Lateral Moves Plunge In Texas In 2009

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According to Texas Lawyer’s annual Lateral Moves Survey, large firms in Texas hired 43% fewer attorneys via lateral hiring in 2009 than in 2008.That’s runs counter to the trend among the firms Am Law considers, which reported an 11% increase in lateral moves last year.

The data comes from the responses of 21 of the 26 largest Texas firms. Bearing the brunt of the decline were associates, and, given the significant patent litigation work in the Lone Star State, intellectual property practices were especially affected.

Texas Lawyer: Firms were interested in taking on IP lateral partners but reluctant to add IP associates to their rosters, [former Managing Principal of Fish & Richardson Alan Albright] says.

But last year, IP litigation slowed as companies cut back on filing costly patent suits and a tightened capital market meant there was less available cash for startup companies with new patent portfolios to enforce, Albright says.

In addition to IP, bankruptcy, mergers-and-acquisitions, and real estate practices were decimated by the recession.

But, Texas associates, all is not lost. As one firm’s managing partner told Texas Lawyer, he is “optimistic” for 2010.

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