This year, Foley & Lardner LLP celebrates the 20th anniversary of the opening of the Austin office. Kim Yelkin, office managing partner, opened the Austin office in 2002 and has spent the past 20 years cultivating valuable relationships with colleagues, clients, and the Texas state government.
As Austin continues to grow and the intersection between business and state and federal government deepens, the Foley Austin office is well-positioned as the hub for the firm’s leading Government Solutions Practice, ensuring continued success for clients that conduct business within the state of Texas.
The Austin office has developed a team with a wealth of experience navigating the legislative process, all branches of government, state and local agencies, and their complex regulatory compliance standards. Beyond that, however, the clear differentiator for Foley Austin has been the collaborative culture that has been part of the office’s DNA since day one.
The Foley Austin Story
Soon after the formation of the Austin office in 2002 (formerly Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP before the 2018 combination), partners Ed Burbach and Nan Beaird joined the team to grow the office’s Government Solutions and State Attorneys General Practices. The office later added Rob Johnson, Tina Silcocks, and John Sepehri to further build the deep bench strength of the Attorneys General, Insurance, Legislative, Transactional and Regulatory Practices.
When Gardere and Foley combined forces on April 1, 2018, the already well-established and collaborative group of lawyers in the Austin office stuck together and continued to grow, with the additions of Craig Chick, public affairs director and Amy Beard, senior public affairs advisor. Most recently, Stephanie Pierce, formerly located in the Milwaukee office of Foley, moved to Austin, where she will continue to focus on national insurance transactional and regulatory matters.
Throughout the office’s 20-year history, these strategic additions have expanded the office’s Government Solutions Practice and strengthened Foley’s connections with the Texas state government.
While these are just a few of Foley Austin’s notable team members, the collaborative culture within the office is driven by the entire team. It would not be complete without the exceptional professional staff and their contributions to office culture and strategy throughout these past two decades.
An Exceptional Culture
“The collaborative culture of the Foley Austin office is the main reason why our professionals have remained with us through the years,” said Yelkin. “Our office lives the core values of Foley. As we celebrate Foley’s 20th anniversary in Austin, our office continues to grow in importance. Clients across all sectors, including all four of Foley’s strategic sectors — Energy, Health Care and Life Sciences, Innovative Technology, and Manufacturing — are aware of how federal, state, and local government impacts their business.”
“The culture at Foley is incredibly supportive,” added Beard. “There is never a life event that takes place without a caring acknowledgment and genuine interest from my Austin team members.”
Foley also gives back to the Austin community. Since Foley is a firmwide partner with the Boys and Girls Club of America (BGCA), the Foley Austin team collaborates with the BCGA Austin Chapter to fund scholarships, conduct athletic equipment drives, and coordinate and volunteer at several educational events.
Additionally, attorneys and staff volunteer their time with various organizations, including The Grand Court Order of Calanthe of Texas Inc., Center for Child Protection, Seedling Mentor Program, and Habitat for Humanity Texas.
The Growing Influence of Austin, Texas
“Foley offers unparalleled bench strength and a unique specialization into how the government intersects with key industries that drive the Texas and national economies,” said Burbach, who leads Foley’s Government Solutions Practice and co-chairs the State Attorneys General Practice.
In the post-pandemic era, the strengths of Foley’s Austin office are felt across the entire firm as its offices become increasingly interconnected. Multiple team members at Foley Austin work across offices, including Of Counsel David Cabrales, who practices in Austin and Dallas, and Partner Val Perkins, who works in Austin and Houston. Additionally, San Francisco Partner Brandee Diamond, who focuses her transactional practice on technology companies and startups, recently passed the Texas bar exam and is now also a member of the Austin office, serving as another cross-country resource for Foley clients.
In addition to promoting cross-office connectivity, the Austin office continues to focus on local growth. The near-term goals include recruiting transactional and emerging technology lawyers with sector knowledge that can further strengthen Foley Austin’s office.
“Texas will continue to be the hottest single-state legal market of any state in the country, and Austin will become more and more a part of that boom in Texas legal work,” said Cabrales. “The Foley Austin team is comprised of well-seasoned veterans at the top of their field. With the top-notch level of experience and the collaborative culture of Foley Austin, the team is well-positioned to continue generating exceptional outcomes for our clients.”
To see if the Foley Austin office is the right next career step for you, visit our hiring page.