Highlights for the second quarter of 2020: several groups are weathering the storm better than others, including native Texas firms, middle market firms and the Dallas market; pent-up lateral hires in second half of 2020 could result in more moves than 2019

WHAT DOES THE REST OF 2020 HOLD?

Anyone claiming to know the answer to that question is selling something. But as we pass the halfway point this year, and some trends begin to emerge, we can perhaps narrow the unknown down to a couple of paths.

April and May, unsurprisingly, saw a sharp decline in partner moves, but the uptick in June provided some hope of a new trajectory. However, a resurgence in COVID-19 throughout the state now seems more likely to return us to March-like business conditions rather continue June’s projection. So, where do we go now?

Fortunately for many nimble firms, they have the advantage of already acclimating to this new way of doing business. They have functioning systems in place for remote work and have strengthened teams that are seeing increased demand, like Labor & Employment, Intellectual Property and Bankruptcy. We’ve seen how native Texas firms, which have long-established relationships and comfort dealing in this landscape, are weathering the storm. And we’ve seen how partners are viewing smaller firms with more appeal, passing on Am Law 100 firms with larger overhead and payroll expenses.

So it’s possible that, as many firms have acclimated, as they make strategic hires for both short and long term needs, as firms who were previously holding off on hires now feel more comfortable, we’ll begin to see lateral movement pick back up. The first quarter of this year was busy enough (97 moves) that even with the drop-off in Q2 (31 moves), a steady back half could actually put us on par with 2019 (209 moves). 

Alternately, it’s possible this second round of stay-at-home orders drives skittish firms and businesses back into their proverbial shells, and hiring continues to follow April and May’s downward trend. 

We’re inclined to think the first option is more likely, judging by the outstanding health of the market at the start of the year, and the willingness and ability firms showed in June to begin hiring again. 

To see the complete newsletter, with data and analysis for this quarter, click the button below. 

