National, Multi-office Firm Opens Honolulu Office for Class of 2017 Federal Clerk and General Litigation Candidate |

National, Multi-office Firm Opens Honolulu Office for Class of 2017 Federal Clerk and General Litigation Candidate

Print/Download PDF

Font Size


 from  Office 

Rate this Case Study

Federal and state court clerks are getting a surprising amount of traction right now. For the first several months of the pandemic, from March to around July, things were slow for clerks. At the time, I was working with an Alaska State Supreme clerk, a Nevada State Supreme Court clerk, several federal district court clerks and a bankruptcy court clerk. Initially, none of these candidates were getting much traction, I think for several reasons: most of their clerkships were set to send in August or September, and usually a firm won't be interested in hiring a clerk six months out. I have seen it happen, but it is a lot more common for firms to hire clerks on the same sort of timeline that they hire normal associates - one to two months out. The other reason that these clerks likely weren't getting traction was that firms were initially being very cautious about hiring when COVID-19 first hit. I had many interviews and several likely or even soft offers going into March, and then by mid to end of March, literally all of these were put on hold. Firm hiring stopped almost completely from mid-March to around mid-May, and then things slowly, slowly started to pick up again. The first movement that I saw in May was in niche practice areas and smaller markets. For example, in May, I placed an experienced and senior Antitrust Counsel at a top Am Law 100 firm in Seattle. I didn't start getting traction for my clerk candidates until around June or July, as while litigation was perhaps the first practice area to pick up again, firms I think were prioritizing candidates with post-law school firm experience.

As mentioned above, I have worked with several clerk candidates recently, and all of these candidates have landed jobs on their own in the last month or two (mostly at very small firms). Bankruptcy clerks seem to be getting more traction than traditional clerks, as bankruptcy generally does very well when the market and economy are not as robust. However, perhaps the best type of clerk candidate to be right now is a federal clerk candidate that has prior litigation experience at a firm from after law school. That is what the candidate that I just placed is. In terms of her background, she served as a summer law clerk and then worked after law school at a small boutique litigation firm in Honolulu, Hawaii for about two years. Then, she went to clerk on the United States Courts of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Honolulu, Hawaii for a year. This candidate boast great academics from a local law school and from a local undergraduate school, studied abroad in Canada during college, was the Editor-in-Chief of her school's Law Review in law school, participated in Moot Court in law school and participated in Teach For America between college and law school. All of these things are very impressive - law firms even find studying abroad noteworthy, as they like well-rounded and worldly attorneys. I think the one real sticking point with this candidate was that she was only barred in Hawaii, and of course Hawaii, and in particular Honolulu, is a very, very small market. We ended up submitting this candidate to only two firms in Hawaii, as there were only two litigation openings at law firms in Honolulu.

However, lucky for us, this candidate was very open geographically. She approved firms in Chicago, Portland, Oregon, Houston, Seattle, Dallas, Austin, Honolulu, Amarillo, San Antonio and Plano. She didn't have ties to any of these markets except for Texas, where she lived for two years during TFA. While a couple of Texas firms expressed an interest in her, and one national, multioffice firm interviewed her for their Houston office, they ultimately decided to pass on her because she didn't have the Texas bar. While not having a particular state's bar doesn't necessarily pose a big hurdle to a top corporate candidate, I have noticed that even very strong litigators will have trouble getting traction in a state if they aren't barred there, or haven't at least sat for the bar.

We got very, very lucky because one national, multi-office firm with a Seattle office reached out to interview this candidate, and were, as luck would have it, very interested in her because they just happen to have a heavy Hawaii caseload, and they were intrigued by her strong ties to Hawaii and her Hawaii legal practice background. This firm only conducted one Zoom interview with my candidate before deciding to extend her an offer. They liked her so much that they gave her the option to work from their Seattle office, without having to sit for the WA State bar, or to work from Honolulu, where she could either work from home or from an office that they would open and set up for her! I have never seen a firm so invested in a candidate that they offer to open an office in a new market for the candidate. This was truly amazing! The firm also offered the candidate a higher base than what she was making at her previous firm, as well as a signing bonus to sweeten the deal. As this was the only firm to express interest in her and because the offer was solid, the candidate happily accepted. She will be starting with the firm in about two weeks, and is thrilled to have landed at a great firm in such a tough market. I couldn't be happier for her, and I know that she will excel at her new law 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
Download the BCG Attorney Search App for the Latest Articles

AGREE/DISAGREE? SHARE COMMENTS ANONYMOUSLY! We Want to Hear Your Thoughts! Tell Us What You Think!!

More Case Studies

View All
We've changed thousands of lives over the past 20 years, and yours could be next.

When you use BCG Attorney Search you will get an unfair advantage because you will use the best legal placement company in the world for finding permanent law firm positions.