San Diego Legal Market AMA

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San Diego Legal Market AMA

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Nov 18, 2020 6:35 pm

I'm a current associate at a big firm in San Diego. I'm happy to answer any questions about the SD/OC legal market, firms, etc., if anyone has any questions.

Edot: Anon because it's a fairly insular market.

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Re: San Diego Legal Market AMA

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Nov 18, 2020 7:44 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 6:35 pm
I'm a current associate at a big firm in San Diego. I'm happy to answer any questions about the SD/OC legal market, firms, etc., if anyone has any questions.

Edot: Anon because it's a fairly insular market.
Hi friend:

Is quality of life (hours, flexibility, culture) at big SD firms as good as it gets (this is something I regularly hear)?

Is life in OC much different (for better or worse)?

I am considering applying post-clerkship (d.ct > COA) to SD or OC, but am having a hard time settling on firms. I am mostly looking for a firm that will allow substantive work but still be a decent place to have a family outside of work. Any thoughts?

Do you know anything about GDC/LW OC?

Thank you for doing this!

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Re: San Diego Legal Market AMA

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Nov 18, 2020 8:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 7:44 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 6:35 pm
I'm a current associate at a big firm in San Diego. I'm happy to answer any questions about the SD/OC legal market, firms, etc., if anyone has any questions.

Edot: Anon because it's a fairly insular market.
Hi friend:

Is quality of life (hours, flexibility, culture) at big SD firms as good as it gets (this is something I regularly hear)?

Is life in OC much different (for better or worse)?

I am considering applying post-clerkship (d.ct > COA) to SD or OC, but am having a hard time settling on firms. I am mostly looking for a firm that will allow substantive work but still be a decent place to have a family outside of work. Any thoughts?

Do you know anything about GDC/LW OC?

Thank you for doing this!
No problem!

(1) Yes, quality of life is as good as it gets in my opinion. Most people at my firm (and from what my friends have said at their firms in SD) get into the office between 8:00 - 9:00 am, leave around 5:00-ish pm, extracurriculars/have dinner with friends/family, and then log back on around like 7:30ish for an hour or so. It seems like most people are also married or have a significant other and/or kids, so everyone is pretty accommodating when it comes to flexibility (someone in my office works half days one day a week for childcare reasons and is still on partnership track). SD is also a very insular market in the sense that most partners/associates know everyone at peer firms, so there are very few toxic partners—the ones that are toxic are easy to spot and avoid because they bounce around firms pretty frequently. There also seems to be less churn in associates than in like LA/NYC. Most of my colleagues in other offices find it hard to believe that we get to enjoy the lives that we do and work in big law.

(2) OC seems to be less insular just because there's a lot of migration between LA/OC offices. This can be a plus or a minus. There are also a lot more firms in OC than SD. On average, it seems like the culture/lifestyle is less laidback than SD, but better than what you're going to find in LA.

(3) 100% apply to firms in both markets. I honestly don't think I could make it in big law anywhere else. For SD, the main players are Latham, Cooley, and Jones Day. MoFo, Perkins Coie, DLA, and Sheppard Mullin all seem to be less stable (not mentioning WSGR since they are almost exclusively IP). If you're looking for a robust litigation practice, Latham, Cooley, and Jones Day are your best bets. Cooley is probably the fastest growing office down here and the firm's litigation chair is based out of the SD office, which is a major plus in terms of sourcing interesting work. Latham has a beautiful office and is also growing. In terms of litigation, there's a lot of environmental/insurance litigation out of that office since there's a robust environmental practice group. With that said, they also do your standard false claims act, securities lit, anti-kickback, etc. litigation. The lit practice seems more specialized though than Cooley or Jones Day. Jones Day probably has the most robust litigation/WC practice in terms of local work (they handled the big Qualcomm v. Apple case from a few years ago). A lot of the local fed clerks end up there, which probably partially explains why they handle so much local work. I've also heard from friends that the office handles some interesting high-profile work since the head of their "California region" is based out of that office. In sum, I don't think you could go wrong with Cooley, JD, or Latham in SD.

