Frequently Asked Questions
How sophisticated is the legal practice in San Diego generally and at Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek in particular?
San Diego is a major legal and business center which continues to grow and attract new businesses which require first-rate legal services, frequently on the cutting edges of the law. While all manner of business transactions and litigation arise in San Diego, the San Diego legal community prides itself on practicing in an atmosphere of collegiality and professional respect. It does not take very long for a young attorney to acquire a professional reputation within the local bar and the local courts. Our firm prides itself on the diverse clients we represent and matters we handle, which include some of the largest and most complex legal matters which arise in the dynamic business and legal environment of San Diego. Our firm has a well-established reputation for excellence and integrity within the San Diego legal community
Why should I join Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek, a medium-sized law firm based solely in San Diego, when I could instead join the San Diego office of a large national or international firm?
There are many factors to consider in selecting a potential law firm employer. We believe that our firm possess many advantages which will be attractive to many beginning lawyers. At our current size of approximately sixty attorneys, we are large enough within the San Diego legal community to attract major, sophisticated and cutting-edge legal matters, but remain small enough to foster a collegial work environment in which even the most junior attorney is—and is treated as—an important member of our collective professional enterprise. We believe that our firm provides an opportunity to practice law at the highest professional levels within an organization that respects and values the contribution of each individual attorney on a personal level
Does Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek have a traditional “partnership” system, and how difficult is it for a young attorney to become a “partner” or “member” of the firm?
We are organized as a professional corporation and our attorneys are either associates or members (shareholders) of the firm. Our firm prides itself on attracting and retaining talented individual attorneys, many of whom have spent their entire professional lives practicing at our firm. Our firm has no quotas for admission to membership in the firm, and associate attorneys who have been with the firm for seven years (shorter periods of time in the case of lateral hires) typically are considered for promotion to membership in the firm. We believe that our firm offers an ambitious young attorney a realistic and reasonable path to membership in the firm, based on proven commitment and professional performance.
Is your firm a “sweat shop” which requires that young attorneys perform an inordinate amount of billable hours as a condition of their employment?
While attorneys at our firm generally work hard and have a deep commitment to professional excellence, we have not set absurdly high minimum billable hour requirements for either our associate or member attorneys. We normally expect that our associates will bill a minimum of 1,900 hours annually and that members of the firm will bill a minimum of 1,800 hours annually. While many of our attorneys routinely exceed these minimum levels, and exceptional associate performance (in terms of either hours worked or clients originated) is rewarded through a bonus program, our firm culture does not foster cutthroat competition with respect to hours worked. We encourage our attorneys to develop well-rounded personal and professional lives, believing that happy, well-balanced individuals generally are better and more effective attorneys than unhappy, one-dimensional drones. In summary, we believe that our firm has fair and rational expectations in terms of the commitment of time and effort it expects from attorneys at the firm.