An occasional look at how job hunting legal professionals cope with a crisis economy.
He’d been happy at Lewis and Roca, he told Legal Pad this afternoon, and was searching for a firm of a similar size and level of practice. Schnader Harrison, a Philadelphia-based law firm with about 200 lawyers, has added two partners to its San Francisco office this year, one in bankruptcy and another in commercial/IP litigation. What’s more, one associate left the firm to relocate to Sacramento.
Orzano, the tenth lawyer in the San Francisco office now, says he counts himself very lucky. “I feel like I found a great fit in a time when people are sort of lucky to have a job,” he said.
But though luck may have played its part, another move Orzano made during his job search may have been the clincher.
How so, you ask? Read the jump ...
Orzano, who earned his J.D. in 2006 from George Washington University Law School, sent an e-mail outlining his experience to an old law school friend, now an associate working in Schnader Harrison’s D.C. office. She passed his resume on. “I remembered she seemed happy there as a summer associate,” Orzano recalled. “I got a call from San Francisco for an interview.”
Having her as a contact assured Orzano that he’d likely find the firm a good fit, and gave him something tangible to talk about during the interview. “It’s something you immediately have in common.”
San Francisco partner Stephen Dye, who participated in the interviews, said that a recommendation from someone the firm knows and respects is “probably one of the most important things” a candidate can have going for them. Dye said it also helped that Orzano came from “a very good firm” and had a couple of years of experience.
While Dye wasn’t sure how many total resumes came in, he said the partners interviewed six candidates. That was more than usual, he said, because of the unusually high quality of the candidate pool.
Depending on workflow, Dye said that the firm may consider taking on one or more litigation associates in the next two months. “We like associates that can do a lot of different things: commercial, products, insolvency,” he said. “Versatility in associates is important in a small office.”
— Petra Pasternak