summer associate offers (2006): Firmwide: 38 out of 40 Houston: 5 out of 7 Managing Partner & CEO: Robert F. Ruyak Hiring Partner: Steven E. Edwards

LOCATIONS
Chicago, IL East Palo Alto, CA Falls Church, VA Houston, TX Irvine, CA Los Angeles, CA New York, NY Salt Lake City, UT San Francisco, CA Washington, DC Amsterdam Brussels London Paris Taipei

MAJOR DEPARTMENTS & PRACTICES


Antitrust Global Litigation Intellectual Property

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UPPERS
Sophisticated work and clientele Pro bono commitment

BASE SALARY (2006)


Houston, TX 1st year: $135,000 Summer associate: $2,600/week

DOWNERS
High-stakes cases make gaining experience tough Lack of communication from management

EMPLOYMENT CONTACT
Ms. Kendall Wade Recruiting Administrator Phone: (713) 787-1545 Fax: (713) 787-1440 E-mail: wadek@howrey.com

NOTABLE PERKS
Free parking Moving expenses paid Weekly socials Monthly free breakfast

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Howrey LLP

THE SCOOP
Howrey LLP is a litigation firm that specializes in intellectual property, antitrust and global litigation. The firms success in these areas is enhanced by its strong presence in key locations around the country and several major cities overseas. In 2000 the Washington-based Howrey Simon Arnold & White merged with Houston litigation boutique Clements, ONeil, Pierce, Wilson & Fulkerson. This merger sent 22 Clements attorneys to Howrey Simons Houston office, bolstering the Texas office to its current size of some 75 attorneys. It also added a strong commercial litigation team to Howreys IP and antitrust experts. In 2005 the firm shed most of its moniker to become the short and sweet Howrey LLP. Patent litigation accounts for about 40 percent of the firms business; not for nothing was Howrey named Global Patent Law Firm of the Year at the Whos Who Legal Awards in 2005 and 2006. It also has the worlds largest antitrust practice. In October 2005, Howreys antitrust aces convinced the Federal Trade Commission that one can never have too much bourbonthe FTC OKd the acquisition of Makers Mark by Howrey client Fortune Brands, which already owned Jim Beam and Knob Creek; and in March 2006 they spun client Whirlpools proposed $2.7 billion takeover of Maytag so well that the Justice Department granted unconditional approval for the transaction. Howrey also has a recognized commitment to pro bono work. In September 2005, the firm was ranked 10th in the nation in The American Lawyers 100 Pro Bono Honor Roll, while on the local level, the Houston Bar Foundation honored the firm for its Outstanding Mid-size Firm Contribution to the Houston Volunteer Lawyers Program for 2004.

GETTING HIRED
Associates at Howreys Houston office say that its competitive to get hired as it should be. You need good grades and a good personality, advises a fifth-year. A first-year adds that the firm is very focused on good schools and [a] good GPA; additionally a hard science degree is very helpful in the IP practice. Anyone interested in becoming a summer associate at Howrey must be ready to take on the firms unorthodox Howrey Bootcamp. The five-week program is divided into two parts. For three weeks, summer associates work in the Howrey office of their choice. For the last two weeks,

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Bootcamp participants move into a Washington, D.C., convention center and undergo intensive training in trial advocacy, deposition skills and other litigation techniques. Because of the programs short duration, the firm encourages Bootcamp participants to work at other law firms for the remainder of the summer.

OUR SURVEY SAYS


A supporter at Howreys Houston office says the culture is great, the partners are friendly and the associates get along. The firm has a congenial atmospherefor a large firm, its surprisingly pleasant. The young partners in particular make an effort to be friendly to associates, adds a litigation associate. The firm is described as somewhat social, with weekly attorney socials and monthly breakfasts. Not everyone paints such a rosy picture. One associate describes the culture as cliquish, and others complain that it has become increasingly conservative. Associates are on the fence when it comes to firm management. The partners I have worked for have always been completely respectful, but I have heard others complain, says a midlevel associate. A firm newcomer admits to very little partner contact. One associate describes the firms younger equity partners as a talented group who are dedicated to the associates and the future of the firm, but claims that older partners could not care less about associate issues. Another contact offers this perspective: While I enjoy the work, the people I work with and the clients I work for, Howreys local and firmwide management is so poor that it destroys what should otherwise be an ideal work situation. Meanwhile, other associates give the partners high marks and an insider insists that the partners are very respectful of associates. Howrey has instituted formal, firmwide training, known as the Howrey Academy, which earns somewhat mixed reviews. While one IP lawyer raves, The firmwide training program is great, another complains, Rather than being run by the firms partners, formal training is outsourced to NITA. While NITA does offer some great programs, they are ill-tailored to our core practice areas. However, the firms widely praised pro bono program offers additional opportunities for on-the-job learning. Mentoring at Howrey, like at many firms, is hit-or-miss. This is where the firm needs improvement, says one lawyer. Despite implementing a formal mentoring program, most partners lack the desire or ability to mentor associates. And one forlorn
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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Howrey LLP

associate wails, The partners wouldnt know if I lost a limb, much less my strengths and weaknesses as an attorney. Associates complain less about their hours. The firm allows for flexible schedules and the leave policies are outstanding and above all others, gushes a fifth-year. The firm has an excellent maternity and paternity leave policy. Its a family-friendly law firm, adds another associate. The minimum billable hour requirement sufficiently allows for a family, an insider observes. As for the money, one satisfied contact reports, The firm pays each level the same across the board and maintains a competitive salary. Other associates agree that the compensation is fair, but say the bonus program is not good. The bonus is discretionary above 1,950, automatic at 2,100, explains a midlevel associate.

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Howrey allows for flexible schedules and the leave policies are outstanding and above all others.
Howrey LLP associate

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Hughes & Luce, LLP


1717 Main Street, Suite 2800 Dallas, TX 75201 Phone: (214) 939-5500 www.hughesluce.com

THE STATS
No. of attorneys: Firmwide: 141 Dallas: 114 Austin: 18 Fort Worth: 9 No. of offices: 3 Summer associate offers (2006): Firmwide: 22 out of 30 Dallas: 22 out of 28 Austin: 0 out of 2 Managing Partner: Edward O. Coultas Hiring Partner: Beth W. Bivans

LOCATIONS
Dallas, TX (HQ) Austin, TX Fort Worth, TX

MAJOR DEPARTMENTS & PRACTICES


Alternative Dispute Resolution Antitrust Appellate Bankruptcy & Business Reorganization Business Fraud Class Action Defense Commercial Lending Complex Commercial Litigation Corporate & Securities Corporate Governance Employee Benefits Insurance Recovery Intellectual Property Labor & Employment Land Use & Property Rights Mergers & Acquisitions Outsourcing & Technology Transactions Privacy Probate Litigation Professional Defense Public Policy Real Estate Securities Litigation Tax Trusts & Estate Planning White Collar Crime Defense

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UPPERS
Elite work in a collegial atmosphere Significant experience for junior attorneys

BASE SALARY (2006)


Dallas, TX 1st year: $135,000 Summer associate: $2,600/week

DOWNERS
Work is sometimes slow Its still a law firm

EMPLOYMENT CONTACT
Ms. Lindsay E. Gay Manager of Attorney Recruiting & Retention Phone: (214) 939-6335 Fax: (214) 939-5849 E-mail: lindsay.gay@hughesluce.com

NOTABLE PERKS
BlackBerries Office decorating allowance Free parking Great support staff

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Hughes & Luce, LLP

THE SCOOP
In 1973, four young Dallas lawyers left their established law firm to found a new firm built around young talent, with a strong commitment to personal and professional values, and the drive and dedication to outwork their competition. Three decades later, that little Dallas firm has more than 130 lawyers in three Texas offices. In its tag line, Hughes & Luce, LLP asserts that it has the know-how to win. As proof this is not just an idle boast, the firm has scored two high-profile wins in recent months, including a complete defense verdict for Compex Technologies in a federal jury trial involving claims of trade secret misappropriation, conspiracy, breach of contract, unfair competition and fraud, and an appellate victory before the Fifth Circuit for client Brazos River Authority based on the trial courts erroneous exclusionary evidence. H&L was also named a Go-To Law Firm for complex commercial litigation in Corporate Counsel magazines 2006 survey of general counsel at the Fortune 500. The firm was nominated by longtime client Devon Energy. Another longstanding client is Electronic Data Systems (EDS), whom the firm has represented for decades in matters including the companys 1984 acquisition by General Motors for $2.4 billion in the largest technology acquisition in history. EDS was founded by Dallas billionaire H. Ross Perot, and for many years Hughes & Luce represented many of the Perot family interests. But the ties between the family and the firm were cut after H. Ross Perot Jr. filed suit against the firm in April 2006, claiming malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty (allegations the firm denies). H&Ls commitment to diversity issues has been recognized with numerous honors, including the 2006 Presidents Recognition Award from the J.L. Turner Legal Association. Many firm partners also hold leadership roles in the bar, both within the state and nationwide. For example, in 2006 Mark Sales became president of the Dallas Bar Association and Kim Askew took over as chair of the American Bar Associations Section of Litigation, becoming the first African-American woman to lead this group of 70,000plus lawyers.

GETTING HIRED
Hughes & Luce may not be a particularly original suitor, but that doesnt mean it isnt a picky one. Its personal ad would read, essentially, Midsized firm

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seeks law students with great grades and great personalities. As one midlevel associate reports, We recruit and hire smart and accomplished law students from some of the most competitive law schools in the country, and look for a good fit between the candidate and our firm culture. A senior associate adds, The firm places nearly as much emphasis on social aptitude and personality as it does on academic performance. A first-year joins the chorus: The firm has very high standards, and they emphasize personality fit.

OUR SURVEY SAYS


Associates sing the praises of Hughes & Luce. I enjoy the people with whom I work, my compensation is competitive with the top end of our market and I see a realistic path for me to develop into a partner, gushes a midlevel lawyer. A more circumspect attorney professes, Im as happy here as one can be at a law firm. Specifically, associates praise the excellent clients and quality of work, as well as the team attitude. A junior associate says, The culture at Hughes & Luce is great. Everyone is really friendly and happy to be here. The firm is accepting of a wide range of personalities, from conservative to liberal. Associates describe the environment as collegial, hardworking, but laidback and well bantered. The firm attracts an interesting and eclectic mix of lawyers from diverse schools, geographies and walks of life, says a fifthyear associate. Lawyers here enjoy and appreciate each other socially and professionally. The love-fest continues when the topic turns to associate/partner relations. Basically, our partners are great, says a sixthyear. They tell us everything and treat us like professionals. My partners are my friends. Even those who are pains in the [rear] are good people. Another insider adds, Partners and associates work very closely together here. Partners typically allow associates to participate heavily in all aspects of a case. Most partners treat associates with a lot of respect and keep them very involved in firm decisions. Associates call the firms formal training offerings sparse, but consider overall training extensive if you include the on-the-job elements. One associate reports, This firm provides training on both the technical aspects of becoming a fine lawyer and the art of client development. This latter aspect is often ignored at most firms, while others simply provide it lip service. H&L actually does it. A litigator who contends that the obligation is on the associate to chart their own course shrugs, As in many areas, you
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will get out of H&Ls training what you put into [it]. Similarly, the burden is on the associate to seek out guidance from individual attorneys. But there are rewards for those who do make the effort. As one source notes, There are a number of high-profile partners who take their obligations as mentors quite seriously. Opinions about the firms compensation plan vary, though most insiders seem relatively satisfied. While one associate finds that the pay is a little under market, another claims that compensation is about right for the Dallas market. There is a fair degree of unanimity, however, regarding the reasonable hours. I work hard, but never feel like a cog in a giant machine, says a midlevel associate. There may be lots of work, but theres not a lot of pressure to bill.

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I work hard, but never feel like a cog in a giant machine.


Hughes & Luce associate

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Jackson Walker L.L.P.


901 Main Street, Suite 6000 Dallas, TX 75202 Phone: (214) 953-6000 www.jw.com

THE STATS
No. of attorneys: Firmwide: 308 Dallas: 124 Austin: 68 Fort Worth: 17 Houston: 65 San Angelo: 5 San Antonio: 30 No. of offices: 6 Summer associate offers (2006): Firmwide: 18 out of 23 Dallas: 6 out of 6 Austin: 4 out of 5 Fort Worth: 1 out of 1 Houston: 4 out of 7 San Antonio: 3 out of 4 Managing Partner: T. Michael Wilson Hiring Partners: Dallas: James S. Ryan III Austin: Matthew Dow Fort Worth: William Jenkins Jr. Houston: Paul Vrana San Antonio: Eileen E. Sommer

LOCATIONS
Dallas, TX (HQ) Austin, TX Fort Worth, TX Houston, TX San Angelo, TX San Antonio, TX

MAJOR DEPARTMENTS & PRACTICES


Antitrust Appellate Bankruptcy Business Transactions Corporate & Securities Eminent Domain Immigration Intellectual Property International Labor & Employment Litigation Public Finance Regulatory & Legislative Tax

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NOTABLE PERKS
Signing bonus and summer stipend Home loan program Approved relocation expenses 401(k) plan

BASE SALARY (2006)


All offices 1st year: $135,000* Summer associate: $2,400/week *Plus guaranteed $5,000 bonus

EMPLOYMENT CONTACTS
Statewide Ms. Kimberly DiLallo Director of Recruiting & Professional Development Phone: (214) 953-6160 E-mail: kdilallo@jw.com Dallas/Fort Worth Ms. Soraya Walden Recruiting Coordinator Phone: (214) 953-6029 Fax: (214) 953-5822 E-mail: swalden@jw.com Austin Ms. Jennifer P. Dotson Austin Recruiting Coordinator Phone: (512)236-2333 Fax: (512) 236-2002 E-mail: jdotson@jw.com Houston Ms. Melissa Bates Houston Recruiting Coordinator Phone: (713) 752-4409 E-mail: mbates@jw.com San Antonio Ms. Sharon Reynosa San Antonio Recruiting Coordinator Phone: (210) 978-7700 Fax: (210) 978-7790 E-mail: sreynosa@jw.com

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Jackson Walker L.L.P.

THE SCOOP
Jackson Walker was founded in Dallas in 1887 by two brothers, John and George Robertson. Early clients included the Dallas Times Herald and the Dallas County Gas Company (now known as TXU), along with numerous railroads and insurance companies. The firm changed its name to Jackson & Walker in 1988 and, shortly thereafter, dropped the ampersand. Jackson Walker joined the ranks of the states biggest firms in 1990 when it merged with Dotson & Scofieldfor the first time, JW ranked among the 10 largest Texas-based law firms. JW is now firmly enmeshed as one of the oldest and largest firms in the region. With more than 300 attorneys, JW is the 10thlargest firm in Texas and the 153rd-largest firm in the country, according to the most recent American Lawyer rankings. Four of the firms six offices rank in their respective citys top 10 largest firms: Austin (sixth-largest), Dallas (eighth), Fort Worth (tenth) and San Antonio (eighth). Although JW is a general practice business firm, each of the different offices features different strengths. Opened in 1996, the firms Austin office, for example, has a particularly strong governmental practice. The Dallas offices merger with Cohan, Simpson, Cowlishaw & Wulff in 2001 added strength to its commercial, employment, antitrust litigation and telecommunications regulations departments. And the San Antonio officethe second-oldest in the cityadded real estate and bankruptcy specialties following the recent merger with Gresham, Davis, Gregory, Worthy and Moore. The firms accomplishments have been recognized with a wide array of commendations. In 2005, Intellectual Property Today ranked JW No. 66 among the best trademark firms nationwide (out of 330) and No. 140 among the top patent firms (out of 388). Corporate Counsel included JW on its most recent list of the nations top 200 Go-To Law Firms. Even the firms technology has won a couple of recent awards. The firms web sitein a sign of foresight, it was able to land www.jw.comwas named a Nifty Fifty Web Site in 2004. And the very literally named magazine Best Use of Business Intelligence Software awarded the firm its Redwood Analytics Pioneer Award for its accomplishments in integrating its marketing and business development efforts with firm financial data. In 2006, 37 JW attorneys were named Super Lawyers by Texas Monthly magazine. Based on a survey of their peers on such criteria as professional accomplishments, peer recognition and community involvement, only 5 percent of Texas lawyers qualify as Super Lawyers. Four JW partners were

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also recognized as outstanding lawyers in the 2006 edition of Chambers USA: Americas Leading Lawyers for Business, the annual attorney directory.

GETTING HIRED
Jackson Walkers recruiting efforts focus primarily on Texas and other national law schools. In terms of hiring criteria, the firm itself says, Scholastic excellence, personal and professional achievement, perspective and humility are qualities and attributes appreciated by the firm and, therefore, reflect the persona of JW. The firms associates seem to agree with this assessment. One insider tells us, The firm looks for candidates that are both very smart and people who can get along with others because they are nice people, not simply because they have to. And another source remarks that, in addition to school smarts, what JW looks for is a great, social personality and the ability to put clients at ease. Jackson Walker strives to place associates within their desired practice areas. Summer associates are invited to participate in a mock trial exercise during the summer associate program. The firms attorneys trim down actual cases to a workable size for two teams, which consist of two summer associates each, to prepare and try before a jury. Future corporate associates assignments range from attending negotiations to drafting documents relating to public and private offerings of securities. JW also encourages summer associates to participate in pro bono work, part of the firms culture of commitment to the community.

