Archive for November, 2008

Job Posting: Litigation Paralegal – Palo Alto

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett’s Palo Alto office has an opening for a mid-level litigation paralegal. Needs to have 4-6 years of experience with taking the lead on cases and experience with court filings.

Please contact:

Laura Knight
Office Manager
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP
2550 Hanover Street
Palo Alto, CA 94304

Tel: (650) 251-5174
Cell: (415) 509-6001
Fax: (650) 251-5002

Getting Call Backs From Potential Employers

Over at Shifting Careers, which is the New York Times’ new work and career blog for the 21st century, author Michael Melcher has some great tips on how to ensure you’ll get call backs when in the middle of a job search.

Click here to read “They Never Write, They Never Call,” and learn more about various methods to use when conducting a job search. One interesting concept, which I’ve whole-heartedly embraced is this:

Make connections for other people. Whatever barriers you are facing in the employment markets, you are probably in a position to others in their job searches, whether through advice, referrals or just being a friend. Helping others make progress is a good way to remind yourself that you do have an impact on the world.”

I can say that on any given day, as I work with recruiters and my networking contacts in order to post available positions on Thelen The Pain and on Heller Highwater, there is no better high than seeing a colleague snag a new position based on a lead I sent their way. It’s what I call “career karma” and not only does it keep me busy and networking while I am out of work, I know it will reap big rewards down the road.

Do You Still Drink The Law Firm Kool-Aid?

A bit of a rambling post here – I just wanted to check in and see if most ex-Heller staff, especially those who have not yet made it to dry land, are still looking only within the legal field.  With over 20 years of experience working in large global law firms, each time I make a job change (through my own devices or when it is imposed upon me), I consider not staying in the field.  What about you?

For me, working for BigLaw had pluses and minuses and despite what people tell you, not all firms are the same.  We all migrate towards certain firms based on not just the benefits and perks offered, but based on the “firm culture.”  That is the reason why I stayed with Heller Ehrman – the firm culture and philosophy was in synch with my own in terms of its progressive outlook and always being ahead of the curve.  Little did I know that when it came down to tough times, Heller management would totally disregard such a culture and rely mainly on a “dissolution playbook” handed to them by outside counsel.

Face it, the perks of working for a large law firm are great from the three weeks vacation to start, holidays, Friday breakfasts, free sodas and coffee, parties, transportation allowance, etc.  And the trade offs are frequently having to deal with high pressure atmospheres, deadlines and difficult people.  How’s that for being diplomatic?

Personally, I’ve worked for some horrendous firms with 3:00 am phone calls filled with abusive language that made Sarah Silverman look like Mother Teresa.  And I’ve worked for some great firms despite being on call 24/7 and pulling 36-hour shifts to upgrade servers or desktops.  I stuck with BigLaw mostly for “the security” as I call it.  Great atmosphere, great people, great benefits, great retirement.

But after my last gig, at Heller, seeing that security pulled out from under me, and not having basic labor laws such as paying accrued vacation followed, I begin to have my doubts.  I’m not sure that I’m willing to invest my usual 110% at a firm that might possibly turn on its employees in such a way.  And Heller is not an isolated case – just look at the staffers at Thelen.

So for now, I’ll take the consulting route which I’ve always shied away from since I had to do my own taxes, pay my own Social Security and retirement, secure my own benefits, etc.  But I am my own boss responsible for my own security.  I can pick and choose which clients I want to work with and what projects I want to tackle.  More control, less stress but more paperwork and bookkeeping.  Seems like a fair trade in today’s economic situation and the lack of full-time jobs.

I and probably many of the readers would like to hear from others, both staff and attorneys, as to why they’ve decided to stay in the legal field.  Or if you’ve left why you made that decision.

