Haynes and Boone, LLP - The Inside View

Juniors say it's definitely more 'hey' than 'boo' at this Texan powerhouse, which has serious plans to strengthen its scope both domestically and internationally.

“WE'RE projecting our revenue to hit $400 million for the first time in 2018,” managing partner Tim Powers told us in late 2017. There isn't far to go: revenue reached $397.5 million in 2017. Powers continues: “We feel good about that growth; some of which has been added by our new London office, but much has stemmed from a higher level of productivity across the firm overall.” London became the firm's third international base in 2016 (joining offices in Shanghai and Mexico City), and signaled Haynes' growing ambitions overseas: “We're feeling strong about our offshore shipbuilding practice there, and have added strengths in financial services and corporate, which will bode well for the integration of US/UK activities.”

“Being focused on energy, technology, financial services and private equity is part of what makes us a Texas powerhouse.”

On the US side of the equation, “we're still very much focused on our home bases in Texas,” Powers emphasizes. Haynes and Boone traces its relatively young roots back to 1964, when name partner Richard Haynes opened up shop in Dallas. Since then the firm has established a further five bases in the Lone Star State, in Austin, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Houston and Richardson. “Being focused on energy, technology, financial services and private equity is part of what makes us a Texas powerhouse; we believe these areas allow us to grow – initially in Texas and then further afield,” says Powers. Out of state, Haynes and Boone has offices in New York, Chicago, Orange County, Palo Alto, DC and Denver. A look at Chambers USA reveals that the firm's strengths are indeed concentrated in its home state, where its high performers include real estate, energy, insurance, IP, bankruptcy and finance.

Strategy & Future

So what's on the agenda at the moment? “In order to compete we need to be larger in New York and DC; we would like to double how many lawyers we have in the former in order to achieve substantial breadth and depth,” says Powers. The firm will also continue to eye opportunities in California, as “our tech drive allows us to be strong in that market.” Elsewhere, “the only other domestic market we could look at is Charlotte, which would be driven off the back of financial services work. However, we won't make a move there without finding the perfect lawyers first – it's just a possibility at the moment.”

The Work

Many departments have some form of formal assignment system that “works in conjunction” with the “organic process” of juniors knocking on doors and shooting out emails to those they want to work with. Haynes' business transactions section absorbed the most juniors on our list, followed by litigation and real estate. A few associates had joined the firm's finance, bankruptcy, IP and IP litigation sections.

In business transactions, practice groups include investment funds, healthcare, private equity, estate planning, energy and capital markets/securities. In private equity, juniors spent their time “working with PE firms as they sold companies or purchased assets from other firms.” This involved “doing diligence on our client's target assets and companies, as well as drafting the ancillaries attached to the larger purchase agreement. There's also a lot of organization work, where you keep a catalog of everything that's going on.” Over in capital markets there are a lot of public company offerings up for grabs, which see juniors “running the IPO checklists and keeping on top of the hundreds of items we've got to get done. We also get to do more concrete things like drafting, editing and reviewing statements.”

“I don't know how it could be done better or shared more equally.”

Litigation covers practice groups like labor and employment, insurance, appellate, white-collar defense, and business. On the white-collar side, our sources had taken on a lot of work tied to the healthcare sphere, where “the government has made allegations against hospitals, or instances where individual physicians have had lawsuits filed against them. We work on matters where fraud and abuse are alleged to have taken place.” This translated into “an equal share of legal research, drafting litigation-related docs like motions and orders, and doc review – the cases are staffed quite leanly, so it can be just me and a partner splitting the work between us. I don't know how it could be done better or shared more equally.”

Real estate associates were happy that their section acts “as more of a standalone group: here we're 90% pure real estate deals and 10% supporting larger corporate deals.” Over the course of one year an associate had worked on “hospitality, industrial and office projects, as well as alternative energy deals and 'dirt' work. I'd break it down into these three categories: sales and dispositions; financing; and entity formations and joint ventures.”  In New York leasing is a big part of the work. Onlarger deals a junior's role is “more organizational, but on smaller deals you work on the main operative agreements and coordinate a lot with the client to check which way they want to do things.”