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147

Jenkens & Gilchrist, A Professional Corporation


1445 Ross Avenue, Suite 3200 Dallas, TX 75202-2799 Phone: (214) 855-4500 www.jenkens.com

THE STATS
No. of attorneys: Firmwide: 300 Austin: 32 Dallas: 150 Houston: 24 San Antonio: 14 No. of offices: 8 Summer associate offers (2005): Firmwide: 16 out of 17 Austin: 1 out of 1 Dallas: 9 out of 9 Houston: 1 out of 1 Chairman and President: Thomas H. Cantrill Hiring Partners: Austin: Chet Fenimore Dallas: Robert W. Dockery Houston: Andrius Kontrimas San Antonio: Julia Mann

LOCATIONS
Dallas, TX (HQ) Austin, TX Chicago, IL Houston, TX Los Angeles, CA Pasadena, CA San Antonio, TX Washington, DC

MAJOR DEPARTMENTS & PRACTICES


Administrative & Legislative Antitrust Bankruptcy Construction Corporate & Securities Energy Environmental & Administrative Advocacy ERISA ESOP Estate Planning Financial Institutions Financial Services Franchise & Distribution Health Immigration Intellectual Property International Labor & Employment Litigation Real Estate Tax Technology Transportation White Collar

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UPPERS
Collegial culture, with lots of flexibility Ample training opportunities

BASE SALARY (2006)


Texas offices 1st year: $140,000 Summer associate: $2,600/week

DOWNERS
Some recent negative publicity Not always enough work

EMPLOYMENT CONTACTS
Austin, Houston, San Antonio (all national offices) Ms. Connie M. Bakonyi National Recruiting Manager Phone: (512) 499-3850 E-mail: cbakonyi@jenkens.com Dallas Ms. Natalie Sabin Dallas Recruiting Coordinator Phone: (214) 855-4335 Fax: (214) 855-4300 E-mail: nsabin@jenkens.com

NOTABLE PERKS
Recruiting and business development budgets Bar and moving expenses Free Friday lunches Gym subsidy

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Jenkens & Gilchrist, A Professional Corporation

THE SCOOP
The Jenkens & Gilchrist story begins in 1951 with the firms founding in Dallas. Jenkens & Gilchrist, PC now has eight offices around the country. The firm maintains its headquarters in its native Dallas, and has three other offices in Texas, where approximately half of its lawyers practice. Jenkens practice covers 24 major areas, including litigation, corporate, bankruptcy, tax and whitecollar crime. The firm has gained fameand some notorietyfrom a couple of incidents that have attracted media attention. Jenkens & Gilchrist, along with several other prominent firms, has had to face government investigations and angry clients over its role in providing controversial tax-shelter advice several years ago. And in a vivid illustration of the perils of the internet, after the Austin Business Journal named Jenkens one of the top firms to work for in Texas, the firm submitted a video purporting to prove its team spirit. The video featured the theme from Rocky and a mock pep rally starring firm shareholders, lawyers and staff members. While the firm never dreamed anyone would see it as anything but fun (as an administrator told The American Lawyer), it was roundly mocked by legal bloggers. In happier news, the firm won a satisfying conclusion to its representation of Dallas-based CompUSA in a breach-of-contract case. A Texas jury had awarded COC Services $454 million in 2001, finding that CompUSA violated an agreement to allow COC to be the exclusive franchisee for the computer store in Mexico. But the firm persuaded an appeals court to overturn the verdict and the Texas Supreme Court agreed, letting CompUSA off the hook in June 2006.

GETTING HIRED
Good luck trying to get hired at Jenkens. Because were in such a competitive market here in Austin, we generally get to hand-select our candidates, says an Austin attorney. Great grades and resumes and personality usually arent enoughmost of the people we hire have a certain something that makes them interesting and unique as well. The same goes for other offices. The firm is selective in hiring people. They have certain GPA requirements that must be passed before someone is considered for employment, reports an associate. However, it does not end there. A person with a brilliant GPA will not get an offer if they have no personality.

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The firm is looking for well-rounded individuals. Generally only top candidates from top law schools are recruited as first-year attorneys, although attorneys may be hired laterally in view of special skills that they can bring to the firm, states a Houston lawyer.

OUR SURVEY SAYS


Associates love life at Jenkens & Gilchrist because of the great people, great resources [and] great cases. My practice group is very talented, and the attorneys are great to work for, brags a litigator. From the very first day, I was given a tremendous amount of responsibility and opportunity to grow in my position within the firm. Jenkens strikes the right balance, sources say. Overall, a very good balance between quality of life and quality of work, notes an attorney. The collegiality here is the best featureyou dont mind coming to work every day when you like the people that youre working with. Indeed, the culture seems to be a strong point. I have the very real luxury of working with some of my best friends, says an Austin attorney. Another insider from that office brags of the very social and collegial culture. The firm has a very open atmosphere and lawyers are happy to help other lawyers, reports a first-year. The firms culture is open, and Im comfortable speaking to anyone, says a Dallas associate. Jenkens associates say the firms shareholders treat them right. I am extremely satisfied with the relationships with the partners I work with, the level of client contact involved and the mentoring/training, says a source. The firm also keeps associates well informed. The board of directors does a good job of running decisions that affect associates through the associates committee before formalizing them, states an Austin lawyer. When it comes to compensation, Jenkens & Gilchrist is at or near the top of the market for Texas-based firms. Compensation is comparable to other firms, says one associate, but the bonus structure is antiquated. I think bonuses start at 1,950 [hours]. Bonuses contain both a billable hour component, as well as a subjective component, notes another contact. Regarding those hours, the firm is pretty flexible with your time, according to a Dallas associate. Everyone is an adult and it is the individual attorneys responsibility to put in the hours to get whatever work there is done. I dont feel like anyone is sitting there [to] watch me clock in and out. Hours requirements are very reasonable, reports another contact. Weekends are relatively raremaybe one Saturday a month on average. Training and
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mentoring seem to be firm strengths. We have an active training and development committee and a good formal mentorship program, says an Austin lawyer. The firm conducts a mentor program for each associate, notes another contact. Dont worry about fulfilling your CLE requirements. There [are] a lot of programs within the firm that provide CLE credit, assures an insider.

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Jennings, Strouss & Salmon, P.L.C.


201 East Washington Street 11th Floor Phoenix, AZ 85004-2385 Phone: (602) 262-5911 www.jsslaw.com

THE STATS
No. of attorneys: Firmwide: 85 Phoenix: 66 Peoria: 2 Scottsdale: 11 No. of offices: 4 Summer associate offers (2006): Firmwide: 4 out of 6 Phoenix: 4 out of 6 Managing Attorney: John C. West

LOCATIONS
Phoenix, AZ (HQ) Peoria, AZ Scottsdale, AZ Washington, DC

MAJOR DEPARTMENTS & PRACTICES


Alternative Dispute Resolution Antitrust Appellate Bankruptcy, Reorganization & Creditors Rights Biotechnology & Life Sciences Condemnation Construction Corporate/Commercial Employee Benefits & Compensation Energy & Utilities Environmental & Natural Resources Estate Planning & Probate Fidelity & Surety Finances & Securities Financial Services Golf Course & Resort Transactions Government Affairs/Lobbying Health Care HIPAA Counseling Intellectual Property International Labor & Employment Litigation Media & Constitutional Medical/ Professional Liability Defense Personal Injury Litigation Products Liability Professional Licensure/ Discipline Provisional Remedies Real Estate Tax Technology Telecommunications Tort & Insurance Transportation White Collar Criminal Defense

NOTABLE PERKS
Bar review/exam fees and study stipend Relocation expenses Health club membership subsidy Parking

BASE SALARY
Determined on a case-by-case basis.

EMPLOYMENT CONTACT
Ms. Janice K. Baker Director of Attorney Recruitment Phone: (602) 262-5910 Fax: (602) 495-2667 E-mail: jbaker@jsslaw.com

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Jennings, Strouss & Salmon, P.L.C.

THE SCOOP
Jennings, Strouss & Salmon P.L.C. has a rich and distinctive heritage. Founded by attorneys Irving A. Jennings, Charles L. Strouss Sr., Riney B. Salmon Sr. and Ozell M. Trask in the 1940s, Jennings Strouss is one of the oldest and most prominent law firms in Arizona. Founding partner Ozell Trask later served as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Other distinguished firm alumni include U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Martone; Charles Jones, retired chief justice of the Arizona Supreme Court; several retired and current judges on the Arizona Court of Appeals; and John Kyl, the recently reelected U.S. senator representing Arizona. Jennings Strouss has a strong and growing biotechnology and life sciences practice group, representing clients ranging from startups to well-established companies to multinational corporations. In the most recent 2007 edition of Best Lawyers in America, three Jennings Strouss attorneys were selected by their peers for inclusion in the well-known guide, which now lists a total of 21 Jennings Strouss attorneys, nearly one-fourth of the firms 85 lawyers. In January 2005, the firms Scottsdale office moved to new, expanded quarters in the Promenade Corporate Center, allowing the firm to take on new attorneys in intellectual property and other areas. A few months later, the firm expanded its Washington, D.C., office, adding three new attorneys to its energy law practice. The energy and utilities group, based in Phoenix and D.C., serves clients in the electric power and natural gas industries across the country in a broad range of matters, from regulation and licensing to litigation and taxation. More recently, Robbins & Green, a Valley-based law firm, merged with Jennings Strouss in June 2006. The alliance netted Jennings Strouss 12 attorneys, most of whom work in the firms Phoenix headquarters. One high-profile addition was Harriett (Hattie) C. Babbitt, former U.S. ambassador to the Organization of American States (and wife of former Arizona Governor and U.S. Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt). Ms. Babbitt now practices out of the firms Washington, D.C., office, where she will likely make good use of her extensive experience in international law.

GETTING HIRED
As a growing firm, Jennings Strouss is open to hearing from both law students and experienced attorneys. Laterals especially are encouraged to

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consider the firms Scottsdale office. The firms hiring criteria include academic excellence and writing ability, motivation and initiative, strong interpersonal and communication skills. Jennings Strouss seeks team players with diverse backgrounds and interests. The firm conducts on-campus interviews at schools in the Southwest and across the country, including Arizona State University, University of Arizona, Brigham Young University, University of Utah, Northwestern University, University of Iowa, University of Kansas, University of Michigan and University of Notre Dame.

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Jones Day
2727 North Harwood Street Dallas, TX 75201-1515 Phone: (214) 220-3939 717 Texas, Suite 3300 Houston, TX 77002-2712 Phone: (832) 239-3939 www.jonesday.com

THE STATS
No. of attorneys: Firmwide: 2,280 Dallas: 197 Houston: 50 No. of offices: 29 Summer associate offers (2006): Firmwide: 172 out of 180 Dallas: 28 out of 32 Houston: 5 out of 6 Managing Partner: Stephen J. Brogan Hiring Partners: Dallas: Matthew W. Ray Houston: Jason F. Leif

LOCATIONS
Atlanta, GA Chicago, IL Cleveland, OH Columbus, OH Dallas, TX Houston, TX Irvine, CA Los Angeles, CA New York, NY Pittsburgh, PA San Diego, CA San Francisco, CA Silicon Valley, CA Washington, DC Beijing Brussels Frankfurt Hong Kong London Madrid Milan Moscow Munich Paris Shanghai Singapore Sydney Taipei Tokyo

MAJOR DEPARTMENTS & PRACTICES


Antitrust & Competition Law Business Restructuring & Reorganization Capital Markets Corporate Criminal Investigations Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Energy Delivery & Power Government Regulation Health Care Intellectual Property International Litigation & Arbitration Issues & Appeals Labor & Employment Lending/Structured Finance & Derivatives Life Sciences M&A Oil & Gas Private Equity Product Liability & Tort Litigation Real Estate Securities & Shareholder Litigation & SEC Enforcement Tax Trial Practice

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UPPERS
Collegial culture Truly international firm

BASE SALARY (2006)


Dallas, Houston, TX 1st year: $135,000* Summer associate: $11,250/month *Plus $5,000 bonus for associates in good standing at end of first year

DOWNERS
Bonuses virtually impossible to obtain Demanding hours

EMPLOYMENT CONTACTS
Dallas Ms. Kathy Shea Recruiting Manager Phone: (214) 969-4817 Fax: (214) 969-5100 E-mail: kshea@jonesday.com Houston Ms. Marina Wright Recruiting Coordinator Phone: (832) 239-3723 Fax: (832) 239-3600 E-mail: mlwright@jonesday.com

NOTABLE PERKS
$10,000 summer stipend for entry-levels Free parking Bar and moving expenses (including a packing service) Training retreats in exotic locales

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Jones Day

THE SCOOP
While Jones Day has Midwestern roots, the firm has come light-years from any humble beginnings. Founded as Blandin & Rice in Cleveland in 1893, the firm took on the name Jones, Day, Cockley & Reavis in 1939, and shortened that to just plain Jones Day in 2003. Though the name has gotten shorter, the firm has become anything but smaller: Jones Day has approximately 2,280 attorneys in 29 offices around the globe. The firms Dallas office, opened in 1981, has close to 200 attorneys. A Houston office, added via merger in 2001, houses about 50 lawyers. The transaction practice in Houston focuses on energy deals, including both public and private mergers and acquisitions involving oil and gas, pipelines and other aspects of the energy sector. The burgeoning liquefied natural gas industry is also a substantial source of business. Lawyers in the firms Houston office represent BP and Chevron in a variety of LNG matters, including work to authorize the construction of LNG import facilities on the East Coast and Gulf Coast, litigation over quality standards, and other issues related to terminals operating in the United States. Jones Day recently took on a case involving global warming. The firms Dallas office represented Xcel Energy, a Texas energy company named as a defendant in a lawsuit filed by the attorneys general of eight states and private citizens, alleging that the defendants activities contributed to global warming. The plaintiffs also sought restrictions on emissions. A federal judge tossed the suit in September 2005, stating that the claims required policy decisions not fit for the courts. Attorneys from the firms Dallas office were also part of a Jones Day team that won a $250 million victory for Dell Inc. The lawsuit challenged the constitutionality of tax breaks and other financial incentives that the state of North Carolina provided the computer giant to convince the company to locate a plant in the state. A federal court dismissed the suit in May 2006.

GETTING HIRED
Jones Day cares a great deal about where you went to school, and how you did while you were there. The firm is generally looking for attorneys who went to top-25 law schools, says one inside source. If you did not go to a top-flight law school, the GPA requirements are quite stringent. We interview top law school graduates, states another lawyer. Grades are very

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important but exceptions are made outside of the top 10 percent or 15 percent based on individual resumes. The firm also leaves the door open to candidates outside top-tier schools. Most accredited schools are considered and resumes can be sent directly to the recruiting coordinator if we dont do on-campus interviewing at a particular school, reports a Houston associate.

OUR SURVEY SAYS


Its happy days at Jones Day Texas. First and foremost, I enjoy working with the other attorneys and staff in this office and firm generally, boasts a Houston lawyer. I am continually challenged, receive excellent training and have made several good friends here. It does not have the sweatshop mentality of some firms, and in fact, I have found my workload to be quite reasonable. A Dallas associate agrees that the quality of work, clients and co-workers is excellent. One senior associate voices a desire for increased opportunities for trial experience, but overall says, I am very content with my career at Jones Day and believe that as far as big firms go, it doesnt get any better. One of Jones Days selling points is its culture. My firms culture is one of its biggest draws for me, says a contact who is grateful that it is not an eat-whatyou-kill firm. Jones Days culture is very open, flexible and accommodating, reports one lawyer. Jones Day Houston has a professional, conservative culture, notes another associate. The lawyers are collegial and hardworking. Our firm is, I imagine, much like other large law firms in that it stresses providing valuable services to the clients and good training to its associates, observes a contact. The associates are valued, not degraded, but are expected to work hard. Jones Day associates get along just fine with their bosses. I have substantial interaction with partners and I am generally treated as an important part of the team, says a Houston attorney. They generally give me substantial opportunity to provide substantive input. But information is slow to trickle down from above. In general, I think the partnership is a little slow to keep associates informed of firmwide decisions. While the work is satisfying, the partners are respectful and the colleagues congenial, Jones Day associates do have a few complaints. You are expected to be on call all day, every day, say insiders. Work and the client interests must come first at Jones Day above all else, grumbles an attorney. It is very common for partners to tell associates to come back from vacations early or call associates who are on vacation and make them work from their vacation location. But a contact finds that the firm can also be flexible. My hours are very fair, says the
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Houston lawyer. I tend to come into work later and leave later and no one has a problem with that. In fact, in my group, that seems to be the norm. Bonuses simply dont exist at Jones Day. No bonus, even when you bill 2,400 hours in a year, fumes a Dallas associate. Give me a breakwho wants to work for free? The firm matches market rates for base salaries, but bonuses are nonexistent or on an individual basis, observes a contact in Houston.

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I have substantial interaction with partners and I am generally treated as an important part of the team.
Jones Day associate

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161

Lewis and Roca LLP


40 North Central Avenue, Suite 1900 Phoenix, AZ 85004 Phone: (602) 262-5311 www.lewisandroca.com

THE STATS
No. of attorneys: Firmwide: 180 Phoenix: 123 Albuquerque: 8 Las Vegas: 16 Reno: 4 Tucson: 29 No. of offices: 5 Summer associate offers (2006): Firmwide: 11 out of 13 Chairman: Jose A. Cardenas Managing Partner: Kenneth Van Winkle Jr. Hiring Attorney: Thomas H. Campbell

LOCATIONS
Phoenix, AZ (HQ) Albuquerque, NM Las Vegas, NV Reno, NV Tucson, AZ

MAJOR DEPARTMENTS & PRACTICES


Antitrust & Trade Regulation Appeals Arbitration & Mediation Banking & Lending Bankruptcy Broker/Dealer Commercial Litigation Construction Corporate & Securities Creditors Rights Criminal Defense, Government Regulation & Corporate Compliance E-Discovery & Data Management Education & Schools Employee Benefits Environmental & Natural Resources Finance Gaming Government Contracts Government Relations Health Care Indian Affairs Law Insurance Intellectual Property Labor & Employment Legal Risk Evaluation Life Sciences Mergers & Acquisitions Personal Injury Products Liability Professional Liability & Discipline Real Estate Taxation Technology & Internet Trusts & Estates Utility Law & Regulation Zoning, Planning & Land Use

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UPPERS
Interesting work Collegial, supportive atmosphere

BASE SALARY (2006)


Phoenix, AZ 1st year: $110,000 Summer associate: $2,115/week

DOWNERS
Limited in-house training No partnership track for parttimers

EMPLOYMENT CONTACT
Ms. Mary W. Kiley Director of Lawyer Recruiting and Professional Development Phone: (602) 262-0844 Fax: (602) 734-3930 E-mail: recruiting@lrlaw.com

NOTABLE PERKS
Matching 401(k) plan Subsidized parking Domestic partner benefits Casual Friday dress code

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Lewis and Roca LLP

THE SCOOP
Founded in Phoenix in 1950, Lewis and Roca LLP now includes offices in several major Southwestern cities, including Tucson, Las Vegas, Reno and Albuquerque. Representative clients range from smaller, family-owned companies to conglomerates such as the P.F. Changs restaurant chain, Prudential Insurance and chemical giant Dupont. In 2005, the firm added partner Tony Cabot, one of Las Vegas top gaming lawyers, in a move to expand its Las Vegas gaming practice. From the start the firm was very active in politics, with co-founder Orme Lewis serving as assistant secretary of the interior under President Eisenhower. Since then, many attorneys have served in a variety of appointed or elected positions. Former partner Janet Napolitano was elected Arizonas 21st governor in 2003 and reelected in 2006. Mary Schroeder, who also holds the distinction of being the first female partner in a large western firm, joined the Arizona Court of Appeals and was later elected chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Attorney Scott Bales was appointed to the Arizona Supreme Court, attorneys Roger Kaufmann and Cathy Holt were appointed judges of the Maricopa County Superior Court, and attorney Patricia Norris was appointed a judge of the Arizona Court of Appeals. In 1955, firm attorney John Frank handled the case that decided the water rights for states abutting the Colorado River. Indeed the firm has been involved in a long list of landmark cases, including the Supreme Court decision that established a suspects right to Miranda warnings. In 1966 attorneys John Flynn, John Frank and Peter Baird represented Ernesto Miranda, pro bono, in the appeal of his rape conviction. Although Miranda had confessed to the crime, his attorneys argued that he had not been advised of his right to an attorney prior to being interrogated by police officers. The U.S. Supreme Court ultimately overturned Mirandas conviction, leading to one of the most significant constitutional protections awarded criminal defendants in the American justice system.

