San Diego

San DiegoSan Diego is widely known for its idyllic Mediterranean climate. That combined with a strong influence from neighboring Mexico, gives San Diego a unique flavor. Despite its relaxing reputation, San Diego has a strong economy and three accredited law schools: California Western, Thomas Jefferson and the University of San Diego.

Several areas of San Diego (in particular La Jolla and surrounding Sorrento Valley areas) are home to offices and research facilities for numerous biotech companies. Major biotech companies like Neurocrine Biosciences and Nventa Biopharmaceuticals are headquartered in San Diego, while many biotech companies, such as BD Biosciences, Biogen Idec, Merk and Pfizer have offices or research facilities in San Diego. There are several non-profit biotech institutes, such as the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, the Scripps Research Institute and the Burnham Institute. The presence of University of California, San Diego and other research institutions helped fuel biotechnology growth. In June 2004, San Diego was ranked the top biotech cluster in the U.S. by the Milken Institute.

National defense is a major employer in the city and the region as a whole due to a large presence of military installations. Tourism is also a major industry owing to the city's climate and other major attractions. Major tourist destinations include the San Diego Zoo and its sister park, the Wild Animal Park, SeaWorld San Diego, Balboa Park and the city's numerous beaches.

San Diego is also home to companies that develop wireless cellular technology. Qualcomm Incorporated was founded and is headquartered in San Diego; Qualcomm is the largest private-sector technology employer (excluding hospitals) in the United States. Other companies also have research and development labs in San Diego, principally focused on cloning Qualcomm's CDMA cellular technology.

The economy of San Diego is also influenced by its port, which includes the only major submarine and shipbuilding yard on the West Coast, as well as the naval base.


This ranking is based on how much over 6,000 associates like their own firms. This ranking does not include prestige, salary or other factors except as they influence how much an associate enjoys working at his or her firm, and how likely said associate is to stay at his or her current firm. Associates from all law firms did not participate. Only firms with 10 or more respondents are included.

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The Best Firms to Work For

Rank Law Firm Main Office Total Midlevels Response Rate Score (0-100)
1 Ross, Dixon & Bell Washington, D.C. 20 80% 88.0
2 Fish & Richardson National 76 54% 83.6
3 Cooley Godward Palo Alto 98 60% 81.8
4 Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton Los Angeles 74 39% 80.0
5 Buchanan Ingersoll Pittsburgh 39 77% 78.6
6 Morrison & Foerster San Francisco 167 60% 77.2
7 Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps San Diego 33 45% 74.6
8 Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman National 137 51% 73.4
8 Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker National 163 96% 73.0
8 McKenna Long & Aldridge National 46 72% 72.6
11 DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary National 232 53% 72.2
11 Latham & Watkins National 463 32% 72.2
11 Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati Palo Alto 142 36% 71.6
14 Foley & Lardner Milwaukee 163 41% 69.6
15 Heller Ehrman San Francisco 113 53% 65.4
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