A Sampling of Carl A. Baier's
Quoted Comments and Observations Over the Years
Palo Alto-based recruiter Carl Baier expects that business will increase as the year ends because of the "New Year's type of mentality. " After the year-end bonuses arrive-or don't, lawyers tend to ask themselves: "Where should I be next year and where do I want my career going. "
"You work on what's in demand, " Baier said. "2009 might not be the greatest year known to man but I plan to make a living. " Recruiters Adjust As Law Firms' Hiring SlowsGone Are High-Volume Associate Placements, But the Right Partners Are Still Looking, The Daily Journal, November 12, 2008.
Legal consultants say that multiple-partner management structures are relatively rare. "I think it's creative and may be a view of things to come, " said Bay Area consultant Carl Baier, who pointed out that midsize firms are in an especially tough position because they rarely have C-level managers, and often expect their managing partners to continue practicing law full time. In that scenario, something has to give. "Usually the people who are tapped to be managers are very well liked by their clients and colleagues. They have only so many hours, and their practices usually suffer when they switch to management, " he said. Putting Their Heads Together, The Recorder, October 30, 2008 (front page story).
"You have to get a lot of planets to align to have everything come together," said Carl Baier, a legal recruiter in Silicon Valley. Bidders Circle Heller's Venture Law Group, San Francisco Business Times, October 3, 2008.
[Reed Smith's] method for entering the Valley picking up a partner with an "established track record" in the market from a "brand-name" firm is a common one, said Portola Valley-based legal recruiter Carl Baier, who was not involved in the deal... Baier, a former Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati attorney who has recruited in the Valley for nine years, pointed out that every firm that comes to Silicon Valley needs to have an excellent business plan. "There are arguably enough lawyers here in Silicon Valley to do the work, " Baier said. "So what's your compelling story for why the companies should use you? " Baier noted that the competition for top lateral hires is even fiercer during economic downturns as firms look for ways to buoy their bottom lines. Reed Smith will face that challenge as it seek to fill out the office. Another question is that of priorities. "They've been pretty expansion-minded, " Baier said of Reed Smith. "Is Silicon Valley at the top of their priority list? " Reed Smith Solidifies Future in Silicon Valley, The Daily Journal, August 4, 2008.
"I think it's a good example of, no matter who you are and how big you are, that you should have a strategic plan when you come into the Valley and you need to execute on it crisply, " said Carl Baier, a local legal recruiter. Hu's Exit Prompts Akin Gump to Soul Search, The Recorder, June 11, 2008.
"It's unusual because most firms that want to establish a foothold in Silicon Valley want an anchor with a significant book of business, which by definition coming from in-house, no matter how compelling, is not instantaneous, " observed Carl Baier, a Valley legal recruiter. Silicon Valley Seduces Another Law Firm, Legal Pad, May 22, 2008.
"There is still a long list of firms that are eyeing Silicon Valley, and those who are already here are looking to expand, " said Silicon Valley recruiter Carl Baier, who stressed the importance of brand-name recognition when attracting new hires. Atlanta Firm Swipes Perkins Team in Valley, The Recorder, January 30, 2008.
"In the uberprivileged enclaves of New York and Silicon Valley, lawyers are just a little above middle-class," says Palo Alto-based recruiter Carl Baier. But unlike New York lawyers, those in Silicon Valley seem to complain less. Rich Lawyer, Poor Lawyer, The American Lawyer, December 2007 (also appeared in The Recorder, December 5, 2007; The New York Lawyer, December 5, 2007).
"Quinn Emanuel's focus is litigation, litigation, litigation, and Wilson Sonsini's focus is corporate, litigation and various other thingsthey have different emphases, " said Carl Baier, a Bay Area recruiter and former Wilson litigator who also was not involved in the deal. Top Litigator Leaves Wilson for Quinn, The Recorder, November 20, 2007 (front page story).
"To get someone [like Jerry Dodson] in a practice area like patent litigation that has such a long, deep history in Silicon Valley is a pretty big coup for any firm from out of town, " Carl Baier, a recruiter with Baier Legal Search [LLC] who was not involved in the deal. "I can't think of anyone in recent memory that has worked so hard and so fast to get all the pieces in place," Baier said. Goodwin Grabs MoFo's Dodson, The Recorder, October 8, 2007 (front page story).
Baker has been in the Bay Area since 1970 and has more than 100 lawyers in San Francisco and Palo Alto, but has had a difficult time convincing the locals that it's anything more than a global franchise.
