Haynes and Boone, LLP - The Inside View

You can take Haynes and Boone out of Texas, but you can't take the Texas out of Haynes and Boone.

DENVER and Chicago joined the Haynes and Boone party in 2015, followed by London in 2016, thanks to a merger with shipbuilding and energy specialist Curtis Davis Garrard. “London has been on the firm's drawing board since 2005, so we're absolutely delighted about being there,” managing partner Tim Powers tells us. “Our focus in energy and tech will align very well with the market there.” Haynes and Boone's strong appetite for expansion means “we're constantly looking at opportunities in New York and DC, and focusing on growth on both the East and West Coast while also keeping and extending our place in the Texas market.”

Founded 47 years ago, the firm may not quite be the biggest T-bone on the Texan grill, but it picks up juicy rankings from Chambers USA, most notably in antitrust, energy, environment, bankruptcy, banking, insurance, IP and real estate.Tim Powers says: “The biggest growing practice area is definitely private equity and funds. Surprisingly, the healthcare practice is also growing substantially. IP and tech are growing, and real estate continues to be strong.” Rankings outside of Texas and overseas reflect Haynes and Boone's broader development in recent years.

The Work and Offices



Outside of the Lone Star State, Haynes and Boone has offices in New York, Chicago, Palo Alto, Orange County, Denver, and DC. Mexico City, Shanghai and London feature on its global map, though few junior associates we spoke to had dealt with international matters themselves. One noted that “understandably, Dallas itself doesn't have all that many cross-border deals.Communication is encouraged between US offices, and for example we heard of a lawyer who “just took a trip to New York – she simply asked if she could work from the New York office for a few days and they made the arrangements.”

“If you ever need something to do, it's comfortable to ask.”

During the summer program, people experience a range of practice areas during a formal rotation. At the end, they state a preference from options including business litigation, corporate/M&A, real estate, IP, and restructuring. The firm “really tries to get you your preference. If it needs an associate in a particular area, you've got a high chance of getting your first choice.”

Most associates are generally assigned work from a supervisor, but “if you ever need something to do it's comfortable to ask.” In smaller offices, it's more common to walk around and ask for work. Some preferred this informal system as “it models the way partners get clients in the real world. It helps make you more extroverted.” A “good variety” of typical junior tasks for litigators includes research, “drafting motions, preparing depositions and hearing outlines, conferring with counsel, attending and arguing at hearings, as well as doc reviews. There's a lot of responsibility compared to friends at other firms, especially on smaller cases.” Corporate sources found themselves “drafting stuff in the first year, then getting more responsibility and being involved in client meetings.” Others concurred: “In the first year you prove you can do good work; they can trust you to know what you're doing, so in the second year you get more responsibility.”

In real estate, we heard the “amount of responsibility is both uncomfortable and beneficial – you definitely learn a lot when uncomfortable! When you come to the firm, nobody knows your skills so you have to gain trust from the partners. When they have confidence in your ability, you'll get assigned more work.” Jobs include drafting loan documents and lease amendments. Several in various practices reported feeling loved: “They really valued my opinion, making me more invested in the work I was doing – they really cared about my input.”

Training and Development



“The training wheel come off right away which helps you learn on the job.”

Training kicks off with a three day program in Dallas known as 'HayBoo U', followed by department-specific training by attorneys in different specialized areas. From here on, it's all systems go – one associate revealed that “the training wheels come off right away which helps you learn on the job. You're not thrown to the sharks by any means, but you do learn rather quickly!” Another associate mentioned the firm's subscription to PLI [Practising Law Institute], which allows free access to online webinars and some in-person training for all Haynes and Boone attorneys.

Juniors generally found there are no nasty surprises in their mid and end of year reviews: “If they're having a problem with you, they're not going to spring it on you. Anybody will generally be happy to give you informal feedback throughout the year.”

Culture



A big reason associates were attracted to HayBoo was the friendly culture that exists alongside high-level and challenging work. One summed it up as: “Easy going people that still take their work very seriously.” Despite the firm's ever-growing size, many championed its one-firm culture, with offices outside Texas maintaining the same friendly Texas vibe. A New York associate noted a slight difference, with the culture here closer to that of other high-caliber New York firms. But across the board, there's a “no-jerk policy.”

“It was very special to see he had such concern about us having a good time.”

The busiest time in the social calendar is of course the summer. One interviewee recalled a story of how “several students came to Dallas and felt let down that it didn't live up to its Western 'cowboy' image. One of the older associates then took it on his own initiative to organize an outing in Fort Worth to country music concerts, dances, and all things Texan! It was very special to see he had such concern about us having a good time.

