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Career Center Survey Results: Top Partners to Work For – California (Part 2)

Today we wrap up coverage of the top California partners to work for, as selected by our readers (see Part 1 here).

These six partners have diverse practices that range from real estate, to labor and employment, to IP, and work at some of the nation’s finest firms: Cooley, DLA Piper, Sheppard Mullin, Jones Day, Bingham McCutchen, and Best Best & Krieger.

Let’s find out why associates are thrilled to be working for these partners….

Heidi Keefe. It’s easy to see why associates love working for Keefe, a Cooley IP litigation partner: “Heidi is the dynamic, young, friendly partner that every associate is looking for when they seek out a mentor. She gives you early opportunities to run cases, cares about you as a human being, and is open and honest about feedback. Also she has really cool clients in the tech space.”

Richard Mendelson. Associates praise Mendelson, a DLA Piper real estate partner and co-chair of the firm’s Real Estate Restructuring and Loan Workouts Practice Group, for being an “[a]mazing mentor, [who] really knows his stuff, and genuinely one of the nicest and smartest people I know,” as well as “approachable, great at training associates.”

James Mercer. An associate says Mercer, a Sheppard Mullin corporate partner and co-chair of the Corporate Practice Group, is one of the best partners for countless reasons: “Mercer is an exceptional person. He is very easy to work with because (i) he treats associates like colleagues, (ii) gives significant responsibility to associates, (iii) involves associates in the strategic considerations relating to clients, (iv) is not afraid to have associates have an active role in the client relationship and (v) does not engage in recriminations when things do not go exactly as planned. Also important, he’s a nice guy with an even personality. His family is even nice. He has been given more and more administrative responsibility at the firm because the firm managers recognize these traits as well. And, to boot, I have been working with him for five years, and don’t recall one instance where a client has left him to go to another law firm. That’s impressive, especially since his bread and butter practice is to have long term relationships with clients given his 1934 Act/corporate governance practice with public companies.”

Rich Ruben. It’s no wonder that “[v]irtually all of the associates want to work for Rich [Ruben],” a Jones Day litigation partner. “Rich is considered one of the top Jones Day trial attorneys in California. Most big trials, particularly in Southern California, are routed to or through him. He has his choice of work and associates. And yet he’s still absolutely great to work for. He’s very hands-off. He gives associates responsibility and lets them run with it, but is always available for questions. He lets the associates handle as much as they feel comfortable doing. He typically only handles very important hearings and trial, letting his associates handle most or all of the other hearings, depos, etc. But he provides great insight and instruction. He is also very personable and takes a true interest in the lives and well-being of his associates. Perhaps most unusual, he respects associates’ schedules. If you have a vacation or trip planned, he makes every effort to schedule around it.”

Arthur Silbergeld. A Bingham McCutchen labor and employment partner, “Art gives amazing experience to associates with whom he works, including allowing them to take depositions, run cases, and regularly interact with clients. Art regularly goes to trial and allows the associate on the case to actively participate and examine several witnesses. In addition to the great experience he offers associates, he takes the time to get to know the associates with whom he works on a personal level. He is approachable and a great mentor.”

Jill Willis. Willis, a Best Best & Krieger environmental partner, is “a pleasure to work for” because she “takes a real interest in associate development,” gives “detailed feedback, [and has an] open door policy,” is “more of a mentor than a boss,” “really wants associates to succeed professionally and personally,” and is “someone who really remembers how it was to be a new associate and seeks to make the transition as smoothly as possible while still giving challenging work.”

Stay tuned as we head into the homestretch and conclude our Top Partners series by highlighting the best partners in some of the smaller legal markets. Are the partners at your firm not up to par? Lateral Link’s experienced team of recruiters can help you make a lateral move.