Relocating your talents as an attorney is an exciting time as you explore endless possibilities based on your personal goals and experience. With all the practice destinations out there, making the best relocation decision isn’t always easy when your career weighs in the balance. As one of the hottest legal climates in the entire country, Austin, Texas, should be included on any prospecting lawyer’s watch list. Here’s why you should consider the Austin legal market when making a career change in 2022 and beyond.
The Texas Legal Industry is Booming
The first question to ask as an aspiring attorney or law firm partner is why choose Texas at all? For starters, the state’s robust, diverse economy is fueled by the 95 Fortune 1000 companies headquartered here, along with a recent influx of corporate relocations.
As a business-friendly setting with no state income tax, relatively low corporate taxes, and few government regulations, the “Lone Star State” continues to attract Big Law and corporations alike who are seeking “greener pastures” to better serve their customers and clients.
Before exploring Austin in more detail, here’s a brief overview of the other key legal markets in Texas:
Dallas Legal Market
As home to over 20 corporate headquarters and countless Big Law firms, the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex boasts one of the largest corporate concentrations in the US. The thriving legal market in Dallas is driven by economic sectors that include banking, financial services, real estate, and mergers and acquisitions (M&A).
Houston Legal Market
Big Energy still reigns supreme in this Texas port city while fueling a significant portion of the Houston legal job market. In addition to oil, gas, and alternative fuels, Big Law in Houston has seen an influx of new legal sector jobs over the past few years thanks to industries such as healthcare, shipping, biomedical research, aerospace, and defense,
San Antonio Legal Market
As yet another example of the hottest legal markets in Texas, San Antonio’s tight-knit legal community is primarily influenced by the many prestigious regional firms that maintain offices there. Within a few years, San Antonio and Austin are projected to overlap as both cities continue to experience unprecedented growth and expansion – leading to countless job opportunities for legal professional who wish to relocate here.
Current State of the Austin Legal Market
Nicknamed “Silicon Hills,” countless tech employers have relocated to this Texas city while fleeing the high taxes and stifling government regulations found in other states – notably California. In addition to technology, Austin’s top industries include life sciences, advanced manufacturing, media production, and clean energy.
Many Big Law firms have also recently opened offices in Austin to better serve regional clients, further exacerbating the demand for lawyers in a city already facing a noticeable shortage. As a result, attorneys interested in moving to Austin often find that employers there are offering competitive compensation packages and relocation incentives that might not otherwise be available in comparable US legal markets.
Along with a plethora of job opportunities and low taxes, other factors that attract relocating attorneys to Austin include its cultural diversity, unique eateries, live music venues, beautiful weather, relatively low cost of living, and abundance of outdoor recreational activities.
Where the Market Is Heading
As Austin’s population continues to grow and employers put down roots here, the legal landscape will be forced to change in lockstep. Industries such as engineering, healthcare, entertainment, government (Austin is the capital of Texas), education, and business will continue to drive new job opportunities for relocating attorneys who specialize in a wide range of practice areas.
At present, lawyers with expertise in specialty niches such as Insurance Law, Employment Law, Immigration Law, Business Law, Corporate Law, Patent Law, Cybersecurity Law, and Mergers and Acquisition (M&A) Law are in high demand throughout the Austin legal community.
Out-of-state Big Law firms and Fortune 500 corporations will continue to set up offices in Austin while taking advantage of below-average operating costs and billing rates. Given everything the city has to offer, the outlook for Austin’s legal market should remain bright for many years to come.
Low Barrier of Entry for Current Lawyers
Texas also makes it easy for attorneys already licensed in another state to relocate their services here. Those seeking admission to the State Bar of Texas without examination may do so if they meet these requirements:
- Hold a J.D. from an ABA-accredited US law school or satisfy each element of a Rule 13 exemption from the law study requirement
- Are already licensed to practice law in a different US jurisdiction
- Have been actively engaged in the practice of law for at least 5 of the past 7 years immediately preceding your application
- Be certified by the state’s Board of Examiners as having good moral character and fitness
- Score 85 or higher on the MPRE
- Satisfy the requirements of Rule 2(a)(5)
- Be willing to take the required Oath
Once admitted to the Texas Bar, Austin-based attorneys can take advantage of the numerous career enrichment and networking opportunities available through a myriad of state and local professional organizations.
Great Weather and Local Scene
As was pointed out earlier, Austin is a great place for lawyers – and their families – to live, work, and play. The city consistently attracts new residents because of its diverse neighborhoods ranging from the bustling downtown area to the beautiful countryside of West Austin.
Austin’s diverse population and affordable housing options have helped earn it a reputation for being one of the best places to not only raise a family, but also for Millennials, GenXers, GenZers, or retirees to live. For those that like to stay in shape, the area’s vibrant health and fitness culture features numerous parks, gyms, lakes, and fitness trails.
Known as the “Live Music Capital of the World,” Austin’s streets and entertainment establishments deliver a constant stream of live music that includes country, blues, jazz, rock, hip hop and more. If that weren’t enough, the city’s exceptional food and eatery atmosphere is filled with countless cuisine options that keep the palates of residents happy all year long.
And finally, the weather in Austin stays unusually beautiful for three seasons out of the year. As opposed to many other of the country’s regions, daily wintertime temperatures typically average in the 60s and 70s. As the only season when spending time outdoors can be uncomfortable, summer daytime temperatures are known to reach triple digits.
But even then, Austin residents can still enjoy ice cream, along with swimming, boating, kayaking, and other water activities, until the more pleasant fall temperatures roll around once more.
Your Experienced Attorney Relocation Team in Austin, TX
When it’s time to change jobs as a legal professional or relocate your services to a lawyer-friendly city like Austin, a reputable legal recruiter can be invaluable throughout the entire job search process. 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!