Why I left a BigLaw Partnership to Become a Legal Recruiter

by Hsu Untied (by Richard Hsu)

Tuesday, May 16, 2017 - Today is my last day at Shearman & Sterling and more importantly, my last day as a practicing lawyer. Tomorrow, I start as a legal recruiter at Major Lindsey & Africa. Many people have asked me why.

...so many of the things I have done have revolved around building and investing in relationships.

When I first considered this career change after 25 years as a practicing lawyer (15 of them as a partner), I asked a close friend and he said “everything you have done in your whole life has prepared you for this job.” I think this was his shorthand way of telling me that so many of the things I have done have revolved around building and investing in relationships.

When I graduated from Caltech as an electrical engineer, I decided to go to law school because I didn’t like the isolation of being a scientist or programmer.

When I was a third year Associate at the law firm of Lyon & Lyon, I gave up a window office in the tallest building in downtown Los Angeles to join a venture backed company in an industrial building so that I could have a ringside seat at a startup with Nobel laureate Robert H. Grubbs.

When I moved to the Bay Area in 1999, instead of working at one of the large established law firms, I decided to join Venture Law Group founded by Craig Johnson, so that I could work more closely and directly with startup founders, many of whom were friends and college classmates.

When I joined Shearman & Sterling in 2012 to be the Global Head of their IP Transactions practice, I started a blog called HsuTube so that I could make videos with my then 13 year old daughter to explain intellectual property and licensing issues.

Three years ago, I started a podcast called HsuUntied so that I could interview lawyers, authors and other notable celebrities, including Mark CubanSteve Wozniak and Big Bird, to name just a few.

So when I got this opportunity to join Major Lindsey & Africa as a legal recruiter, I realized that this job was the perfect culmination of my background, knowledge, experience, interests and relationships. My experience as a Practice Group Leader at Shearman & Sterling allows me to understand the skills and experience to be a partner at an AmLaw 20 law firm; but at the same time relate to lawyers who want a more creative and entrepreneurial environment. My blog HsuUntied has allowed me to understand how a lawyer’s interests and passions can form an important part of their professional lives. My experience as the former Managing Partner at Townsend LLP helped me to understand the importance of lateral partner growth and how to successfully lead a firm through a strategic merger.

Now we'll see if my friend was right!

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Hsu Untied (by Richard Hsu)

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