Kristopher Badame
Kristopher Badame ()

It’s not uncommon for lawyers to get some defense experience and then crossover to the plaintiffs’ side.

But Kristopher Badame did the opposite this week, leaving Badame & Associates, the small plaintiffs’ firm he founded almost a decade ago in Lake Forest, California, to join Jackson Lewis’ Orange County office in nearby Irvine as a partner.

Badame said he had gone up against Jackson Lewis many times in his career and had always been impressed by the skill of its lawyers. When Jackson Lewis’ Orange County managing partner, Samantha Hoffman, started trying to recruit him to the firm a year-and-a-half ago, Badame was intrigued, but didn’t feel that he could walk away from the class actions he was then running, which included cases against Southwest Airlines Co. and Uber Technologies Inc.

By the end of 2016, Badame was ready for a change in direction. He interviewed several times at Jackson Lewis—a firm that with almost 800 lawyers was immeasurably larger than the size of three-lawyer Badame & Associates—to make sure he and his potential colleagues had the right chemistry.

“I’ve gone against the big firms and you go into their offices and they’re very stuffy,” Badame said. “Jackson Lewis wasn’t like that … It’s going to be great, because I’m going to lend a very unique perspective.”

Jackson Lewis’ collegiate and professional sports practice—a group co-led by former National Hockey League Players Association executive director Paul Kelly and ex-Major League Baseball player agent Gregg Clifton—was a bonus for Badame, who has played hockey since he was five-years-old. Badame also coaches the Anaheim Jr. Ducks Hockey Club in his spare time. (Badame’s son, Tyler, plays on the amateur team and is a promising young prospect.)

Badame said he bonded with Jackson Lewis’ practice leaders over their shared connections in the youth sports community. The firm welcomed Badame aboard in a statement by Hoffman, who assumed leadership of Jackson Lewis’ Orange County operations in 2012.

“Kristopher is a skilled litigator who contributes valuable insight into all areas of employment law, due to the perspectives he brings from both representing employers as well as employees throughout the Southern California region,” Hoffman said. “His strategy and focus, both inside and outside the courtroom, have earned him an impressive reputation and track record of success, and we feel gratified to continue to be able to attract such high-level laterals in Orange County.”

Badame’s two other colleagues at Badame & Associates will not join him at Jackson Lewis, he said. Instead, of counsel Joseph Hunter and associate Michele Pillette will continue doing plaintiffs’ work. Hunter, now with the Spectrum Law Group in Irvine, and Pillette, who has her own firm in nearby Dana Point, did not return requests for comment.

It’s not uncommon for lawyers to get some defense experience and then crossover to the plaintiffs’ side.

But Kristopher Badame did the opposite this week, leaving Badame & Associates, the small plaintiffs’ firm he founded almost a decade ago in Lake Forest, California, to join Jackson Lewis ’ Orange County office in nearby Irvine as a partner.

Badame said he had gone up against Jackson Lewis many times in his career and had always been impressed by the skill of its lawyers. When Jackson Lewis ’ Orange County managing partner, Samantha Hoffman, started trying to recruit him to the firm a year-and-a-half ago, Badame was intrigued, but didn’t feel that he could walk away from the class actions he was then running, which included cases against Southwest Airlines Co. and Uber Technologies Inc.

By the end of 2016, Badame was ready for a change in direction. He interviewed several times at Jackson Lewis —a firm that with almost 800 lawyers was immeasurably larger than the size of three-lawyer Badame & Associates—to make sure he and his potential colleagues had the right chemistry.

“I’ve gone against the big firms and you go into their offices and they’re very stuffy,” Badame said. “ Jackson Lewis wasn’t like that … It’s going to be great, because I’m going to lend a very unique perspective.”

Jackson Lewis ’ collegiate and professional sports practice—a group co-led by former National Hockey League Players Association executive director Paul Kelly and ex-Major League Baseball player agent Gregg Clifton—was a bonus for Badame, who has played hockey since he was five-years-old. Badame also coaches the Anaheim Jr. Ducks Hockey Club in his spare time. (Badame’s son, Tyler, plays on the amateur team and is a promising young prospect.)

Badame said he bonded with Jackson Lewis ’ practice leaders over their shared connections in the youth sports community. The firm welcomed Badame aboard in a statement by Hoffman, who assumed leadership of Jackson Lewis ’ Orange County operations in 2012.

“Kristopher is a skilled litigator who contributes valuable insight into all areas of employment law, due to the perspectives he brings from both representing employers as well as employees throughout the Southern California region,” Hoffman said. “His strategy and focus, both inside and outside the courtroom, have earned him an impressive reputation and track record of success, and we feel gratified to continue to be able to attract such high-level laterals in Orange County.”

Badame’s two other colleagues at Badame & Associates will not join him at Jackson Lewis , he said. Instead, of counsel Joseph Hunter and associate Michele Pillette will continue doing plaintiffs’ work. Hunter, now with the Spectrum Law Group in Irvine, and Pillette, who has her own firm in nearby Dana Point, did not return requests for comment.