Associates felt kept in the loop, communication-wise. There's a monthly newsletter from MP Tim Powers, who occasionally appears at each of the offices in person. He apparently updates employees on what's happening and lets associates ask questions. One source explained that “it's hard to be completely transparent from a business standpoint, but the firm still tries nonetheless.

Hours and Compensation



Several interviewees were vague about the exact annual billing target, which is 1,800 hours in New York and 2,000 in Texas. Usually, those that make it are put on a 'high-base' bonus system, while those that don't quite reach it go on a 'low-base', though things like pro bono will also be taken into consideration. “The firm will review your performance for bonuses as well – it isn't just about the hours.”

Most sources reported an average day of roughly 9.30am to about 7pm, but this depends hugely on workload. Litigators tend to get in earlier than their transactional colleagues. One described a nice tradition in their corporate team if they have to stay late: “Someone will order dinner, and everyone staying late will eat together. It really builds a team environment – there's an undeniable sense of solidarity and camaraderie.”

Pro Bono



In all offices, associates can to bill up to 100 hours of pro bono work. There was mixed feedback on the topic from those in the New York office, but elsewhere, every first-year gets assigned a pro bono case after a few months and “even if they're not assigned it, people do it just because they want to!” The firm regularly emails out pro bono opportunities, but you can bring your own case to the table if you have one. Associates reported being involved in drafting wills for low-income clients and working on a number of immigration cases. One example involved an associate obtaining asylum for a client who had been subject to inhumane treatment in their home country. The client was subsequently allowed to stay in the US.

“It's great to invite them to the office and do everything you can to help.”

Junior associates also jumped at the opportunity to experience an area they wouldn't usually work in. One corporate associate worked a pro bono litigation case and said “I knew nothing about litigation, but I went to the lit floor and asked for advice. Everyone was more than willing to help!” Associates describe a “special feeling when clients are grateful that you've taken the time to help. In most cases they don't have the means, so it's great to invite them to the office and do everything you can to help.”

Pro bono hours

For all US attorneys: 12,915

Average per US attorney: 45

Diversity



Associates generally praised the firm's approach to diversity, with many highlighting a real push to improve. Some believed the firm isn't yet diverse enough and want to see further improvements, but admitted that “the firm recognizes it's an issue, and partners are very supportive of diversity measures.” Haynes and Boone holds a diversity retreat every other year, which some of our interviewees had participated in. One considered diversity “very real and raw. They're not just doing the retreat to say they do it – it's informative and supportive.” Diverse associates are also paired with a diverse partner mentor they can go to for help.

Strategy and Future



In our last edition, managing partner Tim Powers speculated about expanding to London, and within a year the merger with London-based Curtis Davis Garrard was finalized. So what's next for Haynes and Boone? “Currently there are not necessarily any new offices on the drawing board. We want to focus on domestic growth. We're not a firm that wants to be Baker McKenzie or Akin Gump – we only want to go into markets where we think we can make a difference and differentiate ourselves.

Get Hired



As well as strong academics, the main qualities Haynes and Boone looks for are friendliness and a hard-working nature. Even if you don't have an extended amount of experience in law firms, recruiters like to see evidence of a willingness to get involved and participate in things like law school student groups or law journals.

If you make it to a face-to-face interview, hiring partner Eric Williams tell us that “someone who is enthusiastic” really stands out: “Someone who is excited to be here, and has clearly done their homework on the firm. They're asking specific questions about the firm and its direction – more than just those surface level questions. As well as this, cultural alignment with the firm is imperative. In order to find this out, interviewers have started asking more situational questions – getting candidates to think on their feet and describe how they would deal with certain situations. “Each interviewer is different and has their own way of getting into a person's mentality. We want to know if they're a team player – if they'll look out for one another,” Williams enthuses. “For us, this is just as important as the candidate's academics.”

Associates advised that candidates should “spend the little time you have making a connection with interviewers. They already know your grades; they have your resume.” Focusing heavily on this aspect won't set you apart from other applicants – sources tell us it's important to be yourself and show personality. “We have a long-term approach to hiring,” Williams says. “Essentially we're trying to identify future partners. For this reason, they must fit well from a cultural perspective.”

Interview with managing partner Tim Powers



What highlights from the past year would you like to flag up to student readers interested in your firm?