GETTING HIRED
According to one associate, the people doing the hiring at Lewis and Roca look for articulate, personable lawyers who have very good writing and research skills and who are perceived as potential future partners (in terms of

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commitment to private practice, business development potential). We recruit students from around the country with outstanding academic credentials, according to the firms NALP form. The firm looks for personal characteristics such as creativity, leadership, character, good judgment and diversity. Good writing skills are essential and all candidates are expected to submit a writing sample.

OUR SURVEY SAYS


Associates at Lewis and Roca enjoy interesting work for a broad range of clients. They also get to work with great people who are good friends and mentors. A corporate attorney describes the firm as politically diverse, yet civil. Lawyers within practice groups tend to socialize frequently, says the associate, and there are periodic events for firmwide socializing. According to another associate, Lawyers are collegial, but only some lawyers socialize with each other outside the office, while others spend their free time with family or in community activities. Many lawyers are involved in outside activities, including political ones on both sides of the aisle. Associates are generally well pleased with their treatment by partners. On a one-to-one basis, partners are pleasant, collegial and supportive of associates, including them in case strategy and encouraging their professional growth, says a senior associate. A first-year reports a similarly happy experience: So far, Ive been treated very professionally and with a lot of respect. Although some associates describe the firms formal training as too one-size-fits-all, others say it is improving. The firm has put increased focus on formal training recently and now permits young lawyers to have billable credit for hands-on training opportunities like attending a trial or deposition, says a Phoenix lawyer. As for more one-on-one training, associates get tons of constructive feedback, according to a first-year. Partners seem to really understand the fear of being a new associate and work closely with you to develop you professionally. According to associates, the firm makes a great effort to foster and promote a diverse environment. There arent a lot of minority attorneys here, says one lawyer, but it certainly isnt because of a lack of trying. The firm has created a permanent diversity committee charged with, among other things, retaining women lawyers. The firm believes in the value of diversity and wants to find and keep diverse lawyers, says another associate. One lawyer suggests that a revamped part-time policy that offers partnership eligibility
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might reduce the obstacle[s] for women lawyers with children and for excellent lawyers who would otherwise choose to work fewer hours. Theres no grumbling when it comes to money. As one happy first-year notes, Starting salary just got bumped $15K. Cant complain about that.

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Partners seem to really understand the fear of being a new associate and work closely with you to develop you professionally.
Lewis and Roca associate

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Lionel Sawyer & Collins


300 South Fourth Street Suite 1700 Las Vegas, NV 89101 Phone: (702) 383-8888 www.lionelsawyer.com

THE STATS
No. of attorneys: Firmwide: 73 Las Vegas: 53 Reno: 20 No. of offices: 4 Summer associate offers (2006): Firmwide: 3 out of 5 Las Vegas: 3 out of 4 Reno: 0 out of 1 Managing Partner: Paul R. Hejmanowski Hiring Partners: Las Vegas: David Frederick Reno: Leslie Bryan Hart

LOCATIONS
Las Vegas, NV (HQ) Carson City, NV Reno, NV Washington, DC

MAJOR DEPARTMENTS & PRACTICES


Business Law Gaming & Regulatory Law Litigation

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UPPERS
Lots of responsibility and contact with partners Premier firm in Nevada

BASE SALARY (2006)


Las Vegas, NV 1st year: $92,000 Summer associate: $1,385/week

DOWNERS
Lack of formal training Firm resistant to change

EMPLOYMENT CONTACT
Ms. Margie Bowman Recruiting Administrator Phone: (702) 383-8877 Fax: (702) 383-8845 E-mail: mbowman@lionelsawyer.com

NOTABLE PERKS
Generous vacation plan Plenty of free food Free parking Firm-sponsored weekend retreats

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Lionel Sawyer & Collins

THE SCOOP
With a large Las Vegas headquarters, a smaller Reno branch and a one-man Carson City outpost, Lionel Sawyer & Collins ranks as the largest law firm in Nevada. (It also maintains another one-man operation in Washington, D.C.) Founded in 1967, the firm operates three main departments litigation, business, and gaming and regulatorybut also specializes in such areas as real estate, employment and labor, health care, intellectual property, utilities, mining, lobbying, legislative, land use, tax, energy, water and telecommunications. As the states largest firm, Lionel Sawyer, of course, has a particularly Nevada-centric orientation. The firms gaming practice, for example, is the largest in the world. On a related note, Lionel Sawyer also strongly emphasizes lobbying and governmental relations. One of the firms founders, Grant Sawyer, served two terms as governor of Nevada. More recently, another former two-term governor of Nevada (as well as a former U.S. senator), Richard H. Bryan, joined the firm as a partner. In one peculiar yet fairly representative recent case, Lionel Sawyers attorneys won a last-minute victory for their client Sugar Shane Mosley. In seeking to prevent boxer Fernando Vargas from drinking sports drinks between rounds at an upcoming bout with Mosley, the firm argued that the Nevada Athletic Commission decision to allow such drinks constituted an unfair change of rules. A state court granted the temporary restraining order and enjoined the enforcement of the new rule, thereby permitting only water consumption during fights. (Mosley ultimately won the July 2006 fight, on a sixth-round TKO.)

GETTING HIRED
The good news is that Lionel Sawyers hiring standards, though increasingly stringent, still maintain a little flexibility. The firm is making a shift to hire from top law schools, reports a Vegas litigator. However, the firm judges students from all four tiers in the same manner. Grades, recommendations and work experience are a plus. The bad news: dont expect the procedure to be either quick or painless. As one associate puts it, I think that our recruiting procedure is somewhat lengthy and delayed in that there is a serious lag between submitting resumes and scheduling interviews and then the interviews and potential offers. I think that a lot of excellent applicants receive other offers even before we ask them to interview.

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OUR SURVEY SAYS


Lionel Sawyer scores high marks for associate satisfaction. A junior associate in Las Vegas tells us, I enjoy the amount of responsibility Im given and feel that Im challenged appropriately. A Reno contact remarks, Not only is the quality of life outstanding both in Nevada and at LS&C, but the reputation of LS&C provides the opportunity to work with clients that one would typically find only at much larger firms. Associates call Lionel Sawyer friendly, diverse and family-oriented. Attorneys report that the firm encourages socialization between the partners, between the associates, and among all partners and associates with a variety of firm functions. Lionel Sawyer partners also receive rave reviews. I am surprised at how much interaction I have with partners, says a young trial attorney. Associates work directly with partners and there is an open-door policy. A corporate associate agrees: I was surprised to find that the partners at a firm of this caliber would treat the associates as colleagues rather than as employees. One area that could use a little tinkering, associates suggest, is the training program, which receives poor-to-middling marks. A litigator notes, There is not a lot of upfront training on the various programs, company policies and procedures. Thats not to say that theres a complete absence of training. According to one source, The firm has one-to-two-day workshops at least once or twice a year regarding writing, the litigation process and/or negotiations. Although associates agree that compensation is at or near the top of the range for their respective cities, they still have complaints about their salaries. Compensation is fair, says a Vegas associate, but upward pressure from new market entrants is pushing increased salary expectations. Certain individuals at the firm havent seemed to notice that it is not the highestpaying firm in town anymore, gripes another contact. One attorney sees the problem as Sin City-wide rather than firm-specific: Las Vegas firms are behind the ball in terms of salary$95K does not cut it anymore. It is not cheap to live here. Housing costs are approaching California prices. In general, my firm is amazing and a great place to work. Salary is the biggest drawback and what 99 percent of the associates complain about. But others suggest that the firms delay in responding to market trends is symptomatic of a general attachment to the status quo. I get the impression that there is unwillingness to change the way certain things are done because thats the way weve always done it, says one source. And another lawyer notes, The firm is old school and a bit formal. It is resistant to change (see dress code).
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Even with the highest (or nearly the highest) salaries in the region, Lionel Sawyer still maintains reasonable billing expectations, associates say. A corporate attorney reports, Although every law firm pressures associates to bill, LS&C also recognizes that the associates have lives outside of the office, and encourages associates to find a balance between work and leisure.

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I enjoy the amount of responsibility Im given and feel that Im challenged appropriately.
Lionel Sawyer associate

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Locke Liddell & Sapp LLP


2200 Ross Avenue, Suite 2200 Dallas, TX 75201-6776 Phone: (214) 740-8000 www.lockeliddell.com

THE STATS
No. of attorneys: Firmwide: 373 Austin: 39 Dallas: 177 Houston: 150 No. of offices: 5 Summer associate offers (2006): Firmwide: 60 out of 74 Austin: 5 out of 7 Dallas: 25 out of 30 Houston: 30 out of 37 Managing Partner: Jerry K. Clements Hiring Partners: Austin: L. Jeffrey Hubenak Dallas: Thomas G. Yoxall Houston: Bill Swanstrom

LOCATIONS
Austin, TX Dallas, TX Houston, TX New Orleans, LA Washington, DC

MAJOR DEPARTMENTS & PRACTICES


Administrative/Regulatory Admiralty Antitrust Appellate Bankruptcy/Creditors Rights Construction Corporate & Securities Employment & Labor Energy Environmental Finance, Banking & Real Estate Health Care Insurance Intellectual Property International Litigation Media Private Equity Public Finance Public Law Real Estate Tax Technology

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UPPERS
A genuinely nice place to work Good opportunities for associates

BASE SALARY (2006)


All offices 1st year: $140,000 Summer associate: $2,700/week

DOWNERS
Not enough communication from management Some departments thinly staffed

EMPLOYMENT CONTACTS
Austin Ms. Amanda Jensen Recruiting Coordinator Phone: (512) 305-4778 Fax: (512) 391-4778 E-mail: ajensen@lockeliddell.com Dallas Mrs. Holly Lawrence Director of Attorney Recruiting Phone: (214) 740-8824 Fax: (214) 756-8824 E-mail: hlawrence@lockeliddell.com Houston Ms. Brooke Patton Manager of Attorney Recruiting Phone: (713) 226-1246 Fax: (713) 223-3717 E-mail: bpatton@lockeliddell.com

NOTABLE PERKS
Free/subsidized parking Frequent on-site CLEs (with free lunch) Free BlackBerry devices Client development account, including access to sports tickets

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Locke Liddell & Sapp LLP

THE SCOOP
Locke Liddell & Sapp has existed in some form since 1891, when Maurice Locke, a former math professor, opened a Dallas law firm. The firms Houston office opened in 1916. The firm began to really grow in 1987 when predecessor law firm Locke, Purnell, Boren, Laney & Neely merged with Rain Harrell Emery Young & Doke to form Locke Purnell Rain. The firm began its current iteration in 1999, when it merged with Liddell, Sapp, Zivley, Hill & LaBoon. At the time, it was the largest law firm merger on record. In addition to the Dallas and Houston offices, the firm opened an Austin office in 1974 to better represent its clients in matters involving Texas government, a New Orleans office in 1990 and a Washington, D.C., office in 2005. The firm has had its share of high-profile clients, including President George W. Bush himself, whose White House counsel and former Supreme Court nominee, Harriet Miers, had served as co-managing partner of the firm. Locke Liddell has also received multiple awards and recognition for several of its many practice areas, including its REIT and public law departments, which are said to be among the best in the state. Attorneys at the firm are also encouraged to pursue interests outside the law. Pro bono and community involvement is strongly encouraged. The firm recently received the Silver Award for Pro Bono Services from the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program. Pro bono projects of the Dallas office include the Dallas Housing Crisis Center, Dallas Legal Hospice, South Dallas Legal Clinic and Trinity Ministry to the Poor.

GETTING HIRED
Potential hires face a GPA cutoff that varies by schoolthe better the school, the lower class rank permitted. Unless youre from an Ivy league school, most of the summer clerks come from Texas schools (UT, SMU, Baylor, University of Houston), says a litigation associate. Locke Liddell bills itself as a people firm that looks at personalities and charisma in addition to stellar credentials. Our firm is looking to hire candidates who can write well, who have presence that can be developed into good advocacy and business development skills, who have common sense and good judgment, and who want to become great at what they do, says a senior attorney. Smart, capable people who are reasonably socially adept, is how another attorney sums up the firms hiring criteria.

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Attorneys with advice for future co-workers remind potential associates to bring your personality to the interview.

OUR SURVEY SAYS


Associates truly enjoy life at Locke. Relaxed, collegial, friendly, first-rate, is how one describes the firm. People are very friendlyits practically a mandatory open-door policy! adds a litigation associate. The firm culture still reflects long-standing commitments to thinking outside the box, professional responsibility, community involvement and having a life outside the office, says an associate from the Dallas office. Attorneys are described as politically pretty conservative, with some pockets of liberalism. Our reviewers give partners a big thumbs-up. The partners make me feel like I am part of the team and take my opinions into account when making legal or tactical decisions about a case, says a second-year. Associates do complain of a disconnect between the firms management and the associates in general. But optimists say the firm is striving to increase communication with associates to keep the associates informed of major decisions. Lockes formal training programs wont be winning awards any time soon. There is some formal litigation training for associates who practice in that area, but that is the only formal training I have experienced, says an IP associate. Others agree that litigators get decent early training with a mock trial program and are encouraged to attend NITA training. Informal training seems to be how most associates learn the ropes. Informal training and mentoring at this firm are key, says a fourth-year. The high-level partners in my section are really amazing when it comes to teaching and mentoring. I feel like I get a ton of hands-on training with my partners and senior associates. Its a really great learning environment, says a real estate associate. Others grouch that mentoring is very hit-or-miss, depending on the partners you happen to have access to. Associates experience reasonable hours and a fairly good quality of life. Associates are expected to bill 2,000 hours per year. The hours have been fine. Not nearly the sweatshop atmosphere I was so scared of in law school, says a Dallas associate. Locke is not a firm that emphasizes face time. While it is simply good practice to be there during reasonable business hours for the most part, its not a problem to take off to run errands or work from home (during the day) occasionally, remarks a litigator. One associate laments that the firm offers flex-time and part-time schedules only as
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exceptions, and that there is no formal provision for nontraditional schedules. Associates are glowing in the light of a recent salary raise. Associate salaries were recently increased to keep pace with other similarly-tiered firms, says a senior associate. I have nothing to complain about with respect to compensation, adds another.

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The hours have been fine. Not nearly the sweatshop atmosphere I was so scared of in law school.
Locke Liddell associate

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179

Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP


700 Louisiana Street, Suite 3400 Houston TX 77002 Phone: (713) 238-3000 www.mayerbrownrowe.com

THE STATS
No. of attorneys: Firmwide: 1,400 Houston: 75 No. of offices:14 Summer associate offers (2006): Firmwide: 101 out of 103 Houston: 6 out of 6 Chairman: Tyrone C. Fahner Managing Partner: Debora de Hoyos Hiring Partner: Harry P. Hap Weitzel

LOCATIONS
Charlotte, NC Chicago, IL Houston, TX Los Angeles, CA New York, NY Palo Alto, CA Washington, DC Berlin Brussels Cologne Frankfurt Hong Kong London Paris

MAJOR DEPARTMENTS & PRACTICES


Appellate Banking & Finance Corporate & Securities Creditors Rights, Bankruptcy & Business Reorganizations Energy & Natural Resources Intellectual Property International Trade, Investment & Finance Litigation & Arbitration Real Estate

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UPPERS
Interesting work, high level of responsibility Friendly, collegial culture

BASE SALARY (2006)


Houston, TX 1st year: $135,000* 2nd year: $145,000 3rd year: $150,000 4th year: $160,000 5th year: $170,000 6th year: $180,000 7th year: $185,000 Summer associate: $2,600/week *Plus a guaranteed $5,000 bonus

DOWNERS
Erratic work flow No involvement in firm decisions

NOTABLE PERKS
Six weeks paternity leave Free BlackBerries (device and service) Bar and moving expenses Free parking

EMPLOYMENT CONTACT
Ms. Amy Carrington Legal Recruiting Manager Phone: (713) 238-2607 Fax: (713) 238-4607 E-mail: acarrington@mayerbrownrowe.com

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP

THE SCOOP
Though it got its start in the Windy City, theres no limit to Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLPs power. The firm traces its roots back to 19th century Chicago, but its what Mayer Brown has done in the 21st century that makes it great. Mayer, Brown & Platt merged with London-based Rowe & Maw in 2002, a combination that led to a 1,400-lawyer powerhouse with 14 offices around the world. The firm also has strategic alliances with two international law firms that provide Mayer Brown with a presence in Mexico, Italy, Eastern Europe and China. Mayer Brown Houston may be a relative newcomer, having been founded only 20 years ago, but its no slacker. The Houston office has approximately 75 attorneys and handles energy, corporate, litigation and real estate matters. One of Mayer Browns strengths is its appellate department. Firm attorneys have made many appearances before the highest court in the landand descended the courthouse steps smiling. In January 2006, for example, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 80 that a national bank is a citizen only of the state where its main office is located, and not of every state where it has a branch. (The judgment is of significance to all banks, as national banks generally prefer to litigate their cases in federal court.) Mayer Brown successfully argued the case for Wachovia Corp. In July 2006, Mayer Brown attorneys helped defend a verdict in favor of client International Game Technology. A federal appeals court upheld a $7.3 million verdict, holding that Alliance Gaming had infringed on IGTs patent for video-poker technology. On the transactional side, the firm also helped Andrews Corp. close its $2 billion merger with ADC Telecommunication in May 2006.

GETTING HIRED
To have a chance at Mayer Brown, youve gotta be really, really smart and personable, notes an inside source. Jerks are quickly shown the door. It seems like all of our attorneys have interesting life stories, from military service, to active travelers, to interesting hobbies, to musicians. I guess, indirectly, everyone is expected to have a real life. That real life does need to include good work at a great law school. Mayer Brown seems focused on good grades and elite schools, according to one attorney. Recruiting is very competitive and the firm has extensive recruiting procedures, which look at top schools only and a minimum class rank of approximately 20

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percent. One Houston lawyer suggests the firms recruiting focus is too narrow, which causes Mayer Brown to miss out on some great candidates who might be at top of the class at a second-tier school.