(4) I've heard great things about GDC OC and they have a large lit group, but I don't know anything other than that. One of my good friends worked at Latham OC and said that it was pretty broey (things could have changed though as this was a few years ago) and people tended to party pretty hard. Nice people though. I believe Latham OC mainly does securities litigation though, so that's something to consider.

Hope that helps.

Edit: not sure if you're familiar with SD, but Latham is in Del Mar whereas Cooley and Jones Day are both in UTC/La Jolla.

Second edit: I forgot to mention that if you're interested in appellate work, I believe JD is the only big firm that does that down here. If my memory serves me correctly, they have 1 or 2 I&A 9th Cir. associates.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Wed Nov 18, 2020 9:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: San Diego Legal Market AMA

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Nov 18, 2020 9:31 pm

Hi! Thank you for the AMA.

I'm a first year associate at a v10 in a non-nyc, non-california market doing corporate work. I have significant ties to California (born there and went to schools there) but was about median at my T-14.

I'd love to make the jump there at some point. I've heard Latham and Cooley have robust corporate practices, and I'm not married to M&A or CapM, I'd be willing to switch to Tech Trans or EC/VC.

How would you recommend making this jump? When would be the right time for a lateral?

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Re: San Diego Legal Market AMA

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Nov 18, 2020 10:04 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 9:31 pm
Hi! Thank you for the AMA.

I'm a first year associate at a v10 in a non-nyc, non-california market doing corporate work. I have significant ties to California (born there and went to schools there) but was about median at my T-14.

I'd love to make the jump there at some point. I've heard Latham and Cooley have robust corporate practices, and I'm not married to M&A or CapM, I'd be willing to switch to Tech Trans or EC/VC.

How would you recommend making this jump? When would be the right time for a lateral?
Cooley and Latham dominate the corporate work in SD and both have robust practices — Latham does a lot of project finance/real estate though. There's also a lot of VC and tech trans work here because of the fact that SD is a biotech hub. DLA (DLA has a solid VC practice here), WSGR, Perkins Coie, Gunderson Dettmer, MoFo, Sheppard Mullin, and Mintz all have fairly large (by SD standards) corporate groups (avoid Paul Hastings). I'm pretty confident that Jones Day is trying to grow their tech trans practice because they always have job openings.

Do you have ties to SD? When I started out, it seemed like ties (e.g., school/family) were a lot more important. However, they seem to be slightly less important now — like a compelling reason to live and practice in SD can make up for a lack of geographical ties.

Making the jump as a 2-4 year is probably your best bet. Cooley is/was aggressively hiring for its corporate practice (I recall seeing five or six corporate openings for 2-5th years). Depending on where you are located, it might make sense to try to work with a recruiter. Since SD is a pretty small market, I would target firms that are really trying to grow their practices down here — e.g., Cooley, WSGR, MoFo, Mintz, Jones Day, Gunderson, etc. Do you have any former classmates in SD? If so, personal networking is going to help a ton. Outside of that and working with a recruiter, Cooley is probably your best bet as a lateral since they recently inked a deal for a massive new office space plus are always actively hiring corporate laterals.

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Re: San Diego Legal Market AMA

Post by lawschool04! » Wed Nov 18, 2020 10:26 pm

Thanks for doing this!

Can you speak to the practice areas in San Diego? I'm primarily interested in White Collar/Investigations, Data Privacy, and Sec Lit but have had trouble sussing out if there is a market for that in SD?

Would you recommend starting your career in SD vs. coming from a larger market, does that matter?

Any idea how selective San Diego is in terms of grades?

Thanks!

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Re: San Diego Legal Market AMA

Post by lolwutpar » Wed Nov 18, 2020 10:41 pm

FWIW I lateraled to a SD biglaw firm and my reason was basically "San Diego seems nice to live in lol"

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Re: San Diego Legal Market AMA

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Nov 18, 2020 10:59 pm

Any insights on Irell OC or Hueston Hennigan OC? I know lots of partners recently left Irell and that they seem to be refocusing on litigation.