Certainly the biggest highlight is that we've now opened in London. We actually made our announcement post-Brexit and we're very comfortable with that; we still feel very confident in the influence that English law will have on other legal markets. Our foremost areas of focus in energy, and technology, financial services and private equity will align very well with the market there. We've merged with a boutique firm [Curtis Davis Garrard] which will now go by the name Haynes and Boone CDG in London. London has been on the firm's drawing board since 2005, so we're absolutely delighted about being there.

Other priorities that we've really focused on have been our tech initiatives. This past year we've focused on developing the firm's tech strategy so that it aligns with our business strategy and how we serve our clients. We want to allow our lawyers to be able to serve clients any time and anywhere. We have also been looking into data analytics and artificial intelligence, and having to address cyber-security issues as well. With a generation that haven't known a world without tech, this is increasingly important and thus our big emphasis on technology.

We've also refocused on our women and general diversity initiatives – we have some great programmes there that have made a big difference. If you look at the Associate Satisfaction survey, our rankings have gone up substantially. I think part of this is to do with the new things that are happening here, and the firm following through with its key values.

How is the Chicago office getting on, a year on from your acquisition of the Mavrakakis Law group? Last year you described Chicago as a 'hyper-competitive market' – has this been the case?

Yes, this continues to be the case. We've been focused on the integration of this group into our firm, and it is working out fantastically. Out of the nine who joined us, eight are still with us. We continue to look at the market in Chicago, and although its growth is not an immediate priority, if an opportunity came along that culturally aligned with us we would certainly consider it. We're super respectful for how competitive the Chicago market is, and we'd want to do something in that market that would be meaningful, that would likely be an alignment with someone else – long term. If not though, we're delighted with the group of lawyers we have now, and will build on that.

Last year former managing partner Terry Connor told us that in the next five to seven years you expect to be twice as large. How's that going?

We've grown substantially in Mexico, still focused on the energy and real estate market. We're also constantly looking at opportunities in New York and DC, and focusing on growth on both the East and West Coast, while also keeping and extending our place in the Texas market. With cyclical markets like energy and real estate – energy being down globally at the moment – we've often found that we can do our most strategic talent hires in the down-markets, looking for people who will make great lawyers and align with our culture. Though, even in the anticipation of the coming presidential election, the economy foundationally continues to be strong – it continues to survive.

What opportunities can Haynes and Boone offer potential junior associates?

We're still wanting to hire the best and the brightest. On a national basis we have raised associate salaries, and although compensation is important, it's not the only thing. We want the firm to be a great place to work, and people have got to feel like they have a great opportunity. We had 13 new partners made from associate ranks this year, so there continues to be that opportunity for promotion. We had 37 summer associates, and 31 out of 37 received offers to be taken on as first-year associates. 29 out of 31 offers were accepted, and we're still waiting to hear from one person. Also, in our 15 offices, there are usually summer associates in 9. Unfortunately none are in our international offices, simply because they're too small to take on summers at the moment.

What would you say are Haynes and Boone's core practices? What's the revenue split between contentious and non-contentious?

Currently 27% is contentious, with 73% non-contentious. We like that split because overall the demand for litigation has gone down. And from a size perspective, it has aligned well. Our core areas are corporate and litigation, with four core sectors: energy, technology, financial services (including bankruptcy and real estate), and private equity.

What are the hot practice areas right now? Which are growing? Which are shrinking?

The biggest growing areas are definitely private equity and funds. Surprisingly, the healthcare practice is also growing substantially. IP and tech are also growing, and real estate continues to be strong.

How would you define the culture of the firm?

We jealously guard our culture – it's the foundation of the firm, very client-focused and a strong teamwork culture. The biggest criticism that can be made of one of our lawyers is letting down a team mate. I was a rower in college, so we use a lot of rowing phrases that are about the boat, and making sure everyone in the boat is working together to get the boat going as fast as it can. Consequently, we're not hierarchical – everyone has their role on the team and everyone knows and respects that. We're highly focused on mutual respect and ensuring everyone works together in what they're doing. It's important to understand the focus on the greater good, and contributing to that. The people who have succeeded here are people who do best in a teamwork environment. Those who are focused on themselves might not get on as well.

So is the aim for the culture to be uniform across the offices?

Absolutely. For example, with the London merger, cultural alignment was a huge part of that. While we talked to several London firms over the years, it was not until we met with CDG that we found the cultural alignment we required. We can look at a group of lawyers, and if they don't align with us culturally then we won't do anything. With CDG it was important for them too. Of course, every office will have a slightly different feeling, but I'm in all 15 of them all the time, and I will assure you that foundationally they're all the same.

What was Haynes and Boone like when you joined and how has it changed?

