Austin firm McGinnis Lochridge raided crosstown rival Graves Dougherty Hearon & Moody, hiring 10 lawyers doing corporate, transactional, estate planning and tax work.
The group, which includes former firm president Ed McHorse and partners Cliff Ernst, Clark Lutz, Martin Lutz, Doug Jones and Russell Booth, joined on Feb. 1. The others are associates Alison Lenner, Shana McGirl and Martha Todd and of counsel Ali Gallagher.
McHorse said he decided to move to McGinnis Lochridge because the firm offers what he needs to expand his practice over the next 20 years, including an entrepreneurial culture and an office in Houston as well as one in Austin.
The lawyers in his group will also be able to expand their practices at their new firm, he said.
Doug Dodds, managing partner of McGinnis Lochridge, said the new hires bring “high-caliber expertise” to the firm.
“I think the world of them as people and as really good lawyers,” Dodds said, adding that the group gives the firm bench strength in such practices as corporate, business law, estate planning, and tax.
Dodds said he’s known McHorse since he was a young man working as a runner at McGinnis Lochridge in 1987.
Dodds and McHorse said failed merger negotiations last year between McGinnis Lochridge and Graves Dougherty were not the catalyst for the large lateral move. McHorse said the lateral deal was negotiated quickly, with talks between his group and McGinnis Lochridge starting in mid-January. “That’s part of the advantage of knowing Doug, knowing McGinnis, knowing the culture,” McHorse said.
He declined to identify clients they brought to the firm.
When asked if he expects to make more money at McGinnis Lochridge, McHorse said, “I don’t know what to expect, but sure hope so.”
With the new team on board, 90-year-old McGinnis Lochridge now has 56 lawyers.
Graves Dougherty shareholder James Hemphill said he wishes his former collegaues continued success. He also said his firm “continues its thriving practice and its commitment to providing the highest quality legal services to our clients.”
“Our 38 lawyers span a range of core practices, including litigation, appellate law, real estate, trusts and estates, regulatory and energy law,” he said. “We continue with our clear vision of practicing as a 21st century law firm.”
Graves Dougherty recently lost another lawyer to a different Austin firm. On Jan. 15, land use lawyer Michael Whellan and real estate transactions lawyer Travis Phillips left Graves Dougherty to join Austin’s Armbrust & Brown.