Thompson & Knight LLP - The Inside View

Thompson & Knight is a central player in the Texan legal market.

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Interview with managing partner Mark Sloan 



Chambers Associate: How would you describe the firm’s market position in three sentences or less? 

MS: Since 1887, Thompson & Knight has been at the forefront of groundbreaking litigation and transactions that have historically shaped the legal and business communities across Texas and the US. Today, Thompson & Knight maintains that influence and leadership as one of the oldest and largest firms in Texas, with more than 250 attorneys in our Texas and New York offices, and international offices and associations in the Americas, North Africa, and Europe. 

CA: The Texan market has become increasingly competitive over the last five years. What has the firm done to consolidate its reputation as a top firm in the state? 

MS: The legal marketplace in Texas has certainly become more competitive and we expect that to be the case for the foreseeable future as national and international firms continue to seek new markets and practice areas. We view that as a positive. Competition brings out the best in us and we are focused on providing excellent service to our clients every day. Our firm has a team-oriented culture that prizes innovation and responsiveness. Those are the hallmarks of our firm’s deep roots in Texas that will continue to serve us well in the future. 

CA: What challenges does the transition to renewable energies pose for a firm historically operating in the oil & gas sector? 

MS: We have counseled energy industry clients for more than 120 years through the oil boom to the shale revolution, so we are well positioned to assist companies seeking to participate in the transition to renewable energy, and we are already doing so. Our clients with oil, gas and/or renewable energy matters turn to us because we have broad experience in regulation, project development, finance, disputes, real estate, and domestic and international energy M&A. Few firms can offer that level of deep energy industry experience, so whether we’re representing a client with a dispute in a major shale play or helping a company navigate tax credits for a new wind or solar power project, it’s an exciting time to be an attorney at Thompson & Knight. 

CA: Are there other developments in the firm’s immediate future you think our readers should be aware about? 

MS: We will continue to invest in talent in our core areas, with both associate and lateral partner hires. We specifically target new hires in markets and practices that are most aligned with our priority clients. Rather than pursue growth for growth’s sake, we evaluate the areas where investment is necessary to meaningfully drive the growth of our client relationships, and seek to add lawyers accordingly. 

CA: The firm has a very targeted presence in Mexico. What is the thinking behind that? 

MS: We have represented clients in business transactions in Mexico for more than 25 years. Through our offices in Mexico City and Monterrey, we counsel US, European, Asian and Mexican clients currently doing business, or considering doing business in Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America. Several of our attorneys in Mexico have worked as government representatives and general counsels in the energy industry, as well as in publicly traded companies, which allows us to offer additional insights and perspectives to our clients in the complex and dynamic marketplaces of Mexico. We think the combination of all these factors has positioned us as one of the best international firms in Mexico. Even in uncertain times we have increased our reputation and size in that market, as it remains an area of strategic importance to us and our clients. 

CA: How has the firm weathered the pandemic? Has the pandemic affected the firm’s long-term strategy? 

MS: Shifting to a virtual working environment forced us to adopt new technology and find different ways of communicating and collaborating across all offices and practice groups. Using video and audioconferencing tools, we prioritized communicating more, which helped break down barriers/silos that unintentionally develop due to location under a normal working environment. This allowed our people to feel more connected and part of the conversation. We initiated regular Town Hall meetings, which I plan to continue leading to help keep the entire firm connected and informed. Certainly, we are much more comfortable with remote work and the required tools it takes to work from anywhere, so we are looking more closely at our flexible work arrangements, including whether that means working different hours, coming into the office and how often. This year, we also developed a working parents’ affinity group to support our colleagues who are experiencing the challenges of working virtually and taking care of their children simultaneously. This group meets weekly to address those challenges and we want to keep these connections and support efforts going well beyond 2020. 

CA: Which sectors/practice areas have been most affected? How has the firm responded to meet the demands of this? 

MS: The impact on the overall business climate was unprecedented, but TK attorneys pivoted quickly to address our clients’ opportunities and challenges, and using media such as video and webinars helped us continue to provide excellent service. The level of collaboration among our different practice areas was phenomenal, and I think our clients benefitted from that. Our practices ebbed and flowed in 2020, with many doing better than expected. Our bankruptcy practice, to no surprise, has been extremely busy. Our finance practice saw strong activity across all industries, structuring both healthy deals and distressed deals, using alternative credit structures and alternative lenders e.g. non-bank lenders. real estate has remained extremely busy across the full spectrum of buying, selling, developing, operating, leasing, capitalizing, syndicating, and financing real estate projects. Our energy, corporate and trial groups were slower due to the market and the courts being closed, but we are beginning to see promising movement with increased M&A activity. 

CA: Does the firm have any set targets with regards to diversity? What policies are in place/what new policies is the firm implementing to ensure that the firm meets these targets? 

MS: Throughout 2020, we supplemented our ongoing diversity programming with trainings focused on interrupting bias in the processes and policies that directly impact our ability to build a more diverse workforce and a more inclusive workplace. As a result, we have been reviewing our current processes and policies, identifying potential areas of concern, and implementing improvements. For example, we reconstituted our Diversity & Inclusion Committee and our Women’s Initiative Committee to include a number of subcommittees focusing on key areas, including recruiting, hiring, retention and advancement. The D&I subcommittee focusing on Summer Associate Recruiting has established specific target goals for student interviewing to ensure that a more diverse slate of summer associate candidates are interviewed, and ultimately hired. Meanwhile, the D&I subcommittee focusing on lateral hiring has begun collaborating with our affinity groups to ensure greater diversity in our pool of lateral candidates. We’ve also implemented new pipeline initiatives like our new 1L Diversity Fellowship Program for law students of diverse backgrounds. The initiative provides a paid clerkship, as well as a stipend to help defray educational expenses. We’re making great strides but know that we have more work to do. 

