Wednesday, October 27, 2021
Houston Chronicle, The Latest Shortage in Texas: Lawyers:
The market for corporate lawyers in Texas has never been this hot or intense - not back in the technology boom of the late 1990s or even during the shale explosion of the past decade.
Texas businesses have so much legal work for lawyers that law firms are stretched thin and fear their attorneys are being overworked and in danger of burnout.
Leaders at more than two-dozen corporate law firms interviewed say they need to hire more attorneys — in some cases, a couple dozen — to handle the mergers, acquisitions, capital markets, real estate deals and complex commercial disputes facing their clients, but that they face a major roadblock.
There just aren’t enough lawyers in Texas. Not enough qualified and experienced business attorneys, anyway. ...
That has created a seller’s market for corporate lawyers. Nearly all Texas law firms have increased associate salaries to the point that first-year lawyers straight out of law school and who have no idea even where the courthouse is now make a base salary of $205,000.
To hold onto experienced lawyers, some firms are offering mid-year bonuses of up to $75,000 to associates, on top on end of the year bonuses that can reach $125,000. In 2021, associates at the larger corporate law firms who have eight years of experience — year before they are usually come up for — will be taking home about $500,000 this year.
But the war for talent doesn’t end there. Some richer law firms have offered six-digit signing bonuses — some as high as $500,000 — to poach the most experienced associates.