04 Jun 2015

Texas lawyer rates rocket - as many charge $1,000 per hour

Hundreds of Texas corporate clients have seen fees go up in 2015 - with three-year qualifieds often charging US$400 an hour and the senior lawyers regularly breaching the $1,000 mark.

Dallas, Texas. f11photo

A $1,000 rate per hour was 'almost unheard of' three years ago, according to the Dallas News. Now, however, 'dozens' of senior lawyers are asking for this rate. Tom Melsheimer, managing principal at Fish & Richardson in Dallas, charges $1,105 an hour and said: 'Putting a lawyer at $1,000 an hour or more is a way for a law firm to state that the lawyer is the best at what they do.' 

Proliferation of $900 rates

Mr Melsheimer added: 'Companies doing a $50 billion merger or involved in a $1 billion lawsuit are not going to quibble over whether the lawyer’s rate is $950 an hour or $1,100.' The state of Texas has now caught up with where leading lawyers in major cities - Washington DC, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles - were a few years back. The Texas Lawbook calculates that at least 70 lawyers in Dallas and Houston alone charge a rate of $1,000 or more an hour. Another 200 are asking for between $900 and $995. Texas law firms hit record turnover figures and profits last year. 

Elite firms

The majority of the $1,000+ group are based in the offices of the elite national or international firms - specifically Gibson Dunn, Sidley Austin, and Weil Gotshal in Dallas; and King & Spalding, Kirkland & Ellis, Latham & Watkins, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Skadden Arps in Houston. Source: Dallas News