CA: In what ways will the change in political administration affect the firm? 

MS: I think we could see an uptick in regulatory work, as well as government investigations and perhaps tax, though it’s hard to predict how meaningful that will be at this juncture. Investment in renewable energy projects should pick up given the new administration’s focus in that area, and if COVID-related concerns subside a bit, we should continue to see an increase in M&A activity. 

Thompson & Knight LLP

701 Brickell Avenue,,
Suite 3300,,
Miami,
FL 33131
Website www.hklaw.com

  • Number of domestic offices: 24
  • Number of international offices: 3
  • Worldwide revenue: $1.044 billion
  • Partners (US): 760
  • Associates (US): 362
  • Contacts 
  • Main recruitment contact: Carrie Weintraub, Chief Professional Development & Human Resources Officer (carrie.weintraub@hklaw.com)
  • Hiring partner: Deborah E Barnard
  • Diversity officer: Tiffani G Lee
  • Recruitment details 
  • Entry-level associates starting in 2021: 60
  • Clerking policy: No
  • Summers joining/anticipated 2021: 1Ls: 9, 2Ls: 53
  • Summers joining/anticipated 2021 split by office: California: 5, Colorado: 1, District of Columbia: 4, Florida: 15, Georgia: 1, Illinois: 4, Massachusetts: 7, New York: 4, Pennsylvania: 2, Texas: 8, Virginia: 2
  • Summer salary 2021: 1Ls: $3,400/weekly salary 2Ls: $3,400/weekly salary
  • Split summers offered? Case by case
  • Can summers spend time in an overseas office? No

Main areas of work
Holland & Knight advises clients in a range of practice areas, including complex commercial litigation, corporate law, intellectual property, private wealth services, mergers and acquisitions, real estate and zoning law, and public policy and regulatory matters. Attorneys work collaboratively across practices and teams, drawing upon their legal and industry knowledge.

Firm profile
Holland & Knight is a global firm with more than 1400 lawyers and other professionals in 27 offices in the US and internationally. Interdisciplinary practice groups and industry-based teams provide clients with access to attorneys throughout the firm, regardless of location. Every day, clients call on Holland & Knight to understand their issues, advocate on their behalf and create solutions to accelerate their position.

Recruitment
Law Schools attending for OCIs in 2021:
American, Baylor, Berkeley, Boston College, Boston University, Brooklyn, Columbia, Duke, Emory, Florida State, Fordham, George Washington, Georgetown, Harvard, Howard, Loyola of Los Angeles, New York University, Notre Dame, Northwestern, SMU, Stanford, Temple, UC Hastings, UCLA, University of Chicago, University of Florida, University of Houston, University of Miami, University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania, University of Texas, University of Virginia, USC, Villanova, William & Mary and others.

Recruitment outside OCIs:
Our broad reach includes participation in regional and diversity focused job fairs, including, the Bay Area Diversity Career Fair, Boston Lawyers Group Boston Diversity Job Fair, Cornell Law School New York City Job Fair, Southeastern Minority Job Fair, University of Connecticut Boston Off-Campus Interview Program and the University of Pennsylvania Miami Regional Interview Program. We also actively seek to connect and partner with law schools across the country to continue to strengthen, support, and diversify our pipeline. Past partnerships include coffee chats with student organizations, professional development conferences, mock interview programs, practice area expos and other pathway to success programs. Holland & Knight has also exclusively hosted presentations on topics ranging from demystifying big law to panels geared towards diverse and veteran law students on gaining further insight into the legal profession.

Summer associate profile:
The summer program is an integral part of Holland & Knight’s hiring effort, as we hire the majority of our junior associates directly from our summer program. Holland & Knight seeks students of substance from diverse backgrounds with superior academics, leadership skills and involvement in extracurricular activities. We look for candidates who have the desire and ethical foundation to make significant contributions as lawyers to the firm, the profession and in the community. We have been very successful in hiring students who meet these criteria, and our firm as a whole reflects these values.

Summer program components:
Our summer program provides a real-world law firm experience, with opportunities to learn how to practice law by working with experienced lawyers on complex matters for sophisticated clients; attend client meetings, depositions, hearings, trials, closings and other external events; build relationships with our attorneys through work assignments, our mentoring program, practice group meetings and events throughout the summer; work with your peers in the office and throughout the firm; meet our top leaders and learn about the history and future of the firm; improve your substantive and practical legal skills through customized training programs; and connect with associate and partner mentors who help you navigate your summer associate experience and begin your career with us.

Social media:
Recruitment website: www.hklaw.com
Linkedin: holland-&-knight-llp
Twitter: @Holland_Knight
Facebook: HollandKnightLLP

This Firm's Rankings in
USA Guide, 2021

Ranked Departments

    • Antitrust (Band 3)
    • Banking & Finance (Band 3)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 3)
    • Energy: State Regulatory & Litigation (Electricity) (Band 1)
    • Environment (Band 3)
    • Healthcare (Band 3)
    • Intellectual Property (Band 3)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 4)
    • Tax (Band 2)
    • Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 2)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 3)
    • Energy: Oil & Gas (Transactional) (Band 3)
    • Oil & Gas Litigation (Band 2)