February 25, 2015
Sacramento litigator Lawrance Bohm (L ’00), teamed with Terry Oxford, a partner in Susman Godfrey’s Dallas office, gives boot camp participants tips on taking depositions.
At the boot camp closing reception, Sacramento litigator Lawrance Bohm (L ’00) joins Tulane Law students he hired as associates or summer clerks: Elizabeth Houts (L '16), Rachael Sauer (L ’15), Ryann Hall (L ’15), Hilary Khoury (L '16) and Frank Trechsel (L ’16).
During Tulane Law School’s 2014 skills-training boot camp, Sacramento attorney Lawrance Bohm (L ’00) gave civil litigation students an impromptu lesson in pretrial reality: awaiting a verdict from a California jury, he let students listen in on a conference call with the trial judge and opposing counsel when jurors sent out a written question.
At this year’s boot camp, Bohm juggled a week of teaching with preparation for a trial set to start Jan. 12. Plus, he squeezed in a day of interviewing Tulane Law students for job openings — and hired two associates and seven summer law clerks before the week was out.
One of California’s top plaintiffs' lawyers, Bohm operates at a frenetic pace. And blockbuster trial verdicts of the last few years have drawn even more clients to his busy practice.
In 2012, Bohm clients scored two of the top-50 civil jury verdicts in California: $168 million involving a workplace sexual harassment claim against a Sacramento hospital, and more than $6.2 million in a wrongful termination case.
And in November, a federal jury in San Diego concluded that a Bohm client who had been fired by AutoZone after suing the company for sex discrimination should receive almost $186 million — most of it in punitive damages. The amount is believed to be a record verdict for a single employee.
Bohm said that, these days, he wraps up each year telling himself, “I didn’t think big enough.”
But right after law school, he was just trying to find a foothold in California, where he moved to study for the bar exam without job prospects.
After a stint at a civil defense firm, he started trying to build a practice representing plaintiffs. A decade ago, he was working out of his house, supplemented by loans from his mother-in-law and primarily settling personal injury cases. That changed when a client who was injured in a collision won a $1.9 million verdict that held up on appeal.
Kelsey Ciarimboli (L ’14), a Bohm Law Group associate, accompanied Lawrance Bohm to this year’s Intersession to continue preparation for an approaching trial.
Today, Bohm Law Group has offices in Sacramento, Los Angeles and San Diego. Bohm often tries cases with other lawyers, but he also puts young lawyers into the thick of litigation, teaching them about law practice by giving them considerable responsibility.
For instance, Tulane Law graduate Kelsey Ciarimboli (L ’14) took the California bar in July, started working for Bohm Law in August and not long after that was a significant player on the trial team for the AutoZone case, learning the case inside-out, helping to draft briefs, organizing exhibits and assisting at counsel’s table.
“I don’t have any qualms about putting people in positions of pushing the envelope of what they can do,” Bohm said.
“That’s definitely his motto, throw you in,” Ciarimboli said. “You get a lot of great experience that way, and you learn right off the bat.”
Hired in 2014 when Bohm was in New Orleans for Tulane’s Intersession boot camp, she returned with him in January for the 2015 edition. She spent the week on post-trial work as well as preparing for the next trial, and Bohm said he expects her eventually to become the senior associate in the firm’s San Diego office.
The Intersession week gives Bohm a chance to help prepare new lawyers as well as to interview top candidates for his growing firm. He said he still remembers how difficult it was to find a job out of law school, and he believes the plaintiffs' bar should hire more recent graduates so they don’t have to get their early training at defense firms.
Tulane’s boot camp — which brings lawyers and judges from around the country to campus for a week to put some 130 students through real-world exercises — “helps create excitement and energy about practicing the law as opposed to learning the theory of the law,” Bohm said.
It also “reinforces that law school is just one step in the progression” of becoming a lawyer, he said.
Rachael Sauer (L ’15), hired as an associate for when she graduates, said she wanted to work in Los Angeles and she sees Bohm’s firm as a good fit.
“Employment discrimination law speaks to me because, being female, I grew up extra conscious of gender inequality in the workplace,” Sauer said. “I also come from a blue-collar, immigrant family [her grandparents are Croatian], so I think it's important to be an advocate for people who could be easily taken advantage of.”
Bohm also hired Ryann Hall (L ’15) as an associate in Los Angeles, her hometown, and she expects to work on civil rights and employment law cases. “While participating in the Criminal Law Clinic, I realized that I have a passion for advocating for people who oftentimes feel unrepresented in the legal system,” she said. “I look forward to continuing to represent people who need assistance.”