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Re: San Diego Legal Market AMA

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Nov 18, 2020 11:13 pm

lawschool04! wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 10:26 pm
Thanks for doing this!

Can you speak to the practice areas in San Diego? I'm primarily interested in White Collar/Investigations, Data Privacy, and Sec Lit but have had trouble sussing out if there is a market for that in SD?

Would you recommend starting your career in SD vs. coming from a larger market, does that matter?

Any idea how selective San Diego is in terms of grades?

Thanks!
(1) By and large, IP, patent prosecution, and life sciences dominate San Diego. However, a lot of that work flows down to other practices — corporate, E&C, L&E, commercial lit, IWC, etc. Based on your interests, Latham and Cooley do sec lit (Cooley more so than Latham). The "big three" (Latham, Cooley, and Jones Day) all do white collar/investigations (IWC), but Jones Day probably does the most right now. That might change though because their main IWC partner is up to become a federal judge in SD. Eversheds Sutherland recently opened an office in SD and poached some attorneys for their data privacy group, but I believe they are the only firm with an actual practice at the moment. My firm has discussed opening a data privacy group here, so there's a good possibility that data privacy will have a larger presence in the coming years.

(2) I would recommend starting out in SD if you have the opportunity. Outside of corporate and IP, there aren't a lot of lateral openings. Obviously, if you land at a firm with an office in SD, you can probably just transfer down after a year or two. In general, SD is a fairly tough market to break into because it's a desirable location without a ton of openings. That might be changing though as a lot of firms are trying to aggressively expand. Try to network with attorneys down here pre-OCI.

(3) Median at a T14 is sufficient if you have ties and/or compelling reasons to be here. For non-T14s, top 10% will give you a great shot, but you would be competitive if you're in the top 20% (depending on your school). Personality is a major factor in hiring though. The market is small and most attorneys know or are familiar with one another, so there's a pretty strict no d-bag mentality at most firms.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Wed Nov 18, 2020 11:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: San Diego Legal Market AMA

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Nov 18, 2020 11:21 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 10:59 pm
Any insights on Irell OC or Hueston Hennigan OC? I know lots of partners recently left Irell and that they seem to be refocusing on litigation.
Unfortunately, I'm not too familiar with either. However, based on what I've heard, I would stay away from Irell for at least the foreseeable future. I've heard good things about Hueston Hennigan's OC office, but that's about the extent of my knowledge (other than the fact that most associates are like T14 with order of coif/honors and/or clerkship).

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Re: San Diego Legal Market AMA

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Nov 18, 2020 11:23 pm

Thanks for doing this.

(1) Where do you find most people who work in Del Mar/La Jolla live? Is it possible to commute from Downtown in non-covid times?

(2) You mentioned to avoid PH? Is there a particular reason? I ask because I've heard this from others.

(3) Do you know if firms that give out discretionary bonuses (i.e. Sheppard/Mintz?) still give out close to market?

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Re: San Diego Legal Market AMA

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Nov 18, 2020 11:44 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 11:23 pm
Thanks for doing this.

(1) Where do you find most people who work in Del Mar/La Jolla live? Is it possible to commute from Downtown in non-covid times?

(2) You mentioned to avoid PH? Is there a particular reason? I ask because I've heard this from others.

(3) Do you know if firms that give out discretionary bonuses (i.e. Sheppard/Mintz?) still give out close to market?
(1) Most non-homeowner associates live in Del Mar (probably the most live in Del Mar), Solana Beach, UTC/La Jolla (that's where UCSD is), or downtown. There are also a few who have moved to North Park since that's a super trendy area, but that commute sounds terrible. For downtown, if you're working in UTC, then the commute in non-covid times isn't too bad. Downtown to Del Mar is doable, but will take you longer. Traffic in SD isn't nearly as bad as LA though. For homeowner associates, most have bought homes in Carlsbad because it's one of the last reasonably affordable coastal communities for single-family homes. Some more mid to senior associates at my firm have bought homes in Encinitas, Claremont, Carmel Valley, etc. Quite a few have bought condos in Del Mar though.

