It took Stradling Yocca a smidge more than 14 business days to fill the vacuum left after longtime tax chief Stephen Freeman told the firm he was quitting (free reg. req.) earlier this month.
Instead of losing their shirts — after all, their corporate work would have to be done by an associate for the time being — they put a recruiter to work. Bruce Feuchter, the partner in charge of finding Freeman’s replacement, said the search wasn’t hard given the firm’s criteria.
“We don’t need anyone with a book of business,” Feuchter said he told Southern California recruiter Stacey Pacelli. “We just need someone with really good skills who is pretty client-friendly.” (Some tax guys really struggle communicating with non-lawyers, he noted). Also, the candidate could come from anywhere in the state, but ought to have a spouse willing to move to Orange County.
The firm got six resumes and talked to three candidates.
Shahzad Malik, whose resume was first to come in, fit the bill. Malik was most recently a partner at TroyGould, a West Side LA firm, and his experience included mergers and acquisitions, tax controversy, private equity fund formations and international taxation, with a specialty in large and mid-market transactions. “His resume speaks a lot like the resume that Steve Freeman would have,” Feuchter said. And Malik’s wife, already taking care of a two-year-old, had recently delivered twin girls, Feuchter added. Her parents live in Irvine, so the family will be relocating, he said.
Malik started today.