In the 19th century, Americans immigrated to Texas to escape debt incurred during the Panic of 1819, leaving “Gone To Texas” or “GTT” on their doors. In the 21st century, lawyers are immigrating to Texas for much different reasons. Or are they?

Why move to Texas? In honor of Texas Independence Day, held every March 2, Lateral Link Director Sara Gail, a third-generation Texan, explains why you should consider the Texas legal market….

Legal Markets As Big As Texas -– Dallas and Houston are the two largest legal markets in the state of Texas — and two of the largest in the country. Dallas/Ft. Worth is home to more than 10,000 corporate headquarters (more than 20 of these are Fortune 500 companies), the largest concentration in the United States. Houston, a global energy capital, has the second-highest number of Fortune 500 companies after New York City.

All this industry has helped drive the Texas lateral hiring market, which has seen a surge of openings — and hiring — in the last year. Seeing what Big Tex firms like Vinson & Elkins, Baker Botts, and Fulbright & Jaworski have known for decades, national firms have realized that Texas businesses spend big money on big law. Firms like Simpson Thacher, Latham & Watkins, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, Sidley Austin and McGuireWoods are sizing up their boots and saddling up their finest, having recently opened or expanded their Texas presence.

In addition to the premier energy practice in the country, Texas provides a breadth of opportunity for lawyers of all specialties — corporate, capital markets, finance, patent prosecution, and patent litigation remain as sizzling hot as a Texas summer.

Show Me the Money -– Want to buy a house as big as Southfork? Or the Mary Kay mansion? Texas lawyers are doing better than most these days. According to the National Association for Law Placement, law firm associates in Dallas and Houston have more buying power than associates in any other city across the country – and double the buying power of their New York counterparts.

Based on the NALP survey, the median salary in Dallas, $150,000, is the equivalent to making more than $353,000 in New York City. And in Houston, where the median starting salary is $135,000, an associate has the same buying power as a New York associate making over $317,000. Need an even better reason? Unlike other non-New York markets, most national big law firms pay their Texas associates on the same national scale as they do in more expensive markets.

And to sweeten the pot, Lateral Link offers a $10,000 placement bonus on most placements made in Texas. Move on over y’all and we’ll show you the money!

Don’t Touch My Money -– The Great State of Texas has no individual income tax. In fact, the Texas Constitution makes in nearly impossible to both pass an individual income tax or to spend its proceeds. More money in your pocket? Yes, please!

The Stars and Night are Big and Bright…And the Days are Warm and Sunny -– Ready to get out of the cold? Average high temperatures in Dallas and Houston hover around 60 degrees December thru February, and it is almost always spring in Texas. While we get to see snow once or twice a year, leave your snow shovel behind. Prepare yourself for lots of blue skies and sun. Of course, we have warm summers, but we also have the best air conditioning -– and swimming pools! -– to make up for the heat.

This week’s Career Center post was brought to you by Lateral Link.