(2) They've had a lot of problems over the years and are a pretty small office. They've also had some issues with toxic partners over the years and don't really handle a lot of interesting work. It's almost like they are an afterthought in the SD market.

(3) I'm not at either of those firms, so I don't have first-hand knowledge. However, I had a friend who was at Sheppard SD before going in-house and I know that their bonus was market a few years ago. My guess is that it's going to vary by year depending on the firm's financial health. I've heard great things about Mintz, but I, unfortunately, don't know anything about their bonuses.

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Re: San Diego Legal Market AMA

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Nov 19, 2020 12:06 am

Do you have any insight on how much biotech/tech companies pay their in-house attorneys in San Diego? I've gotten the sense that associates at SD firms stay longer in biglaw than associates in other major markets.

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Re: San Diego Legal Market AMA

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Nov 19, 2020 12:21 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Nov 19, 2020 12:06 am
Do you have any insight on how much biotech/tech companies pay their in-house attorneys in San Diego? I've gotten the sense that associates at SD firms stay longer in biglaw than associates in other major markets.
Qualcomm in-house is comparable to other big tech companies (my guess is probably like $250K starting for a mid-level) and they have a fairly large in-house legal department. To the other poster interested in data privacy, Qualcomm has an in-house privacy group. I had an IP colleague who went in-house to a bio/pharma company and comp was closer to $300K, but they also have a PhD in a desirable subject (think immunology), so that's probably the exception. I also have a friend who went in-house at a hospital network (think Scripps/Sharp) as a mid-level and their starting comp was about $200K, but it seems like a pretty cushy 9-5 for the most part.

Yes, associates at SD firms tend to stay much longer than our peers in other major markets. I think part of it is that there aren't a lot of high paying (by big law standards) in-house jobs and big law isn't that bad for the most part here. On average, most firms are pretty family-friendly and partners are invested in their lives outside of work (e.g., a few corporate partners at my firm religiously surf before work). Everyone is also pretty understanding when it comes to family commitments and missing work for your kid's sports or something, which I think helps keep associates around.

Edit: ResMed, another big SD company, has also been growing its in-house legal department. I saw an opening a few months ago there for a mid-level starting at like $235K.

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Re: San Diego Legal Market AMA

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Nov 19, 2020 12:51 am

This is OP — here's my advice for law students interested in SD (non-covid times):

The single most important thing that you can do to maximize your odds of landing an SA position is to work in SD as a 1L (e.g., federal court (most people extern in my experience since the Southern District hires a ton), USAO, City Attorney's Office, in-house, etc.). Most firms will have a summer reception and solicit applications shortly thereafter. In my experience, the vast majority of the hiring happens pre-OCI. At my firm, the majority of our 2Ls this past summer were hired pre-OCI. Since summer classes are small (typically 10 or less), that means that landing a position at OCI will be exceedingly difficult since you're competing for one or two remaining spots.

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Re: San Diego Legal Market AMA

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Nov 19, 2020 12:58 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Nov 19, 2020 12:21 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Nov 19, 2020 12:06 am
Do you have any insight on how much biotech/tech companies pay their in-house attorneys in San Diego? I've gotten the sense that associates at SD firms stay longer in biglaw than associates in other major markets.
Qualcomm in-house is comparable to other big tech companies (my guess is probably like $250K starting for a mid-level) and they have a fairly large in-house legal department. To the other poster interested in data privacy, Qualcomm has an in-house privacy group. I had an IP colleague who went in-house to a bio/pharma company and comp was closer to $300K, but they also have a PhD in a desirable subject (think immunology), so that's probably the exception. I also have a friend who went in-house at a hospital network (think Scripps/Sharp) as a mid-level and their starting comp was about $200K, but it seems like a pretty cushy 9-5 for the most part.

