Welcome to Russo & Fondell

With over 26 years of experience as attorney search consultants, we have advanced the careers of top partners, associates, and in-house counsel through building strong and long-term, results-oriented relationships. Our professionalism is measured by the trust and respect of our clients and candidates. We abide by the NALSC Code of Ethics.

The Partners

Joan Fondell entered legal recruiting in 1987 after obtaining her law degree from Loyola Law School in 1985. A former NALSC board member, she is committed to upholding the highest ethical standards in the profession of legal recruiting.

Mary Jo Russo (1946-2012).


Los Angeles recruiting firms receiving...highest praise...Russo & Fondell. --California Law Business, 9/98

I knew that finding a new general counsel for a 100 year old service organization in an industry where having inside counsel is unusual would be a challenge for any recruiter. When I first met with Joan Fondell and Mary Jo Russo, though, I realized that they understood that Forest Lawn didn't just need a good lawyer, we needed someone who would be a good fit with the values and culture of the organization. They were meticulous in their screening of candidates to make sure that our needs and priorities were met in all candidates they presented for consideration. Russo & Fondell proves that it's not the size of the search firm that matters; it is the quality of the individual recruiters you are dealing with. I highly recommend Russo & Fondell. --John F. Llewellyn, President and CEO, Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, CA

Coming from New York, without the California bar exam behind me, I needed someone who could locate and guide me towards the best opportunities in San Francisco, for my skill set. Joan offered sage advice throughout the process -- from where to send my materials to things I should consider and discuss during my interviews. Her insights were accurate and beneficial. I could not have chosen a better person to guide me through the process, and I've already recommended her to my friends. --JG, UCLA 2003

Although I had practiced in the land use area for 7 years in Florida, changing states coupled with the practical difficulties in adjusting to local land use law made it difficult to find a position in California. Despite the adversity, Joan Fondell conducted an extensive search on my behalf and facilitated a position with a well respected national law firm. I had worked with other recruiters in Florida and found Joan to be an absolute Godsend. In addition, the hiring partners at my new firm remarked to me that Joan is one of the most persistent recruiters out there. I owe my success in California to Joan's hard work. --MR, University of Miami School of Law, '00

When I moved to Los Angeles after several years at a corporate law firm in New York, I wanted to make a change and find a way into the entertainment world. Joan really listened to my career goals and desires, and worked extremely hard to help me create a strategy and game-plan for getting where I wanted to be. She always put my interests ahead of any others, even sometimes her own. And although my job search was challenging in many ways, every opportunity Joan brought to me was tailored to my particular goals. She never once presented anything to me just because it was available, even though it would almost certainly have been easier for her to simply land me in the same old type of law firm and practice I used to work in. I am extremely happy where I am now, and can honestly say I would not be here at all if not for Joan Fondell. --Max Calne, Esq. New York University School of Law, '96, Senior Counsel, The Walt Disney Company

As an associate at a large law firm, I regularly received numerous phone calls and messages from legal recruiters. However, Joan Fondell truly distinguished herself from the others in her professional approach and genuine interest in my career interests and concerns. After taking the time to personally meet with me, Joan had a strong understanding of what I was seeking, and she did a wonderful job in placing me. In addition to her years of experience and extensive contacts in the legal industry, Joan was outstanding because she consistently stayed in contact with me, was always available for my calls, and was simply a pleasure to speak with and counsel me throughout my search process. It is such a nice and reassuring feeling to have Russo & Fondell proactively working on your behalf. --HN, University of California Los Angeles School of Law '03

When I decided to relocate to Los Angeles, I received a superb recommendation -- contact Joan Fondell. Throughout the relocation process, Joan has been a terrific counselor and friend. It's clear to me that her knowledge of the Los Angeles legal market and her ability to place attorneys at exciting and rewarding employers are nonpareil. My sincere thanks to her and her firm. --JS, St. John's University School of Law, '00

The legal job search process is fraught with numerous complexities and can be very intimidating for the participants. As a former partner in a major law firm and an experienced general counsel, I have participated in the process from both sides and thought I was better prepared than most to face the challenges of finding the "perfect job." Nonetheless, I found myself extremely grateful to be working with Joan Fondell of Russo & Fondell during my recent job search. Joan was a consummate professional in all aspects of the search process. She thoroughly vetted my qualifications, both professional and personal, to make sure there was a real match of professional goals, values and personality with my new employer. At each step, Joan took the time to fully communicate with me. There were no surprises. I felt prepared and supported from our first introductory conversation through the conclusion of the offer process. I simply cannot recommend Joan and her firm highly enough. --Susan Rule Sandler, Esq. Columbia University '89, Sr. Vice President & General Counsel, Forest Lawn Memorial-Parks Association, Glendale, CA

Our most recent General Counsel search has been one of our most successful. Joan and Mary Jo were quick to understand our needs, translating their knowledge of the organization into the identification of a well-qualified and gifted field of candidates. Rarely do searches result in the challenge of having to select the best "fit" from such a large group of exceptional candidates, and in such a short period of time. We will not hesitate to again use Russo & Fondell should the need arise. --Steve Lenzi, Senior Vice President, Automobile Club of Southern California, Costa Mesa, CA

A good friend who works at a premier international firm said that the attorney recruiting coordinator at her firm recommended Joan Fondell as the "best in the business." During my post-clerkship search for an associate position at a law firm in San Francisco, and then again several years later, when I decided to leave San Francisco for Silicon Valley, I used her assistance. She helped me to narrow my search to those firms that would offer the best fit for my personal and professional goals, secure a targeted number of interviews, and prepare for those interviews. From my initial contact with her on the phone, to her assistance in accepting the right offer among several options, I was thoroughly impressed by Joan's exceptional professionalism and profound judgment." --MK, Yale '01

