Business of Law

Potential Layoffs Push Ex-BigLaw Colleagues Into Successful Small Practice


As potential layoffs loomed last year, three BigLaw associates in Southern California decided to form their own corporate and investor-side bankruptcy firm, even though they didn’t yet have a book of business.

Now William “Chris” Manderson, John Schafer and Lance McKinlay expect to hire two or three associates this year, reports the Recorder in an article reprinted in New York Lawyer (reg. req.).

The former Paul Hastings Janofsky & Walker colleagues apparently didn’t burn any bridges, and have their former law firm to thank for some of the work that has come their way. Manderson Schafer & McKinlay also got a great deal on its Newport Beach office rent, making a lowball offer of $18 per square foot to sublease long-vacant space, which was accepted.

A little over a year ago, after five years as a corporate associate in the Orange County office of Paul Hastings, “I was nine years out of law school in an office that wasn’t growing,” Manderson tells the legal publication. “It was pretty clear that sitting around wasn’t going to lead to anything good.”

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