State of the Market: Orange County by Evan Anderson, Managing Director, BCG Attorney Search
Healthy Practice Areas:
Intellectual Property Litigation/Patent Prosecution
IP Litigation is the hottest practice area in Orange County and in much of California at the moment. Several firms have active vacancies and more are added each week. By far, the most sought after candidates are those with backgrounds in computer science and/or electrical engineering. Firms are also seeking candidates with backgrounds in mechanical engineering. Presently, several of our firm clients are also seeking patent litigation and patent prosecution attorneys at all levels. Patent Agents are also increasingly in demand in Orange County. Candidates with USPTO membership are given preference. There is a consistent requirement for candidates to be admitted to practice in California.
Steady Practice Areas:
Hiring in Commercial Litigation remains steady in Orange County. Firms are seeking attorneys at all levels, from junior associates to partners with books of business. Insurance Litigation has recently surfaced as an area of interest. Candidates should have impeccable credentials (e.g. large firm experience, minimal job movement, top law school graduate).
Firms are actively recruiting for real estate transactions partners with a portable book of business. They are also seeking mid-level candidates with 2-5 years of experience in real estate finance. Candidates should already have membership to the California Bar.
Growing Practice Areas:
Labor & Employment Labor & Employment positions began to resurface in the first quarter of 2011 but have dropped off after the second quarter. Firms appear to be keeping vacancies open for extended periods and not filling them. That said, there is a consistent interest in solid L&E attorneys. Candidates should be licensed in California, and have both class action and single plaintiff experience. Firms continue to seek candidates with wage and hour experience.
Slow Practice Areas:
Bankruptcy and corporate continue to remain very slow practices. Furthermore, there is very little activity in healthcare, tax, environmental, energy, trademark, technology transactions, trusts & estates and employee benefits/executive compensation. That being said, candidates who have outstanding academic and professional credentials, 3-5 years of experience in their field, and membership to the California Bar will definitely get interviews. We anticipate the market to continue to improve in Orange County for the remainder of 2011.
State of the Market: San Diego by Evan Anderson, Managing Director, BCG Attorney Search
Corporate and IP/Patent hiring are currently dominating the San Diego legal market. The bulk of existing vacancies are for junior or partner level Corporate Securities attorneys as well as junior and mid-level Patent Litigation and Patent Prosecution associates. Traditionally, the San Diego has been the hardest market to penetrate in California. To be competitive here, you must have top credentials as well as strong ties to the area. The California Bar is a must, as is longevity at your current firm (2+ years). Be ready to explain your reasons for leaving your current firm, as well as any other moves on your resume.
Healthy Practice Areas:
Several corporate positions opened up in San Diego in the 2nd and 3rd quarters of 2011. Junior to mid-level corporate associates with emerging company, venture capital, public & private securities experience are in demand. M&A experience is also valued. There has been recent surge in the need for corporate candidates with experience in technology transactions specifically.
Patent Prosecution and Litigation
Patent prosecution remains one of the hottest practices in San Diego with patent litigation following close behind. The strongest need for both litigation and prosecution is at the mid to senior level range. Candidates with backgrounds in one of the following will fair well: biology/chemistry/chemical engineering/life science - particularly those with a Ph.D. There is a tremendous need for prosecutors with an electrical engineering or computer science background. Candidates who currently work at a top boutique or large firm will surely get interviews.
Tax and ERISA/Employee Benefits remains a consistently busy practice in San Diego. While senior-level attorneys are those most highly recruited, at this time in these practices there is room for mid-levels. Candidates who have experience in areas like employee benefits or charitable organizations will be attractive to potential employers and have better chances. In order to be competitive in San Diego, attorneys should be licensed in California, and they should also have both state and federal tax law experience. Senior level candidates with LL.M.s in Taxation will surely get interviews.
Steady Practice Areas:
Labor & Employment Labor & Employment hiring has slowed considerably for junior- and mid-level associates but there continues to be a demand for senior L&E attorneys as well as partners with portable business. Wage and hour experience is a must, and admittance to the California Bar is required.
The need for energy attorneys has picked up all over the country as renewable energy becomes more popular. San Diego is no exception. Senior level energy attorneys are still in demand. Those with experience in energy finance and the purchase and sale of energy projects as well as energy regulations such as FERC, CEC, and CPUC will quickly garner interviews.
Slow Practice Areas:
The need for real estate and environmental attorneys has not picked up as of yet, but we anticipate this to change over the next few months. However, experienced real estate attorneys with traditional leasing and acquisition work from well-regarded law firms will get several interviews. Environmental attorneys with zoning and land use experience from well-respected firms will also get attention at top firms in San Diego.
We are not seeing a lot of activity in general litigation, bankruptcy, trademark, healthcare, or trusts and estates. Anyone in these practice areas should seriously consider looking into the Orange County and Los Angeles markets.
State of the Market: Los Angeles by Evan Anderson, Managing Director, BCG Attorney Search
Healthy Practice Areas:
Litigation is the hottest practice in Los Angeles right now with Consumer Finance, Commercial and White Collar experience in greatest demand. There is a need for litigators at all levels. Requests—even requirements—for clerkships are becoming more and more common. We are seeing more openings that also require solid hands-on courtroom experience, including trial and deposition work. Practices are staffed leanly after the economic downturn and firms are not looking to train laterals. They want someone who can hit the ground running and help train the more junior associates. As always, admittance to the California Bar is required.
Corporate & Finance
For the second and third quarters, firms were recruiting heavily in the corporate and finance sectors in Los Angeles. Corporate associates with experience in private equity, M&A, joint ventures, and securities are in high demand. Within finance, we are seeing activity in bank & institutional finance and debt finance. Firms are seeking candidates at all levels, even as junior as a second year associate. Firms prefer local and Bay Area candidates but will seriously consider East Coast and Chicago transplants with the right credentials and experience.
Labor & Employment
Los Angeles is a wonderful place to practice employment law. It is always busy here! There is a never-ending need for employment attorneys at all levels, especially partners with some portable business. Mid - and senior - level employment law candidates with good credentials will do well in the current Los Angeles market. Historically, firms have sought candidates who are already members of the California Bar and have experience with California labor and employment codes. This practice area is recession-proof for the most part. Any general litigator who has some experience in this area should seriously consider applying for positions in this practice area. If you are a litigator who has spent at least 30% of your time on labor and employment matters, it would be wise to market yourself as an employment attorney who is flexible on class year. For instance, if you are a 5th year litigation associate, then tell firms you will come in at a lower level (leave it up to the firm to decide where they should place you) if you can become a full-time employment attorney.
Growing and Steady Practice Areas:
Intellectual Property/Patent Litigation
Los Angeles is not the best market for IP and patent litigators, but the market is improving and there are several current vacancies. Firms continue to seek IP and patent litigators - including senior level associate candidates. Firms are very specific about what they want and are willing to take their time in finding the right match. There is no rush to hire anyone and positions are remaining open for a few months. Like patent prosecutors, litigation candidates who also possess an electrical, computer science or physics degree will do very well. Patent litigators should also be a member of the USPTO, and if possible, the California Bar - although firms are more flexible with bar membership requirements if you have the right science degree. But, anyone who has solid patent litigation experience with a technical degree should have several interviews. The focus for IP litigators is on the mid to senior level.
