A corporate attorney in Texas was interested in relocating to the San Diego area. Her husband was with a military and going to be stationed in the area. The attorney had excellent qualifications and overall very strong skills as a corporate attorney with a major law firm. In addition, anticipating the move to California the attorney had taken the bar exam while working a rigorous schedule in the current firm.
San Diego is one of the most competitive markets to get a position in in the United States. The problem with San Diego is that it is not a very large legal market and there are a lot of people that want to work there. In contrast to San Diego, Los Angeles and Orange County are much larger. In addition, San Diego is also not a market that sophisticated corporate attorneys tend to work in. This attorney had a substantial amount of capital markets experience that would’ve been more suitable for a major market— such as New York City. Also, this attorney did not have any ties and the San Diego area and her husband was only get to be stationed in San Diego for a few years and then might end up moving after that. The attorney had also attended college and law school in Texas and everything about her background suggested that that was where she would eventually return.
Regardless of these drawbacks, I was able to make a strong case the firms in San Diego that this attorney had every intention to remain in the area and was a good fit for the practice. San Diego has many major law firms that people can work and that have excellent reputations such as Paul Hastings, Cooley, Wilson Sonsini, Latham and Watkins, McGlinchy Stafford, Procopio, Haynes and Boone, Gunderson Dettmer, O’Melveny and Myers, Gibson Dunn, DLA Piper, Greenberg Traurig and many others. Despite interest for most of these firms, the majority of them were interested in waiting to interview the candidate until after she had gotten her bar results. When the candidate got her bar results and found that she passed, she received an offer from a top firm in San Diego within a few days. Incidentally, the firm she received an offer from was the one that had the best practice for her, the most offices around the country in case her husband transferred elsewhere and also the one that she was most comfortable with.
One of the important points about placing attorneys in California is that the bar is often a requirement. In very busy markets such as Palo Alto, law firms will often not require the bar corporate attorneys if it is very busy-- but if the attorney is in another practice area such as litigation the bar will often be required. Here, the San Diego market was a very difficult market to break into without the bar but when the attorney had passed the bar law firms became much more receptive to her.
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