Texas remains a hot bed of law firm activity with the opening of a new office, mergers and the possibility of more foreign lawyers sitting for the state’s bar exam.
Reed Smith became the latest law firm to expand into Texas with the announcement of a new office in Houston. While no opening date has been set, it will be the 25th location of the Pittsburgh-based firm. Reed Smith joins the ranks of a number of law firms—including Sidley Austin and Paul Hastings—who “opened Houston offices and hired several partners from Texas-based law firms to bulk up their energy practices” last year.
The region’s energy work is a big draw. Houston-based Beirne, Maynard & Parsons LLP recently announced it will merge with Lemle & Kelleher LLP, a Louisiana law firm, in part to bolster its litigation practice in energy. The addition of Lemle & Kelleher’s 19 lawyers increases Beirne to a total of 80 lawyers in six offices, increasing its foothold in the Gulf Coast area.
Why Texas? As a WSJ Law Blog post states:
An international legal hub Texas is not. But it has certain traits to recommend it. More Fortune 500 companies are based in Texas than in any other state. It has the second-largest economy. It borders another country.
And with the possible lowering of the state’s bar requirements for foreign lawyers, law firm expansions into Texas will most likely continue at an increased pace.