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Bulldogs and a Motorcycle

Paul Batta wanted something unconventional when he and his partner, Dan Fulkerson, moved from downtown to new offices in Mission Hills.

People “get that real experience with us. It’s not this up-tight attorney in a suit. It’s ‘let’s hear you and help you out,’” Batta said. “When they walk through the door, they get me, the way I am. We want to give clients a real experience without the fluffery.”

The unconventional feel Batta and Fulkerson wanted starts right up front in the new offices.

For starters, there’s a blue Harley-Davidson motorcycle encased in a glass display.

A Crazy Idea

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“With the motorcycle, we wanted to do something that incorporated us and San Diego,” Batta said, adding that Fulkerson is “a big motorcycle guy” as are some of the firm’s clients.

“It’s one of many crazy ideas that got brainstormed, but I’d probably give credit to Dan Fulkerson,” Bata said. “We thought it would be a good centerpiece.”

The motorcycle was custom-painted blue and covered in small bulldog paintings.

Bulldogs are a theme that runs throughout the new offices, from a big mural on a wall to the live animals that roam about.

“There’s bulldogs all over, inside and out,” Batta said, explaining that Fulkerson is a big fan of bulldogs and has several of them.

For people who are comfortable around dogs, Batta said the bulldogs also help calm nervous clients.

There’s also a fully operational phone booth.

Modern touches come with the new technology throughout.

Conference rooms are equipped with large flat-screen televisions that have internet access for video conferencing and case files and other documents are stored digitally.

“We have a pretty gnarly sound system in here in case we’re hosting an event,” Batta said.

Growing Fast

Batta and Fulkerson bought the 11,700 square-foot building at 1899 McKee St. in late 2019 for $5 million and spent about $1.3 million renovating, moving to the new location in September.

They made the move because the firm had outgrown the 3,400 square-feet of space they had been leasing in the Wells Fargo building downtown.

“We bought the building to expand but we also wanted to build it out in a way that was modern and helped support a lot of what we’re about,” Batta said. “We’re big on community service and we’re big on community events. We wanted our office to be able to be utilized for events and be a good space for our team.”

Bata said the firm contributes financially to more than 20 nonprofit organizations and frequently hosts events for them.

“The more we helped the community, the more we’ve been able to grow and prosper,” Bata said.

He and Fulkerson started their practice as a two-person office in the Procopio Tower at 525 B St. in April 2016.

“We shared about 250 square feet,” Batta said. “It’s been a pretty crazy expansion.”

Their firm specializes in personal injury cases, taking clients on a contingency basis.

Starting Fresh

Batta and Fulkerson bought the Mission Hills building before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, but Batta said now with the pandemic here, he’s glad to be out of the congestion of a high-rise office building with shared elevators.

“We were one of hundreds of tenants,” Bata said. They are the only tenant in the new building, and for now, they using only the first floor.

The building was vacant when Batta and Fulkerson bought it.

“It was just a ton of offices. It was really a dense office space,” said Andre Childers, vice president of preconstruction of Pacific Building Group – the general contractor on the project.

Pacific Building Group gutted the building to start fresh with a design developed by John Letter of L7 Studio Architects in collaboration with Batta and Fulkerson.

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