Biglaw, Musical Chairs, Partner Issues, Texas, Thompson & Knight

Sidley Opens in Houston, and DLA Piper Heads to Mexico (I’m Not Joking)

DLA Piper scouts locations for its Mexico City job fair.

Some major law firms might be closing offices, but others are in expansion mode. For example, Sidley Austin is opening a Houston office, with partners snagged from several other big players in town. And that’s not the only expansion taking place in the southwest.

Take DLA Piper. When we last checked in with them, the firm’s Baltimore office was operating under third world conditions. The toilets weren’t working.

This led me to joke about a fictitious DLA Guadalajara office.

Evidently, my imagination failed me. It’s not “clear parody” if it’s something that could possibly happen. Next time we joke about a DLA expansion, we need to go to straight fiction. We need to start making DLA Mustafar jokes. Because expanding to Mexico just got real….

The WSJ Law Blog reports that DLA Piper is expanding to Mexico City:

[DLA Piper is] the latest global firm to set up shop in Mexico City, with a new 14-lawyer office set to open on Wednesday to serve multinational clients doing business in Mexico. The branch will be staffed by a 16-lawyer team from the Texas law firm Thompson & Knight and will be part of DLA Piper LLP, the group’s U.S. arm.

The move is part of a broader expansion into Latin America, the firm’s U.S. co-chairman Terry O’Malley said Tuesday.

“We became involved with Brazil about 18 months ago. Mexico is the logical next step for us as the second-largest economy in Latin America,” O’Malley said. “From our point of view, we want to be where our clients are doing business, and they are doing business in Mexico.”

Viva Mantequilla!

Oh, we kid, DLA Piper. Firms expand all the time. Sidley Austin is opening in Houston, but nobody is making jokes about Sidley’s emerging smog alert practice. The Law Blog reports that DLA isn’t the first firm to make a run for the border:

DLA Piper certainly has company in the legal business, some of whom moved south of the border decades earlier. Baker & McKenzie arrived in Mexico in 1961, and White & Case got there in 1991. More recently, a number of other U.S. and international firms have moved into Mexico, drawn by the country’s steady — if by no means dazzling — economic growth and strong recovery after the recession.

Of course, it’s not all tequila and sugar cane south of the Rio Grande:

On the downside, there’s the issue of corruption and violence stemming from activity by drug cartels, particularly in the north and west of the country. But that hasn’t dissuaded several big hotel chains from moving in either, according to this WSJ story.

Corruption and violence and drug cartels? So opening an office in Mexico City really isn’t that different from opening an office in Baltimore?

Hopefully DLA will give its new Mexico-based employees running water.

DLA Piper to Mexico: Will You Be My Valentine? [WSJ Law Blog]
Sidley Austin law firm opens Houston energy office [Houston Business Journal]

Earlier: Is Baker & McKenzie Closing in San Diego?
Which DLA Piper Office Operated Under Third-World Conditions?

(hidden for your protection)

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