Business

How to Break Into the Dallas Law Market

Tom Melsheimer, managing principal at Fish & Richardson, on how he established his firm.

“When we opened our office in 2000, nobody knew Fish & Richardson. It’s a historic [Boston] firm—the Wright Brothers and Alexander Graham Bell were early clients—but it had never had an office in Texas, so the challenge was to educate people about who we were, convince them we were here to stay, and then to attract the talent we wanted. I knew then what I know now: If you’re a law firm that’s new to Dallas and don’t hit the ground running, you may never catch up. It helped that Steve Stodghill, one of my founding partners, and I are both Dallas natives—he went to Skyline High School, I went to Jesuit—so we already had strong connections to the community. We had a lot of one-on-one conversations with people and we tried to do as good of a job as we could possibly do, because we knew that would speak volumes about the quality of the firm. Six months after opening, we had more applications than we had spots, and we were blowing and going in a way that I knew we were going to be successful.”

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