The market has continued to hold steady for real estate associates, particularly those with experience in real estate transactions, real estate finance, and joint-venture equity work. Candidates from top law firms with 1-6 years of experience will get interviews. Many firms also seek partners with excellent real estate experience and preferably a portable book of business.
As a result of the increase in corporate activity in Los Angeles, we are seeing a slowly growing need for employee benefits/executive compensation attorneys with experience in qualified plans, health and wealth plans, and executive compensation.
We are seeing a slight increase in the need for environmental attorneys at the mid to senior levels. Candidates with experience in RCRA, CERCLA, and CEQA are preferred, as are those associates with regulatory experience. Experience in Air & Water as well as Climate Change is also desired.
Patent and Trademark Prosecution
Los Angeles is not the best market for patent and trademark prosecutors, but at present there are a few vacancies in these areas. Law firms are seeking well-qualified attorneys from both practices but only at the senior associate and partner level. Firms that are hiring are extremely particular about what they want and are not flexible - they are happy to wait patiently for the right person. Candidates must have solid prosecution experience with backgrounds in biology, chemistry, life sciences, and electrical engineering. You must have membership to the USPTO, and there is a strong preference for candidates who are admitted to the California Bar. Many firms seek partners with an established patent prosecution portfolio.
Slow to Dead Practice Areas:
The following practice areas have very little activity: Bankruptcy, Construction, Tax, Trusts & Estates, Technology Transactions, Healthcare. However, firms are always willing to look at stellar candidates (top law school/law firm) with 2-5 years of experience in these areas. Firms are also particularly interested in growing their healthcare practices and many firms are seeking to hire partners or groups of attorneys with at least $1.5 million in portables.
State of the Market: San Francisco by Claudia Barnes, Managing Director, BCG Attorney Search
Healthy Practice Areas:
Employment and Labor
The need for labor and employment attorneys continues throughout 2011. Labor and employment attorneys at many levels are getting many interviews. The focus is on mid-levels with true employment litigation and/or wage and hour class action experience. There is also a need for mid-levels with traditional labor experience. Lastly, there is a real push to find employment partners with a sizeable book of business (at least $500,000).
We are happy to report a continued increase in activity in corporate. Firms are seeking associates at all levels. The hot areas are all over the map: venture capital, finance, private equity, capital markets, debt finance, M&A, securities, general corporate governance. Mid-level candidates who already reside in the Bay Area and work for a well-regarded firm are bound to get interviews. Candidates who speak Mandarin will do exceedingly well.
Litigation is a healthy practice area. Firms are hiring at all levels and in a variety of practices with an emphasis in class actions, commercial, financial institutions and some intellectual property litigation. Candidates with clerkship experience are in demand. Partners with business in products liability and commercial litigation are sought after. In order to be competitive in San Francisco, candidates must have solid academic and professional credentials, and ideally currently reside in the Bay Area and are members of the California Bar.
Intellectual Property (Patent) Litigation
This practice area has picked up and keeps going. Many firms in San Francisco are seeking associates in the mid-level range as well as the partner level. Firms like to see candidates who have Markman hearing experience as well as a background in chemistry, molecular biology, electrical engineering or computer science. Candidates with a PhD in a life science discipline will get many interviews. Candidates do not need membership to the California bar.
There has been a fairly dramatic need for real estate associates at all levels. This is a result of the mass layoffs that occurred in the real estate downturn. We are finally seeing a turnaround. There is activity in all areas of real estate law: acquisitions, dispositions, commercial leasing and financing transactions (including origination of mortgage loans and mezzanine financing). Firms are also seeking partners with at least $1 million in portables.
Steady Practice Areas:
There is a solid and steady need for insurance coverage attorneys with 3-6 years of experience. Membership in the CA bar is required.
Patent prosecutors are in less demand than litigators. There is a definite need for junior and mid-levels in all science backgrounds. Patent prosecutors are encouraged to also look in the Silicon Valley area for a position.
Slow Practice Areas:
We have an active search for a bankruptcy litigator with 4 years of experience.
There is a need for attorneys with 2-4 years in both litigation and transactional matters. Specifically, firms seek candidates with purchasing/procurement contract review and counseling; project controls advice and services to energy/utility companies; and dispute resolution.
Ideal tax candidates have at least 2 years of experience and a broad background in federal tax from a well-regarded law firm and an LL.M in taxation.
Trusts and Estates
While trusts and estates is still not a tremendously active area, it has picked up over the last six months. Firms are seeking senior associates (6-12 years) of experience. While it is not required, an LL.M in taxation is a big plus.
The following areas are truly ''slow'': energy, healthcare, technology transactions, executive compensation/ERISA, environmental (1 firm is actively seeking partners with some portable business), and trademark.
However, firms will likely consider any mid-level candidate with a stable work history and solid pedigree from a well-regarded law firm. There is a strong preference to hire candidates who already reside in the Bay Area.
State of the Market: Silicon Valley by Claudia Barnes, Managing Director, BCG Attorney Search
Silicon Valley has historically been an outstanding legal market, and it is typically easier to find a position here than in San Francisco. Candidates seeking a position in San Francisco ought to look in Silicon Valley where there are more opportunities and less competition. Many people live in San Francisco or a neighboring city and commute to the Silicon Valley area. Furthermore, those with families will simply adore living in the Silicon Valley area. The quality of life is simply outstanding and the area is close to Napa Valley and Sonoma wine country.
Hot Practice Areas:
There is an incredible abundance of corporate openings at all levels. Just like in our Winter Market Report, corporate is hot, hot, hot! Candidates must have experience in at least one of the following areas: M&A, VC, IPO, emerging companies, capital markets, public finance, corporate finance, securities, investment management, and fund formation. We are even seeing a need for firm’s Indian law practices. Although there is a strong preference in hiring local candidates who already have the California Bar, nearly every firm will seriously consider a candidate relocating from another region like New York, DC, Texas and Chicago who also has top caliber academic and professional credentials. Furthermore, firms are keeping an eye out for Mandarin-speaking attorneys and those with technology backgrounds
Executive Compensation/Employee Benefits/ERISA
Since our Winter Report, the need for executive compensation/employee benefits attorneys has escalated at all levels. Many firms are hiring in this area. While firms are considering candidates at all levels, the biggest need is in the mid- and senior levels.
Intellectual Property (Patent/Trademark Litigation and Patent/Trademark Prosecution)
The need for intellectual property litigators (both patent and trademark litigation) at all levels and patent prosecutors at all levels are among the most sought-after candidates in Silicon Valley. For patent prosecution, candidates must have experience in a big firm or boutique and a strong technical background. Ideal candidates will have a background in electrical engineering, computer science, mechanical engineering, biotechnology, organic chemistry, biochemistry, pharmaceuticals, chemical engineering, and/or medical devices. Those in bio fields are typically expected to have a Ph.D. or Masters degree. Registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office is a must. We are seeing an ever-so-slightly growing need for trademark attorneys, which is a good sign for a slightly recovering economy. When there are budget cuts, the first thing to be cut is advertising and protecting or registering a trademark. There are multiple jobs for true trademark prosecutors - this is something we have not seen in a long time. Candidates should have at least 2 years of experience in domestic and foreign trademark prosecution and client counseling on clearance and registration strategy.
