Tesla’s move is already boosting the legal market in electric Austin

A Tesla plant is under construction in Austin, Texas, US, September 29, 2021. REUTERS/Joe White

  • At least 7 law firms have opened offices in Austin this year
  • Other major companies have moved to Austin

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(Reuters) – Lawyers in Austin are confused by Tesla resolution to move its headquarters there from Palo Alto, California, saying it strengthens the Texas capital’s position as a major legal market.

Austin and other Texas cities have become a magnet for technology and other companies looking to expand beyond their traditional homes in California and the Northwest. Oracle in December She said They have been moving their headquarters to Austin from Silicon Valley, and more than 100 companies have moved or expanded their headquarters in the Austin area so far this year, according to the Austin Chamber of Commerce.

Law firms followed. No fewer than seven companies, including Berry Appleman & Leiden, Gunderson Detmir Stav Villeneuve Franklin and HashegianAnd Kirkland and EllisLatham and Watkins, O’Melveny & MyersAnd Quinn Emmanuel Urquhart and Sullivan And Raymond They all opened new offices in Austin this year.

“The concept is being proven time and time again,” said Asher Griffin, co-managing partner of Queen Emmanuel’s Austin office. “Tesla is a huge name, and it’s another plus on the column,” he added.

Peyton Smith, managing partner of McGuireWoods, said the arrival of companies like Oracle and Tesla — as well as the attraction of legacy institutions including the University of Texas at Austin — will prompt law firms to invest more in their Austin offices. Austin office.

Smith noted that even before CEO Elon Musk’s announcement on Thursday, Tesla was already building a massive car and battery manufacturing complex there.

However, Austin-based attorneys and their firms should not necessarily expect windfalls, according to law firm leaders who spoke with Reuters. They noted that the larger firms moving to Austin already had previous relationships with other law firms. (Among the company’s outsiders, last year Tesla turned to Quinn Emanuel to challenge COVID-19 restrictions in the California county where its Fremont plant is located. She said He moved to Texas last year.)

“I think these relationships will eventually tend to be what drives the outsourcing of legal work to companies, more than the length of time the company has had an office in Austin,” Bert Greene, managing partner of Duane Morris’ Austin office, said in an email. .

While many companies with nationally known technology transaction practices have long had offices in Austin, such as Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, others such as Cooley haven’t flagged there yet.

Smith said he sees opportunities in marketing his long-standing relationships in Austin, including in both state and local government. With incentive packages in place that sometimes help attract newcomers to the city, attorneys can “help navigate that path,” Smith said.

And even if pre-existing relationships often trump geography, Green said there is “no doubt that being on the ground” will allow companies to better serve their clients who have set up significant operations in Austin. “

Read more:

Tesla moves its headquarters to Texas from California

O’Melveny takes team from Thompson & Knight to launch Austin’s office

Raymond charts global growth with new offices in Austin and Montreal, and cannabis rentals

Silicon Valley’s Gunderson Dettmer follows startup money as Austin relaunch

Kirkland continues Texas expansion with new Austin front line

Quinn Emmanuel looks forward to a growing patent schedule with a new office in Austin

Oracle moves its headquarters to Texas from Silicon Valley

David Thomas

David Thomas reports on the law firm’s business, including law firm strategy, recruitment, mergers, and litigation. He resides in Chicago. He can be contacted at d.thomas@thomsonreuters.com and on Twitter @DaveThomas5150.


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