Highlights for Texas Q2 2022: surprising pause for second quarter; non-Texas-based firms increase share; Houston, Dallas and Austin growing concentration of lateral moves
WHAT WE’RE SEEING
Surprising Pause Despite Demand: Following quite a robust end to 2021 and start to 2022, lateral moves in the second quarter seemed to stall. This past quarter — excepting the spring of 2020 when Covid first disrupted normal business operations — was the slowest Q2 since we started tracking partner moves in 2018. But we’re hard-pressed to call it a slow-down, because so many of our clients are still eagerly searching for talented candidates.
Which leaves us looking at two factors: One, between the flurry of partner moves over the past year or two, and economic concerns (the tightening housing market and inflation rates), it seems attorneys are more inclined to stay put for the time being. Seeing the sluggish June numbers, which is typically an active month, seems to reinforce the view that many attorneys are opting to wait-and-see how the near future shakes out before considering a big move.
The second factor likely has to do with the pause in new office opens. While McDermott technically opened its Austin office in June, they didn’t announce it until July, lumping it with the third quarter. So Q2 was the first quarter in quite a while with no new office opens, and no accompanying hiring waves.
Non-Texas-Based Firms Claim Even Bigger Share: Last quarter we reported that the share of partner moves going to non-Texas-based firms jumped from its average 60% to 76%. In Q2, this trend continued further with 80% of all partner moves going to non-Texas-based firms.
Perhaps this, combined with a drop-off in moves to firms in smaller Texas markets (see the following segment), speaks to more attorneys seeking out big, stable options right now.
Smaller Markets Barely Registering: While its no surprise that Texas’s biggest markets nab the greatest share of partner moves, it did surprise us to see smaller markets gradually drop off the map in recent quarters.
In previous years, we would see a smattering of lateral moves go to Fort Worth, El Paso, East Texas, Plano/Frisco, etc. But moves have very nearly concentrated to Houston, Dallas and Austin exclusively.
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LIST OF TEXAS PARTNER MOVES: Q2 OF 2022
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