Yes, associates at SD firms tend to stay much longer than our peers in other major markets. I think part of it is that there aren't a lot of high paying (by big law standards) in-house jobs and big law isn't that bad for the most part here. On average, most firms are pretty family-friendly and partners are invested in their lives outside of work (e.g., a few corporate partners at my firm religiously surf before work). Everyone is also pretty understanding when it comes to family commitments and missing work for your kid's sports or something, which I think helps keep associates around.

Edit: ResMed, another big SD company, has also been growing its in-house legal department. I saw an opening a few months ago there for a mid-level starting at like $235K.
This is a bit higher than what I've seen applying for in-house jobs as a mid level. And another big non-biotech/pharma/tech company is Petco, and they were $160-175k base and 15% target bonus, no equity. In house jobs seem to pay a good amount less here than even Orange County.

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Re: San Diego Legal Market AMA

Post by WhatIsLaw69 » Thu Nov 19, 2020 1:44 am

Thanks for doing this. How hard is it to make it back if you're not at a non-California school T30? Born and raised in SoCal.

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Re: San Diego Legal Market AMA

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Nov 19, 2020 2:08 am

WhatIsLaw69 wrote:
Thu Nov 19, 2020 1:44 am
Thanks for doing this. How hard is it to make it back if you're not at a non-California school T30? Born and raised in SoCal.
It's doable. It's largely going to depend on your class rank, but extracurriculars and past work experience will play a role. For pretty much any school outside of T14 (and maybe T20), top 10% will likely get you callbacks and maybe an offer (that'll depend on a lot of factors). Top 15-20% will probably get you screeners, but networking, past experiences, etc. will play a much larger role. If you are able to land a job as a 1L in SD, it's going to be significantly easier to get a 2L SA position.

Outside of big law/in-house, there are government jobs. The City Attorney's office seems less competitive. USAO civil is extremely competitive (especially for public corruption, etc.); USAO criminal is competitive but less so, but those attorneys also seem way overworked with border-related cases.

Hope that helps. Happy to answer more specific questions if you have any.

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Re: San Diego Legal Market AMA

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Nov 19, 2020 2:14 am

What do you think of Procopio and Higgs, Fletcher & Mack?

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Re: San Diego Legal Market AMA

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Nov 19, 2020 1:02 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Nov 19, 2020 12:58 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Nov 19, 2020 12:21 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Nov 19, 2020 12:06 am
Do you have any insight on how much biotech/tech companies pay their in-house attorneys in San Diego? I've gotten the sense that associates at SD firms stay longer in biglaw than associates in other major markets.
Qualcomm in-house is comparable to other big tech companies (my guess is probably like $250K starting for a mid-level) and they have a fairly large in-house legal department. To the other poster interested in data privacy, Qualcomm has an in-house privacy group. I had an IP colleague who went in-house to a bio/pharma company and comp was closer to $300K, but they also have a PhD in a desirable subject (think immunology), so that's probably the exception. I also have a friend who went in-house at a hospital network (think Scripps/Sharp) as a mid-level and their starting comp was about $200K, but it seems like a pretty cushy 9-5 for the most part.

Yes, associates at SD firms tend to stay much longer than our peers in other major markets. I think part of it is that there aren't a lot of high paying (by big law standards) in-house jobs and big law isn't that bad for the most part here. On average, most firms are pretty family-friendly and partners are invested in their lives outside of work (e.g., a few corporate partners at my firm religiously surf before work). Everyone is also pretty understanding when it comes to family commitments and missing work for your kid's sports or something, which I think helps keep associates around.