OUR SURVEY SAYS


Associates at Mayer Brown are split on their job satisfaction. The firm offers very interesting matters to work on and, according to one Houston lawyer, lots of responsibility is given to associates. Associate work is substantive; not just writing research memos. However, a midlevel associate complains that the cases are getting so big that there are few opportunities to see a courtroom. That attorney adds that work flow is as predictable as a rollercoaster. Work distribution to associates is uneven and depends on criteria that are not transparent, notes another lawyer. Supervising partners only seem to give negative feedback on completed tasks, leading to a feeling that associates are doing much worse than they actually are. Finally, concludes our source, the hours are long and unpredictable. On the other hand, theres (almost) nothing but raves for Mayer Browns culture. Most of my friends are other associates and younger partners, says an insider. We are all extremely collegial. While I might at times wish for different work, I have never wished to work with different people. We are the coolest bunch of nerds Ive ever met. The firms culture is friendly intellectual. In general, our contacts report a nice rapport between associates and partners, but one midlevel associate notes that, unfortunately, a few bad apples spoil the bunch. While a majority of the partners are friendly, there is a lack of mentoring, observes another source. Lack of information from above is another associate gripe. Associates are not well informed of firm decisions, even relatively small ones, says a second-year. Associates are informed of decisions once they have been made. Mayer Brown associates are glad that the firm stays ahead of the salary market. The firm did a great job at evaluating the market and raising salaries, notes a source. It has been slow at making such decisions and informing us of bonuses in the past. As [a] result of new market fluctuations it is now raising the yearly salary again. Our office used to trail the Houston market, remarks a Texas lawyer. However, as of this year, we are leading it. Recent raises in both salaries and bonuses, together with

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significant increases in other perks like office amenities and technology, have brought us beyond par with the market. The hours can be a challenge. No matter how hard I try to cut back, I am unable to reduce my billable hours below 2,300 and my overall time in the office is just way too much, gripes a lawyer. There is some flexibility, which makes things better. I come and go as I please, notes one attorney. There is no such thing as face time. As long as we get our work done, we are left alone, and praised when we do that work well.

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McAfee & Taft, A Professional Corporation


Two Leadership Square, 10th Floor 211 North Robinson Oklahoma City, OK 73102-7103 Phone: (405) 235-9621 www.mcafeetaft.com

THE STATS
No. of attorneys: 125 No. of offices: 1 Summer associate offers (2006): 7 out of 8 Managing Director: Richard D. Nix Hiring Attorneys: Gregg B. Eichner, James R. Webb

LOCATION
Oklahoma City, OK

MAJOR DEPARTMENTS & PRACTICES


Aviation Business Law Corporate & Securities Employee Benefits Health Care Law Intellectual Property Labor & Employment Litigation Tax & Family Wealth

UPPERS
Excellent reputation and opportunities Extremely positive, family-friendly environment

DOWNERS
No formal training program

NOTABLE PERKS
Outstanding benefits Free parking Firm credit cards for expenses Firm-sponsored social events every Friday

BASE SALARY (2007)


Oklahoma City, OK 1st year: $100,000 Summer associate: $1,500/week

EMPLOYMENT CONTACT
Ms. Wendy Smith Director of Recruiting and Marketing Phone: (405) 235-9621 Fax: (405) 228-7341 E-mail: wendy.smith@mcafeetaft.com

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms McAfee & Taft, A Professional Corporation

THE SCOOP
Founded in 1949, McAfee & Taft now ranks as one of the largest and bestknown law firms in the Southwest. The Chambers USA Guide to Americas Leading Lawyers for Business 2005 ranked McAfee & Taft the No. 1 firm in Oklahoma in corporate law (mergers and acquisitions), employment law, general commercial litigation and real estate law. A state record 47 attorneysmore than one-third of the firms staffwere included in the 2006-2007 Best Lawyers in America. McAfee & Tafts representative clients include such big names as Devon Energy, Express Services, Stage Stores, Inc., Texas True Choice, University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University, RAM Energy and Halliburton. The firm has won one of Oklahomas largest jury verdicts in recent years, on behalf of an Oklahoma City cardiologist in a patent infringement suit. In early 2006, a federal jury ruled that the medical-device manufacturer Cordis Corp. (a subsidiary of Johnson and Johnson) willfully infringed on Dr. Jan Vodas patent on a guiding heart catheter. The jury awarded Dr. Voda a 7.5 percent royalty, which translates to approximately $10 million over the life of his patents. Then, in May, U.S. District Judge Tim Leonard awarded an additional $10.3 million in punitive damages and attorneys fees.

GETTING HIRED
McAfee & Taft associates describe the firms hiring strategy as flexible and multipronged. The firm is looking for top performers, but it takes into consideration other factors such as life experiences, advises an IP attorney. A corporate attorney suggests, Our firm tries to hire only the brightest students and lateral candidates who have a desire to work and live in Oklahoma City. And, associates recommend, if you have your heart set on the firm, dont give up if it doesnt hire you directly out of law school. Although most associates are hired out of our summer clerk pool, opportunities sometimes arise for laterals, and even students who never clerked here, according to one litigator.

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OUR SURVEY SAYS


Associates give McAfee & Taft nearly perfect scores for job satisfaction. They say they cant picture working anywhere else. The firm offers plenty of work, for interesting and influential clients. Our firms culture is quite pleasant, professes one young litigator. People here get along with each other very well socially, politically and professionally. It is a cordial, respectful and positive work environment. A more experienced source commends the very open and inviting firm culture, which encourages associates to do as much as they feel they are prepared to do. The environment is described as collegial, team-oriented and familyfriendly. As one second-year reports, I often socialize with shareholders and other associates, and several of my close friends are attorneys here. Associates sound almost as if they would step in front of proverbial bullets for the firms partners. From an associates first day at the firm, he or she is treated professionally and with great respect, says a second-year. Our attorneys are treated professionally and are expected to behave professionally. Associates are treated as equals, and their opinions are valued. According to an upper-level lawyer, Associates are considered an important part of the teamnot just warm bodies to do the work. Associates are encouraged to develop their own expertise and career path. Another senior associate notes, Partners work closely with, and rely heavily on, associates at this firm. We typically have good working relationships. Formal training isnt offered at McAfee & Taft, though other educational options fill the gap. There is no formal training program in place, reports a litigator. The firm relies on experienced lawyers to train by example. Also, the firm allows extensive CLE training for young lawyers. Associates also give the partners high scores for their willingness to mentor. One lawyer gushes, The firm believes in and values its people. It also wants to see its people succeed, so it exposes you to experiences that will help you grow as a professional. McAfee & Taft offers the highest wages in the state, associates boast, though not necessarily in the entire region. The salary is great for the state of Oklahoma; I doubt any firm can beat the firms compensation package, says one source. The salary, however, cannot compete with the other firms in this region. Even with such top-of-the-market pay, associates still feel that the firm enforces a very tolerable billing requirement. Associates also offer (moderate) praise for the firms pro bono commitment. As one associate reports, Our firm provides services to a number of nonprofit, charitable organizations at reduced or no cost.

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McGinnis, Lochridge & Kilgore, L.L.P.


600 Congress Avenue, Suite 2100 Austin, TX 78701 Phone: (512) 495-6000 www.mcginnislaw.com

THE STATS
No. of attorneys: Firmwide: 81 Austin: 65 Houston: 16 No. of offices: 2 Summer associate offers (2006): Firmwide: 2 out of 6 Austin: 2 out of 5 Managing Partner: Patton G. (Pat) Lochridge Hiring Partner: John R. Breihan

LOCATIONS
Austin, TX (HQ) Houston, TX

MAJOR DEPARTMENTS & PRACTICES


Appellate Bankruptcy, Creditors Rights & Workouts Corporate & Business Transactions Education & Public Law Electric Energy Employment Law & Employee Benefits Environmental & Water Financial Services Health Law Insurance Intellectual Property & Technology Litigation Legislative & Government Relations Litigation Mergers & Acquisitions Mineral & Mining Oil & Gas Real Estate Securities Litigation & Arbitration Tax, Estate Planning & Probate Technology Telecommunications Toxic Tort

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms McGinnis, Lochridge & Kilgore, L.L.P.

UPPERS
Variety of work and early responsibility Short partnership track

BASE SALARY (2006)


All offices 1st year: $115,000 Summer associate: $2,000/week

DOWNERS
No formal training Not much emphasis on diversity

EMPLOYMENT CONTACT
Ms. Debbie Daniels Director of Business Development & Recruiting Phone: (512) 495-6110 Fax: (512) 499-7910 E-mail: ddaniels@mcginnislaw.com

NOTABLE PERKS
Bonuses on contingent-case victories Profit-sharing plan Recently moved to snazzier office space

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms McGinnis, Lochridge & Kilgore, L.L.P.

THE SCOOP
Founded in Austin by four attorneys on the eve of the Great Depression, the nearly 80-year-old firm of McGinnis, Lochridge & Kilgore has blossomed into one of Texas leading firms. More than half of the firms 80-plus lawyers work in either litigation or administrative law. Based in the state capital, the firm also maintains a strong legislative practice. McGinnis, Lochridge was named one of the top five Austin law firms by Corporate Board Member magazine in 2004. It counts among its clients IBM, Exxon Mobil, General Electric, General Motors and the Spring Branch Independent School District. The firm has recently landed a number of newsworthy cases. Currently, the firm represents San Antonio assistant principal Anna Draker in her ongoing libel, defamation and negligence lawsuit against two students (and their parents) who set up a fake personal page in her name on MySpace.com.

GETTING HIRED
The firm wants hardworking, talented, smart, conscientious, good-natured summer associates. The interview and callback can be very personal, according to an Austin associate. The firm is looking for people in the top of their class, with journal or mock-trial experience, and an outgoing personality. There are small recruiting classes and an even smaller hire rate, he cautions. In 2005, for example, only five of 11 summer associates received offers. Another attorney from the Austin headquarters says that the firm seeks motivated self-starters. He adds, This is not a place that does much training and, therefore, they look for people who can muddle through the initial months on their own and come out better for it.

OUR SURVEY SAYS


McGinnis, Lochridge associates rate their job satisfaction toward the happy end of the scale. Young attorneys are given lots of responsibility from the start, says an Austin trial attorney. Another litigator tells us, About 50 percent of my work involves research and drafting motions for larger federal cases. The other 50 percent consists of smaller state cases where I have a much greater level of control and responsibility. Its a good mix.
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Associates describe the firms vibe as friendly and laid-back, and say that people care about each other. According to one source, the firm maintains a relaxed atmosphere where lawyers socialize together. In general, it is a partner-oriented place, and associates sometimes have a hard time breaking into the firm culture. However, it is a place with lots of camaraderie once you break in to the firm culture and get to know the partners. A junior associate says that McGinnis, Lochridge respects attorneys private lives: it is a very friendly and family-oriented firm. Some lawyers socialize together, but most spend spare time at home with family. The partners score particularly high marks from their associates. One Austin associate appreciates the firms very cordial and respectful atmosphere. He says, Rarely is someone talked down to or embarrassed by a partner. However, he notes that not much input from associates is utilized in making firm decisions. A senior associate says that the firms top-heavy structure has both advantages and disadvantages. This is a partner-oriented place, he says. Most people are partners and, thus, the structure and mentoring for new associates is not on par with other firms. That said, it really is a great opportunity to learn by doing and get experience earlier than at other places, but there are days where you may feel a bit forgotten by the partners. The predominance of experienced attorneys translates to a lack of formal training, associates say. There isnt really a formal training program, according to a junior attorney. Training here comes through doing and asking questions. Another young associate suggests that mentoring often fills the gap. There is little formal guidancemore one-on-one interaction with supervising partners, he advises. Associates must be willing to inquire. Another contact agrees: Mentoring is where most training occurs. But no one will train you unless you ask. Associates call the firms compensation plan fair, if not great. The firm is just below the top in terms of salary, notes one of the more satisfied associates. However, he adds, be forewarned of the opaque discretionary bonus system. Most contacts consider the firms hours requirements to be flexible and generous. Theres not much work on weekends, says one associate. The hours are flexible if you get your hours in. Another associate explains, The billable hours goal is 1,900, and this is not a requirement. Therefore, there is more room for pro bono work than at other firms.

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191

Modrall, Sperling, Roehl, Harris & Sisk, P.A.


500 Fourth Street NW P.O. Box 2168 Albuquerque, NM 87103-2168 Phone: (505) 848-1800 www.modrall.com

THE STATS
No. of attorneys: Firmwide: 81 Albuquerque: 59 No. of offices: 4 Hiring Attorney: William R. Keleher

LOCATIONS
Albuquerque, NM (HQ) Las Cruces, NM Roswell, NM Santa Fe, NM

NOTABLE PERKS
Profit sharing Subsidized parking Good medical/dental benefits Bar study stipend

MAJOR DEPARTMENTS & PRACTICES


Alternative Dispute Resolution Antitrust Appeals Banking Bankruptcy/Creditors Rights Business, Corporate & Partnerships Civil Rights Class Action & Mass Torts Commercial Litigation Construction Litigation Construction & Design Cultural & Historic Resources Education Employee Benefits & ERISA Employment & Labor Energy & Utilities Environmental Estate Planning Federal Taxation Health Care Indian Law Insurance Litigation Lobbying Mining Oil & Gas Products Liability Professional Liability Public Finance Public Lands Railroads Real Estate & Zoning State & Local Taxation Torts/Personal Injury Trademarks & Copyrights Water Resources & Quality

BASE SALARY (2006)


Albuquerque, NM 1st year: $73,000 Summer associate: $1,415/week

EMPLOYMENT CONTACT
Ms. Martha R. Holt Recruiting Coordinator Phone: (505) 848-9747 Fax: (505) 848-1891 E-mail: recruiting@modrall.com

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THE SCOOP
Modrall, Sperling, Roehl, Harris & Sisk, P.A. has deep roots in the Southwest. It can trace its earliest impulse to 1935, when two lawyers, one of them a former justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court, the other a former cowboy and rancher, faced each other down as opposing counsel in the memorable trial of 10 coal miners accused of murdering a sheriff in Gallup, N.M. These two attorneys, John Simms and James Dick Modrall, later joined forces to start the firm that would become Modrall Sperling. Today, the lawyers of Modrall Sperling no longer practice criminal law, but instead represent clients in a wide range of civil matters, including, for example, bankruptcy, federal taxation, Indian law and employment discrimination. Recently, Modrall Sperling attorneys successfully defended at trial the New Mexico Scorpions, a minor league hockey team, in a sex discrimination lawsuit. Former female employees of the Scorpions complained, among other things, of having to listen vulgar stories while in the office. The jury didnt agree that the conditions outlined by the plaintiffs constituted a sexually hostile work environment, or that the employees otherwise suffered sex discrimination. As Modrall Sperling attorney Lisa Mann explained, A hockey team office is an informal work environment where casual banter and occasionally foul language will be thrown around by men and women alike. In the area of Indian law, the firm has assisted a number of companies doing business on Indian land or involved in disputes involving tribal law. Several years ago, the firm participated in the Supreme Court case El Paso Natural Gas Co. v. Neztsosie, which established the principle that, in disputes arising from nuclear incidents, federal courts rather than tribal courts should decide initial jurisdictional issues. The firms experience in this niche area was acknowledged in 2006, when firm member Barbara Lucero (a Navajo Licensed Advocate who is a Navajo, San Carlos Apache and Taos Pueblo Indian) was elected president of the Navajo Nation Bar Association. Another notable name at the firm is that of shareholder Roberta Cooper Ramo, the first woman to be elected president of the American Bar Association. This internationally-minded attorney also chaired the ABAs Asia Law Initiative Council, and led the ABAs Afghanistan legal reform project. The U.S. Senate asked her to co-chair a group to propose changes in the governance of the United States Olympics Committee. While Ramo has her eyes on the world, the firm will always have the Southwest in its heart. And on its walls. The firm is particularly proud of its Southwestern art collection, which is featured prominently on its web site.
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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Modrall, Sperling, Roehl, Harris & Sisk, P.A.

The collection originated with the personal collection of firm founder Dick Modrall and his wife. As a former cowboy, Modrall liked to collect works featuring depictions of life on the range. Although Modrall Sperlings employees today are likely to better acquainted with the law of torts than with the life of the rancher (with the possible exception of shareholder Earl DeBrine, who is also a chile farmer), the collection that adorns the Modrall Sperling offices offers a vivid reminder of the firms roots.

GETTING HIRED
Although Modrall Sperling does much of its hiring through its summer program, it also considers inquiries from lawyers and law students who have not participated in the program. Applications from experienced attorneys are always welcomed, and those who do participate in the summer program are free to split their summers. The candidates who catch this firms eye rank in the top third of their law school class, but also have an interest in the community at large, as demonstrated by participation in extracurricular activities. And the firm is not closed-minded with regard to the law schools from which it hires. Currently, Modrall Sperling attorneys hold JDs from over 30 different schools.

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Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr, P.C.


3800 Lincoln Plaza 500 North Akard Street Dallas, TX 75201-6659 Phone: (214) 855-7500 www.munsch.com

THE STATS
No. of attorneys: Firmwide: 103 Dallas: 77 Austin: 12 Houston: 14 No. of offices: 3 Chairman and CEO: Glenn Callison Hiring Attorney: Richard O. Kopf

LOCATIONS
Dallas, TX (HQ) Austin, TX Houston, TX

MAJOR DEPARTMENTS & PRACTICES


Appellate Bankruptcy BrokerDealer Transactions Construction Litigation Corporate & Securities Corporate Finance & Financial Institutions Director & Officer Litigation Employment & Labor Energy/Oil &Gas Environmental Hospitality Intellectual Property Intellectual Property Litigation International Leasing & Development Litigation & Dispute Resolution Mergers & Acquisitions OSHA/Workplace Safety Professional Liability Real Estate Receiverships Reorganization & Creditors Rights Securities Enforcement & Compliance Tax Technology Telecommunications Venture Capital White Collar Crime

NOTABLE PERKS
Fully paid health insurance Subsidized health club membership Free parking Firm-provided BlackBerry

BASE SALARY (2006)


Dallas, TX 1st year: $135,000 Summer associate: $2,600/week

EMPLOYMENT CONTACT
Ms. Maria D. Lianez Marketing and Recruiting Manager Phone: (214) 880-7618 Fax: (214) 978-5314 E-mail: mlianez@munsch.com

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr, P.C.