"They've been present in the Bay Area for a fairly long time, but they're still viewed as having a more specialized and international focus, " said Carl Baier, a legal recruiter in Silicon Valley, "as opposed to a more grassroots Bay Area practice. "
[Incoming office managing partner Shane] Byrne acknowledges that Baker's profile in the Bay Area needs to be raised with potential clients and laterals alike. Running with the Pack, The Recorder, September 21, 2007 (front page story).
Andy Sherman admits that he has, as he puts it, "high standards" when it comes to working with outside counsel.
Sherman's high-standards habit is one reason why he has been tapped to lead several Silicon Valley legal departments in recent years, legal recruiters say.
"He moved pretty quickly up the charts, " said recruiter Carl Baier, who wasn't involved in Sherman's placement. "He does have a high-energy, can-do, we'll-figure-things-out approach that could be helpful for a company like CNET, that has had its ups and downs. " New CNET GC Has In-House History in Tech, The Recorder, July 18, 2007 (front page story).
Boston-based Goodwin Procter continued its aggressive march into California Wednesday, announcing that it has recruited partners from Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Latham & Watkins and Townsend and Townsend and Crew for its new Silicon Valley office.
Securities litigator Lloyd Winawer is coming from Wilson, along with associate Kyle Wombolt, who will join the firm as counsel. Four Townsend IP litigation partnersByron Cooper, Gregory Bishop, April Abele and Thomas Fitzpatrickare joining Goodwin, as is Latham corporate partner William Davisson. Abele will work in San Francisco. The firm said it expects to hire as many as 15 associates.
Recruiter Carl Baier, who was not involved, applauded the deal. "It can be challenging to get groups of partners and associates at brand-name firms to move to an out-of-town firm," said Baier, who heads Silicon Valley-based Baier Legal Search. Goodwin Makes Its Valley Move, The Recorder, June 7, 2007.
"It's a big deal for their name and perhaps the end of an era, " said Carl Baier of Baier Legal Search who did a stint at Africa's firm. "I think Marty has played a big role with them—I think it will be interesting to see what happens. " Recruiter Marty Africa Makes Major Move, The Recorder, May 24, 2007.
Silicon Valley legal recruiter Carl Baier said firms of Keker's size have summer associate programs "in varying degrees" and differ mainly in how aggressively they market themselves in on-campus interviewing. Smaller firms tend to rely more on lateral recruits, he said, while the larger outfits use summer programs to restock the base of their pyramid.
"My hunch is that Keker has relied on lateral hiring and now is big enough to establish a stronger, more relationship-based pipeline to a few top law schools," Baier said. "It's a competitive advantage to have your name get around in a positive manner," he added. Keker Wants Earlier Shot at Talent, The Recorder, May 22, 2007.
"You have to think there's greater pressure on big firms to raise billing rates," Silicon Valley legal recruiter Carl Baier said. "Smaller firms with lower leverage can come out ahead, despite hikes in rates and pay." How Small Firms Are Managing $160,000 Salaries, The Recorder, May 14, 2007.
Leading a company through troubled legal waters may be a selling point for some companies, said Carl Baier, a Silicon Valley legal recruiter. But by Baier's estimation, Lavelle's 15 years at Intel was probably a stronger selling point. Rambus likely values the decades-strong reputation Intel has built as a trusted public company, Baier said. "Intel is a Silicon Valley icon," he said. "They seem to be above the recent fray." Lavelle to ride herd as new Rambus GC, The Recorder, November 15, 2006.
"If you're a player on the national or world stage, you need to have a presence here," said Carl Baier, a legal recruiter in Silicon Valley. Bouyed By Economy, More Law Firms Are Expanding in Valley, Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal, April 14, 2006.
The latest corporate scandals that forced out general counsel from several of the world's biggest tech companies have stuck their legal departments with a leadership vacuum.
These companiesHewlett-Packard, McAfee and KLA-Tencor, to name a feware without a doubt trying to fill those crucial positions. And whoever steps into the shoes of their GCs will have to be superheroes among attorneys, said Silicon Valley recruiter Carl Baier.
"They obviously need someone who is squeaky clean," he said. "I don't think they can afford to have another embarrassing situation. Especially for high-profile, large public companies, icons of Silicon Valley." Valley Companies on a Star Search, Law.com, The Recorder (cover story) October 28, 2006; A GC Vacuum in Silicon Valley, The National Law Journal, November 6, 2006.
Given today's regulatory climate, the appeal of a lawyer with prosecutorial experience is obvious, experts say, "They have some sensitivity to what will catch the eye of the SEC or other government enforcement bodies," says Carl Baier, president of recruiting firm Baier Legal Search, LLC and a former Deputy Attorney General for California. "Companies are looking for someone who can keep them out of trouble and who has good judgment in terms of securities compliance. That has become from and center." Where Good General Counsel Come From, Compliance Week, November 21, 2006.
