Offhand, not many people would equate the responsibilities of the managing director of a major law firm with those of the general manager of a professional football team. Well, hold onto your briefs, but the NFL Network recently made the comparison and, to help establish parallels, interviewed David Osias, the San Diego-based managing partner of Allen Matkins, a firm of approximately 220 attorneys with five equal-sized offices in San Diego, San Francisco, Irvine, downtown Los Angeles and Century City.
Allen Matkins is celebrating its 35th year overall and the 25th year of its office in San Diego. The firm is a multidisciplinary practice, with expertise in a wide range of services and industries, "but we have a particularly deep and large expertise in things related to real estate," said Osias, who has practiced law since 1979 and joined Allen Matkins in 1991. "We're probably the biggest real estate (law) group in the western United States, notwithstanding that we're only in California at the moment."
For Osias, finding the right personnel for his team – particularly via free agency – is highly competitive and no less important to the success of Allen Matkins than are the comparable efforts of, say, A.J. Smith to the success of the Chargers.
Without debating whether Osias or Smith has done the better job, respectively, for his organization, it's undeniable that Osias has assembled an outstanding team that has achieved tremendous success on behalf of their clients.
Among Allen Matkins' exemplary team members is Amy Wintersheimer Findley, a practicing attorney for 20 years, the past eight of which have been spent as an employment litigation partner and trial lawyer in the San Diego office. A key player in matters relating to labor and employment, which comprise another major element of Allen Matkins' expertise, Wintersheimer Findley handles litigation in state and federal court, in addition to appellate matters.
"Despite being a litigator by trade, I consider myself to be a value-added business partner as opposed to a 'scorched-earth' litigator, but I can scorch your earth if you want me to. I go to trial and I go to trial frequently with great results," said Wintersheimer Findley. "But I really view myself as being more value-added, from the perspective of doing what is best for (my client's) organization and being an outside member of (my client's) organization that develops trust and respect."
Wintersheimer Findley is often in the position of protecting her clients from the opportunistic lawyers of plaintiffs trying to take advantage of California's liberal Labor Code and laws. Her national clients include Delta Airlines, Stryker Corporation (one of the world's leading medical technology companies) and T-Mobile. Among the wide variety of public companies in San Diego represented by Wintersheimer Findley are Qualcomm, Life Technologies, AMN Healthcare, and Bumblebee Tuna.
"In California, almost every area (of labor law) goes beyond what federal law provides for. You see significant issues in the wage-and-hour context, which gets a lot of publicity," she said. "So that is a perpetual challenge. (Labor laws) are different in California than they are elsewhere and a lot of national employers will inadvertently fall into following their standard practices nationwide and run afoul of California law."
So, as in the case of a successful NFL team, the ongoing success of Allen Matkins is ultimately dependent on expert personnel and execution.
"If someone has a complex issue involving land, water, air, building, development...we have experts that are really good and care and can help," said Osias. We have lots of great talent here in San Diego, but here we operate as one firm. We build client-service teams out of the best people to help the client, from across our resources."
501 West Broadway, 15th Floor | San Diego, CA 92101-3541 | Phone 619-233-1155 | Fax 619-233-1158 | www.allenmatkins.com
Tony Lovitt is a freelance writer based in La Jolla. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.