There are a number of firms seeking litigators with a variety of backgrounds and at all levels including commercial, general, securities, class action, and white collar. Anyone who has some intellectual property litigation experience should be fairly marketable. Candidates should have membership to the California Bar.
The incredible need for attorneys with experience in technology transactions has increased greatly in the last six months. Firms are seeking candidates at all levels with a particular interest in mid-levels. Candidates should have true technology transaction and licensing experience, and experience in at least one of the following areas: biotechnology, clean tech, medical device, semiconductors, computer software/hardware, and telecommunications. Firms have a strong preference for candidates with tech backgrounds; particularly: electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, computer science, computer engineering, biology, physics, or chemistry.
Steady Practice Areas:
Generally, San Francisco is a better market for labor and employment attorneys. However, there are several firms hiring mid-level associates with employment litigation and counseling experience. The focus is on management-side experience.
Slow Practice Areas:
Silicon Valley has never been a hotbed for real estate attorneys, but there is one job opening in Palo Alto for a real estate attorney with 3-4 years of experience. Candidates must be admitted to the CA bar.
There is one job opening for a tax attorney with 2-4 years of experience. Most firms appreciate (or require) an LL.M. in tax or CPA degree and big firm experience.
Trusts and Estates
There is a bit more activity in this area than before (which was nothing). Firms are seeking to hire mid-levels with 3-4 years of experience in will drafting, estate planning, estate and trust administration and experience with settlements.
Dead Practice Areas:
There is currently no activity in bankruptcy, energy, environmental, and healthcare (firms are considering partners with at least $1.5 million in portable business).
State of the Market: Seattle by Claudia Barnes, Managing Director, BCG Attorney Search
Seattle is an attractive city for many attorneys around the country. The city is picturesque and offers top quality work and life balance that many cities cannot compete with. Further, after 5 years many attorneys are able to waive into the Washington Bar. The city has historically been a smaller legal market compared to Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Palo Alto. The city welcomes those who already have strong ties to the area – particularly those who grew up in the area. Also, attorneys who come from a much colder climate will do well here IF they have outstanding academic and professional credentials. Candidates who are admitted to both the Washington and Oregon bars will certainly have an edge. Many firms have offices in Spokane that are actively hiring. We encourage anyone applying for positions in Seattle to also consider Spokane.
Hot Practice Areas:
Since winter, the corporate market has steadily picked up. It is definitely one of the hottest practice areas in the city. The focus is on the mid to senior level associates and partners. However, any strong junior candidate will surely garner interviews as well. Experience with some of the following areas is necessary to get an interview: M&A, debt and equity financing, emerging companies, initial public offerings, and securities. There is a strong need for partners with portable books of business. The health of this practice is helping to create a small need for ERISA associates.
Intellectual Property (Patent Prosecution & Litigation)
The need for patent attorneys (particularly prosecutors) has increased all over the country and Seattle is no exception. Presently, our firm clients are focusing on patent litigation and prosecution candidates with at least 2 years of experience. In Seattle, the ''hot'' scientific backgrounds are electrical engineering, computer science, and physics. Attorneys with a life sciences background are expected to have an advanced degree, preferably a Ph.D. Experience in wireless telecommunications is super hot! Anyone with this experience will get multiple interviews. Candidates should have USPTO membership, and ideally Washington Bar membership. Abundant prosecution experience will be very marketable, along with prior engineering experience.
We are happy to report that the need for litigators has dramatically improved since the winter market report! Many firms are focused on the mid to senior levels, but anyone with at least 2 years of litigation experience and strong academic and professional credentials will be interviewed. Firms expect membership to the Washington Bar or the ability to waive in. Presently, the most activities are in construction, general commercial, and securities.
Steady Practice Areas:
Employment and Labor
The need for labor and employment attorneys has stayed firm. Firms are seeking to hire mid-senior level attorneys with at least 4 (preferably more) years of experience. Employers tend to favor broad-based labor and employment litigation experience including class action and single plaintiff cases. Membership to the Washington Bar or ability to waive in is key. The big firms always weigh ties to Seattle heavily.
Slow to Dead:
Surprisingly, the need for technology transactions attorneys has quieted. There is currently no activity in the following: bankruptcy, environmental, trademark, employee benefits/executive compensation, real estate, trusts and estates, healthcare, and energy.
State of the Market: Oregon by Claudia Barnes, Managing Director, BCG Attorney Search
Many job seekers who seek to move to Seattle also consider Portland. The city is a wonderful “small” city that offers everything that a large city has with more of a “small town” feel. Like Seattle, firms in Portland expect strong ties to the area and excellent academic and professional qualifications. Admission to the Oregon Bar or the ability to waive in is a must for consideration. For more information, please review the Oregon Bar website www.osbar.org.
Healthy Practice Areas:
Like Seattle and most places in the country, the corporate market in Portland has picked up. The strongest need is for mid-levels in the 3-6 year range but firms are also looking to hire junior associates in the 1-3 year range. Candidates should have experience in one of the following: corporate governance, mergers and acquisitions, private and public offerings, and securities.
The need for labor and employment attorneys has picked up a bit in Portland. Attorneys with 2-5 years of experience will certainly get interviews. Candidates with traditional labor experience are also sought after. Membership to the Oregon Bar is strongly preferred.
Litigators with at least 3 years of experience are in demand. Presently, the areas of emphasis are civil litigation, construction litigation, and insurance coverage. Candidates should have experience in all phases of litigation, including drafting pleadings and discovery, managing files, and attending hearings, depositions, arbitrations, and trials. Candidates must be admitted to practice in Oregon. Because many firms have offices in Washington State, the admittance to the Washington Bar is a plus.
Patent prosecutors with at least 2 years of experience will garner interviews in Portland. Candidates who possess a degree and background in electrical engineering, chemistry or computer science, and related areas are in particular demand. Candidates with an organic chemistry background are desired as well and should have an advanced degree like a Master’s or Ph.D. Candidates should have superior academic credentials and experience in drafting patent applications, opinions, and/or reexamination requests. Candidates must also be registered to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office. It is not necessary to be admitted to the Oregon Bar.
Steady Practice Areas:
There is a particular need for candidates with 2-5 years experience and familiarity with the following law and statutes: Stark, Anti-Kickback, HIPAA/HITECH, and Medicare. Firms are seeking Washington State practice experience, but are open to out-of-state candidates. Candidates with experience in drafting physician-oriented agreements are a plus.
Intellectual Property Litigation
Intellectual Property litigators are not in as much demand as patent prosecutors. However, there is a need for junior level litigators with at least 1 year of experience. Candidates must have strong technical backgrounds.
The need for tax attorneys has grown due to the increased activity in corporate law. Candidates who possess 4-5 years of experience will be interviewed. Firms have a strong preference to hire those with an LL.M. in taxation.
Trusts & Estates
Firms are hiring experienced trusts and estates attorneys with at least 5 years of experience in trusts and estates planning and administration. Job seekers who also have general business, tax and/or charitable organization experience will be greatly valued. Admission to the Oregon Bar is required and admission to the Washington Bar is strongly preferred.
