In-House Counsel Hate California. Here's Why

By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. on July 29, 2015 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

California dreams are often more like nightmares for many in-house counsel. In-house counsel have a largely negative view of the state's litigation and regulatory climate, according to a new survey by the law firm Archer Norris.

In-house lawyers perceive litigation as a greater risk in California than other states. The state's legal environment is "hella burdensome," they claim.

In-House Attorneys Are Not in Love With Cali

California is America's most populous state. California's economy, the largest of any state, represents more than 13 percent of national economic production. We've got big trees and rugged beaches. Since the Gold Rush, millions have streamed to California to make their name. But do in-house counsel think the state is still worth it?

Sure, but they're not happy about it. Sixty-five percent of respondents used "burdensome" to describe the state to Archer Norris, though the firm doesn't say how many attorneys it surveyed. That was followed "complex" and "cumbersome" as the most common descriptors for the state. Areas of greatest concern were:

In-side counsel's fears can be relieved in part by teaming up with experienced outside counsel, according to the report. Statewide coverage was particularly important when picking outside representation, with more than 80 percent of respondents wanting outside counsel who have clout from San Diego to Yreka.

Those Job Killing Regulations

In-house counsel might be frustrated by California's environmental and employee protections, but they don't seem to be abandoning the state just yet. California typically loses about 9,000 jobs a year to other states -- out of 18 million California jobs total. More than 10 percent of Fortune 500 companies are headquartered here, tying New York as the number one home for major companies.

California has long been criticized as hostile to business. But despite the complaints, it has managed to come out ahead when it comes to creating and attracting businesses. Perhaps California isn't as bad as many think. It's a lovely state, after all -- just ask the plaintiffs' lawyers.

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