Haynes and Boone LLP - The Inside View

Following successive years of revenue growth and recent expansion in its home state of Texas, Haynes is taking the long view and staring down the competition.

“IT's been the best year in firm history,” managing partner Tim Powers declares when we ask him how Haynes' 2018 was. “We posted a record revenue result for the fifth straight year in a row. We've also exceeded our revenue per lawyer target. These results reflect well on the firm long-term and help us to get ahead of the market.” Clearly, something is going right. So what could be behind this national firm's success? Well, having focus is key in any business plan, and Haynes has its sights set firmly on four core areas: energy, technology, financial services and private equity. In addition, having a strong base from which to grow is crucial; for Haynes, that base is Texas. The firm has its roots in Dallas, but over the years has grown its Lone Star State presence to encompass seven offices in total. The latest addition – a base in 'The Woodlands,' close to Houston – was established in 2018 to boost the firm's energy practice (The Woodlands is reportedly home to a cluster of energy and oilfield services companies).

“Competition makes us stronger.”

Haynes' strength in Texas is certainly noted by Chambers USA, which awards the firm rankings in 15 state-wide areas, with particularly high nods going to its banking & finance, bankruptcy/restructuring, energy, insurance, IP, real estate and technology work. Commenting on the trend in recent years of larger firms moving into the Texan market, Powers tells us that “we welcome the competition because competition makes us stronger. We're adapting to the market disruption and we're doing well in Dallas, our largest base, which is a strong national market alongside Houston.” While Texas is the firm's stronghold, Haynes also has a further six domestic offices spanning California, New York, Illinois, DC and Colorado. Internationally, the firm has set up shop in Shanghai, London and Mexico City. Whether it's competition in Texas or further afield, Powers points out that all will be discussed during the firm's partners' retreat: “We're long-term planners, and at the partners' retreat we'll be unveiling our '2025 plan' to ensure that the vision of the firm is moving forward and that we find a common approach.”

Strategy & Future

So what can Powers tell us about his '2025 plan'? “We will continue to be a national firm with an international presence,” he says. Powers adds that the plan addresses the “need to be deeper and stronger in our four core areas of energy, technology, financial services and private equity.” He adds that he “feels good” about growth in London (“we've doubled in size in London over the past two years”), but does highlight that the firm would like to reach a higher level of growth in its New York office. The firm also opened a new domestic office in Charlotte in March 2019.

The Work

Just over half of the associates on our list were based in Haynes' Dallas HQ, while Houston, Richardson, New York and Orange County took on a handful each. Other domestic offices tended to house just one junior on our list. Incoming associates have a whole host of practice groups to choose from – 15 were represented on our list – though the majority were absorbed by Haynes' IP, real estate, and litigation groups. Other groups with higher numbers included capital markets and securities, and finance. Across all the departments, associates initially got their work via a formal allocation system, but after establishing themselves they tended to organically source their work “from senior associates and partners who know who they like to work with.” As one associate from Dallas recounted, building those initial relationships at the firm is crucial: “I've dug myself in with partners and got work; the system works if you're willing to work it.”

The highest number of real estate juniors could be found in New York, but they were also represented in Dallas and Houston. Those in New York found that “75% of the work has involved real estate financing deals – we're known for real estate here.” In other offices, interviewees echoed that “the majority of clients are banks and most of the work involves commercial real estate finance, with some leasing and borrower matters thrown in.” Although the extent of direct client contact varied between our sources, they did agree that their role often consisted of being “the tasks masters” on deals: “We're maintaining the flow of the deal; we put together the initial checklists, review search results and draft the ancillaries. We're responsible for carrying things through to the end. For example, we're the ones at closing getting the pages made and sent out to all the individuals who need to sign.” On the higher end of the responsibility scale, some interviewees reported helping to negotiate sale and purchase agreements.

