Perkins Coie inks new Austin lease as more firms flock to Texas

The office of the law firm Perkins Coie in Washington, D.C., May 10, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
  • The Seattle-based firm now has 16 lawyers in Austin.
  • The office opened last year, part of an influx of out-of-state firms.

(Reuters) - Perkins Coie on Monday said it has signed a lease for new office space in Austin, solidifying its presence there as law firms rush to establish outposts in the booming Texas tech hub.

The Seattle-based firm entered the Austin market in February 2020 with three lawyers. Now, the office has grown to 16 lawyers, the firm said, and it's signed a multi-year lease for over 18,000 square feet in a new building in downtown Austin.

The 1,200 lawyer firm said it will take up the 17th floor of a building at 405 Colorado St. starting in early 2022.

The new office space will be "focused mostly on collaboration and meeting space" for attorneys and clients, according to Jose Villarreal, Perkins Coie's Austin managing partner. It will adopt a hybrid work model where lawyers come in as necessary while allowing for flexibility, he said.

There will be individual offices, all the same size, to be used as dedicated or shared workspaces. The location will be able to accommodate between 30 and 40 lawyers, Villarreal said, a target the firm would like to reach by the end of next year.

It will be competing for talent in an increasingly crowded market. Los Angeles-founded O'Melveny & Myers earlier this month set up shop in Austin with a team of four attorneys from Thompson & Knight. Kirkland & Ellis, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan and Rimon also each opened Austin outposts in recent months.

Perkins Coie also has an office in Dallas that it opened in 2010.

Villarreal, a patent litigation and trial attorney, joined Perkins Coie from Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati as part of its Austin launch last year, giving the firm its 20th office. The two other partners that spearheaded the new office opening came from Vinson & Elkins.

Seven of the 16 lawyers in Perkins Coie's Austin office are partners, according to the firm's website. There are also nine professional staff there. Most hires in the office have joined from other firms, in addition to several transfers from other Perkins Coie offices, Villarreal said.

Austin has "really become a national technology hub," he said. The firm is serving local and national clients, he added, citing emerging company venture capital work and patent litigation.

Read more:

More lawyers, less office: Perkins Coie combines Chicago growth with smaller footprint

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

Kirkland continues Texas expansion with new Austin outpost

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Sara Merken reports on privacy and data security, as well as the business of law, including legal innovation and key players in the legal services industry. Reach her at sara.merken@thomsonreuters.com