Terry Conner and Jason Villalba in Law360: Capitol Ties Pay Dividends for Texas BigLaw Firms


Finding balance in a life in BigLaw can be hard enough, but for a small group of Texas attorneys who are also legislators, life gets even more hectic for six months every other year as they head for the Capitol, leaving their footprint on new laws and taking home connections and a broader understanding of business.

The ingredients have to be just right: a firm willing to make the investment in the time they’ll lose when their partners decamp for the Legislature every other year, a workload and clients that the attorney can stay on top of even in the midst of intense legislative debates and a means to avoid ethical conflicts that can arise...

“Putting aside the public service and reputation building, they are great resources for the firm and clients in terms of what is happening in Austin,” said Haynes and Boone, LLP managing partner Terry Conner of the firm’s two partners who serve as representatives in the Texas House. “Frankly, they listen. They’re folks we can talk to about our views on things that need to be addressed or dealt with. Having ready communication with good legislators is an added resource for the firm...”

“It is unusual for a person that works in BigLaw to be able to take a sabbatical every other year for six months,” said Rep. Jason Villalba, R-Dallas, a mergers and acquisitions partner at Haynes and Boone who works primarily with tech companies, and is in his first term. “Knowing that, it was a difficult step to make. I’m a practicing lawyer at a large and prestigious law firm. You’re expected to work a lot; you’re expected to be productive.”

Excerpted from Law360, August 5, 2013. To view full article, click here (subscription required).

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