Real estate clients: Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo and mortgage finance specialist Natixis Real Estate Capital. Recently represented property management company Real Estate Equities Corp on a range of matters, including a ground lease for a development site in New York City.

Litigators tend to sample life in three different groups – business disputes, white-collar and insurance litigation – before homing in on the area they prefer. Sources reported a range of matter sizes, which meant that “sometimes I'm doing doc review and sometimes I'm taking the lead; when I'm doing the latter I get to interact with the client and come up with trial strategy – I've had a lot of experience that's proven to be invaluable.” Others highlighted their work on government investigations and told us that their favorite aspect of that type of matter was being able to work with investigators.

Litigation clients: AT&T, Chevron USA and the National Football League. Recently defended an arbitration matter for ConocoPhillips, which involved an alleged breach of a service contract for liquefied natural gas in North Dakota.

Career Development

Fortunately, higher ups at Haynes know that development “is a marathon and not a sprint,” with this source using a rather interesting analogy: “They want you to grow...a bit like an egg being sat on!” Partnership-wise, associates tended to agree that the path “wasn't really on the radar yet,” but they were aware that “they start considering you around the eight-year mark; when you're a senior associate they give you more information, but also as you progress there are benchmarks and guidelines.” Despite the lack of clarity on the ins and outs of the process, our sources tended to be quite optimistic about the firm's intentions: “They really try to help you learn from the first day – they want to develop your career and ultimately get you to partnership.”

Hours & Compensation

For those in Texas offices, the billing target is 2,000 hours for the year, while those in New York aim for 1,800. Standard working hours tended to be uniform across the board –  with juniors arriving roughly between 8.30/9.30am and leaving by 6.30/7.30pm on typical days – but during busy closing/trial periods, much later finishes were common, with one source explaining that they could be leaving “around 11pm and putting in some work at home on the weekends.”

“We will continue to be a national firm with an international presence.”

While the firm matching salary increases over the summer “didn't come as a surprise” for the associates we spoke to, “it definitely took them longer to announce than we would have appreciated. I don't have any complaints as such, but I know people were kept in the dark.” Bonus-wise, our sources told us about an “air of mystery and lack of clarity” when it came to knowing what you'd be eligible for and how you'd achieve it. Bonuses were dubbed “highly discretionary,” with this interviewee explaining that “they take into account a lot of wide factors and it depends on the work you're doing and your contributions to the firm.” We did hear, however, that in order to qualify for the new market-rate bonus set by the New York heavyweights, juniors need to perform well in a variety of categories, including business development, pro bono and recruitment activities.

Pro Bono

Associates can count 100 hours toward their annual target, but “if you do more, you can petition to have those extra hours considered.” Every summer associate is assigned a pro bono matter to get them started, and after that the firm “provides information on opportunities via emails.” Our sources had drafted wills, handled divorce cases and assisted on immigration matters, “particularly in litigation.” Others commented that “there's been an awesome response” to the call to assist families that had been separated at the border in 2018. Those in Dallas emphasized that “we do a lot of death penalty and capital punishment cases,” and also highlighted the firm's involvement with the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program.

Pro bono hours:

  • For all US attorneys: 13,440
  • Average per US attorney: 26.4


“It's not just my client, it's your client,” sums up the kind of collaborative vibe that many of our interviewees touched upon during our calls. “People get treated like people here,” one New York source emphasized, while a colleague in Dallas chipped in: “We have a no jerk policy and expect everyone to get along with open communication.” Others in Texas explained that the culture “is really influenced by our founding partners. They wanted to do innovative things and disrupt the market. We started with two lawyers who wanted to shake the foundations of the legal landscape. They wanted this to be a place where everyone has a seat at the table. There's a pioneering spirit here.” This table isn't just metaphorical though: those in Dallas spoke of “attorney integration dinners that allow us to meet attorneys we don't know in other practice areas.” In the spirit of community and a non-hierarchical approach, a Dallas source also revealed that “one of the founders sits in the same-sized office as me, which shows in a physical way that we're all respected!” In addition, “Mike Boone is always sitting around in the cafeteria with us,” which juniors felt very much proved the 'everyone has a seat at the table' philosophy.

