Although we would probably prefer to do so, the last two winters are ones that residents of Austin, TX, will soon not forget. In February 2021, winter storm Uri paralyzed the area for days with a mix of freezing rain, snow, and frigid temperatures. The storm caused widespread power outages that impacted thousands of households and businesses while further – and sadly – resulting in hundreds of deaths.
Nearly a year later, another deadly storm brought icy conditions to the Austin metropolitan area, wreaking havoc along major transportation routes and triggering citywide disruptions to normal business operations. Have these recent winter storms cooled down Austin’s red-hot legal hiring market? As a legal professional interested in relocating to Austin, the answer to that all-important question may surprise you.
Have Winter Storms Hurt Austin Hiring?
Fortunately, nothing – not even Mother Nature – has been able to slow down Austin’s thriving economy during the past several years. While virtually ignoring the unprecedented frigid temps and powerful storms of the last two winters, Fortune 500 companies like Apple, Tesla, Amazon, Google, Oracle, and Facebook (Meta) have continued to expand their business operations in Austin.
That rapid expansion has led to thousands of new jobs, including those for lawyers and other legal professionals as companies scramble to fill newly created positions within their in-house legal departments.
Another draw for Austin that continues to attract both corporate partners and Big Law is geography. Because Texas has multiple business centers in different cities, many large firms find that they also need multiple offices to be effective— for example, one in Dallas or Houston and another in Austin.
A recent article posted at Bloomberg Law echoed this growing trend by pointing out that many Am Law 200 firms from around the US have already launched — or are planning to launch — satellite offices in Austin. Some of the prestigious firms named in the Bloomberg Law article included Kirkland & Ellis, Quin Emanuel, Urquhart & Sullivan, and O’Melveny & Myers.
From seasoned litigators to staff attorneys and associates, those firms will be aggressively seeking candidates over the next few years to fill open positions as their offices get up and running. In the interim, some firms have been forced to transfer current employees to Austin so they can manage the caseloads of existing clients throughout the Lone Star State.
Disruptions in Business haven’t Translated into Hiring Disruption
Recent employment statistics compiled by the Austin Chamber of Commerce indicate that the metro area has added more than 58,000 jobs over the past two years, ranking it number one overall of the top 50 metros in the US. Austin’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in January of this year was a paltry 3.2%, as compared to the national rate of 4.0%.
Irrespective of the weather, Austin’s metropolitan area has seen a large influx of new residents over the past two years. The city’s burgeoning population growth has further fueled the demand for lawyers with expertise in various practice specialties who desire to work within the private and public sectors.
With emerging robust growth across almost all business sectors, the temporary business disruptions caused by winter storms have had little or no impact on hiring in the Austin metro area— notably in the legal market.
If Storms Continue, What Could Happen Next?
Even with a crystal ball, no one can predict with absolute certainty what the future holds in the Austin legal market. Presently, hiring managers at prestigious law firms and companies throughout the metro area are hard-pressed to develop creative strategies to recruit and place candidates into open legal positions.
Once placed, Austin’s competitive legal market has made it harder than ever before to retain employees as workplace considerations like company culture, diversity, inclusion, and a healthy work-life balance take precedence over minor issues such as climate and weather.
As Austin’s flourishing legal market continues to experience exceptional growth, legal headhunters will remain a viable part of the candidate placement process by connecting prestigious employers with qualified applicants.
We Help Legal Clients in Texas “Weather the Storm”
When it’s time to change jobs as a legal professional, a reputable legal recruiter can be invaluable throughout the entire job search process during both good markets and bad. At Momentum Search Partners, our team of six legal recruiters has 100+ years of legal recruiting experience in Texas and nationwide.
With offices strategically located in Austin, Dallas, and Houston, our fingers are constantly on the pulse of the Texas legal market. For more information about our recruiting services, contact us today!