Edit: ResMed, another big SD company, has also been growing its in-house legal department. I saw an opening a few months ago there for a mid-level starting at like $235K.
This is a bit higher than what I've seen applying for in-house jobs as a mid level. And another big non-biotech/pharma/tech company is Petco, and they were $160-175k base and 15% target bonus, no equity. In house jobs seem to pay a good amount less here than even Orange County.
SD has significantly fewer high paying in house jobs than OC. The higher paying in house jobs seem to be mainly IP/patent (my Qualcomm estimate was based on a patent attorney there)

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Re: San Diego Legal Market AMA

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Nov 19, 2020 1:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Nov 19, 2020 2:14 am
What do you think of Procopio and Higgs, Fletcher & Mack?
I don't have personal experience with either; albeit I have a family member who uses Higgs for tax-related matters. I've heard that the attorneys at Higgs are nice and pleasant to work with. My guess for comp is that you're probably going to make like $120K base as a junior. Procopio is more well known and larger (at least they used to be larger). I heard rumors about layoffs of both staff and some attorneys at the beginning of the pandemic, which is a red flag since they've hired some IP attorneys since then. Comp is probably going to start at like $130-135K, but that's just a guess.

I've heard great things about Paul Plevin if you're interested in L&E. It's pretty much a bunch of ex-big law lawyers, many of whom left for lifestyle reasons. If you're interested in plaintiffs' work, Robbins Geller is probably the most "prestigious" one based in SD.

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Re: San Diego Legal Market AMA

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Nov 20, 2020 2:30 pm

Sort of off-topic, but please humor me. I'm in Chicago biglaw, and my wife and I are considering moving to SD basically exclusively for the weather/culture/outdoors scene. No connections to SoCal at all.

Setting aside the question of whether I could get a job (I know that's a big question), does this make any sense as a life plan? Mild weather and outdoors activities are incredibly important to us, and it seems like SD is among the best in the country on that score (e.g., Denver is great but gets cold in the winter). 70 degrees and sunny makes me happy in a very deep way.

I assume people try this move often, and I wonder how it works out for them. I know COL in SD is insane, and I'm factoring that in.

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Re: San Diego Legal Market AMA

Post by lolwutpar » Fri Nov 20, 2020 2:54 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Nov 20, 2020 2:30 pm
Sort of off-topic, but please humor me. I'm in Chicago biglaw, and my wife and I are considering moving to SD basically exclusively for the weather/culture/outdoors scene. No connections to SoCal at all.

Setting aside the question of whether I could get a job (I know that's a big question), does this make any sense as a life plan? Mild weather and outdoors activities are incredibly important to us, and it seems like SD is among the best in the country on that score (e.g., Denver is great but gets cold in the winter). 70 degrees and sunny makes me happy in a very deep way.

I assume people try this move often, and I wonder how it works out for them. I know COL in SD is insane, and I'm factoring that in.
San Diego is great, but if you like "big city" things like culture (art, museums, plays, concerts), fine dining, etc. you WILL miss it. But of course, there are big upsides, too, such as mild weather and great outdoor options.

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Re: San Diego Legal Market AMA

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Nov 20, 2020 2:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Nov 20, 2020 2:30 pm
Sort of off-topic, but please humor me. I'm in Chicago biglaw, and my wife and I are considering moving to SD basically exclusively for the weather/culture/outdoors scene. No connections to SoCal at all.

Setting aside the question of whether I could get a job (I know that's a big question), does this make any sense as a life plan? Mild weather and outdoors activities are incredibly important to us, and it seems like SD is among the best in the country on that score (e.g., Denver is great but gets cold in the winter). 70 degrees and sunny makes me happy in a very deep way.

I assume people try this move often, and I wonder how it works out for them. I know COL in SD is insane, and I'm factoring that in.
This is OP — this move definitely happens, but I don't have a lot of insight into how often it works out. My office had a lateral join from NYC/DC a little over a year ago and they had zero ties to SD. As the other commenter mentioned, their "why SD" was also essentially it seems like an amazing place to live and raise a family. Definitely visit (or at least say you're familiar with SD) since there is a slight concern that people will lateral in from larger markets, realize that they miss the bigger city vibe, and then leave for like LA/SF.