Training & Feedback

A three-day spell on the introductory 'HayBoo U' program “covers all the preliminary stuff you need to know, like how to use the legal tools and resources at our disposal, plus tips on writing effectively.” After that, there are “regular CLEs and lecture-style sessions” tailored to each practice area, and these cover “a variety of topics, including recent news and cases that might impact our practice.”

“They take care of the people coming up after them.”

Many associates praised the “approachable and tactical manner” in whichpartners delivered their day-to-day feedback, and said “older partners are interested in teaching young associates – they take care of the people coming up after them.” Biannual formal reviews take place with a designated evaluator (usually a partner outside of an associate's practice group): “The midyear ones aren't as comprehensive, but at the end of the year we get a written evaluation and the designated partner goes through all the reviews we've received from lawyers we've worked with for more than 25 hours.”

Pro Bono

There's always “plenty of training” available via the firm’s “endless” pro bono opportunities and its connections to groups like the Human Rights Initiative. The firm’s recent partnership with the Dallas-based Genesis Women’s Shelter meant associates were “walked through the basics of family law in the office,” as the firm geared up to handle more domestic issues. Others had benefited from training on “how to write a will” through the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program. Juniors can bill up to 100 hours of pro bono work, “but possibly more if they see you're working hard on something.”

Pro bono hours

  • For all US attorneys: 13,043
  • Average per US attorney: 25.9

Hours & Compensation

Attorneys in Texas aim to bill 2,000 hours while their counterparts in the Big Apple shoot for 1,800. Across those locations juniors felt “the firm's realistic about the expectations it sets” and that the targets were achievable from the second-year onwards: “In your first year everyone recognizes that you're not going to bill as much due to the ramp-up period in the first couple of months.” Hitting the target ensures that associates receive a 'high-base' bonus, while falling short means they still receive a 'low base' one: “There's no minimum to remain in good standing to get a bonus. It's all individualized, based on hours, the type of work you're doing and your overall contribution to the firm in the form of business development and community involvement etc…”

Standard working hours in the office did vary by practice group: those in litigation, for example, reported coming in at 9am and leaving by 7pm, while those in real estate regularly worked between 8am and 7:30pm. Juniors in the more transactional teams reported being “crazy busy at times, so sometimes you won't leave until after midnight.” Most didn't “work a lot on the weekend” but had done so when matters required it.

Culture & Offices

Almost three quarters of the second and third-year associates on our list were based in Haynes and Boone's Texan offices; Dallas took on the majority of these, while a few called San Antonio, Houston and Richardson home. Of the non-Texan offices, New York took in the most juniors, while a few could be found in DC, Denver, Orange County and Palo Alto. The Dallas HQ was deemed “beautiful – there are floor-to-ceiling windows that allow plenty of sunlight to come in.” The individual offices are “designed to be a similar size regardless of the partner or associate occupying them,” added juniors, highlighting the firm's egalitarian approach. Name partner Mike Boone “often goes down to the cafeteria, sits at an empty table, and allows whoever to sit with him – the culture stems from the leadership.”

“I’m much more comfortable going to talk to a partner I accidentally hit in the face with a ping pong ball.”

Other Texans also emphasized how good partner/associate relationships are, and cited games of ping pong during breaks to demonstrate their point: “I’m much more comfortable going to talk to a partner I accidentally hit in the face with a ping pong ball.” Another told us how much they appreciated receiving “nice notes from partners saying ‘we understand you’re working hard, so let’s go have a happy hour.’” Overall those across the firm's offices felt that “there are no internal rivalries – we see that in how the partners treat each other, and that approach in turn influences the associates.At other firms, people want to be the star, but there’s none of that here. If I have a dumb question, I’ll immediately call one of the other juniors, even if it’s just ‘where does the comma go?’ It makes being new and doing a complex job so much easier.”


“Relative to other firms it's pretty diverse, but compared to the general population it's not,” was associates' verdict on the current balance at Haynes and Boone. They did, however, credit the firm for “providing more opportunities than there were before – there's a dedicated committee of people raising and promoting diversity here.” Of the opportunities and initiatives now available, sources highlighted the firm's diversity retreat, which takes place once every two years: “It's a really productive event. This year they invited someone to talk about implicit bias and female associates have noticed a marked difference in interactions.”

