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Law firm bought a plane to fly its lawyers to San Francisco because it was cheaper than relocating them to the Bay Area


The firm says it saves money by staying in Houston where prices are lower

Francesco Vaninetti/ClickAlps/REDA&CO/UIG via Getty Images

The cost of living is so high in San Francisco that a Houston-based law firm decided that buying a private jet and flying its lawyers out there once a month was cheaper than relocating anyone.

What's the story?

The law firm, Patterson and Sheridan, spent $3 million on a plane, and spends an additional $2,500 an hour to operate it. But it said that the cost of living difference between Houston and San Francisco is so great that it actually saves money this way.

A partner at the firm, Bruce Patterson, told the New York Times "The young people that we want to hire out there have high expectations that are hard to meet." He added, "Rent is so high, they can't even afford a car."

According to the Houston Chronicle, even with the cost of the jet, the firm is able to keep costs down "because most of the patent work is done in Houston, where commercial real estate is 43 percent cheaper, salaries 52 percent lower and competition for technical talent far less fierce."

Patterson told the Chronicle that even if clients pay a little less, they "make more doing it" this way. The firm's lawyers also work during the flight, making that time billable. Patterson also noted all the time saved by not having the lawyers use conventional air travel with all its security delays and wait times. The firm sees it as a way to recruit young lawyers who want to work with Silicon Valley clients but can't afford the exorbitant Silicon Valley prices.

The COO of the law firm Fish and Richardson, a competitor of Patterson and Sheridan, told the Chronicle that he thought the private jet idea was "very interesting and very intriguing." Fish and Richardson keeps an office near Palo Alto and pays all the exorbitant fees associated with living in that part of the country.

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