Shartsis Friese LLP



Almost 50 years old, Shartsis Friese opened its doors in San Francisco as an alternative to large national law firms. It has grown to over 60 attorneys who specialize in the areas of corporate law, litigation, estate planning, real estate, taxation, and venture capital. The firm’s low turnover model creates familiarity and continuity for clients, who appreciate the personal service. Clients also like the firm’s commitment to lower billing rates.

Firm Stats


Total No. Attorneys (2022)

50 - 100


No. of Partners Named (2022)



Featured Rankings

Top 150 Under 150


No. of 1st Year Associates Hired (2022)



Base Salary

1st year: $210,000


No. of U.S. Offices


Vault Verdict

Shartsis Friese has stayed true to its vision—smaller firm, high retention rates, lower billing rates, and top-notch legal services—since 1975. The hiring process takes into account matters such as grades, law school attended, and clerkship or work experience, but not as much as personality, legal skills, and an entrepreneurial spirit. The work environment is professional, and people are down-to-earth and dedicated. Coworkers enjoy social activities together, though these have been hampered somewhat by the pandemic. Partners are open with associates and treat them as part of the team, especially given the small size of the firm, and take an active role in the performance review process. In lieu of formal training, associates learn by doing—with partners providing guidance and over...

About the Firm

Shartsis Friese is a mid-size San Francisco firm with just south of 70 lawyers among its ranks.The firm distinguishes itself from its big firm competitors with careful growth, low partner/non-partner ratio, lower billing rates, and minimal turnover—without a fall-off in results.

An Independent Spirit

Shartsis Friese was founded in 1975 by Arthur J. Shartsis, Mary Jo Shartsis, and Robert Charles Friese. Arthur Shartsis was a third-year associate at Morrison & Foerster when he pitched to Friese, a Securities and Exchange Commission attorney, about the possibility of starting their own firm. For nearly 45 years, the firm’s collegial, efficient, small-firm platform has attracted a number of strong, independent-minded partners and associates from other firms who have established hig...

Associate Reviews

  • “Politically on the more liberal side; very courteous and professional; lawyers gathered during pre-COVID times by way of personal interaction groups inside and outside of the office; interactions are always pleasant.”
  • “COVID has, unsurprisingly, made socialization a bit more difficult, but we have a rock-solid ‘no jerks’ rule and are a fun, unpretentious, thoughtful, smart, and dedicated group of attorneys and support staff.”
  • “Prior to COVID, socializing occurred regularly. Since remote working, it has been much more infrequent, although everyone remains enjoyable to talk to while working.”

Getting Hired Here

  • “The firm is looking for solid candidates with strong legal skills as well as social/interpersonal and leadership traits. No training per se.”
  • “We are looking for candidates with book smarts, street smarts, entrepreneurial spirit, and business savvy (with the understanding that some of those items, particularly the latter two, may need to be cultivated once at the firm). Things like law school attended, grades, clerkships, and prior work experience help, but no one of those items is dispositive. The major non-negotiable item is personality—we have a firm ‘no jerk’ rule that it has served us well, and it's not going anywhere (but, to be clear, there isn't a specific personality type we look for, we just want attorneys who will be pleasant to work with).”
  • “We have been doing a bad job of recruiting/attracting quality candidates. I believe this is due to the lack of awareness of our firm, the growing disparity between our associate comp and BigLaw, and poor messaging of the firm's strengths. We've recently hired a few bad apples that either left of their own choice or were pushed out. Meanwhile, we need more associates. We don't have any training for interviewing candidates and the review process is cursory.”