Job Postings: Various Staff Positions – Bay Area

For all of these new positions, please contact:

Rachel Moran
Placement Director
Integrity. Service. Results
Phone: 707.775.3000
Fax: 707.775.3399
Cell: 415.269.4633

San Francisco (by appt only)
Phone: 415.986.4323
Fax: 415.986.4321


San Francisco

Human Resources/Attorney Recruiting Coordinator
Newly created position at top notch firm. 2 yrs. HR experience in law firm preferred.

Help Desk Analyst
Solid work experience as a help desk/IT team member. Knowledge of legal software applications.

In-House Litigation Paralegal
Great opportunity to join successful SF corporation.5-7 years of CA litigation experience, varied practice areas desired and excellent technical abilities.


Palo Alto

Sr. Level Corporate Paralegal
Law firm experience preferred and 7+ years of corporate transactional experience, preferably in M&A, Securities and Corporate Governance.

Sr. IP Litigation Paralegal
10 years of CA litigation experience (must meet ABA requirements), at least 5 in IP

Litigation Secretary
New position at growing Silicon Valley office. Must have solid CA litigation skills and work history.

Please forward resumes in Word format to
Ask about our referral and sign-on bonuses!

Job Postings: Patent Agents

For all these positions contact:

Craig Rofhok
Elite Legal Search LLC
8305 Vickers Street, St 201
San Diego, CA 92037

Patent Agent – Sunnyvale CA Area

Our client, a large pharmaceutical company in San Diego is seeking a Patent Agent. The selected candidate will be responsible for patent prosecution of biotechnology and biological device inventions. The candidate may also assist in other IP functions, such as freedom to operate analysis and prior art analysis. As a member of the company’s intellectual property strategy team, the selected candidate will contribute to important strategic patent procurement and enforcement decisions. The patent agent may be responsible for a variety of technologies, including protein separation devices and methods, RNAi, cell biology transfection assays, and cell and biochemical drug discovery assays, depending on technical expertise. The patent agent will work on all aspects of patent prosecution including preparing responses and drafting patent applications, and will operate in a manner that both enables a full understanding of the business context of their efforts. The patent agent will work closely with business and R&D colleagues to protect inventions in a manner that is consistent with their technical merit and commercial value – drafting a professional work product that will stand up to judicial or licensee scrutiny.


We are looking for a person that has high technical ability, strong preference for an advanced degree in molecular biology, bioengineering, biotechnology, or biochemistry, and patent prosecution and drafting experience in biological devices, biotechnology and/or bioengineering. The right person will have exceptional communication skills, both written and interpersonal to communicate clearly and effectively with inventors, and to work with the manager and the R&D group to perform the day-to-day tasks required to advance the company’s biological research device, protein separation, and cell biology patent procurement and enforcement strategy.

More than 1 year of full – time experience required, in all aspects of molecular biology, biological devices, biotechnology, or biochemistry patent prosecution, including drafting patent applications and Office Action responses.

Please send your resume in MS Word format to Craig Rofhok at to be considered.

Patent Agent – In-House – EE

Elite Legal Search LLC is currently seeking a Patent Agent with at least two years experience drafting patent applications. Qualified applicant will manage a group of engineers located in Asia. This position is for a fabless semi-conductor. Candidates that speak Mandarin will be given special consideration, advanced degrees a plus. Minimum of two years drafting Patent Application in either a large law firm or in-house setting. Candidate must be a registered agent with the USPTO and have a degree in EE. CS or Computer Engineering.

Job Postings – Various Associate and Partner Positions – San Diego

For all these positions contact:

Craig Rofhok
Elite Legal Search LLC
8305 Vickers Street, St 201
San Diego, CA 92037


In-Patent Attorney – EE, CS or CE – San Diego

Elite Legal Search LLC is seeking an In-House Patent Prosecution Attorney for a major technology company in San Diego, CA. The majority of time for a successful candidate is spent preparing and prosecuting patent applications as necessary. Additionally, they will be asked to conduct patent analysis, work with inventors, and advise on domestic and foreign filing strategies.


