Phoenix Business Journal- David French trades in real estate career to help law firms find good fits

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David French trades in real estate career to help law firms find good fits

By Mike Sunnucks


David French didn’t want to stay on the same real estate career path followed by so many others in development- and home building-dominated Phoenix.


“Everybody does real estate here,” French said. Phoenix still is very much a real estate driven town in the same vein that Hollywood drives Los Angeles and automaking drove Detroit, he said

French — who held executive posts in the commercial real estate world — is charting a new path. He formed a legal headhunting, professional matchmaking firm, D. French Advisors, in May.


The Phoenix-based company specializes in helping large law firms not only find partners, senior counsel and associates, but also help them with mergers, practice group acquisitions and opening new offices.


French, an attorney himself, sees an opportunity to compete with national executive search and professional placement firms that might not have strong on-the-ground presence in Phoenix. He said those national and regional headhunting firms often center their work on collecting online resumes and communicating via email.


“While many recruiters focus on volume, we strive to build lasting relationships, which allows us to become an extension of our clients,” French said.

He said button-down commercial law firms sometimes want more button-down partners who will help them find attorneys that fit their workplace and legal cultures.

Although, French said, “We don’t show up to meetings with our shirts untucked.”


French’s career path had him mostly in the commercial real estate sector before starting the headhunting firm.

He held executive posts with Lyle Anderson Cos. in Scottsdale and Hibernia Capital Advisors LLC before serving as director of acquisitions for Orsett Properties. He left Orsett earlier this year to start his business.

The recession and real estate crash changed career paths for plenty of workers and professionals. Some were volunteer moves. Others were prompted by the downturn.

French said he was interested in a new venture and sees plenty of market opportunities in the professional matchmaking industry.


He’s brought on Meredith Savage, a veteran legal marketing executives who was previously with the law office of Gallagher & Kennedy PA. He’s also has veteran Phoenix attorneys serving as advisors and helping him drum up business.

French also worked as Ben Quayle’s campaign manager in his successful run for Congress in 2010.


David French

Education: Bachelor’s degree in history, Washington and Lee University; law degree, Arizona State University

Birthplace: San Francisco, California (moved to Phoenix in 1985). My grandfather moved to Phoenix in 1953 and my parents met at the University of Arizona.

Family: Wife, Kristen, who has a CPA accounting and tax firm Pyramid Financial in the Valley. Son, James, 2; and daughter, Charlotte, 1

Residence: Phoenix

What do you listen in your car: Talk radio.