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Courtney Baird

Class-action attorney is pleased with career path

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In 2000 Courtney Baird was wrapping up her undergraduate degree at San Diego State University when her father, a lawyer, told her, “You can never go wrong with a law degree. It’s always something to fall back on.”

She’d grown up listening to his stories about cases and decided to take his advice. During her first year at the University of San Diego School of Law, she quickly became enthralled -- even though she said a lot of other students weren’t.

“I guess I was one of those odd people who really loved it from the start, and I’m happy I chose that path,” said Baird, 35.

As an associate trial lawyer in the San Diego office of Duane Morris LLP, Baird focuses on unfair competition, false advertising, consumer protection claims, contract disputes, banking, corporate and partnership governance, franchise disputes, and other complex litigation matters.

According to Duane Morris managing partner Edward Cramp, Baird has extensive experience in defending class actions and has represented numerous San Diego companies in highly contentious matters.

She has been part of a team serving as local counsel to a large national bank with a sizable presence in the city, assisting them with San Diego-based disputes. She has helped a local document scanning and data storage company in a complex shareholder lawsuit, and has counseled a well-known local community health center in delicate employment matters.

Baird has worked with a San Diego domestic-violence center on privilege issues and agreements between the center’s counselors, and has worked extensively for local private educational institutions in accreditation, employment concerns and student issues. In many cases, her clients have avoided costly legal trouble entirely or prevailed in difficult cases.

“I do a lot of class-action suits, and they’re always a big threat to any business because the potential liability many times can crumble a business,” Baird said. “I’ve had a couple of big cases that have come out very favorably for the client.”

She enjoys the unique aspects of each case and applying the law to creatively solve problems in alignment with client objectives.

During law school Baird participated in legal clinics in which she provided free legal services to local residents in need and currently provides pro bono legal services. Active in several community organizations including Lawyer's Club of San Diego, the American Inns of Court and the San Diego County Bar Association, she also serves on the board of governors of the San Diego chapter of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers. Baird enjoys mentoring young lawyers at Duane Morris and other local law firms.

“Along the way I had great mentors in all aspects of my career,” Baird said. “I feel that I should always give back that way whether someone is in high school and deciding what path they want to take or is in law school.”

Baird is working toward becoming a partner at Duane Morris. In that role, she intends to continue mentoring lawyers in her office and the local community, as well as serving on legal boards. Eventually, she’d like to be managing partner of the San Diego office.

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