Slow Practice Areas:
There are few to no active job openings in the following areas: environmental, real estate, executive compensation/ERISA, energy, environmental, bankruptcy, technology transactions, and trademark. We do not foresee any changes until 2012.
State of the Market: Washington, DC by Robyn Ginsberg, Managing Director, BCG Attorney Search
The associate market in DC and the surrounding areas has bounced back significantly in 2011, in sharp contrast to the generally stagnant state of the associate market in 2009 and 2010. In the first two quarters of 2011, we have seen a consistent and steady increase in hiring activity in virtually all practice areas. While 2010 hiring was generally focused on transactional sectors, as well as certain niche practice sectors (such as IP law, healthcare, and energy regulatory), the focus of law firm hiring in 2011 has, thus far, been on litigation. In particular, law firms in Washington, DC are focused on retaining commercial litigators and white collar associates of all class years. During the first half of the year, we’ve also noted a pick up in hiring for labor and employment associates, ERISA/employee benefits associates, patent prosecution and patent litigation associates, and broker-dealer/banking/securities associates – mostly at the junior to mid-level class years.
The economy is continuing to pick up, and we expect the second half of 2011 to be even busier. Law firms are beginning to recognize that we have shifted back to a “buyers’ market,” very similar to the state of the market in 2007 and 2008, where associates and partner candidates could generally move from firm to firm with ease. Law firms are, for this reason, moving more quickly to interview candidates and extend offers to attorneys they wish to bring on board, as those wishing to make lateral moves have more options now than were possible in the preceding two or three years.
Firms are Ramping Up Their Litigation Practices for the First Time in Several Years, Particularly Their White Collar and Commercial Litigation Practices:
Right now we have multiple listings for litigation associates in Washington, DC, from law firms of all sizes, seeking to bring on board experienced white collar and/or commercial litigation associates at the mid and senior levels.
We are noticing a continued interest by law firms in candidates with AUSA and/or DOJ work experience, as well as an interest in candidates with criminal law experience. We are also seeing a renewed interest in associate candidates with FCPA experience.
Relatedly, in the second quarter of 2011, there have been faint stirrings of an increase in firm hiring of securities litigation and antitrust associates – not surprising, given the trend in 2011 towards beefing up commercial litigation practices in DC.
Firms Continue to Seek Highly Qualified Corporate Associates at a Steady Rate, However, for the First Time in Years, Firms are Having Difficulty Finding Qualified Candidates Interested in Making Lateral Moves:
In the first half of 2011, there has been a noticeable uptick in firm demand for associates with investment management/hedge fund, banking and financial institutions, and broker-dealer experience.
Firms continue to seek highly qualified capital markets/securities, mergers and acquisitions, and private equity associates. However, firms are having difficulty finding suitable candidates and we are receiving many calls from recruiting coordinators urgently requesting our assistance with their corporate associate and partner hiring efforts. Law firm inability to find qualified candidates is largely a result of the layoffs that occurred in 2008-2009, which depleted the pool of possible candidates, and the fact that many firms began hiring additional corporate associates in these specific practice areas in the second half of 2010. Thus, most of the corporate associates who had been biding their time in 2008 and 2009, and waiting for the market to recover so that they could make lateral moves, in fact made those moves a few months ago and, thus, are not looking to move again. The end result is that firms which decided to hold out on hiring in these practice areas until the start of 2011 are struggling to obtain good associate candidates.
Firms are Interviewing Candidates, and Extending Offers, More Frequently and More Efficiently in 2011, and Are Recognizing That They Now Have to Compete with Other Law Firms to Obtain Top Talent:
We are receiving numerous calls from recruiting coordinators urgently seeking to obtain highly qualified associate candidates in all practice areas. Firms are relying on recruiters more in 2011 than had been the case in 2009 and 2010, largely because they believe they need our assistance to sift through prospective candidates and quickly present them with possible fits for their firms’ hiring needs.
In 2010, firms were able to interview candidates at a more leisurely pace, as there were not as many jobs on the market and law firms were clearly in the driver’s seat. Now, however, the market is once again beginning to favor those seeking to make lateral moves, given the marked increase in law firm hiring, and thus firms changing their approach and moving more quickly to obtain top talent.
Relatedly, firms recognize that – in 2011 – they have to “woo” candidates, at least in certain practice areas, in order to compete with other law firms. As a result, some firms are offering clerkship bonuses again, and are willing to negotiate class year, salary and relocation expenses.
Our partner practice continues to have the highest level of demand, with the caveat that partners without self-sustaining portable business are finding it very difficult to move to other firms.
Right now, we are working on several searches on behalf of law firms looking to expand their practice area expertise, including but not limited to firms seeking to expand their intellectual property, environmental litigation, commercial litigation and general corporate practices.
That being said, almost every firm in DC is open to partners with healthy portable practices. The minimum requirements for some firms are as low as $500,000 to $750,000 and some other firms require a minimum of at least $3 million. The average, however, requires portable business between $1 and $1.5 million. Partners seem to recognize that their choices are once-again increasing, and they are taking their time as they seek to find the appropriate long-term fit for growing their practice and further developing their business.
We continue to be contacted by a number of partner candidates who are interested in “feeling out'' the market. Partners, like associates, recognize that the legal market in DC is beginning to recover, and thus they are arming themselves with knowledge so that they can consider their options, and in some instances, make lateral moves in 2011 that they hope will sustain and grow their practices well into the future.
State of the Market: New York by Christine Gately, Managing Director, BCG Attorney Search
There has been a significant increase in activity in most sectors during the first two quarters of 2011, with a few areas of law being particularly strong.
There has been a growing interest in junior, mid level, and senior level candidates with litigation experience, particularly in the areas of complex commercial litigation, white collar, and also antitrust litigation. Securities litigation and patent litigation are also sectors with a lot of activity currently.
There is a demand for middle to senior level corporate associates in the sectors of corporate and finance. The focus is currently on general corporate (M&A), capital markets, and debt and equity financing - in some cases distressed debt equity. High yield exposure is often a plus and initiate private and public offerings. There has also been an increase in the need for middle to senior level tax associates.
Employment and Labor Law Areas:
This is a practice area that is continuing to do well. There is now an increasing need for labor and employment attorneys with a broad range of experience including wage and hour, class actions, collective action, and single plaintiff litigation. FLSA experience is also a plus. Firms are generally looking for middle to senior level associates with experience from a mid-large size firm with a busy labor and employment practice.
There has also been an increase in the need for healthcare associates in 2011. Firms are looking for associate with upwards of 4 years of experience in healthcare litigation, as well as compliance, regulatory, and transactional matters. Specific experience may include counseling clients regarding compliance with Stark law, anti-kickback law, Medicare/Medicaid, HIPAA, and other state health-related laws and regulations.
Firms are generally interested in candidates with at least 2-3 years of experience from larger law firms, and some prefer judicial clerkships. Firms are moving quickly in the process of interviewing and extending offers particularly in the litigation and corporate sectors of law. One client firm, who had recently lost four litigation associates, began discussing reference checks with a top litigation associate candidate after 30 minutes on the first interview. This signifies that law firms are beginning to understand that they may have to compete for top candidates, in a way that they did not have to during the height of the economic slump of 2009 and 2010.
