This Texan shines bright for serving up BigLaw in healthier proportions and its ever-growing reach beyond the Lone Star State.
Many a Texan has gone on to successfully build a name for themselves beyond the Lone Star State.Think Beyonce, Selena Gomez, and Kelly Clarkson. But it’s BigLaw star Haynes and Boonewe’re here to talk about today. The firm’s “reputation across Texas” is consolidated by its network of seven offices across the state. Beyond Texas the firm boasts a further ten bases Stateside, with an additional three across London, MexicoCity, and Shanghai, making up a “global network of support” which attracted many an associate.
“It’s not a churn and burn model.”
Much like the aforementioned trio’s impressive collection of Grammys, H&B holds its own with 25 Chambers USA rankings. These are awarded to the firm for its top-tier bankruptcy/restructuring, insurance, intellectual property, appellate litigation, white-collar & government investigations, and employee benefits & executive compensation expertise across its home state. Nationwide, the firm shines for its derivatives, franchising, and oil and gas litigation know-how. But it’s not just big brains which drew our associate sources in; according to this lot, HB shines brightest for its “inclusive, caring, and family-focused culture.” The firm “focuses on building lawyers for the long term. It’s not a churn and burn model; people are genuinely happy here,” another gushed. That’s the Southern charm for you. The firm’s largest office, Dallas, welcomes the most associates each year, followed by the bases in Houston and New York.
Strategy & Future
Managing partner Taylor Wilson outlines what’s next for H&B: “Our plan for the next few years is to capitalize on our core strengths and carry on moving towards our 2025 goal.” Wilson highlights the energy, technology, financial services, and private equity sectors as ones to watch: “We have more than 40 distinct practice areas and we’ve found that these core strengths tend to be drivers of our business. For more than 53 years we’ve managed our firm in a financially conservative manner and we’ll continue to do so,” he adds. Our associate sources were very much in agreement: “We tend to focus on targeted growth based on the markets. We don’t just grow for the sake of it.”
It’s not just Stateside growth that the firm has its sights set on. “We are bullish on opportunities for our international offices, including London and Mexico City,” Wilson emphasizes.The firm also boasts expertise across worldwide financial markets, and regularly advises clients on developments involving the London Stock Exchange Alternative Investment Market (AIM), the Toronto Stock Exchange, the Mexican Stock Exchange, and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
The majority of the firm’s associates joined via the summer program. At the end of the summer, juniors put forward a handful of practice area preferences. At the time of research, the majority of juniors were housed in the patent prosecution group, followed by the financial transactions, capital markets/securities, and private equity groups. These, including other subgroups, form the four main departments at the firm: business transactions, financial transactions, IP and litigation. Work assignment in most groups consists of a mix of a free-market system, coupled with a staffing attorney who oversees workflow. We heard that in some cases “partners filter down work and pick associates who have availability and capability,” though it’s also “about the relationships you build with people at the firm” which bring in work organically. According to our survey, 74% of respondents felt they had autonomy over their work allocation, with a source commenting: “My workflow isn’t an issue. There’s a lot of variety in my work; I hardly see the same thing twice!”
“I guided the negotiations between us and the opposing counsel.”
The firm’s transactional offering includes (but isn’t limited to) finance, corporate/M&A, and restructuring. Thefinancial transactions team in particular handles a whole host of financing transactions, including those surrounding debt, private equity funds, project finance, asset management, and restructurings. A source enthused: “The group is internationally competitive while maintaining a team-oriented approach.” And while “the work can be challenging, senior staff are always checking in with juniors.” This is particularly true on smaller teams. In those instances, “my role runs the gamut! I do everything from drafting credit agreements, preparing signature pages, and helping with closings. The negotiation stage is still mostly partner driven, but the drafting’s on me!” a junior explained. On one particular deal, a source was even able to close the transaction: “It was definitely a work highlight for me. I guided the negotiations between us and the opposing counsel.” When on high-stakes deals, newbies can expect to be drafting ancillary documents, reviewing investor subscription agreements, and preparing electronic binders.