THE SCOOP
Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr, P.C. has serviced the business community of the Lone Star State for a little over two decades. The firm was founded in 1985, when a spunky group of six attorneys defected from a big-name Dallas firm to form their own energetic young outfit. Today, the Munsch Hardt legal team has grown in number to over 100. The firm has widened its reach, adding an Austin office in 1996, attracted, presumably, by the opportunities provided by the capital citys high-tech community. In 2004, a Houston office opened its doors, completing Munsch Hardts Texas trifecta. Together, the Dallas, Houston and Austin offices handle a broad range of business law matters in transactions and litigation, with a particular specialty in commercial bankruptcy. Over the past two decades, the firm seems to have settled into a firm orbit in the Texas legal solar system. A trade publication known as the K&A Restructuring Register recently recognized firm founder Russell Munsch as one of the top 72 attorneys in the country in the area of restructuring and bankruptcy. Munsch had a hand in the Enron case, and also represented Nelson Bunker Hunt in a personal bankruptcy matter thought to be the largest ever. Hunt, a well-known Texas moneyman, famously cornered a huge portion of the worlds silver supply. Unfortunately, the silver market collapsed, leaving him with debts of around $2 billion. Russell Munsch helped to untangle the mess. In addition to the firms founder, a number of Munsch Hardt lawyers have been named to various lists of Texas Rising Stars, Super Lawyers and The Best Lawyers in America. Attorneys in the firms leasing and development group represent Las Colinas, a vast 12,000-acre development in Irving, outside of Dallas. The attorneys have been involved with the project from the financing and construction stage, all the way to leasing and sales. Other firm clients include Samsung Telecommunications America, Texas Instruments, William Ryan Homes, Dell, Dynegy and Anheuser-Busch Companies. Recently, Munsch Hardt joined a number of other Texas firms in raising associates salaries. Bonuses paid by the firm at the end of 2005 went as high as $50,000, and even higher than that for one exceptional, and exceptionally lucky, associate. To keep their networks active, Munsch Hardt attorneys participate in a variety of professional organizations. The firm also encourages its attorneys to give back to the community, and the firms lawyers are accordingly involved in a number of pro bono projects, including

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work for the Ronald McDonald House, the Dallas Museum of Art and Girlstart. The management style of the firm seems to emphasize communication, teamwork and consensus. This tone comes from the top. In an article for Texas Lawyer magazine, shareholder Glenn Callison described his transition to chairman and chief executive officer of the firm. Shortly after beginning my term as CEO of Munsch Hardt, Callison wrote, my 11-year-old daughter asked how I liked being boss. I responded by letting her know that I now answer to 100 bosses. Thats the reality of leading a firm.

GETTING HIRED
Munsch Hardt conducts on-campus interviews at a number of law schools, and in 2006 welcomed summer associates from as far as Washington University in St. Louis. Other attorneys at the firm received their legal training at institutions as varied as Stanford, Harvard and the University of Alabama, but a large percentage of Munsch Hardt lawyers come from Texas stalwarts like Southern Methodist University, Texas Tech, Baylor, the University of Texas, the University of Houston and South Texas College of Law. Munsch Hardts summer program takes place during the second half of the summer, beginning in late June. The key to getting in the door might just be enthusiasm. One current associate describes the culture as young and friendly. Munsch Hardt attorneys are excited to be a part of the firm, the firms web site announces. Walk the halls and you will feel the enthusiasm and camaraderie behind the scenes.

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Perkins Coie Brown & Bain P.A.


2901 N. Central Avenue, Suite 2000 Phoenix, AZ 85012-2788 Phone: (602) 698-3100 www.perkinscoie.com

THE STATS
No. of attorneys: Firmwide: 639 Phoenix: 70 No. of offices: 15 Summer associate offers (2006): Phoenix: 6 out of 6 Managing Partner: Robert E. Giles Managing Partner, Phoenix Office: Joel W. Nomkin Hiring Partner: H. Michael Clyde

LOCATIONS
Anchorage, AK Bellevue, WA Boise, ID Chicago, IL Denver, CO Los Angeles, CA Menlo Park, CA Olympia, WA Phoenix, AZ Portland, OR San Francisco, CA Seattle, WA Washington, DC Beijing Shanghai

MAJOR DEPARTMENTS & PRACTICES*


Business Law Labor & Employment Commercial Litigation Real Estate & Land Use *In Pheonix office

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UPPERS
Great people and relaxed environment Diverse client base

BASE SALARY (2007)


Phoenix, AZ 1st year: $110,000 Summer associate: $1,800/week

DOWNERS
Uneven work distribution Mentoring could be better

EMPLOYMENT CONTACT
Ms. Deborah A. Uren Office Administrator Phone: (602) 351-8000 Fax: (602) 648-7000 E-mail: lawyerhiringPHX@perkinscoie.com

NOTABLE PERKS
Gym subsidy Fully paid health and dental coverage Profit sharing Practice group retreats

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Perkins Coie Brown & Bain P.A.

THE SCOOP
The Phoenix office of Perkins Coie opened in 2004, when Seattle-based Perkins Coie merged with Brown & Bain, a prestigious Phoenix intellectual property firm. Today, the firm is known as Perkins Coie Brown & Bain P.A. in Arizona, and the Phoenix office has become the firms second-largest. In 2006, Perkins Coie was ranked among the top law firms in the nation for volume of trademark, patent and IP cases by IPLaw360 magazine. And, for the fourth year in a row, Perkins Coie earned a place on Fortune magazines list of the 100 Best Companies to Work Forone of only six law firms to earn this distinction. The firms client roster reads like a whos who of the nations top companies: Starbucks, Intel, Microsoft, The Boeing Company and Google, to name just a few. Plus, the Phoenix office represents many of the largest Arizona-based companies, such as Qwest, Vitesse and Honeywell International. In addition to complex litigation capabilities that include intellectual property, whitecollar criminal defense and commercial litigation, the Phoenix office is well known for taking on legal challenges that affect public policy. For example, partner Charles Blanchard recently filed suit on behalf of some unmarried couples against an organization seeking a legislative amendment that would eliminate domestic partner benefits. Phoenix partner Daniel Barr was also recently honored for his victory in a pro bono matter on behalf of the Scottsdale Tribune and the Arizona Daily Sun, in which the newspapers sued the city of Scottsdale for failing to release records regarding police disciplinary actions.

GETTING HIRED
We only hire the best, most qualified, says a confident second-year associate. I think it probably depends on the office, but I think the Phoenix office has pretty high standards, offers a firm newcomer. Those standards include a very high GPA (or very high-quality school and pretty high GPA), law review, clerkships, according to a corporate associate. Beyond grades and school rank, the firm focuses on bright individuals who want to work in an intellectually challenging environment. An emphasis is placed on quality research, writing and analytical skills, says a first-year. But some associates think the firm is overly focused on pedigree. Provided you have the right numbers (i.e., top 10 percent and law review), you could be a slug and still get an offer, says one frustrated lawyer.

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OUR SURVEY SAYS


Its a very congenial, friendly firm, says one happy first-year. In the words of another, Challenging work, decent hours, nice people ... what more could you want? The Phoenix office is said to have its own culture in which the people are very friendly but do not tend to socialize much, according to a litigation associate. Another contact says the firm is somewhat conservative, and its lawyers socialize together occasionally. One insider attributes the lack of party atmosphere to the large contingent of Mormon attorneys. Socializing aside, associates say the work is challenging and the work product must be top-notch. Associate/partner relations are well regarded. The partners are very respectful of associates, says a litigator. The real estate partner I work for is considered the best in the state and he explains everything to me patiently, gushes a firstyear. This being said, not all partners share the same reputation. Most are great but there are some real jerks, remarks one source. And although associates are rarely invited to participate in firmwide decisions, some feel that the firm does a good job of keeping associates informed. Our contacts in Phoenix give the firm fairly high marks for training, even though the program seems a little haphazard. We have some in-house training, but the real training comes from hands-on case experience that usually flows in the form of pro bono activity, says a litigation associate. There also isnt much [training] for lateral mid-senior associates, adds another litigator. Most associates agree that mentoring and informal training is an area in which this office and the firm in general can do much better. We have a formal mentor program, but participation is poor, says a midlevel associate. Phoenix associates have few gripes with their hours. This firm is quite flexible with hours, says a litigation associate. No one looks over my shoulder or cares when I come in or leavein fact, I always get apologies if I have to stay late or come in on a Saturday, says a corporate associate. Although some associates find the firm to be flexible about its leave policies and part-time work schedules, other say the policy sounds great on paper; unfortunately, the firm doesnt walk the walk. Yet another associate complains that despite all the flexibility, you cannot maintain anything but a full-time work schedule and stay on track for partnership. Associates are also reasonably satisfied with their compensation. Based on cost of living, comparable salaries in the market and hours being worked, the compensation is at the top of the market, boasts a litigation associate. Its good considering this is Phoenix and the hours are reasonable, says another, adding that Phoenix firms as a whole are going to have to start paying more.

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Porter & Hedges LLP


1000 Main Street, 36th Floor Houston, TX 77002 Phone: (713) 226-6000 www.porterhedges.com

THE STATS
No. of attorneys: 87 No. of offices: 1 Summer associate offers (2006): 7 out of 9 Chairman: T. William Porter Hiring Partner: Chris A. Ferazzi

LOCATION
Houston, TX

MAJOR DEPARTMENTS & PRACTICES


Arbitration & Mediation Banking & Finance Bankruptcy, Restructuring & Creditors Rights Corporate Employee Benefits, ERISA & Executive Compensation Employment Energy Environmental Intellectual Property Litigation Mass Tort Project Finance Real Estate Tax Trusts/Probate/Estate Planning

NOTABLE PERKS
Paid parking Moving expenses Friday happy hours Reimbursement for bar review/exam fees

BASE SALARY (2006)


Houston, TX 1st year: $135,000 2nd year: $145,000 3rd year: $150,000 4th year: $160,000 5th year: $170,000 6th year: $180,000 7th year: $185,000 8th year: $190,000 Summer associate: $2,600/week

EMPLOYMENT CONTACT
Ms. Stacy Noser Legal Recruitment Manager Phone: (713) 226-6588 Fax: (713) 226-6200 E-mail: snoser@porterhedges.com

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Porter & Hedges LLP

THE SCOOP
While there has been a lot of discussion of late about there being no place for a midsized firm, says Porter & Hedges Chairman Bill Porter, dont kid yourself. He adds (in a letter posted on the firms web site): If we simply continue to offer positively outrageous service, if we do things wholly out of proportion of what is asked and unexpected, there will always be a place for us in this or any other legal community. These are stirring words, and a tall order for Porter & Hedges attorneys. But there are indications that this law firm, one of the 10 largest based in Houston and among the top 25 in the state, might just meet its chairmans standards. Among the firms partners, fully 70 percent are Texas Super Lawyers, according to a 2005 Texas Monthly magazine survey. For Porter & Hedges, Business is personal. The firm services both corporate and individual clients in an extensive range of practice areas, from banking and bankruptcy to tax and trusts. Firm partner Charles Baker represented co-defendant StreamCast Networks, Inc., in the 2005 Supreme Court case MGM Studios Inc. v. Grokster Ltd. and StreamCast Networks, Inc. In this case, the providers of peer-to-peer file sharing systems (including Morpheus) were sued for copyright infringement, much as Napster had been. But in one important distinction, these companies, unlike Napster, did not host copyrighted files, but merely enabled direct connections between individual users. Baker drew the following comparison: [The defendants] had no involvement with, or control over, what their users do with the software, just as Xerox has no control over what its customers do with its photocopiers. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court ultimately (and unanimously) decided against StreamCast, ruling that, at least in this case, the providers of file-sharing software were liable for the subsequent acts of copyright infringement by the systems users on the basis that their programs promoted large-scale infringement. This ruling reversed the California district courts finding in favor of the defendant, and notably did not follow the precedent set in 1984s Sony Corp. v. Universal City Studios Inc. (in which Sony successfully defended its right to distribute the first VCRs). But for Porter & Hedges, this fight is far from over. Charles Baker has already been retained by LimeWire, another filesharing service provider, in anticipation of fighting the RIAA in Arista v. LimeWire, which is scheduled to go to trial in October 2007. Recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Transportation honored Porter & Hedges by placing it on the list of Best Workplaces for Commutersan achievement worth noting in a
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city famous for epic freeway commutes. In order to be eligible for this distinction, a company must provide at least one primary commuter benefit (which can include a monthly $30 transit/vanpool pass subsidy, cash in lieu of free parking or a significant telecommuting program) and at least three supporting commuter benefits (such as carpool incentives, incentives for living near work or on-site amenities such as day care or dry cleaning).

GETTING HIRED
Porter & Hedges accepts resumes from any well-qualified law student, though its hiring strategy is somewhat Texas-centric. The firm only conducts oncampus interviews at the University of Texas and the University of Houston, and looks to hire associates with strong ties to the area. Summer associates in 2005 were almost exclusively from Texas schools. Well-qualified to Porter Hedges means bright, well-rounded individuals with an entrepreneurial spirit and strong critical thinking and writing skills. In its quest to find talented students who have the potential to develop into exceptional attorneys, the firm weighs factors including exceptional academic achievement, participation in law school activities (such as law review and moot court), prior work experience and strong interpersonal skills.

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Quarles & Brady LLP


One Renaissance Square Two North Central Avenue Phoenix, AZ 85004 Phone: (602) 229-5200 www.quarles.com

THE STATS
No. of attorneys: Firmwide: 439 Phoenix: 115 Tucson: 15 No. of offices: 6 Summer associate offers (2006): Firmwide: 23 out of 26 Phoenix: 6 out of 7 Tucson: 1 out of 1 Managing Partner: Patrick M. Ryan Hiring Partner: Sarah E. Coyne

LOCATIONS
Chicago, IL Madison, WI Milwaukee, WI Naples, FL Phoenix, AZ Tucson, AZ

MAJOR DEPARTMENTS & PRACTICES


Bankruptcy & Creditors Rights Commercial Litigation Corporate Services Environmental Hospital & Health Law Intellectual Property Labor & Employment Product Liability Public Finance Real Estate & Land Use Taxation Trusts & Estates

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UPPERS
Top-of-market compensation Reasonable, flexible hours

BASE SALARY (2006)


All Arizona offices 1st year: $115,000 Summer associate: $2,215/week

DOWNERS
Some tension between partners and associates Associates who miss hours targets get held back

EMPLOYMENT CONTACT
Ms. Marguerite E. Durston Administrator, Attorney Recruitment Phone: (312) 715-5025 Fax: (312) 715-5155 E-mail: mdurston@quarles.com

NOTABLE PERKS
Profit sharing through 401(k) Subsidized health club membership Paid paternity leave Generous CLE budget ($2,000 every two years)

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Quarles & Brady LLP

THE SCOOP
Though the firm has Midwestern roots, Quarles & Brady LLP is hardly a oneregion power. The firm was founded in Milwaukee in the early 1900s and more than half of its lawyers practice in the firms three Midwest offices. However, thanks to the merger of Quarles & Brady and Arizona firm Streich Lang in 2000, the firm now has approximately 130 lawyers in Phoenix and Tucson. Formerly known as Quarles & Brady Streich Lang LLP in Arizona, the firm now goes by Quarles & Brady firmwide. All told, the firm has 439 attorneys in six offices (the sixth office is in Naples, Fla.) and is organized in 12 practice areas: bankruptcy and creditors rights, commercial litigation, corporate services, environmental, hospital and health law, intellectual property, labor and employment, product liability, public finance, real estate and land use, taxation, and trusts and estates. Quarles & Brady is a member of United States Law Firm Group, a consortium of 18 midsized law firms. That consortium entered into a strategic alliance with the ADVOC, a network of international firms. The alliance gives Quarles & Brady access to clients in Europe, Latin America and Asia.

GETTING HIRED
Associates in Arizona say Quarles & Brady is highly competitivemaybe too competitive. There is too much emphasis on class rankings and grades, to the point [that] many of our successful lawyers hired prior to the implementation of the class rankings and grades [requirements] would never be hired under the current system, says a senior associate. It is almost too difficult to get hired at this firm, agrees another lawyer who adds that a lot of candidates are overlooked. Getting hired without excellent writing skills is impossible. Less-than-superior writers have a very difficult time getting a job here, reports one attorney. At least one lawyer thinks the firm gives too much weight to this factor. The heavy reliance on a writing sample is silly, asserts that contact.

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OUR SURVEY SAYS


Quarles & Brady lawyers in Arizona express mixed feelings about their firm. One senior associate in Phoenix brags that he is well paid and respected, given proper training tools and good work and has access to proper mentoring programs. My department is very collegial, the work is interesting and challenging, and the hours arent stifling my ability to have a balanced life, says a bankruptcy lawyer. Others are less impressed. I went to law school for this? asks a first-year who gripes that Quarles gives him boring and non-substantive work for the most part. Only one [or] two partners actually give me work that is interesting and suited to my experience level. The practice of law is very fulfilling, but the crush of work and the constant demand to bill more hours while devot[ing] even more hours to client development, firm administration and pro bono activities drains a lot of the enjoyment from the job, sighs another Phoenix lawyer. A Tucson contact says that Quarles & Brady attorneys enjoy a good firm culture. Quarles & Brady is a very collegial place, and the lawyers do socialize together, both during the work day and during off-work hours, agrees a senior associate. People here genuinely like each other and being nice to each other is a priority. It is a professional environment, but [it] is not stuffy. Most lawyers keep their doors open, reports a lawyer in the firms Phoenix office. Not everyone is as enthusiastic. The firm makes a lot of noise about its culture and how much it values diversity and social and professional interaction between its lawyers. In practice, however, some lawyers take this attitude seriously, while most do not, gripes one source. As for training, it mostly comes in the form of side-by-side training, in which new associates accompany a more senior lawyer on various tasks such as depositions, trial, oral arguments, client meetings. The firm also has a formal mentoring program for new associates, and a first-year suggests that as long as you are self-motivated, you can get decent mentoring from most other associates, and sometimes a few of the partners as well. There are few complaints about money. Our firms associate compensation is among the best in the Phoenix market, boasts a lawyer from that office. On the downside, the firm strictly enforces its billable requirements. While associates who do not make their hours are rarely penalized with a salary reduction, they do not receive a raise, reports a contact. Thus, an associate who may have missed his/her hours one year by just a few hours can work twice as hard the next year, exceeding the required hours but making less than his or her counterparts. The system seems somewhat punitive, but is preferable to other penalties and/or consequences for associates not making
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their required hours. At least the firm makes it relatively easy to meet the billable requirements. Many factors are combined into overall billing figures, such as side-by-side training, mentoring, certain administrative tasks, recruiting and pro bono, says a source. This makes the 1,950 requirement easier to meet, as other firms only count straight client billed hours towards this yearly requirement.

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My department is very collegial, the work is interesting and challenging, and the hours arent stifling my ability to have a balanced life.
Quarles & Brady associate

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Rodey, Dickason, Sloan, Akin & Robb, P.A.


