Highlights for 2021: record breaking Q4, returning to pre-pandemic levels; M&A accounted for 1 in 4 moves; Texas-based Jackson Walker tallied most moves in 2021; 10 firms entered Texas market last year, 6 in Austin; Houston’s share of moves declined, Austin grew by 7 points
WHAT WE’RE SEEING
Busiest Quarter, Year: Once the dust of 2021 settled, it proved one of the busiest in the four years we’ve been tracking.
Q4 tallied a record 41 moves (versus 24 in 2020, 29 in 2019, and 31 in 2018). That brings 2021’s total moves to 223, the highest we’ve seen since 2018.
M&A Still Hot: Nearly 1 in 4 moves in 2021 were made by Corporate M&A attorneys. The Commercial Litigation and Intellectual Property practice areas followed in popularity, consistent with 2020’s trend.
Texas-Based Hanging Tough: The share of Texas-based firms drawing lateral moves ticked up slightly this year to 36% of all moves. In fact, the firm that tallied the most partner moves in 2021 went to Texas-based Jackson Walker with 14 hires between its four Texas offices.
But the trend toward non-Texas-based firms expanding into Texas continues—2021 welcomed 10 new entrants, following 11 in 2020, 8 in 2019 and 10 in 2018.
Dallas, Houston Steady While Austin Surges: In the race for the hottest spot in Texas, Dallas and Houston remain the frontrunners but have lost a bit of steam—both cities saw a decline in their share of partner moves in 2021.
Austin, meanwhile, has steadily increased from 8% of all partner moves in 2019, to 11% in 2020, jumping to 18% in 2021. Six out of the 10 offices that opened in 2021 went to Austin.
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LIST OF PARTNER MOVES: Q4 OF 2021
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