Training is one of biggest differentiators between firms. I can't think of a firm that says, "Well, gee, we don't train anymore, we don't take it very seriously," but in fact, there is a spectrum. There are some firms that train well and others that don't. Associate candidates, in particular, need to think about where's the beef on training. And it shouldn't be lost on the partner candidates because that impacts the quality of their associates. The Recruiter's Roundtable, April 12, 2006.
Carl Baier, a Silicon Valley legal recruiter, says it is unusualbut not unheard offor a company of Novellus' size to go without a chief attorney, given the numerous routine matters that need to be done on a regular basis, such as securities filings, patent applications and litigation risk assessment. "It implies that you're relying heavily on outside counsel," says Baier. A GC for Novellus, GC California Magazine, May 30, 2006.
"I think it is rare for someone to say they are going and not actually depart because it can change how you are perceived in terms of the long-term goals of the firm," said recruiter Carl Baier. Wilson Veteran Vanyo Lands at Kirkland, The Recorder, February 3, 2006.
For all its reach and ambition, Wilson [Sonsini] came of age as a provincial powerhouse, and that mind-set can be hard to shake. Especially when the province that Wilson helped build seemed destined to be the center of the new world… "If you live and work here [in Silicon Valley], and you’re doing well, why mess with it?" asks headhunter Carl Baier… "People love to hate Wilson," says Baier. "But I think it’s an impressive place." How Deep is the Valley?Life Beyond Larry, The American Lawyer, December 2005 (cover story); Life After Larry, The Recorder, December 1, 2005 (front page story).
Recruiters from the Silicon Valley to Hong Kong say a growing number of firms are approaching them for help in finding a bilingual candidate with strong corporate skills and the willingness to practice law in an evolving legal arena. “It’s a limited pool,” said Silicon Valley recruiter Carl Baier, who recently handled work for candidates in China and India. “And the people who fit that description are getting a lot of calls... .” “It’s the wild wild East. There are all those issues, but that can be exciting to people.” Baier said…“Firms want people on the ground there,” Baier said. “Say you’re Carmen Chang at Wilson Sonsini. You want people doing the work and making the clients feel secure because you’re down the street. But you don’t want to lose your Silicon Valley connection, either.” Firms Fight for Limited Pool of China Experts, The Los Angeles Daily Journal, October 27, 2005.
Silicon Valley recruiter Carl Baier recently handled work for candidates in China and India, and as a solo he forges deals with larger search firms in other parts of the world. Headhunting heats up in China market, The Recorder, September 27, 2005.
"There have been instances when dangling an extraordinary amount of money in front of a partner will cause them to make a move," suggests legal recruiter Carl Baier. Lonely Digs for Shrinking Firm, The Recorder, May 16, 2005
"Many lawyers move at the start of the year following bonus awards," [commented Carl Baier]. IP Ace Gaede is Latest Cooley Defector, The Recorder, February 11, 2005
"I would say there has been rejuvenated interest in top-tier lateral associates," said Carl Baier, president of Baier Legal Search. First-Year Classes Flat as Demand Picks Up, The Recorder, October 28, 2004
With that kind of momentum, Silicon Valley legal search consultant Carl Baier says he's ready to describe Morgan Lewis as a formidable competitor in the state. "They absorbed a very significant number of people from two very significant firms with significant presences here," Baier says. "They didn't just bring out five people from Philadelphia... People in Silicon Valley may not instantly recognize them, although they are a major national firm... Name recognition matters to some Silicon Valley clients for the same reason people buy Clorox rather than generic bleach." Don't Call Them Brobeck, The Daily Journal, July 26, 2004
"At smaller firms there is a true concept of partnership rather than hundreds of partners." San Jose Firm Welcomes its Three Newest Attorneys, Daily Journal Newswire, July 26, 2004
"It seems like a prudent, well-thought-out move into a market that makes sense for them." Wilson Sonsini Sees Sunny Days in San Diego, The Recorder, April 27, 2004
"Silicon Valley is back, I really believe that... Cooley is such a big part of Silicon Valley that they're bound to benefit from that in a significant way... even if you have some partner defections here and there." Latham Captivates Cooley Tech-Transactions Partner, The Daily Journal, April 19, 2004
"That [RIAA v. Diamond Multimedia case] was groundbreaking... He has high profile cases and a very interesting range of work. It's a really good opportunity for a Chicago-based firm to expand its repertoire of what it has here. He gives them some nice credibility on the IP front." Bridges Leaves Wilson Sonsini for Winston & Strawn, The Daily Journal, April 14, 2004
