Big Law Litigator with Top Academic Credentials Placed at Litigation Boutique in LA |

Big Law Litigator with Top Academic Credentials Placed at Litigation Boutique in LA

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It's tough to be a Big Law general litigator in a major market looking for a job right now. In fact, it's always a little tough to be a Big Law general litigator, especially as the attorney gets more senior. Unfortunately, Big Law firms are often not looking to hire mid-level and especially senior litigators who don't come with business, and this is of course the case for the majority of Big Law litigators, as they've been billing for the firm's huge clients and on its huge matters and haven't had the time or opportunity to develop their own business. I've noticed that it's particularly hard for Big Law (and really, all types of general litigators) to get traction right now, during the COVID-19 pandemic. The practice areas that are doing the best are niche practice areas, such as bankruptcy and restructuring, tax, trusts & estates, technology transactions, data privacy, etc. General litigators are a dime a dozen, and firms just don't seem eager to hire general litigators when a lot of the courts remain closed and so many trials have been delayed.

The candidate that I placed is exceptional under normal circumstances, even despite being a general litigator. She is Class of 2015, at a top Big Law firm in LA and has been with the firm since her 1L summer (she spent her 1L summer and her 2L summer at this firm!), has high-level, general complex and commercial litigation experience, went to a top five law school and a very prestigious undergraduate school as well, is diverse, is a woman and speaks Spanish at a professionally proficient level. Her resume literally glows with prestige. She also did a law school externship with the US Attorney's Office (a well-regarded externship for law school students), and has several top grades on her law school transcript. I think that the only negatives with this candidate were that she hasn't ever taken or defended a deposition, she wasn't top of her class in law school and received one lower grade (although, as mentioned, she did receive many high marks) and she is, of course, a mid-level to somewhat senior general litigator who was searching for a job during a pandemic. Unbeknownst to the firms that we applied her to, she was also being laid off by her Big Law firm, although they did say that they would give her at least six months to find another job. So this added a sense of urgency to her search.

What this candidate did right was that she allowed me to apply her to all kind of firms in the LA area and even in the OC as well, even though she really wanted to stay in LA. We applied her to Big Law firms, mid-sized firms and boutiques, even more specialized boutiques that did real estate and labor & employment. We cast a very wide net. What she told me was that she either wanted to go to another Big Law firm that paid market or close to market, or a boutique where she could get a lot more substantive, hands-on pre-litigation experience. In a sense, she was looking for the unicorn opportunity with regard to boutiques - she wanted a place with a good work life balance and low billables requirement but that also paid market or close to market. Of course, these opportunities don't really exist. If a boutique pays market or close to market, they will expect you to work hard and bill a lot. If the hours are more reasonable and there is a good work life balance, of course the boutique will pay nowhere near market.
We ended up getting her a few interviews, all at litigation boutiques. Two of the firms were not actively hiring at the moment, but wanted me to keep them in the loop, and check-in with them in a month or two to see what their needs looked like then. The third boutique, the one that ended up hiring her, did have an active need, and the process moved very quickly with them, because they liked my candidate so much. After just one Zoom interview with the two lead partners, my candidate was extended an offer that very same day. The firm wanted an answer within 24 hours, but I convinced them to give her four days, and then I actually got her another one week extension, while she was interviewing with a mid-sized firm that paid close to market. Normally, a firm would not agree to an extension, let alone two extensions on an offer! But the firm loved her so much and were so eager to have her join that they kept giving us extensions, and indeed even increased the base salary offered and decreased the billable hours requirement to make their offer more enticing! In the end, the mid-sized firm couldn't move fast enough for my candidate, and my candidate liked the attorneys at my boutique firm more. While this firm doesn't pay great, especially compared to what she makes now, it seems to be a tight-knit family where she will get great mentorship and a lot of the substantive pre-litigation experience that she's been looking for. This candidate is leaving her Big Law firm and starting at the boutique litigation firm in just a few short weeks, and while she is nervous for the change, she is also very excited. I am excited to hear about all of the cases she works on and all of the experience she gets at her new firm!

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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