Finance clients: BNP Paribas, Citibank, Standard Chartered Bank. Advised online cryptocurrency investment adviser, Domain Money, on various fintech regulations.
HB’s intellectual property team takes up matters involving inter partes reviews (IPR), patents, federal circuit appeals, and trademark and copyright work. “The group is very technically diverse. We’re full of engineers and people who have Master's degrees in physics,” one proud source relayed. Cases involving IPRs often revolve around a corporation suing one of the firm’s clients, alleging that the client has infringed their patent. An interviewee explained: “We go about ensuring that the patent exerted against the client is invalid, and then go in front of the US Patent Trial and Appeals Board (PTAB) and take our client through the litigation process.” On such matters, juniors take up licensing work, trial preparation, and legal research.
IP clients: AT&T, Twitter, Panasonic. Represented the American Institute of Plastic Surgery on its design patent claim for a lip implant in front of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
“I’m able to have dinner with my family every night.”
Hours & Compensation
Billable hours: 2,000 target
“It’s unparalleled!” an associate told us of the firm’s work-life balance. “I’m able to have dinner with my family every night.” A typical day sees H&B associates logged on between the hours of 9am and 6pm. “Obviously that changes if there’s a closing,” a source added, “though I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve worked past 9pm!” Weekend work is also scarce among this lot: “People are generally respectful of weekends unless it’s absolutely necessary,” an interviewee happily reported. Our survey results show that just under 80% of respondents felt their hours and workloads were reasonable. On the hybrid working front, the firm encourages associates to be in the office three days a week.
Our interviewees were more than pleased with their base compensation. “It’s very competitive,” a source explained. “We’re paid in line with the Cravath scale.” To unlock bonuses, juniors had to hit the 2,000-hour target, though our sources were unsure of the amount they’d receive. “They usually let us know the figure at the end of the year,” an associate said. Our survey respondents scored the firm below the market average we record for the transparency and fairness of bonus allocation.
Associates’ comments on the firm’s culture all tied back to its emphasis on work-life balance. “Partners aren’t sending out a load of emails late at night,” one source explained. “They prioritize their spouses and children, which sets the tone for the rest of us.” Balance is the key word: “We’re a pretty big firm but we strike a good balance between being in BigLaw and taking on big matters, while encouraging attorneys to have a life outside of work.”
So, who’s the firm attracting? “We’re just a bunch of engineers who happened to go to law school,” a patent associate laughed. But on a broader note, it became clear quickly that H&B has a well-adhered to “no jerk policy!” Sources pointed towards a certain “Texas charm… The culture is very laid back; the lawyers here have a well-deserved reputation for not yelling or putting undue expectations or pressure on associates.”
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
“The firm is making efforts to attract a diverse slate of candidates and these efforts are explicitly supported from the managing partners down,” a source stated. Over 90% of survey respondents felt positive about the firm’s DE&I recruitment efforts. And it’s not just recruitment that the firm directs its attention to; retention is also a focal point. Commenting on the firm’s support of family life, an associate noted: “Women at all levels take maternity leave; the firm is very accommodating and wants us to have long careers here.” What’s more, managing partner Taylor Wilson highlights that the firm’s 2023 partner class is made up of 69% women and 62% diverse attorneys. "Having diverse perspectives makes us stronger lawyers,” he adds.
“…a great opportunity to mix with people from all walks of life.”
To further support its diverse staff, H&B launched ten Inclusion Networks in 2022, led by Attorney Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee (ADEIC) co-chairs Tom Chen and Vera Suarez. The firm’s Next Generation Network (dubbed ‘Next Gen’) recently hosted an event that our sources highlighted as “a great opportunity to mix with people from all walks of life.” Attorneys are also able to count 50 hours spent on DE&I initiatives towards their billing target.
