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Buchalter Continues Expanding in San Diego

LAW: Tripled Headcount in 6 Years Moves Firm to New Office

SAN DIEGO – Buchalter, a business law firm that opened its San Diego office six years ago with a goal of growing to have a staff of about 20, has expanded far faster than expected.

As of late March, Buchalter had 60 lawyers in San Diego and has gone from a two-room operation in a different downtown building to take over the entire 16th floor of the office tower at 655 W. Broadway and half of another floor.

Adam Bass
President & CEO
Buchalter

“We’re pretty proud of what we’ve accomplished,” said Adam Bass, Buchalter’s president and CEO.

Unlike some law firms that expand through acquisitions, Bass said, “All of that growth has been organic.”

“We didn’t acquire a firm. We grew. Every one of our lawyers was hired individually, which is great for your culture because you don’t get somebody else’s culture. You get people who want to join you as opposed to acquiring a firm, because they’re failing, or they feel they need or want what you have. These folks all joined us because they want to be here,” Bass said. “It’s not just the numbers, it’s the quality of lawyers and the breadth of their practice.”

Although the firm has more than 400 lawyers, Bass said its culture is that of a family business.

“We treat people with respect,” Bass said. “There’s a shared ethos within the firm that crosses over gender, ethnicity – all of this. And we’re all about having fun.”

Bass, who earned a bachelor’s degree and a law degree from the University of San Diego, said that the San Diego office has a wide-ranging practice that includes real estate law, labor and employment law, patents, intellectual property, tax law, general business litigation, land use, and trusts and estate law, adding that it also is a base for the firm’s Latin America practice, Bass said.

Growth Exceeds Expectations

The San Diego office is the third largest of Buchalter’s 12 offices, and Bass said that the firm may open a satellite San Diego office in North County or further expand its downtown office.

“I would prefer, all things being equal, maybe keeping one location,” Bass said. “I know there are lawyers in the office that would love to have a North County (office), because it’s close to where they live and that sort of thing.”

Bass said that he expects the San Diego office to continue to grow, although he hasn’t set a goal for how big he would like it to become.

“We don’t put a number on it or anything like that,” Bass said. “As many great lawyers who want to join us and embrace our culture, we’d love to have them.”

When the San Diego office opened, “We had moderate expectations, we thought we’d be 20, 25 lawyers. We didn’t think we’d be 60 in six years,” Bass said. “It just kept growing. Every time we’d sort of settle on space, by the time it was built, we’d be out of if.”

As the firm grows, Bass said that he expects the San Diego office to become further embedded in the region.

“All of our offices have direct connections to their community, but in San Diego, in particular, you will see that on a regular basis, the strong bond with the community. I think that’s really helped us with our growth,” Bass said. “We understand San Diego.

We didn’t come from New York. I spent every summer of my life in San Diego, I own a house in San Diego. I lived in San Diego. I went to school in San Diego, my sister was born there.”

Buchalter
FOUNDED: 1933
SAN DIEGO HEADQUARTERS: downtown
PRESIDENT & CEO: Adam Bass
BUSINESS: law firm
ATTORNEYS: 400+ firm-wide
WEBSITE: www.buchalter.com
CONTACT: 619-219-5335
NOTABLE: Ranked the 131st largest law firm on the 2023 American Lawyer Media’s Am Law 200 survey, Buchalter has offices in California, Arizona, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Colorado, and Tennessee

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