The firm's pipeline efforts were also talked about enthusiastically, with juniors flagging the 1L scholars program and a Dallas-based “partnership with a local school program, which aims to make students at every stage of education aware of the possibility of pursuing a legal career.”

Get Hired

Associates who’d taken part in OCIs and callbacks said the firm only interviews “strong candidates,” so recruiters already know from the resume on the table that “you can more than likely do the work if we take the time to teach you.” Instead, the question on their mind is ‘Will you fit in?’ To set yourself apart, “Show us your personal side – the side that doesn’t always get a chance to shine on your resume.”Recruiters will therefore be looking for “how you relate to people. You’ve got to be pleasant to work around late at night!”

Lucky summer associates get to enjoy a wide range of activities, including “a trip to a trampoline park, a concert, a Texas Rangers game” and “a lot of dinners of all sizes.” Haynes and Boone also offers a one-week Fast Track program for 1Ls. It’s designed to both attract students from outside the Lone Star State and secure top talent from within.

OCI applicants interviewed: 501

Interviewees outside OCI: 19

Applicants invited to 2nd stage interview: 92

Offers: 29

Acceptances: 9 Acceptances (21 returning 1Ls)

Interview with hiring partner Eric Williams

Chambers Associate:What’s the scope of your recruiting drive? How much does Haynes and Boone focus on recruiting from local schools as well as from schools across the country?

Eric Williams: We have always been focused on both local schools and top-tier schools across the country. Recently, we have seen a real shift in law school recruiting, with an emphasis on recruiting earlier in the law school cycle. Recruiting has really picked up in the spring of students’ 1L year, as opposed to being so heavily focused on traditional 2L OCI programs. Competition for talent is driving this timing.  It is critically important for us to get to know top talent early. It is always an advantage if we are able to meet law students early in their law school careers.

CA: What are you looking out for in interviews?

EW: We are looking for well-rounded candidates – candidates who not only have a strong academic background (which is indicative of their ability to handle the challenging work that comes with life at a Big Law firm), but also those who are poised, those we would feel comfortable putting in front of our partners and our clients. Prior work experience is always a plus, as are leadership roles in organizations, associations, student groups, and law journals. Culture is a real emphasis for us. We are looking for team players and people who work well with others. We obviously want people who are smart, hard-working, and determined, but we also want candidates who are affable, good-natured, personable, and outgoing. Those aspects are as important to us as academic performance.

In addition, we are looking for students who demonstrate genuine interest in our firm; someone who is able to articulate why they want an offer from Haynes and Boone over other law firms. We want to see students who can clearly express what it is about Haynes and Boone that has brought them to interview with us and the reason they are excited about the potential of working at the firm.

CA: What is the firm’s Fast Track program, and how does it work?

EW: Fast Track is a one-week program that takes place at the end of students’ 1L summer. It is designed to give students an introduction to Haynes and Boone, the practice of law, and the city of Dallas. Our Fast Track participants get to know us through scheduled dinners and other activities throughout the week, including practice group-specific coffee breaks, which are designed to educate them about the different practice areas within the firm. Fast Track allows us to spend a full week with some of the most talented, heavily-recruited law students in the country.  The Fast Track program gives law students a real view into life at Haynes and Boone; much more effectively than the traditional OCI process in which they are about to engage when they head back for their 2L year.  Consequently, the program has been a very effective recruiting tool for the firm.

To identify Fast Track candidates, we visit some of the top law schools in the country early in the spring semester. We host receptions for 1L students, where we identify candidates and inform them about Fast Track, the firm generally and the other 1L summer program opportunities at Haynes and Boone. As Fast Track takes place at the end of students’ 1L summer, it generally fits in nicely with any other summer plans that they may have. Not everyone in the Fast Track program automatically receives a 2L summer program offer with us, but our offer rate for students who participate in the Fast Track program has historically been high.

Interview with managing partner Tim Powers

Chambers Associate: Which highlights from the past year would you like to flag up to students?

Tim Powers: Haynes and Boone continues to grow and prosper. We're projecting our revenue to hit $400 million for the first time in 2018. That’ll be a 6.5% increase on the previous year. We feel good about that growth; some has been added by our new London office, but much has stemmed from a higher level of productivity across the firm overall.

