A Tesla factory is seen under construction in Austin, Texas, U.S. September 29, 2021.  REUTERS/Joe White

Tesla move boosts already-electric Austin legal market

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(Reuters) – Legal professionals in Austin are feeling charged up by Tesla Inc’s resolution to move its headquarters there from Palo Alto, California, saying it additional cements the Texas state capital’s place as a key legal market.

Austin and different Texas cities have turn into magnets for expertise and different corporations seeking to develop exterior their conventional houses in California and the Northwest. Oracle in December stated it was transferring its company headquarters to Austin from Silicon Valley, and greater than 100 corporations have both relocated or expanded their headquarters within the Austin space to this point this yr, in line with the Austin Chamber of Commerce.

Legislation companies have adopted. A minimum of seven companies, together with Berry Appleman & Leiden, Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian, Kirkland & Ellis, Latham & Watkins, O’Melveny & Myers, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan and Rimon have all opened new workplaces in Austin this yr.

“The proof of concept is being proved over and over,” stated Asher Griffin, co-managing companion of Quinn Emanuel’s Austin workplace. He added: “Tesla is a huge name, and it’s another plus sign on the column.”

The arrival of corporations corresponding to Oracle and Tesla — in addition to the draw of longstanding establishments together with the College of Texas at Austin — will push legislation companies to take a position much more closely of their Austin workplaces, stated Peyton Smith, managing companion of McGuireWoods’ Austin workplace.

Smith famous that, even earlier than firm CEO Elon Musk’s Thursday announcement, Tesla was already constructing an enormous automotive and battery manufacturing complicated there.

Nonetheless, Austin-based attorneys and their companies should not essentially anticipate a windfall, in line with legislation agency leaders who spoke with Reuters. They famous massive corporations which might be transferring to Austin have already got pre-existing relationships with different legislation companies. (Among the many firm’s exterior companies, Tesla final yr turned to Quinn Emanuel to contest COVID-19 restrictions within the California county the place its Fremont manufacturing facility is positioned. Musk stated he moved to Texas final yr.)

“I think those relationships will ultimately tend to be what drives the assignment of legal work to firms, more so than how long a firm has had an Austin office,” Bert Greene, managing companion of Duane Morris’ Austin workplace, stated in an e-mail.

Whereas a number of companies with nationally identified expertise transactions practices have lengthy had Austin workplaces, like Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, others corresponding to Cooley have but to plant a flag there.

Smith stated he sees alternatives in advertising his longstanding ties in Austin, together with in each state and native authorities. With incentive packages typically serving to lure in new arrivals to town, attorneys “can help navigate that pathway,” Smith stated.

And even when pre-existing relationships typically trump geography, Inexperienced stated there’s “no question” that being on floor “will allow firms to better serve their clients that have established significant operations in Austin.”

Learn Extra:

Tesla transferring headquarters to Texas from California

O’Melveny takes workforce from Thompson & Knight to launch Austin workplace

Rimon charts international development with new Austin and Montreal workplaces, hashish rent

Silicon Valley’s Gunderson Dettmer follows startup money with Austin re-launch

Kirkland continues Texas growth with new Austin outpost

Quinn Emanuel eyes rising patent docket with new Austin workplace

Oracle strikes headquarters to Texas from Silicon Valley

David Thomas

David Thomas reviews on the enterprise of legislation, together with legislation agency technique, hiring, mergers and litigation. He’s based mostly out of Chicago. He will be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @DaveThomas5150.