"Firms want a consistent level of experience among all their ranks to properly staff deals... You can't have six partners and one first-year working on a dealor vice versa, for that matter." These days, managing partners and recruiters scrutinize associates' experience more closely than they once did, Baier said, 'third-year' is no longer shorthand for a particular level of experience. "People want to know if they were just playing Ping-Pong at the printer or what they were actually working on." The Experience Gap, The Recorder, March 30, 2004
"Any firm that wants to be truly international has to have an office in China." Heller Opens Beijing OfficeThird in China, The Recorder, March 26, 2004; Firm Adds New China Office, New York Lawyer, March 26, 2004
"I do think the reason you're seeing that (pay increase) is there is a feeling in the air that things are turning around and no one wants to lose the people they really want to keep." Valley Firms Raise Ante for Lawyers, San Francisco Business Times, March 5-11, 2004
The most critical check would have been to make sure Vanyo's move wouldn't jeopardize important existing client relationships at Weil Gotshal. That's according to Carl Baier of Baier Legal Search in Palo Alto, who spoke as a disinterested expert. A conflict "doesn't just disqualify Bruce - it potentially disqualifies Weil from the representation, and that's messy. It would typically be Weil that wants the waivers from Wilson Sonsini's clients because they don't want to get disqualified from representation later. Opposing a motion to disqualify is something you don't want to have to do, even if you prevail." Holding Firm, The Daily Journal, March 5, 2004
"Slowly but surely, I think things are starting to pick up." Recovery May Be Starting, But It Will Be Slow, Mercury News, February 28, 2004
Carl Baier, president of Baier Legal Search in Portola Valley, said the news reflects "the continuing pattern of large out-of-town firms working to acquire local talent as part of the strategy to expand their presence... Anyone who's anyone eventually needs an office here in Northern California... I don't believe that it reflects negatively on Pillsbury... This sounds like an individual making an assessment of an attractive opportunity to join another major national firm. Large firms of stature who are new in town often understand they may have to make attractive offers to get the people they want." Akin Gump Gets A Pair of Veterans For Its S.F. Office, Daily Journal, February 5, 2004
"The bottom line is they're trying to figure out if, all things considered, they can cut a better deal or find a better fit for what they want in their career." Foreign Agenda, The Daily Journal, October 13, 2003
"If a certain amount of time goes by, and you don't have things to put on your resume, and the year behind you catches up, you are caught in a squeeze play... I think that is happening now, and I think there's going to be additional scrutiny when things pick up. Employers will ask: 'What types of deals has this person been working on? What have they really been doing?'" The Unemployed Lose More Than a Paycheck, The New York Times, September 14, 2003
"It was a great model that has its vulnerabilities when the market is not hot." Heller Ehrman, Venture Merger Highlights Consolidation Trend, The Wall Street Journal, September 3, 2003
"There's an emotional let-down, perhaps, for those partners who were in favor of a particular merger... It's human nature [for partners] to continue assessing their own career goals and whether what they want can be accomplished by staying where they are or by considering a move. . . . Cooley is a very good firm with a very long history in the Bay Area. I would expect them, if they're considering mergers, to methodically and carefully evaluate other potential merger partners." Latest Departures from Cooley Spark New Speculation, The Daily Journal, August 26, 2003
"Picking off promising partners from Valley firms has become an accepted model for major out-of-town firms to build their stature and presence in the Valley." Asia Practice Transactional Lawyer Moves to Shearman, The Daily Journal, July 23, 2003
"Both of those firms were obviously high-profit places that were able to attract the cream of the crop in terms of people coming out of law school... their business model wasn't created for the economy that we're in now." Adaptions, The Daily Journal, April 21, 2003
"All of the out-ot-towners who have been salivating will be thrilled with this development... It removes Brobeck as a competitor and increases the supply of well-respected lawyers with portable books of business... I think you'll see groups moving. Whether you are a buyer or a seller in this situation, there are lots of really good lawyers at Brobeck with lots of good clients." Brobeck's Loss is Others' Gain, The Daily Journal, February 4, 2003
"It's a sign of the times here." Silicon Valley Law Firms Retrench as Deals, Stock Portfolios Dwindle, The Wall Street Journal, June 15, 2001
"They see big firms as a springboard to another firm or to industry [associates are] looking for the most cards to play." Keys to The Kingdom, The American Lawyer, October 2000
"It's a very active market both for law firms and in-house positions... Firms here can't find enough good people." Employment Scene Rosy for New Lawyers, East Bay Business Times, September 11, 2000
By Carl A. Baier
Help Wanted: Searching for the Thaw, The National Law Journal, December 24-31, 2001.
Don't Like Your Job? Try Staying Put, The National Law Journal, August 15, 2001