“The firm is very good at encouraging pro bono work,” our sources agreed. This includes “giving significant billable credit for these matters.” Associates can bill up to 100 hours of pro bono, with the understanding that approval can be given for more hours if asked. Matters are circulated via email, and associates are also able to propose new cases they’d like to take on. The firm works with a number of organizations and legal clinics, including Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), Clayton Youth Enrichment Services (YES!), the Houston Volunteer Lawyer Program, and the Human Rights Initiative of North Texas. The firm also has an ESG practice that advises clients on sustainable and green finance, sustainability linked loans, and various other ESG matters.
Pro bono hours
- For all US attorneys: 11,654
- Average per US attorney: 23
Those with an eye on the future will be pleased to hear that, according to our survey, H&B outperformed the market for a second consecutive year on associates’ intention to make partner and the perceived achievability of that goal, with sources keen to highlight the firm’s “homegrown partnership model.” Over half of our respondents indicated their intention to make partner at the firm, with associates eligible for partnership in their eighth year.
“There are partners who are invested in my development and it’s a big reason why I stay.”
To aid juniors’ development, the firm recently hired a knowledge management coordinator to oversee training and mentorship programs in the financial transactions group. Upon joining the firm, newbies are paired up with two mentors and a partner supervisor. It’s this supervision which our sources cited as a big retention motivator: “There are partners who are invested in my development and it’s a big reason why I stay.” As for official training programs, the firm hosts 'Hayboo U' (no, that's a typo) which puts on a variety of sessions on topics like the basics of fund finance, Microsoft shortcuts, and how to review security agreements.
OCI applicants interviewed: 204
Interviewees outside OCI: 34
Around 75% of 2L summers have completed either a 1L summer or other work experience at the firm before their 2L summer. The other 25% are found through OCIs, job fairs, resume collects, and direct applications.
Attorneys (one partner and one associate) typically see around 20 candidates a day at OCIs and represent each office running a summer program. Brad Holdbrook, the firm's entry-level hiring partner, tells us that interviewers will be looking for candidates to demonstrate “effective communication skills, willingness to be an effective member of teams, leadership potential, commitment to community service, and an established motivation to succeed.” Typical inquiries of interviewees include requests to describe their accomplishments, motivations, why they are interested in Haynes Boone, and how they could add to the firm’s culture.
Top tips for this stage:
“Come prepared to discuss why our firm and/or certain practice areas are a fit for your skills, ask specific questions that relate to the firm or our clients, and explain how you can add to the culture at Haynes Boone.” – entry-level hiring partner, Brad Holdbrook
Applicants invited to second stage interview: 39 from OCI + 49 interviews outside of OCI
Callbacks consist of two to four 20-minute interview sessions, with the candidate meeting with two attorneys in each interview session. Holdbrook tells us that during the callback process, the firm is “particularly interested in a candidate’s reason for interest in our firm, the chosen city for which they are interviewing, and any practice areas the candidate may be interested in.” As such, during callbacks, candidates can expect the questions and conversation to be more focused on specific practice areas and markets.
Top tips for this stage:
"Be able to articulate your interest in the firm and office location. Describe your specific interest in, or ask questions about, practice areas in the office in which you are interviewing. Be prepared, but be yourself.” – entry-level hiring partner Brad Holdbrook
Offers: 16 offers extended out of Fall/Spring Recruiting in addition to 27 returning 1Ls
Acceptances: 9/16 accepted
Depending on office, summer associates sample two or more distinct practice areas in which they are interested. They are involved in client meetings, closings, negotiations, depositions, trials, and hearings. Typical tasks include drafting research memos, motions and briefs, and sampling a “broad range of transactional documents.” Holdbrook tells us that the firm has a “well-rounded approach to our summer programs that enables each summer associate to demonstrate their analytical, advocacy, and writing skills. Our goal is for our summer program to model what life as an associate would look like.”
The firm assigns each summer associate a partner supervisor, who oversees their work. Each summer associate also receives an associate mentor to “help answer questions and navigate the clerkship.” Summers also get to experience pro bono work, presentations, a public speaking seminar, CLEs, and training. Around 95-100% of 2L summer associates are given offers to join as associates and offers are usually extended for a specific department.
