A Texas law firm bought $3 million-dollar plane to fly staff in Bay Area since it’s too expensive to
It’s no secret that Bay Area rent and home prices are so high they are unaffordable for most people.
Typically, people who need to commute to the city will move to areas as close as they possibly can although prices are still high there.
But one Houston-based law firm opted for an unusual alternative in the form of a private jet.
Patterson and Sheridan, an intellectual-property law firm in Houston, purchased a nine-seat plane to shuttle its patent lawyers to its Bay Area clients once a month, as reported in a recent article in Business Insider.
Even though the jet cost $3 million, the Houston Chronicle's L.M. Sixel reports, it was cheaper than hiring local attorneys, and even more economical than relocating the Texas lawyers with business in Silicon Valley there.
"The young people that we want to hire out there have high expectations that are hard to meet," Bruce Patterson, a partner at the firm, told The New York Times. "Rent is so high they can't even afford a car."
According to Zillow, the median rent in San Francisco is $4,450, while the median home price is just under $1.2 million. Rent in San Jose, which is a suburb popular among Silicon Valley workers, is still more than double the median rent in Houston.
Each flight for the firm costs about $1,900 a passenger — adding up to $2,500 an hour in operating costs — but since the lawyers are working in-flight, the three-to-four-hour ride is billable, the Chronicle noted Todd Patterson, a managing partner, as saying.
Plus, private flights protect any confidential work and save the firm's lawyers about 36 collective hours they would spend arriving early, waiting in
security, and checking bags on a commercial flight.
The firm says it's "still able to offer companies and inventors lower costs because most of the patent work is done in Houston, where commercial real estate is 43% cheaper, salaries 52% lower, and competition for technical talent far less fierce," according to Sixel, who reported the story from the jet last summer.
"We fly it full," Patterson said. "It's not a luxury item."
It's also "a selling point to recruit young lawyers" who want to work with top tech companies but can't afford living in Silicon Valley, Sixel reported.
The firm's regular visits to California have also attracted new clients including Intuit, Western Digital, and Cavendish Kinetics.
A report from the University of Southern California and the Los Angeles Business Council which was published earlier this year found that high housing costs in Los Angeles were hindering employers from attracting "high performers" or top talent to their companies.
An estimated 60% of the employers surveyed said Los Angeles' high cost of living affects employee retention, with 75% attributing housing costs as the main concern.
Almost all said they saw high housing costs as a barrier to hiring new mid- and upper-level employees.
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