Haynes & Boone has selected Taylor Wilson as its next managing partner, as the Dallas-founded law firm aims to execute a plan that would significantly increase its presence in New York, California, London, and other major legal markets.
Wilson is a 30-year Haynes & Boone veteran who has helped build its investment management practice. He will take over in January as the 50-year-old firm’s fourth managing partner, succeeding Tim Powers, who will step down after seven years as managing partner at the age of 65, per the firm’s age rules for leaders. Wilson was tapped for the job by a seven-partner committee.
Haynes & Boone has hired about 40 lawyers from other firms this year, despite a coronavirus-related economic downturn that’s disrupted recruiting and operations across the industry. The firm opened an office in San Francisco in March, spearheaded by two former McDermott Will & Emery life sciences partners.
That should help Haynes & Boone achieve some ambitious hiring goals, focusing on four core practice areas: energy, technology, financial services, and private equity.
The firm wants to expand its current roster of 50 lawyers in California and 85 attorneys in New York to 150 in each city in the next five years. It also aims to more than triple its current footprint to 75 lawyers in Washington and add another 15 attorneys to the 35 it currently employs in London.
Those goals, developed before the pandemic, were envisioned in a 2025 growth plan that nearly 30 of the firm’s partners contributed to developing.
Wilson said the firm remains committed to the plan despite the economic and societal turmoil brought on by the coronavirus. He said the firm is so far on pace to meet its budget this year, driven by its restructuring, capital markets, mergers, and investment management practices.
“Historically our firm has been able to grow relative to our peer firms during economic down cycles,” Wilson said. “And if you are asking the question how that is possible, it goes back to the financial stability and strength of the firm.”
‘Concern in Everybody’s Mind’
Haynes & Boone ranked in the top 100 law firms in 2019 with revenue of $404 million and profits per equity partner of just north of $1 million, according to data from AmLaw.
The firm recently confirmed it has not announced any pay cuts, furloughs, or layoffs of attorneys or staff due to the coronavirus crisis, unlike many fellow AmLaw 100 firms that have taken such measures.
Haynes & Boone appears to have been better prepared than some for the transition to remote work as a result of the pandemic. In 2018, the firm offered a remote work program to employees that would outfit them with the same technology at home that they have in their offices, Wilson said.
Still, Wilson said communicating with partners and employees will be a focus of his leadership during a time when employees are anxious about the future of the physical office and the national economy.
“There needs to be a good bit of respect given to that concern in everybody’s mind,” Wilson said. “I think we will find our way through this just like the nation will, and that confidence will be important for them to hear from any leader.”
Powers, meanwhile, plans to remain at Haynes & Boone for about a year after handing over the leadership title, which will bring to a close a 40-year career at the firm.