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Victoria Gamble is a legal recruiter at Watanabe Nason and Watanabe Consulting, LLC, a legal search firm in San Diego, California. Watanabe Nason works almost exclusively in the state of California, which covers every practice area suited towards the top 200 AmLaw. Ms. Gamble concentrates on the placement of partners as well as practice groups across California. She works closely with senior partners at Watanabe Nason in strategic searches and the representation of practice groups and partners. Ms. Gamble has successfully made placements with McDermott, Will & Emery; Sheppard Mullin; Vedder Price; Fox Rothschild; Mintz Levin; Stradling Yocca; Loeb & Loeb; Lowenstein Sandler and Procopio.
I asked Ms. Gamble what is the most noteworthy placement she made? "To date, my involvement in opening both the San Francisco and Los Angeles office of Vedder Price."
With more than ten years of legal recruiting experience, Ms. Gamble has worked in the recruiting departments of two prominent AM LAW firms; Paul Weiss in New York and Morgan Lewis in Orange County and Los Angeles.
Ms. Gamble was born in Belgium and raised in Los Angeles, California. She earned her B.A. in History and Sociology of Science from the University of Pennsylvania. Ms. Gamble is an active alumna involved in recommending and interviewing local high school students as future graduates of the university. When she isn't working, she enjoys hiking, rock climbing, and almost any ocean sport: scuba diving, stand up paddle boarding, and kayaking.
Ms. Gamble's Successful Career Path and Tips for Legal Recruiters
Does Ms. Gamble have a top memory from school? She noted:
"I rowed during my four years at Penn. One of my fondest memories is travelling to Boston to row the Head of the Charles. I made the varsity boat my sophomore year and this was our first big race of the fall season. I remember the comradery and the competition and feeling completely in my element. Waking up regularly at 5am to climb into a boat with 8 other women and row for 3 hours each day will teach you a lot about yourself. It also creates the kind of friendships that last a lifetime."
What does it take to become a successful legal recruiter? "This is an area open to many talented and motivated people; however, if you want to be a successful legal recruiter, I believe you need a mix of integrity, tenaciousness, knowledge and the ability to communicate effectively."
What motivated Ms. Gamble to work as a recruiter? She asserted:
"It must have been pre-destined because I have known Larry Watanabe for almost half my life. He worked with my mother alongside a host of talented legal recruiters: Bill Nason, Gregg Ziskind, Alan Miles, Graham Sherr and Bill Seaton. I was in high school at the time and they left quite an impression. During college, I spent two summers working for EmplawyerNet. It was the dot com boom so the start-up company focused on connecting employers with candidates via the web. After graduation from college, I spoke with many family friends about going to law school. One of those family friends, Irene Dorzback, was the Dean of Career Services at NYU Law, a position she had occupied for more than 20 years. She recommended I try working at a law firm first before committing my time and money to law school. She also suggested I apply to the recruiting department since I had the personality for it and might like it. Some of my friends at the time were going into the paralegal departments but she said I would get plenty of that experience down the road if I went to law school. I started working at Paul Weiss one week after graduation and found myself. She had been completely right. Years later, I had the opportunity to jump to the other side and I took it. And now I'm working for the best recruiter in the state of California."
What is her advice to new recruiters? "Dial and smile. If you like doing that then you are in the right profession. Soak up as much industry information as you can. What you bring to the table is a knowledge of the market place so spend some time researching various law firms, reading the trade publications and of course, speaking with people. The phone is your greatest tool."
What are Ms. Gamble's strengths as a recruiter? "I enjoy speaking with people and getting to know them, both professionally and personally. If I can meet a candidate in person, I will. That's very helpful in terms of understanding someone's motivations and level of engagement."
What is she known for professionally? "For being positive and unafraid to make calls to the decision maker at a firm."
What does Ms. Gamble look for to find the right fit? What makes a great candidate?
