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Saturday, April 20, 2013

From South Bend to Southern California: The World's Biggest Law Firm CEO's Journey for Sun (and Beer)

O'MalleySan Diego Union-Tribune, Man at the Top of World's Largest Law Firm Still Stays Grounded:

J. Terence O’Malley is the type of lawyer you’d want defending you before the Internal Revenue Service, or, shudder, arguing your side in a divorce. But that’s not what he does. He’s the boss of 4,400 lawyers, enough to invade a small country. Worldwide, his firm specializes in serving international commerce. Litigation is a bread-and-butter specialty, which means they’ll see you in court. Litigators are the Jesuits of the law, terrier-like defenders of the faith.

O’Malley is global co-CEO of DLA Piper, which occupies four floors in the Wells Fargo building in downtown San Diego, plus offices in La Jolla and the Golden Triangle. ... San Diego is just one branch of the firm, although a main one. DLA Piper has offices in 33 countries. ...

“At Notre Dame, I kept track on the wall by my bunk of the consecutive days I had gone without seeing the sun. I got to 30 and said, ‘That’s enough.’ I sat on the floor of my dorm room and planned the rest of my life. I figured out that San Diego had the lowest mean temperature variation and was one of the fastest-growing cities. And you could go to Mexico in 10 minutes and drink beer. It sounded like a pretty good deal, so I decided I would end up in San Diego.” ...

He talks about the intense, unending pressures on lawyers in today’s climate, where you cannot hide from cellphones and emails, even on vacation or weekends. But he also says the rewards for those hired by top firms, and those who lead those firms, are eye-blinkingly bountiful. A new graduate would start at approximately $150,000 and a senior partner of a 100-lawyer firm would earn about $500,000. “That income reflects the willingness of clients to hire you to do very complex tasks. I tell young lawyers this is a very hard job. Seven days a week, you are on call.”

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Comments

" I tell young lawyers this is a very hard job. Seven days a week, you are on call.”

First, let me applaud Mr. O'Malley for his honesty and forthrightness.

Second, If that statement doesn't automatically disqualify DLA Piper from every "100 Top Employers for Working Women" survey in the next 5 years, I don't know what will.

How much Sun and beer can your associates really enjoy working 7 days a week? HA!

Today Big Law requires the classic Faustian Bargain of its attorneys: Sell your life and soul to the devil/FIRM in exchange for the power, prestige and paycheck.

Posted by: Doug | Apr 21, 2013 3:20:22 PM