By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys for Law.com
New office openings concentrated in Austin last year, but so far this year, Dallas is the dominant location of choice for out-of-state firms cracking the Texas market.
Since the beginning of the year, five firms based outside Texas have announced new offices in Dallas, a development that indicates interest not only in Texas, but specifically in the business environment in North Texas.
The firms include California health care fraud trial firm Knox Ricksen, Am Law 200 firm Snell & Wilmer, California’s Michelman & Robinson, Atlanta-based Freeman Mathis & Gary, and Am Law 100 firm Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough.
The rapid pace of new office openings at the beginning of 2022 follows a year when out-of-state firms flocked to Austin, with at least eight firms launching in the Austin market, including Latham & Watkins, Rimon P.C.; Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian; Kirkland & Ellis; Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan; Balch & Bingham; O’Melveny & Myers; and Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth.
Kent Zimmermann, a consultant at Zeughauser Group, said firms are interested in Dallas because corporate headquarters are relocating to Dallas and surrounding areas, such as Toyota North America, and there are numerous private equity funds and private investors in North Texas.
“The future is really bright there and it’s getting brighter,” he said.
Firms move into new markets because they are in a growth mode to stay competitive and need to grow somewhere, he said.
“They look at places where the money is going. Dallas is one of them,” he said.
Leaders of the firms that have moved into the Dallas market provided a variety of reasons for opening the offices, including expansion into cities with growing business communities, client needs, and expansion into a new region of the U.S.
Texas has long been a favored region, and about half of the Am Law 200 have offices in the Lone Star state.
Marcie Borgal Shunk, founder and president of The Tilt Institute, said Texas, and not just Dallas, is a friendly place for business.
“It’s that way across Texas. It’s really the influential people and money and companies moving into Texas. That’s going to create opportunities and create work,” she said.