Must have at least three years of experience in patent preparation and prosecution. Telecommunications and semiconductor technology experience is major plus. Must also be an active and registered member of the U.S.P.T.O. A minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering or Computer Science is required and advanced degreed individuals will be given preference. Knowledge and prior engineering experience in the field of wireless digital communications or digital signal processing theory is highly desired. However, consideration will be given to master level mathematics, physics, or other science degreed individuals when coupled to a minimum of four years applied experience in digital signal processing theory.

Additional Skills

A candidate’s ability to contribute as an individual as well as participate as an equal in a strong team environment is indispensable to excel at this position.

Education Requirements

Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering, JD, USPTO Required.


Director of Intellectual Property – San Diego

Our client, a US subsidiary of a multi-billion dollar eastern Pacific Rim based electronic components manufacturer currently seeks a Lead IP Counsel to define and implement IP strategy.
Responsible for patent prosecution, IP litigation, defending the company against third party IP, and licensing activities. Has overall control of planning, staffing, budgeting, managing expense priorities, and recommending and implementing changes to methods.


  • Law School degree (J.D.) and Bachelors degree in related field or equivalent experience
  • 10+ years related experience (preferably in wireless telecom industry), including strong litigation experience

Business Litigation Partners – San Diego

Partner and senior counsel level (portable business desirable) positions available for business / corporate litigation attorney. Litigation clients include publicly held corporations, privately owned companies and high net worth individuals in the general business, real estate and development, and intellectual property fields. Positions requires California bar admission, excellent academic credentials.


For all positions, California bar admission and excellent academic credentials are required. In addition, client is prepared to offer market condition compensation with bonus opportunities and an excellent benefits package.


Tax/Bond Attorney – San Diego

Elite Legal Search LLC is currently seeking a Tax Attorney for large regional firm in San Diego. Client seeks a tax attorney with seven to eight or more years experience with nonprofit and/or governmental finance and employee benefits. The ideal candidate would have experience with: (i) establishing and administering employee benefit and deferred compensation plans, including 403(b), 457 and PERS; (ii) advising lenders/issuers on tax aspects of tax exempt bonds, leases and notes, including conduit, general obligation and revenue bonds; and (iii) advising charitable organizations on corporate structure, obtaining and maintaining tax exempt status under state and federal laws. California bar admission and excellent academic credentials required.


For all positions, California bar admission and excellent academic credentials are required. In addition, client is prepared to offer market condition compensation with bonus opportunities and an excellent benefits package.

Job Posting: Corporate Paralegal – Los Angeles

Elite Legal Search is a full-service permanent and temporary search firm representing attorneys, paralegals and other legal support personnel in law firms and corporate legal departments. Here are some of the current positions that our office is recruiting for, to see a list of all of the positions that Elite Legal Search LLC is currently recruiting for; visit

Corporate Paralegal – In-house – Down Town LA

Elite Legal Search LLC is currently seeking experienced Corporate Paralegal’s for an in-house position with a financial institution in the Downtown Los Angeles area. The Sr. Corporate Paralegal will provide paraprofessional support to in-house attorneys responsible for securities-related matters. The qualified applicant will assist in the preparation of SEC filings, board meeting materials, proxy statements, corporate records (including minute books) for the bank and subsidiaries and other corporate regulatory work. Researches and analyzes law sources to present to senior counsel and drafts legal documents. Interacts with Executive Management, Board of Directors and regulators as needed, as well as other duties as assigned. This position is located in downtown.

  • *A minimum of 3 years of corporate paralegal experience with a corporate law firm, public reporting corporation, or financial services institution required.
  • *At least 1 year of experience with SEC Filings, corporate records, or corporate governance required.
  • Must be able to work accurately and effectively in a highly confidential, detail- and result-oriented environment.
  • Effective interpersonal, customer service and communication skills to interact effectively with all levels of bank personnel and regulators.
  • Must be self-motivated and be capable of working both independently as well as in a team.
  • Effective project management, presentation and organizational skills.
  • Strong computer proficiency (Microsoft Office – Word, Excel, Outlook)
  • Undergraduate degree strongly preferred.