201 Third Street NW, Suite 2200 Albuquerque, NM 87102 Phone: (505) 765-5900 www.rodey.com

THE STATS
No. of attorneys: Firmwide:78 Albuquerque: 70 No. of offices: 2 Summer associate offers (2006): Firmwide: 2 out of 2 Albuquerque: 2 out of 2 Managing Partner: Charles J. Vigil Hiring Partner: Lisa C. Ortega

LOCATIONS
Albuquerque, NM (HQ) Santa Fe, NM

MAJOR DEPARTMENTS & PRACTICES


Business Department Banking Bonds & Securities Business Formation & Transactions Employee Benefits Environment & Natural Resources Estate Planning & Probate Health Care Indian Law Intellectual Property Real Estate Taxation University & Education Utilities Water Litigation Department Appellate Practice Bankruptcy, Debtors & Creditors Rights Civil Rights & Media Law Class Action Defense & Complex Litigation Commercial Litigation Drug & Medical Device Liability Health Law Intellectual Property Labor & Employment Law Products & General Liability Professional Liability

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UPPERS
Working with the best attorneys in the state Top-of-the-market pay

BASE SALARY (2006)


Albuquerque, NM 1st year: $70,000 Summer associate: $1,350/week

DOWN ERS
In New Mexico, top-of-themarket pay is still fairly low Insurance defense doesnt excite everyone

EMPLOYMENT CONTACT
Ms. Ann C. Mackey Human Resources Manager Phone: (505) 765-5900 Fax: (505) 768-7395 E-mail: recruit@rodey.com

NOTABLE PERKS
Roth 401(k) Alternative work schedules Incredibly comprehensive benefits Nice offices

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Rodey, Dickason, Sloan, Akin & Robb, P.A.

THE SCOOP
Established in 1883, Rodey, Dickason, Sloan, Akin & Robb now ranks as one of the largest and most prominent defense firms in New Mexico. Its specialties include a variety of complex litigation areas, such as banking, environmental, insurance and intellectual property law. The 2006 Chambers USA Guide to Americas Leading Business Lawyers ranked Rodey as the top firm in New Mexico for corporate and commercial work, general commercial litigation and real estate. It also singled out 13 individual Rodey lawyers for their work in these fields. A number of major victories in recent years have contributed to the firms development of a national reputation. Rodey, for example, won reversal of a $5 million judgment against its client United States Fire Insurance in a bad faith case, when a New Mexico appellate court ruled that the facts set forth by National Union Fire Insurance did not establish a legal basis for such a claim. The firm also scored a major employment discrimination victory in a federal case brought by a surgeon against the firms client, one of New Mexicos largest employers (the firm declines to release the name of the company). The surgeon sought damages based on the claim that his career had been destroyed by national origin and age discrimination; the employer argued that he had been terminated for substandard performance. The judge granted summary judgment to the defense, as well as an award of costs against the surgeon. Other representative clients range from Wells Fargo and Bank of America to John Hancock Insurance and Eli Lilly and Company.

GETTING HIRED
Rodey Dickason follows fairly traditional hiring standards, associates say. In general, the firm looks for attorneys with good writing skills who appear that they will be a good fit with the firms overall culture, according to one litigator. An IP expert suggests that the firm seeks candidates who are very intelligent, driven, who will fit in with the existing firm culture. The firm hires four to five summer associates each year (a mix of first-year and secondyear students), with the expectation that most or all of the 2Ls will be offered (and accept) permanent positions. The standard partnership track is a relatively brief six-and-a-half years.

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Rodey, Dickason, Sloan, Akin & Robb, P.A.

OUR SURVEY SAYS


Rodey Dickason associates consider their firm one of the best places to work in the region. As one junior associate puts it, This is the top firm in the state because it has great lawyers who are also enjoyable and engaging. A professional liability lawyer crows, I work with the best attorneys in the state. We have great clients who offer challenging and interesting work. Not everyone is so keen on representing insurance companies, so lawyers should know what theyre getting into: defense, defense, defense. The firm notes that although Rodey litigators do mostly defense work, not all such work is insurance defense. The firm does some plaintiffs litigation. The firms work environment is described as collegial and social. A litigator reports that the firm has a very friendly, supportive, collegial and unstuffy attitude across the board. Its a very nice place to come to work. A colleague tells us, My firm is a lifestyle firm that allows for life outside of the office through humane billable hour requirements and encouragement to participate in professional and civic activities. The firm is generally very sociable, agrees another source, though cliques do form. Still, there is a good mix politically and professionally, so [theres] something for everyone. Partners seem to satisfy associates hopes and expectations. When it comes to decision making, associates may voice their opinions informally, but (unsurprisingly) they dont necessarily carry much weight. Heres how one associate describes the collective dynamic: The partners meet monthly. Associates are permitted to stay for the general part of the meeting only and then are excused when financial issues or voting issues are to be discussed. There is a meeting the next day where associates are told about what was said during the directors portion of the meeting. Associates are generally free and welcome to offer their input in smaller settings prior to votes, but associates do not have voting power. Associates say that the firms formal training offerings are weak, verging on nonexistent. This is an area that needs improvement, complains a litigator. There is very little training. Fortunately, associates say, informal training picks up much of the slack. Informally, there is more guidance and mentorship within the different practice groups and between newer and more senior associates, according to an Albuquerque litigator. The salaries may be at the top of the market, but thats not saying much, according to associates. Compensation is among the best, if not the best, in the state, but the salaries in New Mexico as a whole are quite a bit less than other nearby states, such as Texas and Arizona, gripes a second-year. On the
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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Rodey, Dickason, Sloan, Akin & Robb, P.A.

other hand, the hours requirements are probably far more manageable than in other more competitive and lucrative marketplaces. The billing requirement is very reasonable, says a junior associate. Moreover, attorneys do take advantage of the firms part-time possibilities.

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We have great clients who offer challenging and interesting work.


Rodey Dickason associate

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Snell & Wilmer L.L.P.


One Arizona Center 400 East Van Buren Phoenix, AZ 85004-2202 Phone: (602) 382-6000 www.swlaw.com

THE STATS
No. of attorneys: Firmwide: 443 Phoenix: 212 Las Vegas: 34 Tucson: 32 No. of offices: 6 Summer associate offers (2005): Firmwide: 36 out of 41 Phoenix: 20 out of 24 Las Vegas: 3 out of 3 Tucson: 2 out of 3 Chairman of the Executive Committee: John J. Bouma Hiring Committee Co-Chairs: Robert A. Henry, Jennifer Hadley Dioguardi

LOCATIONS
Phoenix, AZ (HQ) Denver, CO Las Vegas, NV Orange County, CA Salt Lake City, UT Tucson, AZ

MAJOR DEPARTMENTS & PRACTICES


Antitrust Appellate Banking Bankruptcy Business & Finance Commercial Finance Commercial Litigation Construction Employment Benefits Environmental Estate Planning Health Care Intellectual Property Labor & Employment Municipal Bond/Public Authority Financing Natural Resources Product Liability Real Estate Tax

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UPPERS
Its the best firm in Phoenix Wonderful work environment

BASE SALARY (2006)


Phoenix, AZ 1st year: $110,000 Summer associate: $1,900/week Las Vegas, NV; Tucson, AZ 1st year: $100,000 Summer associate: $1,725/week

DOWNERS
The formal dress code Typical big-firm issues

NOTABLE PERKS
Profit sharing Free Friday lunches Discounts on auto purchases Soda fountains on every floor

EMPLOYMENT CONTACT
Ms. Bonnie J. Lang Director of Attorney Recruitment and Development Phone: (602) 382-6014 Fax: (602) 382-6070 E-mail: blang@swlaw.com

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Snell & Wilmer L.L.P.

THE SCOOP
Phoenix-based Snell & Wilmers practice areas have a particularly Arizona flavor, with such departments as business and finance, environmental law, Indian law, venture capital, and zoning and land use. Recently, the firm has gained a national presence, stretching to six offices from Southern California to Colorado, and more than 400 attorneys. In 2005, the firm ranked No. 90 on The National Law Journals rankings of the nations largest firms. Though the majority of the firms work entails representing much smaller businesses, the firms best-known clients include the Arizona Public Service Company, Bank of America, the Ford Motor Company, the Mayo Clinic, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and the Tucson Airport Authority. The firms prominence, particularly in Phoenix, has been recognized by a handful of honors in recent years. Based on a survey of directors and corporate counsel, Corporate Board Member magazine, for example, has named Snell & Wilmer the best law firm to do business with in Phoenix each year since its first survey in 2002. More importantly (for potential associates), summer associates ranked Snell & Wilmer as the top choice in Phoenix in the American Lawyer Media 2005 Summer Associate Survey, giving it an average score of 4.79 out of 5. (The firm also placed second in Denver and 23rd nationwide.) In a less typical industry honor, the firm was the first professional group to receive the Arizona Governors Arts Award for, among other things, assembling and touring one of the nations premier collections of work by Arizona photographers.

GETTING HIRED
Associates call Snell & Wilmers hiring program rigorous yet efficient. It isnt easy to get a job offer at our firm, says an associate in Phoenix. Many law students apply, but we can only give offers to some of them. According to an enthusiastic senior associate, the successful candidate is someone with the academics to succeed and the personality, too! Others agree that in addition to strong academics the firm looks for good people skills. Sources describe the successful recruit as hardworking, intelligent, curious and well rounded. One associate appreciates that the call-back and offer process was more streamlined with Snell & Wilmer than with other firms, adding, I had an offer here before I had completed callbacks elsewhere.

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OUR SURVEY SAYS


Snell & Wilmer associates report a high degree of job satisfaction, specifically praising the sophisticated work, intelligent and nice lawyers, professional environment and outstanding firm reputation. The firm culture seems to be a happy mix of both serious and professional, and very relaxed and social. According to a Phoenix associate, The firms culture is one of inclusion and support. Although I may not always socialize with other lawyers at the firm, I feel completely at ease when I do and always feel comfortable asking others to join me for social events. And a colleague confides, This offices unique culture is the reason I chose to work here. There is a sense of camaraderie, and everyone is very collegial. Plus, just about everyone here has a really good sense of humor, so that makes coming to work more pleasant. Insiders rate associate/partner relations quite highly, though they do suggest that the firm could reach out more when making firmwide decisions. Associates and partners tend to get along very well at the firm, says a thirdyear. Partners treat associates with a lot of respect and many become unofficial mentors. However, as several contacts acknowledge, Not a whole lot of information trickles down from the partners to the associates. Associates have little to do with firm management, says an IP attorney, and almost always find out about firmwide decisions after they are made. Litigators seem happy with their training. It really is fabulous, says a firstyear in the Las Vegas office. But associates in other departments find the inhouse options more limited. The firm ought to consider bringing in some external trainers to provide educational resources, suggests a bankruptcy attorney. Fortunately, partners are highly accessible and often go out of their way to teach [associates] about both administrative and substantive aspects of practice. Associates consider the firms 2,000-hour billing goal par for the course. The pressure to bill hours is always present at any firm, shrugs a junior associate. It is frustrating at times when you also have a lot of non-billable hours to put in. Another attorney adds, Billable hours is the bottom line at any big firm. There is an underlying pressure that goes along with that. If you do not meet and exceed your hours, you may be viewed as if you are not sacrificing enough for the firm and you are not partner material. Associates say the pay is great, even if its not at the top of the market. One otherwise satisfied lawyer notes, Given that we are a large law firm in our market, we probably should be at or very near the top. The firm is
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competitive on a local market basis, though not on a national basis, reports another Phoenix associate. The partners appear willing to meet rising salary pressures when forced by East or West Coast firms.

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Just about everyone here has a really good sense of humor, so that makes coming to work more pleasant.
Snell & Wilmer associate

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Squire, Sanders & Dempsey L.L.P.


Two Renaissance Square 40 North Central Avenue, Suite 2700 Phoenix, AZ 85004 Phone: (602) 528-4000 www.ssd.com

THE STATS
No. of attorneys: Firmwide: 800 Houston: 11 Phoenix: 66 No. of offices: 36 Summer associate offers (2005): Firmwide: 35 out of 40 Phoenix: 4 out of 4 Chairman: James J. Maiwurm Hiring Partner: Brian Cabianca

LOCATIONS
Cincinnati, OH Cleveland, OH Columbus, OH Houston, TX Los Angeles, CA Miami, FL New York, NY Palo Alto, CA Phoenix, AZ San Francisco, CA Tallahassee, TN Tampa, FL Tysons Corner, VA Washington, DC West Palm Beach, FL Beijing Bratislava Brussels Bucharest* Budapest Buenos Aires* Caracas Dublin* Frankfurt Hong Kong Kyiv* London Milan* Moscow Prague Rio de Janeiro Riyadh* Santiago* Santo Domingo Shanghai Tokyo Warsaw * Associated office

MAJOR DEPARTMENTS & PRACTICES


Bankruptcy & Reorganization Communications Corporate Transaction & Securities Regulation Economic Regulation Energy Environmental, Health & Safety Financial Services Health Sciences Intellectual Property International Dispute Resolution Labor & Employment Litigation Project Finance Public Finance Real Estate & Hospitality Taxation Transportation 224

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UPPERS
Loose, friendly culture International reach

BASE SALARY (2006)


Phoenix, AZ 1st year: $110,000 Summer associate: $2,077/week

DOWNERS
Slowly losing its place as a compensation leader Demanding hours

EMPLOYMENT CONTACTS
Firmwide Ms. Crystal L. Arnold Firmwide Recruiting Coordinator Phone: (216) 687-3465 Fax: (216) 687-3401 E-mail: carnold@ssd.com Phoenix Ms. Beth A. Hoffman HR and Recruiting Manager Phone: (602) 528-4850 Fax: (602) 253-8129 E-mail: bhoffman@ssd.com

NOTABLE PERKS
Paid BlackBerry service Free dinners if working late Moving and bar expenses Employee discounts

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THE SCOOP
Who says Cleveland cant be the center of the world? Squire, Sanders & Dempsey L.L.P. was founded in 1890 in Cleveland by Andrew Squire, Judge William B. Sanders and James H. Dempsey. Though the firm started small, it has become anything but. Squire Sanders now has 800 attorneys in 30 offices around the world, including 12 different countries outside the United States. Following the collapse of the Iron Curtain, Squire Sanders became the first U.S. firm to establish a permanent presence in the Eastern Bloc, and now maintains offices throughout Eastern Europe and Russia. With the opening of China, the firm added three more Asian offices. In September 2005, the firm merged with Florida-based Steel Hector & Davis LLP, thereby expanding the firms presence in the Sunshine State and gaining bases throughout Latin America. Included in that global empire is a small Houston office featuring 11 attorneys and a larger Phoenix office with 66 lawyers. The firm specializes in international, litigation, bankruptcy, corporate and IP matters. In a recent major deal, lawyers from Squire Sanders Phoenix office combined with attorneys from three international offices to advise LRG Acquisition Group in its purchase of Intercontinental Hotels Group. The $2 billion deal results in the transfer of 73 hotels around the world to LRG.

GETTING HIRED
Squire Sanders cares about what school you went to, to the extent that topranked schools can overcome bad GPAs. Like most firms we do initial oncampus interviews followed by callbacks in which candidates meet with two or three partners and three or four associates, says a Phoenix attorney. I am unaware of any specific GPA cutoff, but generally, the firm requires top 20 percent in your law school class. Unusual or interesting experience goes a long way. Generally, the firm is looking for candidates with strong academic records and a willingness to work, says a contact. Squire Sanders seems to favor people with broad experience such as studying or traveling abroad or a previous career. Clerkships are not a must but are helpful. As a general matter, the firm looks for people that will fit its culturei.e., someone that will not get on your nerves at the end of a long day, continues our source.

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OUR SURVEY SAYS


Associates say that life at Squire Sanders has its ups and downsthe quality of work is high but so is the volume. The flow of work is steady but sometimes can overwhelm, says a Phoenix lawyer. Good variety in cases and the issues they raise. The firm is very proactive in giving me opportunities to move beyond research and writing tasks and into task[s] such as dealing with clients, opposing counsel, conducting depositions and making oral arguments. The work and the atmosphere of the firm are very positive and I enjoy coming to work. The Phoenix office seems to have a somewhat more active social life than the firms Ohio offices. There are groups of lawyers, young and midlevel associates in particular, who tend to socialize together, reports a source. In terms of culture, the Phoenix office of Squire Sanders has a work hard, play hard mentality among most of the lawyers. That contact continues, Politically, the office is somewhat conservative in its leanings, but not as conservative as the Cleveland office. There are lawyers who are active on all parts of the political spectrum. Formal training is the firms major weak spot, but mentoring by partners or senior associates may be a way to fill in the gaps, especially since the partners do a pretty good job of relating to associates and developing talent. The firm also tries to keep associates apprised of whats going on. In general, the partnership does a good job of keeping associates informed of firmwide issues and decisions, even though [that] sometimes [means] after the decisions have been made, notes an insider. There are biannual associate meetings with key firm partners where any and all associate questions are answered, including questions about compensation, partnership, office policy changes and the like. Associates say the firm keeps them in the office longer than peer firms do. As big firms in this region of the country go, ours demands more hours than most, says a Phoenix associate. On the other hand, the hours here are nothing like they are in the Northeast. I have generally worked between 2,700 and 2,900 hours in order to bill between 2,000 and 2,200. At least the firm offers some flexibility. For a firm with one of the highest billable hour requirements in Phoenix (2,000 hours), Squire Sanders is quite flexible in terms of how associates go about meeting their billable hour requirements, reports a contact. The firm does seem to be a compensation leader, at least for junior associates. We are the top-paying firm in the market at least with respect to first-years, reports a midlevel associate. The pay gap narrows as associates become more senior. Nonetheless, there are some rumblings about other similar-sized markets raising salaries and questioning why the firm is not doing the same in this market.
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Strasburger & Price LLP


901 Main Street, Suite 4400 Dallas, TX 75202-3794 Phone: (214) 651-4300 www.strasburger.com

THE STATS
No. of attorneys: Firmwide: 174 Dallas: 79 Austin: 21 Collin County: 18 Houston: 35 San Antonio: 17 No. of offices: 7 Summer associate offers (2006): Dallas/Collin County: 3 out of 5 Austin/San Antonio: 0 out of 3 Houston: 2 out of 8 Managing Partner: Daniel L. Butcher Hiring Partners: Dallas/Collin County: Scott A. Shanes Austin: Tiffany G. Hildreth Houston: John K. Spiller San Antonio: Daniel W. Lanfear

LOCATIONS
Dallas, TX (HQ) Austin, TX Collin County, TX Houston, TX San Antonio, TX Washington, DC Mexico City

MAJOR DEPARTMENTS & PRACTICES


Admiralty & Maritime Antitrust Appellate Bankruptcy Construction Corporate & Securities Drug & Medical Device Litigation Eminent Domain/Condemnation Energy Environmental Fidelity & Surety Financial Services Franchise & Distribution Governmental & Administrative Law Health Law Insurance Litigation & Counsel Intellectual Property International International Trade Compliance Labor & Employment Litigation Oil, Gas & Petroleum Personal Injury Products Litigation Professional Liability Real Estate Taxes, Estate Planning & Employee Benefits Transportation/Logistics White Collar Crime Zoning & Land Use

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UPPERS
Friendly, collegial atmosphere Lots of early responsibility and client contact

BASE SALARY (2006)


All Texas offices 1st year: $110,000 Summer associate: $2,100/week

DOWNERS
Pay at lower end of market Uneven workload

EMPLOYMENT CONTACTS
Dallas and Collin County Ms. Brooke S. Benesh Manager of Recruiting and Professional Development Phone: (214) 651-4300 Fax: (214) 651-4330 E-mail: brooke.benesh@strasburger.com Austin and San Antonio Ms. Linsi Smith Firm Development Coordinator Phone: (512) 499-3600 Fax: (512) 499-3660 E-mail: linsi.smith@strasburger.com Houston Ms. Lindsey Word Firm Development Coordinator Phone: (713) 951-5600 Fax: (713) 951-5660 E-mail: lindsey.word@strasburger.com

NOTABLE PERKS
Profit sharing for associates Paid cell phones and BlackBerries Box seats at American Airlines Center events Health club membership

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THE SCOOP
Strasburger & Price LLP was founded in Dallas in 1939. Since then, the firm has grown to include offices in seven different locations across Texas, Washington, D.C., and Mexico. Strasburger is still growing, as is evident by the recent lateral additions in many of its offices. Over the past year, the firm has added five attorneys to its health care practice, hired three former Holland & Knight attorneys in the San Antonio office, and gained several corporate and real estate lawyers. Strasburger attorneys represent a variety of clients, from small startups to multinational corporations. In late 2005, the firms health care litigation group won its sixth consecutive trial victory. Among notable wins in 2006, Strasburger won a verdict on a $7.8 million land deal involving a plot of land near the site for the new Dallas Cowboys stadium. Strasburgers clients, ATMEX Corporation and J. Santos Espinoza, wanted to sell the land to the city of Arlington, Texas, but a third party claimed he was the rightful owner and sought to block the impending sale. After a five-day jury trial in June, the judge granted a directed verdict in favor of Strasburgers clients. A few months later, the firm won a $7 million verdict for Harrell Ranch, an organic cattle ranch outside Austin. The Texas Department of Transportation had taken part of the ranch for construction of a new state highway. Disappointed with the $2 million granted by the Special Commissioners Panel for the condemnation of its property, Harrell Ranch appealed. Thanks to Strasburgers efforts, a Travis County jury awarded the ranch $6.956 million in damages. On the transactional side, Strasburger has represented Hanson Building Materials America, Inc., a heavy building materials company, in five recent deals resulting in the acquisition of more than $100 million of assets. The firm also represented Horizon Health Corporation in its purchase of eight behavioral health facilities in five states (Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Ohio and South Carolina) for an aggregate price of approximately $95 million.