Intellectual Property Areas:
Intellectual Property continues to be a slower sector in 2011, with the exception of patent litigation/patent prosecution.
Trademark and copyright also continues to be an area with less activity, although some firms are still looking for associates with 3 plus years of experience in handling trademark prosecution, licensing, and trademark and copyright infringements.
Patent litigation is a hotter area, even more than patent prosecution. Firms are showing a special interest in associates with advanced technical degrees, usually in electrical engineering, computer science, or mechanical engineering, in order of more popular demand. Industry experience is a further plus if the industry experience matches the firm involved in. Computer science and biotech industry experience is also generally sought after.
Partner Market Areas:
The partner market in New York continues to show the highest level of demand, with larger firms searching for corporate and litigation partners with a substantial book of business of at least 1 million. Partners of other sectors such as intellectual property, healthcare and employment law are also in demand. The key for partner candidates is the type of clients they service and the associated business they will generate. Clients look for proof of partner billings over the course of the past several years in most instances.
Some smaller to mid-size firms will look for a minimum of $400,000 in business when considering partner level candidates, and again seem to be open to a variety of practice areas.
State of the Market: Boston by Robyn Ginsberg, Managing Director, BCG Attorney Search
For the first time since the economic downturn, we are seeing a slight increase in hiring in the Boston market, at both the associate and partner levels. The market in Boston has been particularly dormant over the last few years, and has been historically difficult for outsiders to penetrate. The latter still remains true. However, we are at least seeing a slight uptick in hiring, mostly relegated to the transactional and IP sectors.
For example, we are noticing an increase in listings for mid to senior level M&A, capital markets and private equity associates. Interestingly, Boston firms seem to be seeking associate candidates with a breadth of experience in multiple transactional sectors (i.e., general corporate expertise), so those candidates who are fairing the best are those who have multiple areas of transactional expertise. Additionally, firms in the Boston area are seeking to build up their emerging technologies and venture capital practices at both the associate and partner level.
As with other markets across the East Coast, we are seeing more demand in Boston for real estate associate and partner candidates (particularly those candidates with real estate finance expertise).
Finally, whereas in 2010 the IP sector in Boston was largely focused on beefing up patent prosecution ranks, we are finally seeing a renewed interest by firms in building their IP litigation practices, as well as their trademark practices. We expect this trend to continue into the second half of 2011.
State of the Market: New England by Robyn Ginsberg, Managing Director, BCG Attorney Search
Connecticut and New Hampshire law firm hiring has been moderately more active in early 2011 than in recent prior years. Law firms in the Hartford market seem to be ramping up their efforts to retain strong IP candidates, in both the prosecution and litigation sectors. In New Hampshire, there has been some recent demand for experienced litigation and product liability associates. There is also a slight pickup in partner demand in New Hampshire, particularly corporate and/or tax partner candidates with a book of business.
The remainder of the New England market has remained stagnant in early 2011, with little to no active efforts at hiring. Maine, Vermont and Rhode Island have very little hiring activity in 2010 and early 2011, and we expect that pattern to continue into the second half of 2011, with individual firms hiring on an “as needed” basis only.
State of the Market: Las Vegas by Claudia Barnes, Managing Director, BCG Attorney Search
Historically, Las Vegas is a great market and a wonderful place for attorneys from major markets to find a new home. It’s a city that has everything you can ask for – great shopping and restaurants and you can actually afford a home. However, the economy has not improved. In fact, there are very few positions in the city and all are in litigation. We believe the city will turn around but probably not until 2012 at the earliest.
What’s Hot/What’s Not
Litigation (including construction, real estate, products liability, and bankruptcy)
Trusts & Estates
Intellectual Property, Litigation, and Prosecution
Labor and Employment
Specific Lateral Hiring Needs:
The hottest practice at the moment is litigation. In particular, litigators with at least 2 years experience in general commercial litigation, construction, products liability, real estate litigation, and/or bankruptcy litigation are sought after. Candidate should possess the Nevada Bar.
State of the Market: Phoenix by Claudia Barnes, Managing Director, BCG Attorney Search
Phoenix is the largest legal market in Arizona and it is home to a number of national and regional firms. The economy is very slowly improving. We believe the market will pick up significantly in 2012. If you are a stellar candidate coming from a larger market or from a top firm in Arizona, you will likely have success in securing employment. Phoenix is an excellent place to live and offers a terrific quality of life. To break into the Phoenix market you need to have a tie to the area or a well thought out reason for moving to Arizona.
What’s Hot/What’s Not
Intellectual Property (on the partner level for Litigation and senior associate and partner level for Prosecution)
Trusts & Estates
Labor & Employment (typically hot)
Real Estate (not hot for the moment but it is a cornerstone of the Phoenix market so look for it to pick up again)
Specific Lateral Hiring Needs:
Presently, the focus is on building practices at the partner level. The ideal intellectual property litigation partner-level candidate will have 15 years of experience and a portable book of business. Candidates should have first or second chair complex patent, trademark, and copyright trial experience; USPTO admission preferred. Firms are seeking candidates who have experience in cross-marketing with other practice groups. On the prosecution side, firms are seeking senior (at least 5 years) experience in patent prosecution and a background in electrical or mechanical engineering, computer science, and biotechnology. Firms are also seeking to add partners with a moderate portable client base in patent, trademark, copyright, and/or licensing. Candidates must be licensed in Arizona.
With respect to bankruptcy, we are seeing a demand at the mid-senior level (at least 5 years) with experience in handling creditor's rights, foreclosures, and workouts. Some (not all) firms also want to see some ability for a senior level attorney to be able to build a book of business, and are expecting senior attorneys to have at least $150,000 in portable business. Candidates should be members of the Arizona Bar.
Phoenix and Tucson offices are seeking associates with 2-5 years of commercial litigation experience who also are admitted to the Arizona Bar. Firms are also considering senior level litigators with at least 5 years of experience who also have some portable business (at least $150,000).
Phoenix is a great market for real estate attorneys. There are a number of firms seeking junior (1-3 years) and mid-level (3-5 years) candidates with experience in real property secured financing, purchases and sales, leasing, title and survey review, and project development. Membership to the Arizona Bar is not a requirement, but strongly preferred. Candidates coming from a larger market will do quite well in Phoenix.
There is a need for mid-level tax associates with experience in federal and state tax, general corporate and partnership tax, estate planning, and probate. An LL.M. in tax is strongly preferred.
Trusts & Estates
Phoenix firms are seeking estate planning partners and senior associates (at least 5 years) with exceptionally strong technical and drafting skills and substantial experience with high net worth clients. Partner candidates do not necessarily need to have portable business but will ideally have at least $150,000 in portables. Candidates should be members of the Arizona Bar.
The market in Texas is starting to follow the trend of the East Coast with a noticeable increase in new positions. We are seeing growth in the transactional markets especially.
As always, with its low cost of living yet comparable firm salary structure, Texas remains a great option for partners and associates. Out-of-state candidates find little barrier to entry in Texas as long as they have strong credentials.
Below is a breakdown of various practices areas as they relate to firms’ needs in Texas.