Well I was the 36th lawyer to join the firm – there are now around 600. And honestly, I don't believe the culture has changed one bit. It continues to be passed on – we're now on our second generation of leadership, and everyone has equally bought in to this culture. It's certainly been the foundation of the firm. When I joined we didn't even have a whole floor of an office building, and now we're in 15 cities! If you'd asked me, 34 years later is this what you expected Haynes and Boone to be? I'd say yes. Absolutely. As a young lawyer I used to come into the office every day excited, always thinking something new was going to happen, and I hope current associates feel the same!

Dick Haynes was confident in his ambition that the firm would some day be in London. So when we finalized our merger, I made sure to tell his widow– it's something that would have been very important to him. This goes back to the teamwork culture and keeping everyone in the loop.

Former managing partner Terry Conner took over in 2008; he was the first of the second generation managing partners. He had to lead and manage the firm through the financial crisis of 2008, and he did a fantastic job. During his tenure the firm grew to almost 100 lawyers in New York, and we opened new offices in Shanghai and California – it was a tough period, but I don't think anyone would have wanted any one else leading us.

I'm now the third managing partner in the firm's history – I see it as a responsibility and an honour to serve the partners. And we really have done some great things, like immediately opening in Denver, and now London. I would attribute a lot of these things to the foundation that Terry laid down. He did a great job of positioning the firm to be able to do many things and it's been a privilege to follow him. Hopefully whomever succeeds me will say the same thing. The firm isn't radically different – there's still the same culture and same long-term focus. We will always keep our core values and client focus, and never do anything that puts the firm at financial risk. 

Are there any plans for further international growth? How is the Brazilian economy looking and is there any chance of re-establishing your office there?

I think the Brazil economy is exactly the same as it was – everyone saw the Rio Olympics. The energy market is still down, and it's generally unstable. We're always keeping an eye out, but for now we don't have our office there. With China, our strategy is doing well, but it's something we will look at again and re-evaluate. At the moment there's not necessarily any new offices on the drawing board. We want to focus on domestic growth. We're not a firm that wants to be Baker McKenzie or Dentons – we only want to go into markets where we think we can make a difference and differentiate ourselves. Our focus will stay in our four core areas because we can go into these markets and distinguish ourselves.

What makes Haynes and Boone different from other energy-based firms in the Texas area?

I think we're equally focused on traditional carbon-based fuels, as well as renewable energy like wind energy. However I would say that our oil and gas work is more corporate and private equity focused – more so than other firms. A lot of that has to do with other firms being mainly based in Houston, and us being based in Dallas. But these older firms established the basis of energy work – we compete with them well, but they're the traditional firms in that area. We definitely have more of a private equity focus.

Any advice or words of wisdom for our student readers as they try to enter the legal profession?

I'm on the executive board at a local law school here, and I said to the new law students, work as hard as you can and get the best grades possible. This will then give you the best and most varied opportunities. Also, focus on getting a balance to your life now – find time to exercise, volunteer, but make sure you also get sleep! Having these disciplines when you get into law is great – if you already have them you're not spending time trying to create them. You've certainly got to be willing to work very hard and be open to opportunities. Stamina is important, but you have to also be able to be balanced or you won't be able to have great perspective in advising clients. It's also important to give back to our communities.

 

Haynes and Boone, LLP

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

  • Head Office: Dallas, TX 
  • Number of domestic offices: 12
  • Number of international offices: 3
  • Worldwide revenue: $375,000,000
  • Partners (US): 225
  • Associates (US): 311(including other attorneys)
  • Summer Salary 2017  
  • 1Ls: $3,462/week
  • 2Ls: $3,462/week
  • Post 3Ls: $3,462/week
  • 1Ls hired? Yes, in specific offices
  • Split summers offered? Case by case
  • Can summers spend time in overseas office? No
  • Summers 2017: 2Ls: 33
  • Offers/acceptances 2016: 33 offers, 32 acceptances

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), bankruptcy and restructuring, energy, banking and finance, franchises, intellectual property/technology, labor and employment and real estate.

Recruitment details
• Number of 1st year associates: 39
• Number of 2nd year associates: 29
• Associate salaries: 1st year: $180,000
• Clerking policy: Yes

Schools attending for OCIs in 2017:
Baylor, Columbia, Cornell, Duke, Fordham, Georgetown, Harvard, Santa Clara, Southern Methodist University, Stanford, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCLA, University of Houston, University of Pennsylvania, USC, University of Texas, University of Virginia, Vanderbilt

Summer details

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 long-term 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 midclerkship review. Our summer associates also enjoy several social events designed to get to know our attorneys.