The candidate that I just placed at a top Am Law 100 firm in San Francisco is a very strong candidate, but her practice is mixed. In terms of this candidate's very positive attributes, she is Class of 2015 (which is a great class year), has been at a well-respected Am Law 200 firm since her graduation from law school in 2015, did very well in law school (and was at a Top 20 law school), did very well in undergrad (although her undergraduate university is not well-known) and was on law review in law school. I found it particularly impressive that she has been at only one Am Law 200 firm since her graduation from law school, for the last four years. This is exceedingly rare. By now, most candidates of her class year have made at least one, if not two or more lateral law firm moves. She also has great academic credentials and was even on law review, even though she is a corporate candidate. This candidate's only potential Achilles' heels in my mind, were the fact that she has a very mixed practice, and that she isn't barred in a lot of the states to which I and my fellow Recruiters in other regions were applying her. In terms of her practice, she does about 40-50% tech transactions and data privacy, and the rest of her practice is mainly corporate governance, securities and a bit of M&A. When deciding how to market this candidate, I realized that she was likely to get the most traction in either tech transactions or data privacy, as these are very very hot practice areas right now, it is very hard to find candidates with sophisticated experience, top academics and top firm credentials to apply to the open positions in these practice areas at top firms and her corporate experience is not in M&A or venture capital, which is mainly where the need is at top firms.
I was working with this candidate in California, mainly SF and Silicon Valley, but she was also interested in the East Coast, the Midwest (where she is currently based) and the South. As a result, my company had a West Coast Recruiter, an East Coast Recruiter, a Midwest Recruiter and a Southern Recruiter all working on her file. We submitted her to around ten difference cities, and she ended up getting around 15 interviews, mostly at elite boutiques and Am Law 100 firms nationwide. This candidate got interviews in Charlotte, DC, SF, Silicon Valley, Denver, Atlanta, St. Louis and Northern Virginia. This is despite the fact that she is only barred in Missouri, where she is currently based, and Illinois! The experience of working with this candidate solidified in my mind the idea that very strong corporate, tech transactions and / or data privacy candidates do not necessarily need the bar license of the states to which they are applying.
In terms of my own experience with the candidate, she ended up getting callback interviews at three top Am Law 100 firms in San Francisco. One of the positions for which she was interviewing was a General Corporate position, one was a Tech Transactions position and one was a Data Privacy position. She ended up getting an offer from the firm with the General Corporate position, but they wanted her to take a two-year class year haircut, because as mentioned above, the candidate doesn't have M&A or VC experience, and would probably require extensive training in these areas. The firm for which she was interviewing with the Tech Transactions team didn't end up giving this candidate an offer, because her background is not technical enough / she doesn't have a technical undergraduate or graduate degree. I think that this firm really wanted technical attorneys that also had sophisticated experience drafting IP agreements, which, to be honest, I think will be hard for them to find. Finally, her first choice firm, the firm whose offer she ended up accepting, had advertised that they were looking to fill a tech transactions / data privacy position, but in the end, the position ended up being almost exclusively data privacy! This candidate has, to my knowledge, substantially more tech transactions than data privacy experience, but she is an author for her current firm's data privacy blog, and she does have some experience in this practice area (although she doesn't have any of the relevant certifications). Still, the firm offered her an Associate position with only a one-year class year haircut! She is the second attorney that I place recently in a data privacy position for whom a minority of her practice is data privacy. Just goes to show that data privacy is hot hot hot right now, especially in California, and attorneys with any relevant and sophisticated experience in this practice area may get some truly amazing traction at top Am Law 100 firms!
This candidate received the offer from the Top Am Law 100 firm for the data privacy position just this past Friday, and she accepted today, early Monday morning. She is so very excited to move to SF with her husband, and to lateral from an Am Law 200 firm to a top Am Law 100 firm, and in the cutting edge and exciting practice area of data privacy! I couldn't be happier for this candidate, and I know that she will excel at her new firm home!