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Back to "Big Law": John Liu and In Lee Move From Two-Lawyer Practice Back to Fenwick & West

In discussions about career satisfaction for attorneys, it's sometimes easy to think that the road to a rewarding, balanced career is one that leads from "Big Law" to some other work setting.  That may be true for some lawyers, but it's certainly not for all of us.  For instance, we recently featured the importance of considering carefully the move from a large law firm to a position as an in-house lawyer.

For another pair of attorneys, it became important to move back to "Big Law" after spending five years in a firm having at most four lawyers.  John Liu and his partner, In Lee, had left Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati to found the Charter Law Group in Menlo Park, California.  Now, the two men are leaving their boutique corporate firm and joining the 250-attorney firm Fenwick & West at its headquarters in Mountain View, where they will be of counsel in the firm's startups and venture capital group.

At Charter Law Group, Liu and Lee operated a successful firm practicing in corporate and intellectual property law.  So why are these successful small firm lawyers returning to a big firm?  Their reason is practical and due to their clients' success: "they were tired of losing their startup clients after they grew up."  By joining Fenwick & West, they will be able to keep those clients.

The Charter Law Group is now winding down its practice, and John Liu remarked that he will miss the firm's Menlo Park office, even though he is happy to be at Fenwick & West.  The experience of Liu and Lee reminds us that there are multiple paths to professional satisfaction in the law; any given route is not necessarily right for everyone.

By Steve Imparl, guest blogger

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