Partner movement remains high as many firms have fared better than others throughout the recession. Many firms have expressed their desire to review partner candidates with portable business. BCG Attorney Search is a leader in partner placements nationwide, and we can use our contacts to make that transition very smooth and confidential for you. If you are interested in confidentially discussing in any of these opportunities, please contact me at 713-270-1199.
This practice area has slowed since 2008 and 2009 but there are still positions on a rolling basis. We are seeing less activity in bankruptcy generally.
Strong litigation candidates are always actively being sought in Houston and Dallas. And candidates with judicial clerkships and solid writing skills have a definite competitive edge. Litigation candidates are being sought by many firms currently.
Labor and Employment
Employment needs have cooled somewhat since 2009, but we are still seeing a smattering of positions across the state.
This area of law has had the most dramatic growth in recent months. Many of our clients are considering corporate resumes with strong deal experience.
Tax needs are increasing, but it is yet to be a highly active area for hiring. We predict a greater need for these candidates in 2012 in Texas. Candidates with an LL.M from top programs such as NYU, Florida, and Georgetown are most valuable to the firms.
IP Litigation needs have very much increased recently. We are seeing more needs in this area, especially for candidates with a background in Electrical Engineering or Computer Science. This is a great time to move as firms are getting busier and have ample work to go around.
Patent prosecution needs have increased somewhat at firms in Texas and this is a trend we have noticed nationwide. Particularly attractive to firms are those attorneys with a background in Electrical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Physics or Computer Science.
Energy and Project Finance
Transactional Energy associates are heavily in demand in our Houston markets. We have positions in M&A, development, cross-border, and project finance.
While this practice area remains in high demand nationally, we haven’t seen as many needs in the Texas market. However, these candidates are always marketable.
This practice area is greatly improving from 2010 and even early 2011. We are excited to see these needs increase as this is fairly indicative of the improvement in the market generally.
New Orleans law firms currently have many litigation and corporate needs, with additional needs in Employment and Healthcare.
This market has not been affected greatly through the recession and needs have stayed fairly constant. Candidates with personal ties to the area are often favored for this market.
State of the Market: Chicago by Jamie Bailey, Partner, BCG Attorney Search
The economy continues to battle the headwinds of the weak housing market and high unemployment. However, activity has begun to pick up in many sectors of the market. Business activity has increased, select geographic regions are experiencing growth and law firms and other companies are hiring. This is due, in part, to the severe job cuts that took place during the past three years. Companies lack excess capacity, so any improvement in their business places a significant burden on the existing staff. Hiring is inevitable. The outlook is more favorable now than it has been in several years and we have continued to see marked improvement in lateral hiring during the second quarter 2011. Specifically, we are seeing an increase in the flow of lateral openings in transactional (corporate; finance; private equity; M&A; securities; banking and commercial lending; and real estate finance) intellectual property (patent prosecution and patent litigation), employee benefits/ERISA and labor and employment.
If the first six months are an indicator of what lies ahead, 2011 should prove to be a much better year for lateral hiring than many of us could have ever imagined.
Partners with Portable Business
In Chicago, we are continuing to focus our attention on partner level searches for firms that are seeking assistance in hiring partners with portable clients to contribute to their bottom line.
Chicago firms have been receptive to income and equity partners with portable books of business, who are highly motivated to continue to grow their books in law firm environments which are well equipped to service their clients' increasing demands for diverse services and attractive billing rate structures. We would be interested in speaking with energetic junior partners who have growing books of business.
We would also like to speak with more seasoned partners who have well established clients seeking environments which are financially stable, and which will offer their clients creative fee structures, excellent representation in key practice areas, and the ability to cross-sell services. Chicago firms are generally looking for a minimum of $1-2 million in portable business, but some smaller and mid-sized firms will consider books starting at $500,000. Practice areas of particular interest to prominent firms in Chicago include: intellectual property (patent prosecution and patent litigation), litigation (general commercial, environmental, mass tort and products liability), labor and employment, corporate (M&A, securities, private equity, investment management), government and public affairs, bankruptcy, estate planning, healthcare (FDA), life sciences, energy, employee benefits and ERISA litigation.
Corporate – Finance; Private Equity; M&A; Securities; Banking and Commercial Lending
The demand we saw during the first quarter 2011 for transactional attorneys continued through second quarter 2011 and firms are arguably now understaffed in a number of their transactional practices.
Finance is one area in which we are experiencing the most demand. We would be interested in speaking with associates who have anywhere from 1-5 years of experience in finance transactions for both borrowers and lenders, including senior, mezzanine and subordinated debt transactions, leveraged finance, acquisition financing, loan workouts and restructurings and debtor-in-possessions financing. We would also be interested in speaking with associates with 2-6 years of 144A finance experience. Associates with 3-6 years of experience in corporate finance, commercial lending, private placement and/or mezzanine or lease financing and large law firm experience will receive our immediate attention. Some of the top finance practices in the city are also seeking public finance associates with 2-5 years of experience.
In the private equity, M&A and securities areas, we would be interested in speaking with mid to senior level associates with 1-5 years of experience in M&A transactions representing financial and strategic buyers and sellers. We are also receiving requests for associates with ’34 and ’40 Act experience. Senior associates with 5-6 years of experience in public company mergers, including tender and exchange offers, going private transactions, acquisition and dispositions of subsidiaries, divisions and other assets and joint ventures experience should contact our Chicago office. We would also like to speak with associates with 3-5 years in private equity transactions, including documenting and negotiating acquisitions and financing of private and public companies; going private transactions; stock for stock acquisitions, spin-off transactions and acquisitions of minority interests.
Firms with prominent financial services groups have also requested that we send them associates with 2-3 years of experience in banking (namely credit enhancement transactions) and general commercial lending experience. We would also like to speak with associates with 4+ years of experience in broker-dealer transactions.
Labor and Employment Litigation
Labor and employment continues to be an area in which we are seeing need in both larger general practice firms, as well as boutique L&E firms which have experienced tremendous growth over the past few years. We would be interested in speaking with junior, mid-level and senior associates with employment litigation experience. Associates with large class action experience should definitely contact our Chicago office.
Employee Benefits; ERISA Litigation
We have seen an increase in requests for employee benefits associates with 2-6 years in qualified retirement and health and welfare plans. Additional experience with benefits-related merger and acquisition issues, as well as compensation plans, including stock options and restricted stock, are a plus. We also have a few positions for income partner level attorneys who have strong ERISA litigation experience.
Unfortunately, we have not yet seen a significant increase in litigation positions in Chicago firms during this past quarter, but we are definitely receiving some requests and are encouraged by this slight uptick in litigation activity. Litigation associates with 4-6 years of experience in class action, financial institutions and consumer litigation matters should get in touch with us, as well as those with general commercial and products liability defense experience. Deposition, court room experience and IL Bar admission are generally required for these positions.
Intellectual Property - Patent Prosecution; Patent Litigation
Intellectual property has been particularly strong over this past quarter in Chicago and there has been significant demand for both patent prosecutors and patent litigators. In particular, we would like to speak with patent prosecutors with 2-7 years of experience and backgrounds in any of the following areas: chemistry, chemical engineering, food science, mechanical engineering, computer science, and electrical engineering. Additionally, firms are requesting that we send them patent litigation associates with 3-5 years of experience in patent litigation and backgrounds in electrical engineering, computer science or chemistry. USPTO is generally required for all of our patent prosecution positions and for some of our patent litigation positions.
