As warm as you can get without being 'hot':
SF and Bay Area firms are growing, expanding, adding new practice areas, fleshing out their existing practices, and merging. If that is not a hot, market, what is? The only caveat is that firms, while as bullish as ever, have a completely different mind-set going in. Before the 'dot.com' boom, firms saw needs, and hired-immediately. Now, needs are identified, discussed, pass through committee, are communicated (more or less) and then sit unfilled for months. This is because the new paradigm is caution, deliberation and still more caution. Firms are indeed looking to hire-their associates are over-burdened and their clients' needs are going unfulfilled, but firms absolutely refuse to be caught with their pants down this time. This means that firms will hire, but the candidate must be PERFECT fit. Rather than be afraid of distinguishing yourself, rather, candidates need to do everything they can to push 'meat on the bones' and communicate their particular, individual mission. In short, you must know what you want to do and be able to communicate it. (Note to self: that is what your recruiter is for.)
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