(L to R) Andrew Tatgenhorst and Colby Nichols

Amarillo-based Underwood Law Firm has opened an office in Austin with two new hires who specialize in education law.

Colby Nichols and Andrew Tatgenhorst previously practiced at Austin’s Powell & Leon before opening Underwood’s sixth office Oct. 30.

Nichols said he is excited to join a firm that has been around for more than 100 years and looks forward to the opportunity to build an office.

“Underwood was a much bigger law firm and offered much more support for my practice in education law and offered a better opportunity to break into markets,” Tatgenhorst said.

David Backus, an Underwood shareholder in Lubbock who practices education law, said the firm has been looking for several years for the right opportunity to expand into Austin. The 50–lawyer Underwood firm has nine lawyers who specialize in education law in addition to the new hires, and the firm represents about 150 school districts and education service centers throughout the state, Backus said.

Nichols and Tatgenhorst will add to the firm’s strength in education law, he said.

In particular, Colby has a lot of experience in governmental relations, and Andrew’s practice is in a pretty specialized education area of special-ed law, Backus said.

Nichols said their clients include Fast Growth School Coalition.

Asked  to comment on the departures of the two lawyers from Powell & Leon, firm managing partner Blake Powell said: “I’m very  happy for them and I wish them well.”

Underwood’s offices are in Amarillo, Fort Worth, Austin, Lubbock, Pampa, and Plano.