In many ways, the personality of Paragon Legal reflects that of its founder. And Mae O'Malley lets nothing stand in the way of getting the job done, whether it's managing a rapidly expanding business, handling urgent client requests, or racing her three young sons down black diamond ski runs in Tahoe. She is a devoted mother who loves spending QT with her boys, and her determination to successfully balance all of life's important aspects is what inspired her to establish Paragon Legal in 2006. The objective: build a firm that could give senior attorneys greater professional flexibility and control, combined with opportunities to work on meaningful, challenging legal projects.
While friends say her gift for culinary creativity led them to envision Mae at the helm of a catering business, epicurean exploits will have to wait. Because with sterling credentials and more than a decade of legal experience specializing in IP and technology transactions—not to mention a team of 80+ seasoned attorneys—she also has all the ingredients to turn an innovative legal model into a winning recipe. Mae began her career at the top San Francisco firm Morrison & Foerster before working in-house at several growing technology companies. She served as corporate counsel for Evolve Software and Escalate, Inc., then joined Sygate Technologies as director of legal affairs. She led the legal side of Sygate's acquisition by Symantec Corporation in 2005, and then worked as senior corporate counsel for Symantec until early 2006. Following Symantec, she joined Google as a contract attorney, working on complex content licensing including the StreetViews deal, while simultaneously founding Paragon Legal. Mae received her J.D. from U.C. Berkeley's Boalt School of Law and her A.B. with honors in Political Science from Stanford University. She was named a Legal Rebel by the American Bar Association Journal in 2009.
Passionate about forging strong, prolific bonds between our clients and attorneys, Tam T. T. Pham gets to know the clients and attorneys personally to understand their goals and priorities. Her years as an attorney, recruiter, and business entrepreneur, and an extraordinary family background have nurtured a uniquely open and sophisticated perspective that makes it easy for anyone to relate to her. This ability to relate to people allows Tam to effectively assess attorneys, match them up with clients, manage project engagements, and foster the relationships among the clients, attorneys, and Paragon.
Since fleeing from Vietnam with her family at a very young age—twice they were captured and her parents jailed—Tam has always been interested in learning more about Vietnam and the plight of people in developing countries. After studying International Relations at Stanford, Tam earned her J.D. from Columbia Law School and set her sights on helping developing countries through global project finance. That led her to Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy in New York City, where she worked on international infrastructure and energy projects. She also got her first taste of recruiting there, as a member of the associate recruiting committee, before ultimately going on to lead talent recruiting efforts as managing director at Major, Lindsey & Africa. A creative at heart, Tam is an accomplished ceramics artist who fashions purposeful pottery. Combining her keen aesthetic sensibilities with tremendous legal and business acumen, Tam has also served as business manager for design consultancy Workreative and designer footwear label Ryan Rowe. In the summer, you can find Tam and her family exploring the hills in Marin; in the winter, skiing down the slopes at Squaw.
With two decades of experience, Anna Marie Armstrong is an expert in the legal recruiting industry. She appreciates the value of developing long-term relationships. She thrives on the prospect of finding the very best talent for her clients and new, rewarding, and ultimately, better opportunities for her candidates. A lawyer herself, Anna knows first-hand that these opportunities don't always come easy, particularly for women and minorities. She has always made it her practice to reach out to and be receptive to lawyers who are underrepresented. She has spoken at legal conferences and top law schools about diversity as well as many other cutting-edge issues affecting the legal market.
Anna graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in English and American Literature and received her J.D. from U.C. Berkeley School of Law where she served as an Associate Editor of the California Law Review. She clerked for the Honorable Earl B. Gilliam on the United States District Court for the Southern District of California and then joined the highly-regarded firm, Howard, Rice, Nemerovski, Canady, Falk & Rabkin (merged into Arnold & Porter's San Francisco office), where she worked as an associate on complex litigation matters.
Anna began her legal recruiting career at Major, Hagen & Africa (now Major, Lindsey & Africa). She also worked at Mlegal Consulting, Mestel & Company and Hire Counsel. Anna is very well connected in both in-house and law firm circles in the San Francisco Bay Area and across the country. Her recruiting background spans the placement of associates, partners, in-house counsel, general counsel and high-level contract attorneys. She has placed in-house lawyers in the technology, biotechnology, energy, financial services, entertainment and non-profit sectors. She has expertise in both retained and contingent search.
When she is not working, Anna enjoys spending time with her young daughter. They live in Palo Alto, Anna's hometown, and are often out and about swimming, playing basketball and attending school and cultural events.
Helping people achieve their full potential is what drives Jennifer Chou-Green. A human catalyst, she thrives on enabling others to become their best selves and eliminating obstacles to success for Paragon's attorneys—through comprehensive human resources support that includes benefits, onboarding, and compliance issues. Her lifelong fascination with the biology of the brain and its relationship to behavior led her to pursue her education in neuroscience, and her research has been published in several peer-reviewed scientific journals. This experience, along with her professional work as a writer and editor, shaped the tremendous analytical abilities and exceptional communication skills she brings to our team.
Yet, it's Jennifer's character that sets her apart. She's perpetually seeking new ways to contribute to something bigger than herself and assist others in fulfilling their visions. That's why she went on to the non-profit sector, where she shaped mentoring programs for young scientists and engineers at MentorNet. It's also the inspiration for her consulting practice, through which she continues to serve the scientific community as an editor of academic manuscripts and communications. Jennifer sees Paragon as a dream come true because it feeds these same ambitions while promoting a work-life balance untenable as a scientist. Her appetite for excellence extends beyond work as well. A self-confessed foodie, she's at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market every Saturday at 8 a.m. sharp to beat the crowds to the best local produce. She holds a B.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, and completed her postdoctoral fellowship at UCSF.
Part business guru, part behind-the-scenes producer, Gwendolyn Guerra spends most of her time helping others succeed. She is the consummate teammate, happiest in service of the common goal. Her mission is to make work easier for everyone else by keeping operations running flawlessly—whether that's coordinating an event, improving processes, or guiding strategic decisions. And for Gwendolyn, the only way to do that is to live and breathe the business first. Because making the best accounting, HR, marketing, and growth planning decisions for a company means you need to understand the big picture. But we also know it's her gift for connecting with people that makes her so valuable as our operations manager.
This secret recipe might owe to her early career in events and public relations for some of the country's finest restaurants. Gwendolyn got her start at the San Francisco institution La Folie and went on to be the business manager for a Manhattan firm that represented restaurants and celebrity chefs, before returning to help open longtime SoMa favorite Maya. Her passion for food and strong sense of community may have also been seasoned by the cultural joie de vivre she quickly embraced while living in France. She honed her chops and management experience for over 10 years in marketing and business operations roles before joining Paragon, most recently serving as the director of accounting and human resources for Cartelligent, the largest new-car-buying service in Northern California. She holds a B.A. in international relations, which she studied at both U.C. Davis and L'Institut d'Etudes Politiques in Lyon, France. You'll often find Gwendolyn shuttling her young daughter between activities, jogging at Land's End, or trying to figure out which new San Francisco restaurant to try next.