Joan Fondell did a fabulous job of placing me the first time with the Los Angeles office of a national firm when I moved from New York a few years ago. When I decided to make another lateral move and was leaning towards a smaller firm I contacted her. She obtained interviews for me at a variety firms so that I could evaluate several opportunities. During the course of my interview and acceptance process, Joan was invaluable in providing insight into firm cultures and the differences between the various firms especially as it relates to future partnership opportunities. Joan is an excellent strategist. She is respected by the recruiting office of each firm that I talked with. I heard many times that the recruiting offices were always pleased to take a call from Joan because she did not pester them like others in her profession. --DK, Rutgers University '00

The most noticeable difference between Russo & Fondell versus other recruiters I've dealt with was that Russo & Fondell placed a very high priority on listening to me. They focused on what I wanted and worked hard for me. In a tough economy, Joan Fondell found me my dream job. I have been at my new firm for two months and I couldn't be happier. I recommend Russo & Fondell for anyone seeking to make a change. --Michael Oleinik, Esq. Pepperdine University '95, Partner, Hong Lee, Los Angeles Office

Russo & Fondell can almost make looking for a job fun. Joan Fondell has extensive knowledge of Los Angeles area firms and is well respected by the firms. She understands that the path to success for the attorneys seeking positions, for the firms looking to fill positions and for her own continued success is to place attorneys in the jobs with the best fit. In my lateral search, she not only provided me with job opportunities tailored to my interests, but more importantly took the time to discuss each firm's position, and to share any information -- good or bad -- that she had about the firms. Joan's frank and professional approach to job hunting not only saved me time but also greatly reduced the stress of my search. If you are looking in Los Angeles and aren't willing to settle for just any job, then you should work with Joan. She will help find a job you actually want to have. And you might even enjoy the hunt. --LT, Indiana University School of Law '00

When my prior firm abruptly announced that it was closing its doors, I knew (based upon an earlier successful placement) that I could rely on Joan Fondell to conduct a comprehensive and professional search. I never imagined, however, that the potentially arduous process of locating a new home would turn out to be relatively effortless. Keeping my priorities in mind and utilizing her keen insights regarding the marketplace, She placed me within a mere two weeks of my first contact with her. My experience with Russo & Fondell has been completely positive and I consequently highly recommend their services. --John P. Godsil, Esq. UCLA '94, Partner, Freeman, Freeman & Smiley, LLP, Los Angeles Office

I contacted Russo & Fondell during a very stagnant time in the attorney job market. Right off the bat, Joan Fondell was very honest and forthcoming about my possibilities. Unlike previous headhunters who kept me completely out of the loop and neglected to follow up regarding outstanding submissions, Joan was very tactical in her approach. I could trust her judgment and was confident that if I was going to change firms in this job market, she would be the person with enough contacts and experience to make it happen. I am now at a great firm where I never imagined I could be. --LG, UCLA '00

When I decided it was time to look for a new position, I was unsure of what I wanted and also unsure of what my options were since I'd spent most of my career working for a small law firm. As a result, I found myself floundering around without much direction. Fortunately, a friend referred me to Russo & Fondell. From our very first meeting, they helped me figure out what I really wanted. They asked the right questions and, as a result, helped me determine where I wanted to go. They helped me capitalize on my strengths (and even discovered ones I did not know I had) and completely revised my resume to reflect those strengths. They were unwaveringly professional and objective. I recommend them without reservation. They are terrific. --Katherine Adkins, Esq. Loyola '91, Vice President, General Counsel, Toyota Financial Services

I have now been on both sides of the placement business, and whether looking for a new attorney or looking for a new home, Russo & Fondell have been the best. It is refreshing to deal with people who are interested in you: where you will feel comfortable; where you will fit; where you are needed, and not where they will make the largest monetary return. --Chuck Patterson, Esq. University of Michigan '66, Partner, Morrison & Foerster, LLP, Los Angeles Office

My best interests clearly were the most important concern for Mary Jo and Joan. They took the time to learn my goals and needs, and patiently worked with me until the right opportunity came to their attention. I could not be happier with the result. --Kevin Lussier, Esq. University of California, Davis '89, Partner, Berry & Lussier, Los Angeles Office

My experience with Russo & Fondell was very positive. They spent the time necessary to determine if I was right for Mofo and vice-versa. They identified and introduced me to a number of other attractive opportunities that enabled me to evaluate my opportunities at the point in time I decided to get serious about seeking out a platform that would help me take my practice to the next level. They had excellent contacts at senior management at each of the firms they identified and were always available to me and very good on follow up. I don't plan to move again, but I would go to them first if I ever felt I needed to. --DM, Boalt Hall '72

Russo & Fondell combine a quick study of a law firm's needs with a practical appreciation for available legal talent in the marketplace. They waste little of your time with inappropriate candidates and provide you with a candidate that has been "prescreened" for quality of work and business. With Russo & Fondell, their legs do the walking before the candidate arrives so that the firm's time can be spent efficiently. --JC, Hastings '72

Contact Us

Give us call at 310.625.9810 or send an email to jf@russofondell.com


We Wrote the Book

Our dedication to the field of legal recruiting extends to ensuring that the best candidates present their experience and academic backgrounds strategically for the best possible result. Our co-authored book, Best Resumes for Attorneys, is an indispensable resource for law students, attorneys, law schools, and bar associations nationwide.