In probably the biggest case we had this year we won a $500 million judgment for ZeniMax against virtual reality company Occulus, which is owned by Facebook. That got a lot of national attention; it was the biggest judgment we received this year. We continue to be very strong in both litigation and corporate, and our focus is on energy and technology, private equity and financial services; we continue to advise our clients in these areas throughout the world, be it in the US, the UK, Mexico or China.

We came into 2017 hoping to obtain some bump from US healthcare and tax reforms, infrastructure spending, and regulatory work on the trade negotiation side. That hasn’t happened, but the market has stayed strong despite those anticipated events not happening. There’s still a possibility for tax reform and, if we do get the benefit of that, I suspect that will impact M&A and real estate markets for the rest of 2017 and 2018 as well.

On a separate note, we’ve spent the last two weeks dealing with natural disasters in Mexico City and Houston. In the days following Hurricane Harvey we organized an emergency relief fund and raised over $170,000. The support that built up that fund came from lawyers throughout the firm, and we’re now able to extend that to those in need in Mexico and well. From a leadership perspective that was really pleasing to see. I think it shows how strong the culture of the firm is, how focused we are on the firm as a family, and the common vision we share of working together in the future.

CA: How has the downturn in oil affected the firm’s energy practice?

TP: We continue to have significant strength in the energy market even though the price of oil remains somewhat suppressed. The market has adjusted, and we’ve had some great success over the last year; much of this is still driven by the private equity and M&A side. We’ve also run several capital markets deals for our energy clients, so it’s still a very strong sector on the corporate side of things. On the litigation side we've won some significant appellate cases that were all worth a substantial number of dollars.

CA: What are your plans for the next five to ten years?

TP: We’ve commissioned a 2025 plan with a task force of 25 young leaders in the firm, all of whom we believe will be significant contributors to our future success. They have been tasked with looking at upcoming changes in the profession and the business of law over the next decade and focusing on how we can adjust and position ourselves to best succeed in that environment.

We’ll issue a report after it’s been thought through, developed and presented to our committee and board of directors. That will be launched at our 2018 partners’ retreat next October, so we have 12 months to put this recommendation together. We’ll meet nine times between now and next year; we’ll spend our next session looking at talent strategy and what this means with regard to what a lawyer needs to look like by 2025. It’s not necessarily a road map to what we’re going to do. It’s more that we’re casting a common vision, and explaining why we make the investments we do so people can enthusiastically support it.

We have always been an innovative, entrepreneurial firm. In 2005 we adopted a 15-year 2020 plan, which voiced a great ambition for the firm. At that point we were trying to establish ourselves as a national firm with international clients, and we’ve done a great job to achieve those goals. We were bold in thinking, especially considering all of the broader changes that have occurred in the world since 2008. I was very involved in the 2020 plan, but now we're launching this one and it's great to see the next generation working on it.

CA: What else are you focusing on going forward?

TP: In particular we're focusing on the impact technology will have and how we will use it for projects and process management in order to best serve our clients. We’ve engaged with the principal of Jesus College at Oxford University – a leading AI expert in the world – to get his thoughts and predictions on how AI will affect the business of law in the future. We’ve been consulting with him about how we can best position ourselves to adapt to that properly, without over-reacting or under-reacting.

We’re using our increased revenue to invest in technology. As an example, it was great for us to see – from a risk management perspective – how we handled both natural disaster events in Houston and Mexico City. Our technology was not interrupted: we were able to manipulate it in a way that gave lawyers access no matter where they were. The firm came together to ensure our clients' services weren't interrupted, even though our offices were closed for substantial periods of time.

CA: Are there any plans to expand internationally?

TP: Right now our international footprint is strong. We’re very happy with our presence in London, Mexico and Shanghai. The Chinese market is continuing to grow, and by 2030 people believe it will be the largest in the world. We picked to be in the financial center, and we’ll continue to develop our capabilities in Asia. Time will tell whether we decide to do so in another market in Asia.

We’ve continued to grow in London. Our lawyers haven't been deterred by Brexit and we're basically doubling in size in London. We're feeling strong about our offshore shipbuilding practice there, and have added strengths in financial services and corporate, which will bode well for the integration of US/UK activities.

CA: What does the domestic picture look like?

TP: We're still very much focused on our home bases in Texas. Being focused on energy, technology and private equity is part of what makes us a Texas powerhouse; we believe these areas allow us to grow – initially in Texas – and then further afield.

