We caught up with Yvette Ostolaza, managing partner of the Dallas office and global coordinator of the firm’s Complex Commercial Litigation practice, and Penny Reid, a partner in the Complex Commercial Litigation group, to discuss what drew them to Sidley.
You and several other partners from another firm recently joined Sidley in its Dallas office. What led you all to make the leap?
Y.O.: Sidley's arc of growth in Texas, as well as globally, solidified our decision to make the move, but there were other factors that made us pick Sidley. In particular, we were very excited by the cross-selling—all the opportunities to provide additional services to our existing clients. Also, the ability to reach across the expanse of areas in which Sidley advises clients worldwide. This included the opportunities that exist between offices and also interdisciplinary ones within the many practice groups.
We also liked that the office already had a successful patent and trademark practice with first-tier lawyers. We were methodical in comparing firms and were impressed to learn that for the fourth consecutive year, Sidley has received the most first-tier national rankings of any U.S. law firm in the 2014 U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” survey. Add to this that in the 2013 edition of Chambers USA, 199 Sidley lawyers were recognized as leading lawyers. There are also the American Lawyer awards, etc. The list goes on.
The investment in Asia and the client list was also important to us, since that is a growth market that many firms were too late to invest in early on and now can't catch up.
However, at the end of the day, we were impressed by the people we met. They seemed to share the same partnership values that we did.
The firm historically has prided itself on collegiality that actually spans continents.
Y.O.: And we have witnessed this first-hand. It is a very sharing atmosphere here and it is the type of collegiality on which we thrive. It’s essentially how we grew up in our career paths and it is nice to be at a firm that values that culture. We have been heartily welcomed in every way. It is one of the key reasons we joined Sidley.
What is particularly innovative about the Dallas team that makes us truly competitive?
P.R.: One thing that I think people may not realize is that all of our litigators are licensed to practice in New York and have global practices in a number of areas. This is a huge distinction for us in the Dallas market from other firms. Before joining Sidley, we were focused on finding a platform to market that particular distinction.
Y.O.: I think we are all proud of how we have been able to effect change by enhancing Sidley’s legal services in Dallas. We now have on-the-ground capability in the city to offer clients high-level counsel in intellectual property litigation, complex commercial litigation, global finance, energy, private equity and other corporate matters.
From a business perspective, what is significant about the landscape in Texas?
P.R.: Texas is a great market in which to expand in the areas of capital markets and energy. An impressive total of 32 energy companies based in Texas made Fortune magazine's 2013 list of the top 500 U.S. companies. It’s pretty amazing to note that 18 of those companies are based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, which really shows how Dallas has become a national business center. And there are 26 Fortune 500 companies in Houston. So it is really an exciting time to practice law in Texas. With our Houston colleagues, we can penetrate this market in many ways.