It is inconceivable to some that we would actually have any real estate positions, but we are happy to report that some Am Law 100 firms in Chicago have been re-supplying their ranks in the real estate finance and project finance areas. We would be interested in speaking with associates with 1-6 years of experience in real estate finance who have large law firm training and excellent academic records. In particular, associates with complex domestic and international project financing or transactions covering a broad range of assets and industries should contact our Chicago office.
Trusts & Estates
We have received a few requests for trusts and estates associates with 2-5 years of experience in estate planning and administration matters and experience dealing with high net worth clients. An LL.M. in taxation is preferred.
We have a unique opportunity in a prominent healthcare practice for a 3-5 year associate with transactional and M&A experience. Experience with health industry transactions and healthcare regulatory issues, including fraud and abuse, antitrust, clinical research and/or tax exemption concerns for non-profit organizations required.
State of the Market: Wisconsin by Jamie Bailey, Partner, BCG Attorney Search
Milwaukee and Madison
Partners with Portable Business
Law firms in Wisconsin continue to be focused on increasing their bottom line and we are seeing a lot of movement among the partner ranks. We would be interested in speaking with partners who have portable business in the key practice areas generally found in large general practice firms.
Labor and Employment
We would be interested in speaking with associates with 1-3 years representing management in traditional labor, collective bargaining, and NLRB matters. WI Bar admission is required for these positions.
Intellectual Property - Patent Prosecution
Wisconsin firms are continuing to exhibit strong intellectual property practices and requesting patent prosecutors with 2-4 years of experience. In particular, firms would like to see backgrounds in electrical engineering and mechanical engineering. USPTO is required for these positions.
We have a few positions in real estate for associates with 4-5 years of experience in acquisition, disposition, purchase and sale agreements, 1031 exchange transactions and leasing. Large law firm experience and excellent academics is preferred for these positions.
A few firms in Wisconsin have very busy employee benefits practices and are seeking partners who are highly skilled and who have portable business sufficient to keep themselves busy. These firms are also interested in speaking with associates with 2-6 years of experience with qualified retirement plans and health and welfare benefit plans. Additional experience in executive compensation, including stock options and restricted stock experience is preferred.
We would like to speak with junior partner level healthcare attorneys with at least 5 years of experience in transactional and regulatory matters. Associates with 2-5 years of experience in hospital and health systems matters should get in touch with us regarding opportunities in Wisconsin firms.
State of the Market: Michigan by Jamie Bailey, Partner, BCG Attorney Search
Partners with Business
We are interested in speaking with partners practicing in Michigan who are seeking opportunities in Detroit and/or the surrounding legal markets, including Lansing, Southfield, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Novi or Troy. In particular, we would like to speak with partners with a minimum of $300,000 in portable business.
We would be interested in speaking with attorneys with 2-6 years of experience representing financial institutions and other lenders in a variety of consumer finance and general regulatory matters including lending, deposit and operational issues. Experience in representing banks and other financial institutions in commercial loans (secured and unsecured loan originations, real estate and single-bank and syndicated credit facilities) is also preferred. MI Bar admission and excellent academics are required.
Litigation – Construction and Environmental
We would like to speak with construction litigators with 8-12 years of years of experience. Environmental litigators with 1-2 years of experience and an educational background in physical or environmental sciences, engineering or environmental or natural resources policy should contact our Chicago office regarding opportunities in Detroit.
We have a prominent Detroit firm seeking to hire a real estate associate with 2+ years of experience in commercial real estate transactions, including acquisitions and dispositions, leasing and financing.
We would be interested in speaking with associates with 1-4 years of experience in real estate workouts and foreclosures, as well as exposure to commercial real estate litigation or transactional experience.
We would be interested in speaking with attorneys with 2-6 years of experience representing financial institutions and other lenders in a variety of consumer finance and general regulatory matters including lending, deposit and operational issues.
Real Estate - Finance
Associates with 3-5 years of experience in commercial real estate finance and transactional matters are sought by offices in Ann Arbor. Michigan Bar admission required and experience representing banks and other financial institutions is preferred.
State of the Market: Colorado by Jamie Bailey, Partner, BCG Attorney Search
Partners with Portable Business
We would be interested in speaking with partners with portable business in finance, estate planning, intellectual property litigation, patent prosecution, labor and employment and tax. Generally, firms are seeking a minimum of $500,000 in portable business.
We would be interested in speaking with tax associates with 3-5 years of transactional tax and corporate partnership experience, as well as 501(c) (3) entities and IRS disputes. Colorado Bar is preferred for these positions and candidates with real estate emphasis, state/local or foreign tax experience will be given serious consideration.
We have a number of environmental litigation positions in Denver for associates with 2-5 years of experience in environmental regulatory work, administrative law and natural resources, as well as water law. We would also like to speak with associates with 3-5 years of experience in public lands, natural resources and land use law. Experience with the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act and the Federal Land Planning and Management Act, and experience representing clients before federal agencies is preferred.
Corporate –M&A; Securities; Corporate Governance
We would be interested in speaking with associates with 2-5 years of experience in any of general corporate, corporate governance, M&A or securities.
Intellectual Property - Patent Prosecution; Patent Litigation
Associates with 2+ years of experience in patent prosecution and patent litigation matters should contact our Chicago office to discuss opportunities in Denver. A background in electrical engineering, computer engineering, computer science or physics is required. USPTO is generally preferred in most cases and/or required. We would also be interested in speaking with senior patent prosecution attorneys with 6-10 years of experience and backgrounds in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, computer science, or biotechnology. Some portables are required for this position and the CO Bar is preferred.
State of the Market: Minnesota by Laura Rusche, Legal Recruiter, Chicago Office of BCG Attorney Search
Things are looking bright in Minnesota! We continue to see recovery in the legal market in the Twin Cities, which means that more firms are hiring associate-level candidates (partner hiring has remained largely steady). The hottest practice areas continue to be intellectual property (prosecution and litigation), commercial litigation, corporate (M&A, securities and general corporate), labor and employment and healthcare. For many attorneys who have been holding off on conducting a job search due to the market conditions, now is the time to update your resume, dust off your nicest interview suit and get the job search process going!
Intellectual Property – Patent Prosecution and Litigation and Trademark
The Twin Cities is known for its intellectual property market, and this year is turning out to be a great year for IP attorneys. On the prosecution side, many firms seek junior to mid-level associates (anywhere from one to five years of experience, depending on the specific firm and position) with technical backgrounds in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and computer science. Still others are recruiting associates with technical degrees in organic chemistry and chemical engineering. Prior industry experience as well as legal experience with a top law firm is preferred. Some firms require an advanced technical degree, but the majority will consider candidates with undergraduate degrees. IP litigation is also heating up, and firms are looking for strong candidates with technical backgrounds.