Does your firm have an office in SD? My office has also had a few transfers from major markets since the pandemic started. I personally think you and your wife should try to make this move. While the pandemic has been rough, it's definitely easier to get through when you live in a place with great weather and lots of outdoor activities that are fairly spread out. Also, SD is expensive, but it's relatively affordable compared to other coastal cities, and I think the quality of life makes it worth it.

Are you in lit or corporate?

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Re: San Diego Legal Market AMA

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Nov 21, 2020 12:54 am

lolwutpar wrote:
Fri Nov 20, 2020 2:54 pm

San Diego is great, but if you like "big city" things like culture (art, museums, plays, concerts), fine dining, etc. you WILL miss it. But of course, there are big upsides, too, such as mild weather and great outdoor options.
Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Nov 20, 2020 2:55 pm

This is OP — this move definitely happens, but I don't have a lot of insight into how often it works out. My office had a lateral join from NYC/DC a little over a year ago and they had zero ties to SD. As the other commenter mentioned, their "why SD" was also essentially it seems like an amazing place to live and raise a family. Definitely visit (or at least say you're familiar with SD) since there is a slight concern that people will lateral in from larger markets, realize that they miss the bigger city vibe, and then leave for like LA/SF.

Does your firm have an office in SD? My office has also had a few transfers from major markets since the pandemic started. I personally think you and your wife should try to make this move. While the pandemic has been rough, it's definitely easier to get through when you live in a place with great weather and lots of outdoor activities that are fairly spread out. Also, SD is expensive, but it's relatively affordable compared to other coastal cities, and I think the quality of life makes it worth it.

Are you in lit or corporate?

Thanks to you both for the responses. Very encouraging. In no particular order:

- I don't consider us to be into big-city culture -- basically what I think of as NYC culture. We occasionally go to the museums here, we went to Hamilton, etc., but while we appreciate the arts/concerts/etc., they aren't a big part of our lives. We also aren't really foodies (we do like Mexican, which is a plus for SD, although I'm guessing it's more authentic than what we're used to). When I said above that we're interested in SD culture, I basically meant a culture of outdoors/chill/SoCal/liberal-ish.

- By contrast, we love the outdoors, and it's really important to us. And we love good weather (who doesn't, but we really do). I don't know if seasonal affective disorder is a real thing, but I get depressed in Chicago when outside becomes unusable for at least five straight months. And my wife can't handle heat and humidity very well.

- We're going to live and work remotely in SD for a month in early 2021 to get a feel for the place. No better time to do it than now, when I haven't been into the office for 7 months and probably won't be until summer. We're splitting our time between downtown Chula Vista, North Park, and Carlsbad. Hoping to get a better sense of the place. And perhaps that would help with a "why SD" question down the line. We've visited sporadically before and loved it, but we've never had an extended stay.

- I'm in general lit. My firm has an LA office, but not SD, unfortunately. One thing I've thought about trying is to "transfer" to our LA office -- i.e., have that office as my "home base" -- but basically work remotely, since the last 8 months have shown that I can do that with zero real effect on my value/productivity. Then, if I ever need to change jobs, I'll already have a foothold in the market. Not sure if my firm will go for it, as I'm fairly senior and that play would probably be perceived as opting out of the partnership track (and my firm is basically up or out). If not, I'm willing to change jobs, but I know that will be tough without ties. That said, I have a pretty strong resume.

- We'd like to own a modest, fairly nice home with a backyard (even if not a big one) in a decent neighborhood (doesn't have to be trendy), with a family in mind fairly soon. It seems like that combo requires at least $800k, but probably closer to $1m. Our nest egg is more than big enough for a downpayment on a house like that, but it makes me queasy to own that much home, in part because I don't want to be tied to a $3k mortgage and the kind of job that comes with it. I might just have to get over it.

Thanks again for your thoughts.

Seriously? What are you waiting for?

Now there's a charge.
Just kidding ... it's still FREE!


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