GETTING HIRED
Strasburger associates say that their firm stresses character over strict academic achievement. According to a third-year, I think getting hired can be difficult because we look at more than just grades. Desirable qualities

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include a collegial spirit and a high level of integrity. Moreover, Work ethic and personality go a long way. Applicants do not need to be in the top 10 percent to be hired, but you do have to have a great personality, agrees a litigation associate. A Dallas associate adds, Strasburger claims that it only hires associates who it wants to see become partner at the firm. From what I have seen, this proves to be the case. The firm is very selective in hiring and then extremely nurturing to its associates.

OUR SURVEY SAYS


Associates say relaxed, comfortable, egalitarian, social, respectful and friendly are all adjectives that describe Strasburgers culture, although the firm tends to be somewhat conservative politically. A Dallas associate raves, Strasburger [offers] a great balance of high quality work and good quality of life. The firm attorneys respect one another and associates are given a high level of responsibility. While some associates view the firm as a social place, many feel that it is more family-oriented than frat-like. Theres not too much socialization as everyone is involved with their families and their lives outside the office, but everyone is genuinely nice and respectful of each other, says a litigator in the Dallas office. There is not as much socializing between attorneys after work in my office because most have families, but we do have an office softball team made up of attorneys and staff, agrees an Austin associate. Associates give very high marks for associate/partner relations, and say that partners treat associates with a great deal of respect, are easily accessible and open. The firm also has a formal mentoring program that pairs new associates with both an associate and a partner mentor. The firms formal training earns mostly favorable reviews, and several rave about the extensive internal programs and especially the Strasburger Trial Academy. Trial academy for litigators helps ensure our transition from law school to lawyer is as smooth as possible, gushes a first-year. But a few lawyers find the programs disappointing and limited after the first year. Associates find the firms annual billable requirement of 1,920 hours reasonable. Our firm is much better than most and we receive bonuses for meeting certain goals, says an Austin associate of the firms billable requirement. Unfortunately, say associates, the comparatively low billable requirement also means comparatively low salaries. Strasburger did not match the move made recently by the top Texas firms, explains a Dallas
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associate. Instead, Strasburger increased the firms bonus/profit-sharing component of its associate compensation package, so, depending on how productive an associate is, the potential exists to make top dollar, but it is not guaranteed. Another associate describes the firms compensation as slightly below market, but contends that flexibility in the system rewards everyone appropriately since all pay is merit-based; no tenure-based graduation of pay tiers. All bonuses are formulaic and are based on hours, billed amounts and so on. While some associates believe that hard work will be rewarded, others remain unconvinced. A midlevel complains that the compensation system is complicated and results in lower salaries for lower billing rateswhich the associate has no control over.

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Susman Godfrey L.L.P.


1000 Louisiana, Suite 5100 Houston, TX 77002-5096 Phone: (713) 651-9366 www.susmangodfrey.com

THE STATS
No. of attorneys: Firmwide: 85 Houston: 47 Dallas: 16 No. of offices: 5 Summer associate offers (2006): Firmwide: 6 out of 8 Houston: 4 out of 5 Dallas: 1 out of 2 Managing Partner: Stephen D. Susman Hiring Partner: Shawn Raymond

LOCATIONS
Houston, TX (HQ) Dallas, TX Los Angeles, CA New York, NY Seattle, WA

MAJOR DEPARTMENTS & PRACTICES


Accounting Malpractice Antitrust Arbitration Breach of Contract & Interference with Contract Litigation Energy & Natural Resources Foreign & International Litigation Intellectual Property Libel/Slander Litigation Negligence, Product Liability & Toxic Tort Representing Debtors & Creditors in Litigation Securities Litigation

NOTABLE PERKS
Potentially hefty bonuses Biannual retreats to nice resorts (Aspen, Costa Rica) Three months paid maternity leave Garage parking

BASE SALARY (2006)


Texas offices 1st year: $140,000 2nd year: $145,000 3rd year: $150,000 4th year: $160,000 5th year: $170,000 Summer associate: TBD

EMPLOYMENT CONTACT
Ms. Kimberly Herbsleb Recruiting Coordinator Phone: (713) 653-7867 Fax: (713) 654-3382 E-mail: kherbsleb@susmangodfrey.com

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THE SCOOP
Every small-to-midsized firm likes to think of itself as a boutiquea smaller, specialized firm that attracts high-end clients and recruits high-end lawyers. Alas, many self-proclaimed boutiques are merely new, small or struggling firms looking to spin their diminutiveness as a plus. Count Susman Godfrey, however, as one of the true boutiques. Founded in 1980, the litigation star maintains five officesits Houston headquarters, a smaller Dallas branch, two offices on the West Coast and a branch in New Yorkthat house a total of 85 attorneys. Its small size notwithstanding, the firm handles truly megawatt cases. Its associates earn as much as (or often more than) their peers at much (much) larger firms. Susman Godfrey therefore has the bona fides to call itself a boutiques boutique. When The American Lawyer, for example, ran its first Litigation Boutique of the Year competition in 2005, the firm was named the second-best litigation boutique in the nation. Some recent victories give a feel for the kind of work Susman Godfreys associates are assigned. (And given the firms small staff and narrow focus, these cases seem fairly representative of the cases that associates will man.) The firms very first case, widely known as the Corrugated Container antitrust trial, resulted in one of the nations highest-ever antitrust jury verdicts and established the firm as a go-to option for plaintiffs in antitrust cases. In 1980, the newlyformed seven-attorney firm represented the plaintiffs in a suit alleging that 40 corrugated box manufacturers fixed prices. All but one of the defendants settled. That proved to be a costly mistake for the remaining defendant, Mead Paper. Following a three-month trial, the jury returned a verdict affirming that Mead had conspired to fix prices for at least 12 years. The jury awarded nearly $1 billion in damages (in addition to the settlements, which were in excess of $500 million). The firm has since represented such companies as Gateway, Novell and Caldera in successful private antitrust actions against Microsoft. Susman Godfrey, of course, handles a wide range of non-antitrust litigation as well. In September 2006, the firm filed a patent infringement suit against Microsoft on behalf of Paltalk, the largest instant-chat community on the internet. As one of the premier litigation firms in Houston, Susman Godfrey had a close relationship with the dearly departed Enron Corp. The firm represented Enrons bankruptcy estate in its claims of aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty and fraud against 10 banks and investment banks. Settlements in those cases have thus far earned the Enron estate more than $1 billion.

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Susman Godfrey takes cases on both sides of the aisle, dividing its practice between plaintiff and defense work. The firm even prides itself on what it can do after a party has already lost a case. After a Houston jury had returned a verdict of more than $72 million against Connecticuts First Reserve Corporation, the bank turned to Susman Godfrey for help. Following a posttrial briefing and argument, the trial judge rejected the verdict and directed judgment for the defense. Soon after, the case settled for a fraction of the jury award. Similarly, the government of India hired the firm after a Houston federal court entered a $77 million judgment against it. Susman Godfrey got the judgment vacated and the case settled for a small sum shortly thereafter. The combination of good work, good pay and good clients has earned the firm a number of awards. In 2002 and 2003, for example, The American Lawyer ranked Susman Godfrey among the top 10 law firms in the country for midlevel associate satisfaction. Moreover, the firm ranked first in several categories, including associate/associate relations, partner/associate relations and associate/client contact. As the firm boasts on its web site, Susman Godfrey has a reputation as a great place to make money, but it also is a great place to work.

GETTING HIRED
The combination of Susman Godfreys small size and sizable reputation make its hiring program extremely competitive. Applicants must be top of class in a very good law school, and federal clerkships are almost mandatory, reports a third-year associate. Every partner and partnership-track associate votes on offers to recruits. Majority rules. A second-year confirms, You need to be the top of the top to even get an interview. The firm itself describes the ideal candidates as intelligent, hardworking individuals who have the skills and desire to work for one of the finest litigation firms in the country. Recruiting focuses on such brand-name local and Ivy League standouts as Harvard, Yale, the University of Texas and the University of Houston. The firm will also review resumes mailed in from top students at law schools where it does not conduct on-campus interviews. Susman Godfrey has hard-and-fast rules that require applicants be in the top 10 percent of their class, be a member of law review or a journal and demonstrate the desire and ability to become a successful trial lawyer.

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Thompson & Knight LLP


1700 Pacific Avenue, Suite 3300 Dallas, TX 75201 Phone: (214) 969-1700 www.tklaw.com

THE STATS
No. of attorneys: Firmwide: 440 Dallas: 218 Austin: 22 Fort Worth: 10 Houston: 115 No. of offices: 12 Summer associate offers (2006): Firmwide: 28 out of 33 Dallas: 22 out of 25 Austin: 1 out of 1 Fort Worth: 1 out of 1 Houston: 4 out of 6 Managing Partner: Peter J. Riley Hiring Partners: Dallas: J. Holt Foster III Austin: Victor Alcorta III Fort Worth: Jennifer P. Henry Houston: Vivienne (Lie) R. Schiffer

LOCATIONS
Dallas, TX (HQ) Austin, TX Fort Worth, TX Houston, TX New York, NY Algiers* London Mexico City Monterrey Paris* Rio de Janeiro* Vitria* *Associated office

MAJOR DEPARTMENTS & PRACTICES


Corporate & Securities Corporate Reorganization & Creditors Rights Environmental Finance Government Relations & Public Policy Health Care Intellectual Property International Labor & Employment Oil, Gas & Energy Real Estate & Banking Sports & Entertainment Law Tax, Benefits & Estate Planning Technology Trial & Appellate

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UPPERS
Sophisticated work Collegial co-workers

BASE SALARY (2006)


Texas offices 1st year: $135,000* Summer associate: $2,700/week** *Plus first-year $5,000 signing bonus and $5,000 graduation bonus; $35,000 bonus and partnership track credit for certain judicial clerkships. **Plus $2,500 first half bonus.

DOWNERS
Some office politics Not enough one-on-one mentoring

NOTABLE PERKS
Free parking (in many offices) Free BlackBerry & notebook computers Social recruiting season Starbucks coffee, juice and soft drinks

EMPLOYMENT CONTACTS
Dallas, Austin, Fort Worth, New York Ms. Meg Munson Recruiting Coordinator Phone: (214) 969-1180 Fax: (214) 999-9299 E-mail: Meg.Munson@tklaw.com Houston Ms. Elizabeth Hudson Houston Recruiting Coordinator Phone: (713) 217-2829 Fax: (832) 397-8153 E-mail: Elizabeth.Hudson@tklaw.com

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THE SCOOP
Thompson & Knight opened its doors in 1887, when two of the earliest graduates of the University of Texas law school, William Thompson and R.E.L. Knight, began a private practice. Although it is a full-service law firm, the jewel in T&Ks crown is clearly its energy practice. The firm has represented large multinational oil companies and state-run conglomerations in almost every aspect of the energy industry. The firms foreign offices have been instrumental in assisting clients with gas and oil deals overseas and negotiating with foreign governments. Based on the firms completion of 32 deals with an approximate value of $14.2 billion, Loan Pricing Corporation ranked Thompson & Knight among the top law firms in 17 of 18 published categories for the first three quarters of 2004, including Best Overall Law Firm and Best Lender Law Firm, Mergers & Acquisition (by both volume and number of deals). T&K also stands out as a go to firm for corporations involved in reorganizations and has benefited from the recent spike in high-profile Texas bankruptcies. Notably, the firm represented 20 creditors involved in the Enron case. In spring 2006, a team from the firms Houston office helped Davis Petroleum complete a $150 million recapitalization transaction with a private equity group led by Evercore Capital Partners. Thanks to the quick completion of this deal, Davis was able to emerge from an extraordinarily brief Chapter 11 proceedingfrom filing to completion took just three weeks. Thompson & Knight has also won recognition for its diversity efforts. In August 2006, for the second year in a row, the Austin Black Lawyers Association and the Hispanic Bar Association of Austin awarded T&K an A+ for the firms minority attorney hiring and recruiting efforts. Meanwhile, the Dallas Business Journal has named the firm one of the Dallas/Fort Worth areas Best Places to Work for three consecutive years.

GETTING HIRED
According to T&K insiders, the firm concentrates on Texas schools, looking for candidates in the top 10 percent or with law review experience. A firstyear adds that the firm looks to hire qualified candidates who are also socially adept. According to the firm, T&K looks for students at the top of their class, and it recruits from law schools throughout the nation, not just

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Texas schools. In addition, as part of its goal to create and maintain a diverse culture, the firm participates in several minority job fairs.

OUR SURVEY SAYS


Our sources rave about the great culture and the professional, but comfortable, congenial and laid-back atmosphere at T&K. Everyone gets along fairly well, says a Houston associate. The firm is fairly conservative, with an emphasis on family. Lawyers do socialize with each other, but many have families and children to get home to, says a bankruptcy associate in the know. One sixth-year sums up, I think lawyers here enjoy not only the work but also the people they work with. Partner/associate relationships are generally good and the partners keep associates well informed, reports a litigator. One realistic senior associate observes that there are undoubtedly some difficult partners, but generally it seems theyre pretty friendly and respectful toward associates. There are some minor gripes, however. Associates generally are not invited to participate in firmwide decision making, though they are informed of the decisions promptly, says a contact. Firmwide training gets high marks. There are good formal training programs in litigation, and participation in NITAs trial program is required after [the] third year, says a litigation associate. The firm has in-house CLEs and a trial academy once a year for junior associates and those who want to attend, adds another. While formal training is up to par, informal training and mentoring apparently isnt. Although there are formal mentor relationships, it depends on the partner. I am not sure that a lot of mentoring goes on, says a Dallas associate. Not enough informal, one-on-one mentoring, adds a Houston counterpart. Associates say the firm is respectful of their time and has no face time requirements. The firm is very flexible with part-time and leave policies, says a corporate associate. Very flexible with when you come in and leave, as long as you serve the clients and meet the hour requirements, echoes a litigator. A billable requirement of less than 2,000 hours is unique among large firms, marvels a sixth-year. I think the workload here is as good as or better than the comparable firms in this area, adds another. And when it comes to compensation, the campers are also happy. Couldnt ask for any more money, declares one satisfied Houston associate. Billable hours were not raised with the salary increase, which was good, says a Dallas lawyer, who adds that 1,950 is a fair number. Associates also appreciate that in
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order to receive a bonus you need only meet the 1,950 threshold, and the amount of the bonus [is] not otherwise tied to or determined by the level of billable hours. On the other hand, of course, if you [dont] make the minimum, no bonus.

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Thompson & Knight LLP

Couldnt ask for any more money.


Thompson & Knight associate

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Vinson & Elkins L.L.P.


First City Tower 1001 Fannin Street, Suite 2500 Houston, TX 77002 Phone: (713) 758-2222 www.velaw.com

THE STATS
No. of attorneys: Firmwide: 750+ Austin: 100+ Dallas: 140+ Houston: 330+ No. of offices: 12 Summer associate offers (2006): Firmwide: 83 out of 89 Austin: 16 out of 18 Dallas: 18 out of 19 Houston: 49 out of 53 Managing Partner: Joseph C. Dilg Hiring Partners: Austin: David B. Weaver Dallas: John C. Wander Houston: David P. Oelman

LOCATIONS
Austin, TX Dallas, TX Houston, TX New York, NY Washington, DC Beijing Dubai Hong Kong London Moscow Shanghai Tokyo

MAJOR DEPARTMENTS & PRACTICES


Antitrust Appellate Corporate Finance & Securities Energy Environmental Finance Health Insolvency & Reorganization Intellectual Property International Transactions Litigation Mass Torts Project Finance & Development Public Finance/Municipal Bonds Public Policy Tax & Employment Benefits

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UPPERS
Sophisticated work and talented colleagues Dedication to being marketleaders

BASE SALARY (2006)


All Texas offices 1st year: $140,000* 2nd year: $145,000 3rd year: $150,000 4th year: $160,000 5th year: $170,000 6th year: $180,000 7th year: $185,000 8th year: $190,000 Summer associate: $2,700/week *Includes $5,000 guaranteed year-end bonus

DOWNERS
Increasing focus on billable hours Dealing with big-firm bureaucracy

NOTABLE PERKS
Free/subsidized parking (depending on office) Subsidized gym membership Good maternity leave policy Complimentary concierge service in Houston

EMPLOYMENT CONTACTS
Houston Ms. Patty Harris Director of Attorney Employment and Development Phone: (713) 758-4544 Fax: (713) 615-5245 E-mail: pharris@velaw.com Austin Ms. Stephanie Pratt Attorney Recruiting Coordinator Phone: (512) 542-8717 Fax: (512) 236-3276 E-mail: spratt@velaw.com Dallas Ms. Gretchen Rollins Attorney Employment Manager Phone: (214) 220-7907 Fax: (214) 220-7716 E-mail: grollins@velaw.com

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Vinson & Elkins L.L.P.