Corporate – Mergers and Acquisitions; Securities; Finance; Healthcare; Others
While the market for corporate associates was almost non-existent during the economic recession, we are happy to report that it is alive and kicking. Firms tend to look for top academic credentials (both in terms of the rank of the law school and the grades earned while there) and large law firm experience. The majority of the current positions seek candidates with 3 to 5 years of experience in M&A, securities, and general corporate work. In addition, more and more firms are in need of healthcare associates, both on the regulatory and transactional sides. While firms prefer large law firm experience, many are open to those coming from consulting firms if the candidate’s experience is strong.
Litigation—General, Energy Litigation and Labor & Employment
Litigation is also getting hotter as the year progresses. We are seeing opportunities at a variety of levels, from junior associates to mid-levels and more senior candidates with hands-on experience. Labor and employment positions continue to pop up as well, although the demand is currently not as high as it is for general litigation associates. Many of the mid-sized firms prefer associates with a diverse litigation background that includes experience in litigating general commercial cases and labor and employment disputes, in part because of the diversity of the cases they handle for their clients. Candidates with top academics and large law firm experience are the most marketable, but even those with sophisticated experience from a smaller firm or less-than-perfect grades may be attractive to some employers. Overall, the litigation opportunities tend to seek candidates at the 2 to 6 year level, and qualified candidates are encouraged to reach out to BCG for assistance.
Tax, Trusts & Estates
In the last few months, we have seen an explosion in the need for tax associates in the Twin Cities! Candidates at all levels are sought by various firms, and while most prefer associates with an LL.M. in tax, this is not a strict requirement. Trusts and estates associates are also increasing in demand, with firms generally focused on candidates with estate and gift tax experience. As with other positions, candidates admitted to the Minnesota Bar and/or with strong ties to the region are preferred.
Partners with Portable Business
As always, firms in the Twin Cities remain interested in recruiting partners with portable business that compliment the firm’s current practice or brings something new to the team. The amount of business required varies from firm to firm, and the largest and most prestigious firms seek a minimum of $1 million. However, the smaller and mid-sized firms will consider less if the practice area and attorney are a good fit for the firm, especially if the partner has established plans for business growth. Partner-level candidates with a reasonable book of portable business should contact our Chicago office.
State of the Market: Indiana by Laura Rusche, Legal Recruiter, Chicago Office of BCG Attorney Search
While Indianapolis remained relatively strong during the recession, we continue to see an increase in demand for associates in a wide variety of practice areas. There has been a recent increase in demand for corporate associates and real estate candidates, two areas in which we saw very little activity for the last few years. Many firms seek candidates with broad-based practices and the ability to service a wide variety of clients on a wide variety of matters. In general, candidates in the 2 to 5 year range are the most marketable, but we hope that additional junior and senior-level positions will arise during the second half of the year. Other areas with open positions include healthcare, labor and employment, employee benefits, litigation, and intellectual property. In general, the top law firms continue to look for strong candidates with about two or more years of experience, preferably from another top law firm. Interested and qualified should contact our Chicago office for assistance in applying to these positions.
Indiana firms are always interested in partner-level candidates with solid books of portable business. The amount of business required varies from firm to firm, but in general, firms will consider partners with approximately $500,000 or more in business if their practice area(s) are sophisticated and compliment those of the firm, or the attorney brings new expertise to the group. Partners with a portable book of business who are currently practicing in Indiana or interested in moving their practice there should contact our Chicago office.
State of the Market: Ohio by Laura Rusche, Legal Recruiter, Chicago Office of BCG Attorney Search
The Ohio market is doing very well mdash; a lot of firms are seeking associate level attorneys in a variety of practice areas.
Cleveland and Cincinnati
Labor & Employment; Litigation
A number of strong law firms continue to look for litigation and/or labor and employment associates at a variety of levels, from junior to mid-level and more senior associates as well. Many of these opportunities are within the highly regarded, local or regional firms and seek associates with hands-on experience. While these firms definitely stress academic credentials, some are equally interested in seeing candidates with sophisticated experience handling matters independently. Many firms in Ohio focus heavily on candidates with a strong connection to the state (and particular city), with a particular emphasis on those already admitted to the Ohio Bar.
While not in high demand, we have a handful of firms seeking intellectual property associates in Cleveland and Cincinnati, and we anticipate more opportunities in the near future. The firms currently recruiting patent associates are looking for candidates with technical backgrounds in the chemical arts, electrical and/or mechanical engineering. In general, firms like to see a minimum of two years of solid experience from a large law firm or sophisticated boutique.
Healthcare, Tax, Employee Benefits and Trusts & Estates
The healthcare market remains steady in Cincinnati and Cleveland. While many firms focus on associates with superb academic and law firm credentials, other firms stress prior experience in both regulatory and transactional healthcare. In general, firms are looking for attorneys with 2 to 6 years of experience and a strong connection to Ohio. With regard to trusts and estates, we have seen a significant increase in demand over the last few months. Cincinnati and Cleveland firms generally seek candidates with 3 to 5 years, although we have also seen a need for partner-level candidates. Candidates with strong estate planning experience, especially if accompanied with tax experience, should contact the Chicago office.
Corporate and Real Estate
Demand for corporate and/or real estate associates virtually disappeared during the recession, but we are happy to report that this has changed in the last few months. Firms generally seek candidates with 3 to 5 years of experience with hands on experience and the ability to take on significant responsibility on matters. A connection to Ohio is preferred but not necessarily required.
Partners with Portable Business
Demand remains high for partners with portable business. Most firms are looking for partners in all practice areas, but we are seeing a particularly desire for corporate, labor and employment and intellectual property attorneys with established and/or growing books of business. The amount of portable business required varies from firm to firm, but in general there are opportunities for partners with $500,000 or more in portable business. Even so, partners with less than $500,000 and a concrete plan to grow this business are encouraged to reach out to BCG for assistance.
Dayton, Columbus, and Toledo
Because Dayton, Columbus and Toledo are relatively small legal markets, we have not seen a huge increase in activity in these cities for associate-level attorneys, but we also did not see as much of a decrease during the recession. In general, they are seeking opportunities for candidates with experience in healthcare, intellectual property and corporate law. We also have a number of positions for bankruptcy, litigation, trusts & estates and tax associates.
We continue to see opportunities for partners with portable business, especially in the areas of corporate, litigation, bankruptcy, labor and employment, real estate, intellectual property, healthcare, tax, estate planning and employee benefits. As with other cities, it is difficult to quantify how much business a partner will need in order to be marketable, but generally firms in the area will respond favorably to $500,000 and/or a concrete plan to grow this business in the near future.
State of the Market: Utah by Laura Rusche, Legal Recruiter, Chicago Office of BCG Attorney Search
While Utah appears to have weathered the economic storm relatively well, we still have not seen much in the way of increase in demand for associates in Salt Lake City. We tend to see a sprinkling of opportunities in litigation, intellectual property and corporate/real estate/finance. Because of the strong community in and around Salt Lake City and the large number of candidates attracted to the city, firms strongly prefer candidates currently residing in Utah, originally from the area or with significant ties and admission to the Utah Bar.
Utah firms are always interested in speaking to partners with significant portable business, especially if currently practicing in Utah or with strong ties to the area. Firms are skeptical of attorneys without connection to Utah who seek to move there, so if you are such an attorney, be clear as to your reasons for moving there. The amount of portable business required varies from firm to firm, so contact the Chicago office for more information.
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