**Looking for a candidate with experience in SEC Filings and all securities work. 10K’s, Q’s, 8K’s, Section 16 (forms 3,4,5). Experiences with Proxies and anything securities related. Corporate reporting, Board of Directors and minute books. Project work. Self Starter, somebody who can make the department their own and make suggestions about way to do things better including systems. Smart, great attitude. Able to work with different types of personalities. Experience in dealing with Sr. level executives.

Contact: Craig Rofhok
Elite Legal Search LLC
8305 Vickers Street, St 201
San Diego, CA 92037

Job Postings: Various Associate Positions

Thanks to MacDonald Legal Placement for these – check them out and if you know someone for whom these positions might be a good fit, let them know!

Macdonald Legal Placement is currently seeking candidates for the following openings:

BUSINESS AND FINANCE ASSOCIATE: Our client’s San Francisco office is seeking a 4-5 year business and finance associate with experience in any or all of the following types of transactions: lending/financing (including real estate/asset based/M&A), UCC Article 9, secured lending, bank regulatory, workouts, real or personal property foreclosure, and related areas. Large firm experience is a plus, but is not required. The essential requirement is solid experience in complex transactional matters as well as solid academic performance. This is an immediate need and our client seeks to fill it as soon as possible, so please submit your materials ASAP.

PRODUCT LIABILITY DEFENSE ASSOCIATE: This is an opportunity to join one of the highest quality products liability defense groups in the Bay Area. The firm represents well-known, highly respected manufacturers in products liability defense litigation. This is defense work at its highest, most complex level. Our client is searching for an excellent 2-4 year litigation associate. Excellent academic performance is required in addition to solid law firm experience. Associates with deposition experience are preferred. Any trial experience would be a major plus.

COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE IN ALASKA: Want to see Russia from your house? Commercial real estate may be suffering in the contiguous 48 states, but it’s booming in Alaska! Our client is seeking multiple commercial real estate associates. You do not have to be licensed in Alaska, but you must be willing to sit for the bar.

INSURANCE DEFENSE ASSOCIATE IN SACRAMENTO: If you’ve finally tired of the high cost of living in San Francisco, but want to stay in Northern California, you should consider our state’s capital. The Sacramento office of a Chicago-based law firm seeks an associate with 4 to 7 years experience in insurance defense work, including commercial casualty defense, insurance coverage and/or appellate experience. Solid academic credentials and excellent communication skills required.

For consideration for these and many other positions, please submit your resume and a copy of your law school transcript to the attention of Cara Lee Macdonald, Esq. at

Heller Drone’s True Identity Revealed

Update: read more about Heller Highwater and Thelen The Pain at today’s post on LegalPad!

Well folks, after over 60 days of running this site and with many loyal followers and readers pretty keyed-in to my actual identity, your cruise director, Heller Drone has pretty much been outed. This has been mostly my doing and while I have some concerns (not fears – those who know me think I am pretty fearless), I think merging both identities and not running around like Sybil will have quite a few benefits.

Why is H.D. suddenly having his debutante party? Well, for several reasons:

- I’ve been asked to create and temporarily administer a similar blog for the folks at Thelen LLP who are suffering through similar circumstances. The name: Thelen The Pain.   And yes, it does use a medical theme.  I will be running both Heller Highwater and Thelen The Pain simultaneously while I wait for a Thelenian to step forward and either take over or assist with their blog.  Since I am not a Thelen staffer, it would be difficult for me to verify certain information and to adequately communicate that firm’s culture through a blog without at least some assistance from those who worked or used to work at Thelen.