THE SCOOP
Founded as a two-man practice in Houston in 1917, Vinson & Elkins LLP has grown almost as big as the state that it calls home, and it now has over 750 attorneys in 12 offices stretching from Texas to Tokyo, opening its newest office in Hong Kong in 2006. V&E got its start representing oil companies, and it remains one of the top energy firms in the business. The firms energy connections have also led to some troubleVinson represented Enron in some of its complicated partnerships and is now a defendant in a class-action suit filed by angry investors. Such distractions dont seem to have affected the firms standing as one of the leading energy law firms: the firms oil and gas practice was recently ranked the best in the nation by Chambers Global and its regulatory and electricity practices were also named among the top three. Other strong practices include mergers and acquisitions, securities, global projects, intellectual property and tax. In The American Lawyers 2006 Corporate Scorecard, V&E ranked No. 1 among issuers counsel both for number of initial public offerings and for non-IPO offerings in 2005. Vinson & Elkins has also been recognized for its commitment to employee satisfaction. In October 2005 and again in 2006, the firm was named one the Best Places to Work in Houston by the Houston Business Journal. And in February 2006, V&E was named to Texas Monthlys list of the 50 Best Companies to Work for in Houston (the firm came in at No. 30). Perhaps part of V&Es appeal lies in its strong and visible commitment to pro bono service. The firm gives full billable credit to time spent on pro bono projects and attorneys participate in a broad range of activities. In 2001, for example, V&E lawyers won a new trial for James Tenny, a Texas man who had been convicted of murdering his common-law wife. The firm also represented Tenny at his subsequent trial in 2006, when he was acquitted of murder, found guilty of aggravated assault and sentenced to time already served.

GETTING HIRED
Vinson & Elkins likes Texas schoolsbut not as much as the top 10. If you come from a Texas state school, it is very competitive to get a job here. If you come from an Ivy League or top-ranked, out-of-state school, it is not competitive, observes one source. The firm usually requires [students ranked in the] top 10 percent for anything but top-tier schools and the top 25 percent for top-tier. V&E has a low tolerance for unpleasant

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personalities. If you are a jerk, you wont get an offer, declares one source. The only fundamental no-no that a candidate from a recognized national law school could do (other than showing signs of being too dumb to be able to do legal work, such as extraordinarily bad law school grades) is show a lack of respect for diversity, others or self, advises a Houston contact. Basically, the nicer you are as a person, the easier it is to fit in here.

OUR SURVEY SAYS


In what passes for a compliment among big firms, one Austin insider says, Generally, I dont dread coming to work in the morning. Thats more than I can say for a lot of my other lawyer friends. V&E attorneys say the quality and complexity of deals is terrific and the people are generally friendly and anxious to provide feedback. This is a great placea perfect place for young talent to be nurtured and grow, despite the big-firm atmosphere, observes a lawyer in Dallas. I am more involved in cases than I expected to be, says a surprised colleague, who adds, While I do write quite a few research memos, I have also been able to do a lot of briefing, case management and communicating with clients. The firm culture here is relaxed, democratic and pluralistic, says a V&E contact, a combination of individuality, variety and respect for others. The partners who succeed and thrive here are incredibly friendly [and] interested in the associates as individuals, agrees a first-year. If associates dont get to actually participate in firm decisions, at least the partnership does an excellent job of keeping associates informed. Still, despite the democratic ambiance, some lawyers sense that making partner means crossing an invisible divide: The partners are approachable and helpful, says a second-year, but after a certain point, you can tell they just dont remember what it is like to be an associate. Some associates worry that the firm is emphasizing billable hours more than in the past. The firm has become more focused on hours in the last several years and is working to motivate lawyers to increase productivity, observes one source. There is no official hours quota, says another lawyer, but the conventional wisdom is that associates should bill at least 2,000 hours per year. Those seeking partnership generally should bill more. Associates note that V&E has a very progressive, flexible work arrangement program that allows attorneys to work reduced hours for reduced pay. Compared to other firms, says one female associate, I think V&E does very well with hiring and

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Vinson & Elkins L.L.P.

promoting women. The firm has a healthy respect for diversity, though associates agree that more effective retention of minorities is needed. The firm has changed its bonus system to make sure that everyone bills more. In 2005, the bonus wasnt entirely tied to billable hours, but our compensation structure has changed, and the entire amount of the bonus will be tied to a minimum billable hours requirement for 2006, reports an attorney. The new tiers are 1,950, 2,150 and 2,300, though a portion of the bonus is paid regardless of the number of hours billed. In any case, say insiders, the compensation package is very generous. I wake up every morning pinching myself, reports a dreamy first-year. I cannot believe how well compensated I am for doing this job. If anyone at this firm thinks they are underpaid, they deserve a swift kick in the pants.

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While I do write quite a few research memos, I have also been able to do a lot of briefing, case management and communicating with clients.
Vinson & Elkins associate

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Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP


8911 Capital of Texas Highway Suite 1350 Austin, TX 78759 Phone: (512) 349-1930 200 Crescent Court, Suite 300 Dallas, TX 75201-6950 Phone: (214) 746-7700 700 Louisiana Avenue, Suite 1600 Houston, TX 77002-2784 Phone: (713) 546-5000 www.weil.com

THE STATS
No. of attorneys: Firmwide: 1,200+ Austin: 13 Dallas: 77 Houston: 46 No. of offices: 20 Summer associate offers (2006): Firmwide: 112 out of 117 Austin: 2 out of 2 Dallas: 10 out of 12 Houston: 9 out of 12 Chairman: Stephen J. Dannhauser Hiring Partners: Austin: Greg Coleman Dallas: Yvette Ostolaza Houston: Melanie Gray

LOCATIONS
New York, NY (HQ) Austin, TX Boston, MA Dallas, TX Houston, TX Miami, FL Providence, RI Silicon Valley, CA Washington, DC Wilmington, DE Brussels Budapest Frankfurt London Munich Paris Prague Shanghai Singapore Warsaw

MAJOR DEPARTMENTS & PRACTICES


Business Finance & Restructuring Corporate/Private Equity Commercial Litigation Tax

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP

UPPERS
High-profile work and prestige Outstanding compensation

BASE SALARY (2006)


Texas offices 1st year: $145,000 2nd year: $155,000 3rd year: $170,000 4th year: $190,000 5th year: $210,000 6th year: $225,000 7th year: $235,000 8th year: $240,000 Summer associate: $2,788/week

DOWNERS
Little input into firm decisions Unpredictable hours

NOTABLE PERKS
Subsidized gym membership Free parking (in Austin) BlackBerries and technology stipend Free sodas, snacks and designer coffees

EMPLOYMENT CONTACTS
Austin/Houston Ms. Allison Zimmerman Legal Recruiting Coordinator Phone: (713) 546-5067 Fax: (713) 224-9511 E-mail: allison.zimmerman@weil.com Dallas Ms. Susan Shores Manager, Associate Recruiting/Client Relations Phone: (214) 746-7700 Fax: (214) 746-7777 E-mail: susan.shores@weil.com

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP

THE SCOOP
It might be faster to list the places Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP isnt located, and the things the firm does not do. Weil Gotshal is an international power with 1,200 attorneys in 20 offices around the world. The firm has a renowned litigation department and was named the top corporate governance law firm in the world for 2005 and 2006 by Whos Who Legal, as well as the top bankruptcy firm in 2005 by legal publisher Chambers and Partners. Weil Gotshal regularly makes headlines with its work in bankruptcy law, private equity, corporate finance, M&A and intellectual property. The firm has approximately 140 lawyers in its three Texas offices, the largest of which is in Dallas. Weil Gotshals appellate practice, which is based in Austin, has recorded a number of significant wins recently, including a victory in the Texas Supreme Court for Hearst Publishing in a defamation suit, a success in the Second Circuit for a Korean shipbuilder in a multimillion-dollar shipwreck case, and wins in the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of ExxonMobil Corporation and UnitedHealth Group. The firm places a strong emphasis on pro bono service, and attorneys from the firms Houston and Dallas offices have been working pro bono on behalf of Hurricane Katrina victims, representing them in their appeals of the denial of federal aid by the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA). Weil Gotshal attorneys are working with the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and various local pro bono groups. Weil Gotshal has also increased its outreach in the Dallas-Fort Worth community over the last few years. In 2006, the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program, a joint program of the Dallas Bar Association and Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas, named the firms Dallas office Law Firm of the Year and honored Weil Gotshal associate Aaron D. Ford as Lawyer of the Year.

GETTING HIRED
Weil Gotshal cares about pedigree but isnt uptight about it. We concentrate on the top national and regional schools, notes one Houston attorney. I think that were demanding as far as someones school and GPA, although one of the nice things about Weil is that no one is a snob about those things, reports a contact. Were more interested in someone who seems good to

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP

work with: friendly, committed, interesting. Well pick the person who we want to work with and who we think will do a good job over the person with the great resume who lacks some of [those] personal skills. We arent school snobs here at all! assures another source. GPA/law review requirements are a bit harder if you arent at a top school, but once you are in, were all equals.

OUR SURVEY SAYS


Weil Gotshal associates love the firm for its complex, interesting work, its work environment, its compensationpretty much everything. I am amazed at the level of responsibility I am given, exclaims a midlevel associate. The partners are great mentors and teachers, and Weil offers a fun place to work. The firm pays at the top of the market, offers great work opportunities and nice people with which to work, says a Houston associate. The cases involve complicated and novel issues of law, interesting facts and lots of money, remarks an appreciative source. In short, if youre a Weil Gotshal type of person, youll love the firm. Weil attracts a certain personality typeif you derive satisfaction from perfectionism and a relentless pursuit of victory, then this is the place for you, says a lawyer. The firm culture is friendly, say associates. We work incredibly hard but people really care about each other here, says an attorney. Lawyers tend to interact with each other in a relatively informal, collegiate manner, says a Houston lawyer. It seems all types are welcomeand get alongin Dallas. The Dallas office is a good mix of political diversity, from directors of Planned Parenthood to evangelical Christians, says an attorney from that office. Everyone gets along with the partners. Generally, there is not much difference when talking with a partner than when talking with another associate, says a Houston lawyer. The partners are approachable and collegial, agrees an attorney in Dallas. Partners treat associates well, states a contact. They welcome our opinions and are respectful of them. Consider it a sort of benevolent dictatorship, however, since theres not much in the way of democracy. The firm does not allow associates to participate in firmwide decisions, complains one insider. You may have heard Weil Gotshal described as a sweatshop, but its all lies, say the firms Texas associates. The firms sweatshop reputation is not deserved, says a Dallas insider. There is no formal hours requirement, but 2,000 hours is generally expected as the minimum. You put in the hours
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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP

when your department is busy, which has been nonstop for the last year, notes another insider. Given the firms reputation, I find the hours better than you might think. A corporate associate gives the same review. Working in corporate, the schedule is up and down, but overall, the number of hours is very exaggerated by the outsiders, says that lawyer. Associates are paid well for their hard work, and competitors are taking notice. The Weil salary is the envy of Texas associates, laughs one attorney. In addition to being compensated above market for Dallas, the bonus is far larger than regional firms and rarely taken into consideration by local firms when they compare themselves to Weil, brags another contact. Doing great work leads to a great bonus. The firm provides above-market bonuses to associates receiving a distinguished ranking in their reviews, says a lawyer.

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP

If you derive satisfaction from perfectionism and a relentless pursuit of victory, then this is the place for you.
Weil Gotshal associate

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Winstead Sechrest & Minick P.C.


5400 Renaissance Tower 1201 Elm Street Dallas, TX 75270-2199 Phone: (214) 745-5400 www.winstead.com

THE STATS
No. of attorneys: Firmwide: 293 Dallas: 153 Austin: 37 Houston: 74 No. of offices: 7 Summer associate offers (2006): Firmwide: 29 out of 35 Dallas: 15 out of 19 Austin: 3 out of 3 Houston: 11 out of 13 Chairman and CEO: Denis Braham Hiring Attorneys: Dallas: Noelle Garsek Austin: Stewart Whitehead Houston: John McFarland

LOCATIONS
Dallas, TX (HQ) Austin, TX Fort Worth, TX Houston, TX San Antonio, TX The Woodlands, TX Washington, DC

MAJOR DEPARTMENTS & PRACTICES


Appellate Banking & Credit Transactions Bankruptcy Biotechnology Business Restructuring Construction Corporate/Securities Energy Environmental ERISA/Employee Benefits Finance Government Immigration Insurance Intellectual Property International Labor & Employment Litigation Real Estate Tax Technology Telecommunications Transportation Wealth Preservation

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UPPERS
Opportunities for early responsibility Spirit of teamwork

BASE SALARY (2006)


All offices 1st year: $135,000 Summer associate: $2,600/week

DOWNERS
Some cliquishness Few minorities among shareholders

EMPLOYMENT CONTACTS
Dallas Ms. Dominique L. Anderson Director of Attorney Recruitment Phone: (214) 745-5306 Fax: (214) 745-5769 E-mail: danderson@winstead.com Austin Ms. Ann Jacobson Director of Administration Phone: (512) 370-2829 Fax: (512) 370-2850 E-mail: ajacobson@winstead.com Houston Ms. Kelly McIver Recruiting Manager Phone: (713) 650-2435 Fax: (713) 650-2400 E-mail: kmcIver@winstead.com

NOTABLE PERKS
401(k) matching and profitsharing plans Free parking Paid moving expenses, bar exam and membership fees BlackBerry and laptop

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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Winstead Sechrest & Minick P.C.

THE SCOOP
Winstead Sechrest & Minick P.C. has grown a lot in the last 30 years. The firm got its start in 1973, when three young Dallas lawyers, including current name shareholders Pete Winstead and Bill Sechrest, sat down over dinner and decided to build a business law firm. By the end of the 1980s, the once-small Dallas practice had expanded to over 170 attorneys, with additional offices in Houston and Austin. Acquisitions of existing firms in Fort Worth, The Woodlands and Washington, D.C., resulted in greater expansion. Today, with nearly 300 lawyers in seven offices, the firm is among the 10 largest in Texas. Winstead boasts a booming business law practice. For example, in late 2005 the firm advised investment firm Lewis Hollingsworth L.P. on its acquisition of TMG Sports Marketing, a deal recognized by the Dallas Business Journal as the Best Buyout of 2005 and cited as one of the best M&A transactions of the year for the creative deal structuring that kept valuable assets in the business. In 2005at the same time the Gulf Coast was struck by Hurricanes Katrina and RitaWinstead worked together with longtime client Louisianabased Hornbeck Offshore Services to implement a hurricane disaster plan and successfully complete offerings to finance the companys $265 million expansion program. In 2006, a team of Winstead attorneys represented two New York bond insurers in one of the biggest municipal bond transactions of the yearfinancing for the new Yankee Stadium. The deal earned Winstead a finalist spot in Dallas Business Journals Mergers & Acquisitions Awards for Financing or Restructuring Deals. The firm also seems to be a magnet for attorneys leaving public service. Judge John Hill Jr., a former chief justice of the Supreme Court of Texas and attorney general of Texas, recently joined Winsteads Houston office. Other former judges among the firms shareholders are former Texas Supreme Court Justice Craig T. Enoch and retired Chief Justice William G. (Bud) Arnot.

GETTING HIRED
According to one inside source, Winstead only seeks out the top students with [the] best GPAs and seems to focus on UT. A third-year associate tells us, When I interviewed, we had a top-10 percent cutoff. We do concentrate recruiting in Texas but often hire from out-of-state, prestigious schools. A

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Dallas lawyer notes that the first-year class seems to be dominated by top graduates from Texas, Duke and SMU, but adds that laterals from lesserknown schools with solid credentials can get hired. Recruits are expected to bring more than just a pedigree with them. The firm looks for candidates that will thrive in a team-oriented environment as opposed to individuals who seek personal gain without regard to their co-workers, says a real estate associate. People who are well rounded and likeable and have a tie to the office city will also score points.

OUR SURVEY SAYS


Our contacts couldnt say enough good things about Winsteads culture. Very amiable and sociable environment; culture emphasizes teamwork and core values, says a fourth-year. Outstanding, collaborative, balanced culture, collegial and laid-back are just some of the words used to describe the firm environment. If you have to work at a law firm, this is the one, declares one associate. Another appreciates the good mix of personalities, backgrounds and political views. Many of the attorneys are friends with each other both in and out of the office. I feel fortunate to work with a group of people with whom I would voluntarily socialize, says a Houston attorney. Any negatives? A few jerks, acknowledges one source. Associate/partner relations are strong. I dont think we participate in firmwide decisions, but I feel we are kept informed of the direction the firm is going. All the partners have treated me very well and I feel like I am part of a team, says a corporate insider. One associate attributes this team spirit to the firms former CEO, Mike Baggett. He seems to always be in a good mood; hes friendly, and he believes in teamwork and the firm culture, raves the associate. No artificial barriers exist between shareholders and associates. Shareholders show a genuine interest in whats going on outside the firm. Information is relatively free-flowing from the top down and the door is always open to inquire, reports a Dallas contact. One associate touts the superior formal training for new lawyers and new hires, although another feels that not all of it is very useful. Theres a very structured program for recent graduates and in-house CLE via internet 24/7, explains a real estate associate. But, while there is an excellent formal training program in place (probably the best for a large firm), the firm falls flat when it comes to mentoring younger associatesespecially the females, complains one source. Others disagree. Both partners and senior
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Vault Guide to the Top Texas & Southwest Law Firms Winstead Sechrest & Minick P.C.

associates in my office have been extremely helpful and provided advice on how to improve my work. I appreciate the feedback and guidance and I feel like I am improving, says a first-year. The firm is very flexible with attorney hours, says a fourth-year. Our firm is flexible with hours in the sense that there is no set policy for flex-time or part time. Each person is a special case. Overall, the hours are generally acceptable, adds a securities associate. Others are more skeptical. The firm states that hours are not what its all about, but when it comes down to it, thats exactly what its about, grouses a Houston lawyer. Compensation is competitive with other national firms with offices in Texas. One associate explains that base compensation is just below market, but bonuses make up for that and more. Associates also appreciate that meaningful bonuses kick in around 1,900 [hours].

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About the Author


Vera Djordjevich
Vera Djordjevich is a law editor at Vault. A former litigator, she holds degrees from Stanford University and New York University School of Law.

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