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Easy As 123

Davidson Staffing & Special Counsel Add Up  To The Simple Solution For Legal Staffing.

In the San Diego legal community, almost everyone knows Angela Parkinson, Executive Director of Davidson Staffing.  For nearly a decade, she’s worked tirelessly to do just that; introduce herself and the services of Davidson Staffing, that specializes in recruiting highly qualified legal talent for California law firms and corporations, and for the legal community at large. As a full-service staffing company, Davidson Staffing has been the simple solution for countless law firms -both large and small- as well as corporations with temporary, temp-to-hire, and direct hire legal recruiting needs for 25 years.

“San Diego is a large city, but has a very small and tightly connected legal community,” says Parkinson, who originally hails from Ireland.  “I can truly say that it took about 3 years before I felt that anyone even knew my name and about five years before I felt that I had made a mark in the industry.  My staff (Nicole Sutton, Alicia Vargas and Antonette Kennedy) and I attend every networking event possible.  I learned early on that the people of San Diego needed to get to know me on a personal level and the only way to achieve this was for me to meet them at social/networking events outside of the office.  My clients now know me on a personal level and not just as another legal staffing vendor.”

For Parkinson, who is widely and informally known as “Angela from Davidson,” it’s time for a new introduction.  Many may not be aware that Davidson Staffing was acquired in 2007 by Special Counsel, the nation’s leading provider of legal staffing services, which includes 35 offices nationwide.  Davidson Staffing now serves as the national company’s San Diego hub.  Special Counsel was attracted to Davidson due to the company’s longstanding presence in San Diego, as well as in other California markets.  They were eager to partner with a company who had the reputation for being the #1 direct hire legal staffing firm in California.

The collaboration has afforded a seamless blending of localized service, with additional savings and enhanced complimentary service offerings. While Davidson Staffing focuses primarily on providing support staff, Special Counsel is internationally known for their expertise in large scale document review and contract attorney placements. All of this combined works to the benefit of both existing and new clients by offering full service, cost-effective solutions, innovative technological advances, and enhanced consultation capabilities. The merging of these similar business practices was simply a logical step.

Longstanding Service, Tenured Staff…plus

Angela has observed that “due to the close knit legal atmosphere in San Diego, clients in the legal community prefer to work with those they know. I have a very tenured staff, which is quite rare in this industry.  This is great for our clients, because they know when they call the person who is helping them knows the unique intricacies of their firm, and they won’t have to explain the culture every time they have a need for our services.”

Moreover, “When a client calls, we don’t bombard them with 20 different options.  We meet with them personally.  We approach every client’s need with a unique approach.  There is no cookie cutter method to how we service our clients.  We view ourselves as consultants,” she adds.  To that end, for Parkinson and her team, this means being forthcoming with clients from the very start, based upon their long experience in the industry.  “We will not try to talk a client into hiring one of our candidates just to get the placement.  We would rather walk away from business if we feel that we don’t have the necessary resources to put our best foot forward.  As a result we have built a solid foundation of trust with our clients which is a huge part of developing a relationship with a staffing partner,” she explains.

Cost Effective Emphasis in All Endeavors…plus

The second essential component to developing lasting relationships is to provide clients with the most bang for their buck.  “Companies across the U.S. are cutting costs, eliminating activities that are nonessential and outsourcing activities to experts when it is cost effective.  The exception up until the past few years has been legal costs.  Special Counsel recognized this opportunity to pass on savings to their clients early on and this was one of the main reasons why they wanted to aggressively develop their California presence,” Parkinson says.

Continuing, she adds “We are experts in identifying non- value-added activities, especially in the discovery process and addressing discovery with experts in document review.  What others do occasionally, we do every day.  We implement continuous improvement to deliver at the lowest possible price.  We measure our performance with easy to understand metrics, just like the rest of the corporate world.  We measure both cost and quality and provide real time reporting to allow active measurement of our progress in a completely transparent way.”

To show exactly how this equates to savings for clients, Parkinson describes a recent instance in which Special Counsel was able to save a local defense company hundreds of thousands of dollars.  “They were faced with a large environmental remediation case.  The project was extremely complex, involving review of millions of documents.  We were subject to extremely stringent expert control restrictions,which meant that we could not physically remove the documents from their location, which were stored in a large warehouse.  We assembled a team of 30 contract attorneys to work on-site.  We created and implemented QA procedures that allowed our client to produce documents on schedule, on budget and within export control guidelines.  The end result for our client was an 85% cost savings in comparison to what their legal spend would have been for their outside counsel for the same work,” she says proudly.

With results like these, it is obvious why Special Counsel’s contract attorney division comprises almost 50% of the company’s business.  “Clients of law firms and corporate accounts are demanding outsourcing,” Parkinson says.  “Most people are no longer willing to pay $400 an hour for document review, so whether the savings goes to a corporation, or to an attorney who then passes on the savings to their client, we partner with all of our customers to offer cost-effective and saving solutions.”

Creative & Technological Solutions…equals

“It is our job to come up with most cost-effective solutions for our clients,” Parkinson says simply.  “That’s why early on in my career, I made a decision to treat every client’s hiring need as if it were my own.”  Recognizing that every staffing need is unique, it is Special Counsel’s duty to provide that solution in a cost effective manner.  This sense of obligation led to the development of a groundbreaking document review management tool.

“SightManager® is a virtual workstation platform which complements the performance, management and reporting features of internet-based electronic discovery software used for document reviews,” Parkinson explains.  “It essentially gives supervisors real time, over-the-shoulder management of a document review as it is being conducted.”  With SightManager® supervisors can then remotely observe and even take over reviewers’ screens in order to collaborate, view a document simultaneously, correct or instruct the reviewer.  The benefits of offering SightManager® to clients have been impressive.  “We can staff a review in Florida, and actually manage it from San Diego,” Parkinson adds.

The Sum of Efforts:

Together with Special Counsel, Davidson Staffing has clearly figured a formula that works for its clients, particularly during these lean economic times.  “We are fortunate enough to be able to offer a cost savings to our clients which is a great service offering today.  2011 was our best year ever, and we were able to grow our business by nearly 40% while other firms are shutting their doors or downsizing.”

 After doing the math, it becomes obvious that what Davidson Staffing had already mastered in San Diego through their longstanding presence and reputation in the industry, enhanced by Parkinson’s visibility in such organizations as SoCalPros, would be an asset to Special Counsel.  And indeed, by joining forces, the only possible outcome is to exponentially multiply the numbers of San Diego corporations and attorneys who value top tier service and visible savings. With an equation like that, the answer is certain to be nothing less than continuing success for Davidson Staffing and Special Counsel in San Diego.

225 Broadway, Suite 1150
San Diego CA 92101


Jennifer Hadley

Jennifer Hadley is a Staff Writer for Attorney Journal

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About the Author: Jennifer Hadley is a Staff Writer for Attorney Journal

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