Notable summer events: dinners, events, and outings. “Social events throughout the summer are designed so the summer associates can meet a broad array of the lawyers in their office and fully experience the city in which they are clerking.”
Top tips for this stage:
“Take advantage of the resources provided by the firm, including the many attorneys that will make themselves available to you for guidance and mentorship. Ask questions and pay attention to detail on assignments. Finally, pay attention to the way attorneys in your office interact with each other and the clients of the firm; that will give you invaluable insight into a “day in the life” of a future at Haynes Boone.” – entry-level hiring partner Brad Holdbrook
Haynes and Boone, LLP
2323 Victory Avenue,
Main areas of work
Corporate/securities/M&A, private equity, investment funds, business litigation (including IP, insurance coverage, environmental, energy, real estate, securities, healthcare and appellate), restructuring, energy transactions, banking and finance, franchises, intellectual property/technology, labor and employment and real estate.
Haynes Boone is an American Lawyer top 100 law firm, with more than 600 lawyers in 19 offices around the world, providing services for more than 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.
We have a client-first philosophy, defining success as providing exceptional value to our clients and making real, tangible, and often remarkable contributions to their businesses.
We are dedicated to continuing the heritage of excellence in the legal profession. We will stay focused on the long-term success of our clients, and we remain bound by our teamwork culture.
Law Schools attending for OCIs in 2023: Harvard, UC Berkeley, SMU, Stanford, UC Irvine, University of Houston, University of Texas, University of Virginia.
Recruitment outside OCIs: Loyola Patent Law Interview Program, Lavender Law Career Fair, Southeastern Minority Job Fair, Sunbelt Diversity Recruitment Fair, , Alabama, Baylor, Brooklyn, BYU, Cardozo, Chapman, Columbia, Cornell, Duke, Emory, Fordham,George Mason, George Washington, Georgetown, Howard, Loyola (LA), NYU, NC Central, Northwestern, Rutgers, Santa Clara, South Carolina, South Texas, St. John’s, St. Mary’s, Texas A&M, Texas Southern, Texas Tech, Tulane, UC Davis, UC Hastings, UCLA, University of Chicago, University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania, UNC, USC, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, and Washington University.
Summer associate profile: To sustain what we feel is a blend of culture and sophistication of practice that is unmatched in the market, Haynes 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 nine to ten weeks (depending on office) with us working in one or more of our practice areas. Each summer associate is given a mentor and supervisor who assign them work. They are also 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, 2023
- Intellectual Property: Patent Prosecution (Band 3)
- Corporate/M&A (Band 4)
- Real Estate: Mainly Corporate & Finance (Band 5)
- Real Estate: Mainly Dirt (Band 5)
- Banking & Finance (Band 4)
- Banking & Finance (Band 3)
- Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 1)
- Corporate/M&A: The Elite (Band 4)
- Energy: State Regulatory & Litigation (Electricity) (Band 3)
- Environment (Band 2)
- Healthcare (Band 3)
- Insurance (Band 1)
- Intellectual Property (Band 3)
- Intellectual Property: Trademark, Copyright & Trade Secrets (Band 1)
- Labor & Employment (Band 2)
- Litigation: Appellate (Band 1)
- Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 1)
- Real Estate (Band 2)
- Technology: Corporate & Commercial (Band 3)
Texas: Austin & Surrounds
- Litigation: General Commercial (Band 2)
Texas: Dallas, Fort Worth & Surrounds
- Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 1)
- Litigation: General Commercial (Band 5)
Texas: Houston & Surrounds
- Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 2)
USA - Nationwide
- Derivatives (Band 3)
- Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 5)
- Financial Services Regulation: Banking (Compliance) (Band 4)
- First Amendment Litigation (Band 3)
- Franchising (Band 3)
- Government Contracts: The Elite (Band 3)
- Oil & Gas Litigation (Band 2)
- Construction (Band 2)
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