- my first love is writing and over the past two-years I’ve managed to create and maintain at least six blogs.  Some say blogging isn’t writing but I’d gladly debate them on that point.  By coming out and merging ego and alter-ego, I can have my skill set attributed to these blogs and hopefully score some writing gigs while I am on unemployment and looking for work.

So who is he?  Well, here is what I just posted at Thelen The Pain:

My name is Thomas MacEntee and I was a Heller Ehrman employee for over eight years and I’ve been working for global law firms, including Skadden and Latham & Watkins, for over 20 years now.  Besides filling my hours with blogging for Heller staff and now Thelen, I am busy with my own legal technology consulting firm called BigLaw 2.0 as well as my passion in life – genealogy and family history.  You can learn more about me, if you really need to, over at Thomas 2.0.

So there you have it.  I will still post under the moniker Heller Drone and don’t fret, I won’t be abandoning ship – how could I ever leave the great people of the S.S. Heller?  It has been my honor to try and steer Heller Highwater and its followers in the right direction.   I will keep doing so as long as I believe such steering is beneficial to the community of ex-Hellerites as a whole more than it is to me.

Now that I’m out, please feel free to contact me at or at

COBRA Update

Well folks here we are at the middle of the month, and only now are some people finding out about COBRA. In my post of 10/29/2008, an interesting comment came in which I want to highlight:

“I finally got my Cobra packet today – Nov. 14. It had a premium amount for Kaiser and something called HDHP. Of course there was no information about VSP. But I got lucky when Cheryl Vance (firmwide benefits) returned my phone call! She said the HDHP is an error anda to ignore it. She said if I want to include VSP coverage, to write it in and the monthly fee is about 8 bucks. I just ordered new glasses – wow, are they expensive nowadays – and my savings with VSP was about 50%. So I definitely needed to have VSP coverage at least through Nov. 30. If anyone else is interested in keeping VSP, just write it in and the cost for one month (single) is $8.12.”

Please tell us your experiences with COBRA and whether or not you’ve received your informational packet.  And while the cost for Kaiser or CIGNA might be through the roof, it might be worth it to pay the VSP portion and go get those new glasses you’ve been putting off.

Life preserver.jpg
Remember the words of Rev. Frank Scott (Gene Hackman in The Poseidon Adventure):

". . . sitting on our butts is not going to help us either. Maybe by climbing out of here, we can save ourselves. If you've got any sense, you'll come along with us."

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Terms of Service

Heller Highwater (
Last Modified: September 14, 2008

- Don't be a dill weed.

- Treat other people the way you want to be treated.

- Ladies and children first.

- This is a rescue, not a bitch session.

- Help don't harm.

- Save the snarks for the attorneys and Above The Law.

Heller Highwater is not:

- a place to practice viscious and vindictive "whisper down the lane" rumour-mongering;

- a place to bad mouth co-workers;

- a place for diatribes against specific people or specific incidents;

- a place to heap pity on poor Heller Ehrman staff by outsiders;

- a place that discriminates or sets margins noting who is outside and who is inside - we even welcome supportive Heller Ehrman attorneys!;

- meant to further the demise of Heller Ehrman, LLP.

Heller Highwater is:

- a place for support, a place of empowerment, a place of passion;

- a place to learn about job leads, resume preparation, skill building, training, new opportunities, and how to succeed in a new workplace;

- a place to keep up on the latest news as to how Heller Ehrman management intends to treat its support staff as it winds down its operations - will it be every woman for herself? or will it be "let me hold the door for you and is there anything else I can do for you"?

- a place of refuge.

Note: in no way, shape or form is Heller Highwater sanctioned, supported or even recognized, (but it is very likely monitored) by the management of Heller Erhman, LLP. The opinions represented here and on each and every page of Heller Highwater do not constitute the opinions of Heller Ehrman, LLP or its shareholders or its management. In addition, the comments left by visitors do not reflect the opinions of Heller Highwater.


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