We continue to look at growing opportunities along the west coast, in both northern and southern California – our tech drive allows us to be strong in that market. In order to compete we need to be larger in New York and DC; we would like to double how many lawyers we have in the former in order to acheive substantial breadth and depth.We need to grow Denver, which is an energy hub for us, while Chicago is our IP market. Chicago is a very competitive market and we haven't really grown there this year; in addition to technology we'll continue to push financial services and private equity there.

The only other domestic market we could look at is Charlotte, which would be driven off the back of financial services work. However, we won't make a move there without finding the perfect lawyers first – it's just a possibility at the moment. 

Haynes and Boone, LLP

2323 Victory Avenue,
Suite 700,
TX 75219
Website www.haynesboone.com

  • Head Office: Dallas, TX
  • Number of domestic offices: 12
  • Number of international offices: 3
  • Worldwide revenue: $397.5 million
  • Partners (US): 230
  • Associates (US): 311 (including other attorneys)
  • Recruitment details 
  • Main recruitment contact: Amanda Kelly, Manager of Entry-Level Recruiting
  • Hiring partner: Eric Williams
  • Diversity officer: Kenya Woodruff, Partner of the Attorney Diversity and Inclusion Committee
  • Recruitment details 
  • Entry-level associates starting in 2018: 26
  • Clerking policy: Yes
  • Summers joining/anticipated 2018: 1Ls: 18, 2Ls: 29
  • Summers joining/anticipated 2018 split by office:
  • 1Ls: Dallas 4, Denver 1, Houston 8, New York 2, Palo Alto 1, Richardson 1, Washington DC 1
  • 2Ls: Dallas 16, Houston 5, New York 3, Palo Alto 1, Richardson 4
  • Summer salary 2018: 1Ls: $3,462/week 2Ls: $3,462/week Post 3Ls: $3,462/week
  • Split summers offered? CBC
  • Can summers spend time in an overseas office? No

Main areas of work

  Corporate/securities/M&A, private equity, hedge funds, business litigation (including IP, insurance coverage, environmental, energy, real estate, securities, healthcare and appellate), restructuring, energy, banking and finance, franchises, intellectual property/technology, labor and employment and real estate.

Firm profile

  Haynes and Boone, LLP is an international corporate law firm with offices in Texas, New York, California, Colorado, Washington, DC, London, Shanghai and Mexico City, providing a full spectrum of legal services.

Recruitment Law Schools attending for OCIs in 2018: Harvard, Southern Methodist University, Stanford, UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, University of Houston, University of Texas, University of Virginia

Recruitment outside OCIs:
Loyola Patent Law Interview Program, Texas Interview Program, Lavender Law Career Fair, Southeastern IP Job Fair, Sunbelt Minority Job Fair

Summer associate profile:
To sustain what we feel is a blend of culture and sophistication of practice that is unmatched in the market, Haynes and Boone is looking for internally driven law students with a personality that would augment our firm’s commitment to teamwork and a longterm approach to the practice of law.

Summer program components:
Our summer associates spend 9-10 weeks (depending on office) with us working in one or two of our practice areas. Each summer associate is given a supervisor who assigns them work and they are able to attend client meetings, negotiations, hearings, etc. Feedback is provided throughout the summer as well as through the mid-clerkship review. Our summer associates also enjoy several social events designed to get to know our attorneys.

This Firm's Rankings in
USA Guide, 2019

Ranked Departments

    • Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 1)
    • Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 1)
    • Real Estate: Mainly Corporate & Finance (Band 4)
    • Banking & Finance (Band 2)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 1)
    • Corporate/M&A (Band 4)
    • Energy: State Regulatory & Litigation (Electricity) (Band 2)
    • Environment (Band 3)
    • Healthcare (Band 5)
    • Insurance (Band 1)
    • Intellectual Property (Band 2)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 4)
    • Litigation: Appellate (Band 1)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 4)
    • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 1)
    • Real Estate (Band 2)
    • Tax (Band 4)
    • Technology: Outsourcing (Band 3)
    • Banking & Finance Recognised Practitioner
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 5)
    • Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Recognised Practitioner
    • Franchising (Band 3)
    • Real Estate Recognised Practitioner