"From the candidate's perspective, I look for the right platform in terms of practice area both locally and nationally, current client relationships, firm culture and reputation, and the stated future of both the particular practice area and the office. Outside of that, I am looking for whatever the candidate has specifically requested."
In regards to what makes a great candidate, she said, "Someone who is very clear on why he or she wants to leave their current firm and whose goals are reasonable in making that transition. It also helps if they are responsive and motivated."
Where does Ms. Gamble see the field in the next five years? "With the recent big firm mergers this year and over the past several years, I expect the legal landscape will be comprised of more behemoth sized firms but fewer firms all together. I think law firms will ultimately change their billing practices but that shift won't happen overnight."
Does she learn something of value from all mistakes? "Not always, which is why I have repeated some of those mistakes but eventually I get the lesson!"
What motivates Ms. Gamble? "I would like to be one of those go-to recruiters for market knowledge and advice."
Where does she derive her confidence? "My mother. She raised two kids on her own and is a successful professional in her own right. That's a lot to live up to, but I know who I am and where I came from because of the strength of character she exemplified. She also taught me that a person's value is not derived from what they earn but from what they give."
Number One Priority, Two Notable Mentors, Ms. Gamble's Passions, A Rewarding Position and Favorite Quote
What is Ms. Gamble's number one priority outside of work? "Spending time with family and friends, church and working out/engaging in my hobbies."
Does she have a mentor? Ms. Gamble explained:
"I've had many mentors, but the two most notable mentors have been Patty Morrissy who was my direct report at Paul Weiss and Larry Watanabe. Patty was my first boss out of college and I will never forget her. She went on to be the CRO at Sullivan & Cromwell for many years. She taught me how to navigate inside a law firm and around very busy attorneys. That has proven to be very useful in my current capacity. Larry is a fountain of information, both current and historical. He has this innate ability to make predictions on candidates and clients. And he's right about 99% of the time! At this stage of my career, his expertise is invaluable. He has the sort of relationships and reputation that takes decades to achieve. I want to earn that."
What causes is Ms. Gamble passionate about? "Any cause that directly or indirectly affects the upward movement of women in the workforce or in society in general. I'm a big fan of the "Hefor She" campaign introduced recently by Emma Watson to the UN."
Does she find her work rewarding? "Absolutely, I love getting to know people - both my clients and the candidates. There is nothing better than the feeling of closing a deal knowing that everyone is pleased." Ms. Gamble added, "I love this business. There's never a dull moment, I work with amazing and intelligent people and I have a lot of flexibility. I can create my own destiny depending on how much I want to put into the work. I also enjoy working with a variety of firms as opposed to being dedicated to just one."
Ms. Gamble's favorite quote is by Eleanor Roosevelt: "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." She continued to say, "Eleanor Roosevelt was a remarkable woman; well ahead of her time. I've always liked that quote, but I think it is especially applicable to our line of work. This is a tough business and we deal with tough personalities. It's a good reminder: don't take it personally because the next call will be different."
What to Expect When Working with Ms. Gamble
Scott Adamson, corporate/M&A attorney said, "Victoria did an outstanding job recruiting attorneys. She has an eye for talent and knows how to close. I'm confident she would be an asset to any organization looking for a bright, personable individual who can work independently and get the job done."
Kristene Foster, a corporate recruiter acknowledged:
"I have known Victoria for many years, and recommend her to the fullest degree. Representing her as a candidate is both a pleasure and a privilege. She possesses intellect, motivation, and creativity, but also warmth and sincerity. These qualities allow her to connect with people on a meaningful and productive level. She is the type of person with whom others seek to associate with, and companies are eager to recruit. Victoria has attained tremendous success in her career, and will continue to do so at the highest levels possible!"
Shawn Stevens, attorney recruiting assistant at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP, noted, "Victoria was my manager for over two years. She has superior interpersonal, communication, management and presentation skills. She has an attention to detail and flexibility with diverse personalities. She also has an amazing ability to represent and promote the company."
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