Boutique Law Firm General Litigator Lands at a Large National Firm |

Boutique Law Firm General Litigator Lands at a Large National Firm


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I recently placed a mid-level litigator at a national, eleven-office firm. This doesn't sound like anything to write home about, but it is actually quite difficult to place general litigators at large national firms. There is an abundance of litigators - in fact, I've heard a statistic that 90% of attorneys are litigators and 10% are corporate attorneys. General litigators (at the higher end of the spectrum, general commercial litigators, but at the lower end, PI attorneys, plaintiff's side Labor & Employment attorneys, etc.) are the most common types of litigators, so you can imagine that the competition is stiff for these attorneys when it comes to the lateral firm market, especially when these attorneys are attempting to lateral between or to large national firms.
Boutique Law Firm General Litigator Lands at a Large National Firm

The candidate that I just placed was an attorney who had worked at two boutique firms in LA, and was now looking to lateral to a mid-sized or ideally a large national law firm. He had only been at his first boutique firm for ten months before lateraling to his current boutique firm. Short stints at a law firm can be a red flag to a potential employer, but this attorney had a good reason for lateraling so quickly, namely, that a friend at his current firm had reached out and told him about the opportunity at his current firm, and that his current firm had a more sophisticated practice, a more impressive clientele and bigger cases than his previous firm. Although both firms are boutique firms, I was able to make the argument (in my cover letter for the candidate) that the move from his first firm to his second firm was an upwards lateral move to a better firm, and this is one of the best reasons for making a lateral move - the upwards career trajectory. While the quick move to a second firm could have been a red flag nonetheless, the candidate has been at his current firm for more than three years now, so he has more recently shown the longevity at a firm that a potential employer will want to see. His current firm is relatively well-known in the legal community, as it has several Big Law refugee Partners and Associates, and he has gotten some really great litigation experience there (taking and defending depositions, arguing motions and even second-chairing several trials, an impressive feat for a Class of 2015 Associate).

This attorney's academics are also stellar, which I think really helped him in landing at a large national firm. He attended a local Los Angeles-based school that has a great network and great connections within the LA community, and even though its national ranking isn't stellar, it is well respected in the Los Angeles legal community. He graduated in the top 5% of his class, with a GPA of 4.02, cum laude, Order of the Coif, etc. He was also on his school's law review. These are the sorts of credentials that a large national firm is going to want to see, especially from a general litigator and especially from someone who didn't attend a Top 20 law school and isn't currently at a large national firm.
I worked with this candidate for about four to five months. He was careful in approving firms, only approving me to submit him to firms that he was genuinely interested in lateraling to (which I appreciated). Sometimes, candidates approve all firms that I send them and then later balk when a firm requests an interview, which doesn't make the candidate or myself look very good. This candidate did not do that. Throughout the process, he obtained three interviews at large national firms, and one interview at a mid-sized California-based firm. One of the interviews that he got was at a Top Am Law 100 firm, because they liked his appellate experience, but he ended up declining the interview because they wanted him to join their Insurance Litigation group, and he wasn't interested in this type of work. For the other two interviews, one wanted more real estate litigation experience than he had, and the other, the firm went with another candidate. But, I could tell that he was a strong candidate throughout the process, as he kept getting interviews with large national firms.
This candidate makes a base salary of $125K at his current boutique firm, and the firm that ended up offering him offered a base of $195K, with a salary bump with the rest of his class year in January (it is now the end of August). It goes without saying that this is a huge salary bump for this candidate! The candidate accepted the offer the morning after he received it. He is very excited to finally land at a large national firm after four years of practice, and I couldn't be happier for him! He deserves this opportunity, and I know that he will excel at his new large national firm home!

About Harrison Barnes

Harrison Barnes is a prominent figure in the legal placement industry, known for his expertise in attorney placements and his extensive knowledge of the legal profession.

With over 25 years of experience, he has established himself as a leading voice in the field and has helped thousands of lawyers and law students find their ideal career paths.

Barnes is a former federal law clerk and associate at Quinn Emanuel and a graduate of the University of Chicago College and the University of Virginia Law School. He was a Rhodes Scholar Finalist at the University of Chicago and a member of the University of Virginia Law Review. Early in his legal career, he enrolled in Stanford Business School but dropped out because he missed legal recruiting too much.

Barnes' approach to the legal industry is rooted in his commitment to helping lawyers achieve their full potential. He believes that the key to success in the legal profession is to be proactive, persistent, and disciplined in one's approach to work and life. He encourages lawyers to take ownership of their careers and to focus on developing their skills and expertise in a way that aligns with their passions and interests.

One of how Barnes provides support to lawyers is through his writing. On his blog,, and, he regularly shares his insights and advice on a range of topics related to the legal profession. Through his writing, he aims to empower lawyers to control their careers and make informed decisions about their professional development.

One of Barnes's fundamental philosophies in his writing is the importance of networking. He believes that networking is a critical component of career success and that it is essential for lawyers to establish relationships with others in their field. He encourages lawyers to attend events, join organizations, and connect with others in the legal community to build their professional networks.

Another central theme in Barnes' writing is the importance of personal and professional development. He believes that lawyers should continuously strive to improve themselves and develop their skills to succeed in their careers. He encourages lawyers to pursue ongoing education and training actively, read widely, and seek new opportunities for growth and development.

In addition to his work in the legal industry, Barnes is also a fitness and lifestyle enthusiast. He sees fitness and wellness as integral to his personal and professional development and encourages others to adopt a similar mindset. He starts his day at 4:00 am and dedicates several daily hours to running, weightlifting, and pursuing spiritual disciplines.

Finally, Barnes is a strong advocate for community service and giving back. He volunteers for the University of Chicago, where he is the former area chair of Los Angeles for the University of Chicago Admissions Office. He also serves as the President of the Young Presidents Organization's Century City Los Angeles Chapter, where he works to support and connect young business leaders.

In conclusion, Harrison Barnes is a visionary legal industry leader committed to helping lawyers achieve their full potential. Through his work at BCG Attorney Search, writing, and community involvement, he empowers lawyers to take control of their careers, develop their skills continuously, and lead fulfilling and successful lives. His philosophy of being proactive, persistent, and disciplined, combined with his focus on personal and professional development, makes him a valuable resource for anyone looking to succeed in the legal profession.

About BCG Attorney Search

BCG Attorney Search matches attorneys and law firms with unparalleled expertise and drive, while achieving results. Known globally for its success in locating and placing attorneys in law firms of all sizes, BCG Attorney Search has placed thousands of attorneys in law firms in thousands of different law firms around the country. Unlike other legal placement firms, BCG Attorney Search brings massive resources of over 150 employees to its placement efforts locating positions and opportunities its competitors simply cannot. Every legal recruiter at BCG Attorney Search is a former successful attorney who attended a top law school, worked in top law firms and brought massive drive and commitment to their work. BCG Attorney Search legal recruiters take your legal career seriously and understand attorneys. For more information, please visit
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