When Glenn Taxman moved from Chicago to Orange County, California, in the summer of 2002 to open up Much Shelist’s second office 20 minutes from the Pacific Ocean, in Irvine, he entered a market on the verge of change.

Situated between Los Angeles and San Diego, Orange County—which also includes Anaheim, Costa Mesa, Santa Ana and Newport Beach—was then populated primarily by smaller homegrown law firms. In the years since Taxman came to town, so have a number of larger firms, setting up outposts to attract work from the technology, health sciences and real estate industries that keep business humming by the beach.

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