LIST OF PARTNER MOVES: Q2 OF 2020

Name
New Firm
Old Firm
Practice Area
City
Date Announced
Link
Chad NicholsAkin GumpKirkland & EllisBanking and FinanceHouston04-13-2020https://www.akingump.com/en/news-insights/akin-gump-welcomes-debt-finance-and-special-situations-partner-chad-nichols-in-houston.html
Daniel GeyserAlexander Dubose & JeffersonGeyserAppellateDallas06-16-2020https://adjtlaw.com/prominent-u-s-supreme-court-and-appellate-advocate-daniel-l-geyser-joins-alexander-dubose-jefferson/
Mark D. TempleBakerHostetler Reed SmithLabor and EmploymentHouston06-05-2020https://www.bakerlaw.com/press/bakerhostetler-adds-mark-d-temple-and-peter-j-stuhldreher-to-labor-and-employment-practice-group-in-houston
Peter J. StuhldreherBakerHostetler Reed Smith Labor and EmploymentHouston06-05-2020https://www.bakerlaw.com/press/bakerhostetler-adds-mark-d-temple-and-peter-j-stuhldreher-to-labor-and-employment-practice-group-in-houston
Jared HaysBell NunnallyJared W. HaysReal EstateDallas04-20-2020https://www.bellnunnally.com/bell-nunnally-boosts-real-estate-group-with-addition-of-attorney-jared-hays
Jeff CashBell NunnallySpencer FaneCorporate M&A SecuritiesDallas06-10-2020https://www.bellnunnally.com/deals-attorney-jeff-cash-joins-bell-nunnally-as-partner-
David PrattBradleyJohnston PrattReal EstateDallas04-29-2020https://www.bradley.com/insights/news/2020/04/bradley-expands-real-estate-banking-and-financial-services-practice-with-addition-of-david-pratt
Jarrod MartinChamberlain HrdlickaMcDowell HetheringtonCommercial LitigationHouston06-24-2020https://www.chamberlainlaw.com/news-news-jarrod_martin_joins_chamberlain_hrdlicka.html
Darrell W. TaylorCokinos YoungDarrell TaylorCorporate M&A SecuritiesHouston06-22-2020https://www.cokinoslaw.com/leader-in-the-transactional-field-darrell-w-taylor-joins-cokinos-young-in-houston/
Joe AcostaDorsey & WhitneyFisherBroylesBankruptcyDallas05-05-2020https://www.dorsey.com/newsresources/news/press-releases/2020/05/acosta-joins-dallas
Laura HayesFox RothschildKoonsFullerFamily LawDallas04-01-2020https://www.foxrothschild.com/news/family-law-partner-laura-hayes-joins-fox-in-dallas/
Trey MonsourFox RothschildPolsinelliBankruptcyDallas05-12-2020https://www.foxrothschild.com/news/fox-adds-bankruptcy-partner-trey-monsour-in-texas/
John T. “Trey” Cox III Gibson, Dunn & CrutcherLynn Pinker Cox & HurstCommercial LitigationDallas04-01-2020https://www.gibsondunn.com/litigation-partner-trey-cox-joins-gibson-dunns-dallas-office/
Robert D. McCutchanJackson WalkerFoley GardereCorporate M&A SecuritiesDallas06-01-2020https://www.jw.com/news/rob-mccutchan-joins-dallas-corporate-securities/
Erin EnglandKatten Muchin RosenmanHaynes and BooneBanking and FinanceDallas06-01-2020https://katten.com/katten-taps-erin-england-to-grow-commercial-finance-practice-in-expanding-dallas-office
Brian BoltonLocke LordGoldman SachsReal EstateDallas06-01-2020https://www.lockelord.com/newsandevents/news/2020/06/brian-bolton-rejoins-locke-lord
Michael MalfettoneLocke LordHusch BlackwellEnergy and InfrastructureAustin06-29-2020https://www.lockelord.com/newsandevents/news/2020/06/michael-malfettone-joins-as-partner
John SparacinoMcKool SmithVorys, Sater, Seymour and PeaseBankruptcyHouston05-06-2020https://www.mckoolsmith.com/newsroom-pressreleases-312
David RothMunsch HardtBradleyEnergy and InfrastructureHouston04-20-2020https://www.munsch.com/Newsroom/Blogs/126102/Munsch-Hardt-Adds-Corporate-EnergynbspShareholder-in-Houston
Walter BuchananMunsch HardtWinsteadBanking and FinanceDallas06-09-2020https://www.munsch.com/Newsroom/Blogs/128602/Munsch-Hardt-Welcomes-Back-Corporate-Finance-Attorney-Walter-Buchanan
Will DaughertyNorton Rose FulbrightBaker & HostetlerPrivacy & Data SecurityHouston06-16-2020https://www.nortonrosefulbright.com/en-us/news/a5b012f9/norton-rose-fulbright-enhances-data-protection-privacy-and-cybersecurity-practice
Jill LouisPerkins CoieK&L GatesCorporate M&A SecuritiesDallas05-29-2020https://www.perkinscoie.com/en/news-insights/perkins-coie-continues-texas-growth-with-addition-of-jill-louis-in-dallas.html
Lindsay H. FergusonSheppard, Mullin, Richter & HamptonHunton Andrews KurthCorporate M&A SecuritiesDallas06-04-2020https://www.sheppardmullin.com/pressrelease-658
Allen McConnellSheppard, Mullin, Richter & HamptonHunton Andrews KurthCorporate M&A SecuritiesDallas06-04-2020https://www.sheppardmullin.com/pressrelease-658
Van LindbergTaylor EnglishDykema GossettIntellectual PropertySan Antonio05-27-2020https://www.taylorenglish.com/newsroom-pressreleases-Van-Lindberg-Joins-Taylor-English.html
Phillip PhilbinThompson & KnightHaynes and BooneIntellectual PropertyDallas04-06-2020https://www.tklaw.com/news-insights/news/thompson-knight-adds-three-leading-trial-attorneys-to-robust-intellectual-property-group
Jamie McDoleThompson & KnightHaynes and BooneIntellectual PropertyDallas04-06-2020https://www.tklaw.com/news-insights/news/thompson-knight-adds-three-leading-trial-attorneys-to-robust-intellectual-property-group
Michael KarsonThompson & KnightHaynes and BooneIntellectual PropertyDallas04-06-2020https://www.tklaw.com/news-insights/news/thompson-knight-adds-three-leading-trial-attorneys-to-robust-intellectual-property-group
Dawn WrightThompson CoburnThompson & KnightCommercial LitigationDallas05-04-2020https://www.thompsoncoburn.com/news-events/news/2020-05-04/mass-tort-litigator-dawn-wright-joins-thompson-coburn-in-dallas
Jasmine WyntonThompson Coburn Thompson & KnightCommercial LitigationDallas04-15-2020https://www.thompsoncoburn.com/news-events/news/2020-04-15/business-litigator-jasmine-wynton-joins-thompson-coburn-in-dallas
Jay HughesWillkie Farr & Gallagher LLPMcGuireWoodsEnergy and InfrastructureHouston05-19-2020https://www.willkie.com/news/2020/05/willkie-adds-jay-hughes-in-houston