Diversity & Inclusion

Most of our sources recognized that there's still work to be done, but also agreed that “things are certainly moving in the right direction.” This positive assessment was in part driven by Powers' confirmation that the firm had “welcomed the most diverse class of lawyers we've ever had last year.” The firm's appointment of a new diversity director also drew praise, as did the firm's biannual diversity retreat, “where diverse associates and partners get together to discuss issues and the strategies needed to tackle them.” An associate did point out, however, that some of the training at the retreat “ought to be extended to everyone back in the offices.” Initiatives aside, many of our sources felt that there was plenty of room for differences in Haynes' overall culture: “There's honestly no stigma to being diverse; if anything, it's embraced and encouraged!”

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The Work: Haynes' IP practice

For those in the IP group, “the trademark people tend to be in Dallas, while the scientific advisers, the patent people, mainly work in Richardson.” Across the offices though, our associates all celebrated the “substantive early exposure” they'd had. A Richardson-based source told of “speaking to engineers to determine how products will operate and seeing if they infringe on any claims,” as well as conducting “transactional patent portfolio analysis,” which they found rewarding. Elsewhere, other IP juniors enjoyed conducting “trademark clearance searches and risk analysis,” as well as honing their drafting skills on a mix of “opposing applications, complaints and cease and desist letters.” And while the configuration of the IP practice tended to vary between the offices, “generally IP works nationally, with partners regularly working with associates in other offices.”

IP clients: PayPal, Apple and Toyota. Currently serves as one of the primary patent counsels for Toyota, particularly in relation to the company's 'intelligent vehicle' technology.

Career Development

While there is an “extensive training orientation when you first start through various CLE opportunities and specific practice group programs,” many sources did point to a lack of sustained formalised training: “Rather than just spinning the wheel and guessing, some more specific and nuanced training is needed.” Others did defend this perceived lack by stating: “There is more on the job training; the practice groups are so different, so it's just better to be trained by the partners you're working for.” Beyond partners, interviewees also found that “everyone's pretty open and there are a lot of informal learning opportunities. My mentor is a senior associate, for example, and he runs me through things in my office.” On a more formal note, mid and end of year reviews “allow superiors to check in with you. They ask you to create a five-year plan to see where you see yourself and how you'll get there.”

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 one of the American Lawyer top 100 law firms, with more than 575 lawyers in 17 offices and 40 major legal practices. We are among the largest firms based in the United States. Our growth has been driven by our client service strengths, especially our problem-solving acumen and our ability to collaborate with clients.
It is our mission to be a preeminent law firm that serves clients globally on sophisticated legal matters while maintaining a special culture founded on teamwork, a healthy work environment, and a strong work ethic. While every law firm believes culture is an important component of success, our culture is truly unique. Our culture is defined by our collaborative work environment and by putting the interests of our clients first. It focuses on teamwork, an environment of mutual respect, and a long-term view that supports investing in the future and the success of Haynes and Boone as an outstanding professional service institution.

Recruitment Law Schools attending for OCIs in 2019: 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. The Firm also participates in resume collects from the following schools: Baylor, Brooklyn, Cardozo, Columbia, Cornell, Duke, Emory, Fordham, George Mason, George Washington, Georgetown, Howard, Loyola (LA), Santa Clara, South Texas, St. John’s, St. Mary’s, Texas A&M, Texas Southern, Texas Tech, UC Davis, UC Hastings, UCLA, University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania, USC, Vanderbilt, and Yale.

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 nine to ten 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

    • 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)
    • Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 1)
    • Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 1)
    • Banking & Finance Recognised Practitioner
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 5)
    • Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Recognised Practitioner
    • Franchising (Band 3)
    • Real Estate Recognised Practitioner