State of the Market: San Francisco by Evan P. Anderson, Managing Director, BCG Attorney Search
Healthy Practice Areas:
Intellectual Property/Patent Litigation
This practice area continues to be the hottest sector in the California legal market, specifically in Silicon Valley. Hiring has remained steady in this practice for over two years. Supply continues to outpace demand; firms have begun looking more seriously at candidates outside the state. Attorneys with electrical engineering and computer science degrees (graduate or undergraduate) continue to be in the driver's seat. Associates across all levels of experience are sought, including the partner level. For patent litigators, firms like to see candidates who have Markman hearing experience as well as ITC experience. Admittance to the Patent Bar is a priority. Candidates with a PhD in a life science discipline have become more and more in demand. Candidates do not always need membership to the California bar although it is preferred.
Activity in corporate hiring in San Francisco and Silicon Valley has remained steady for the last 18 months. The demand for mid-level (3-6 years) and junior associates with experience in transactions, M&A, general corporate, and securities is strong. Hiring in Silicon Valley for associates with venture capital/private equity and fund formation experience remains steady. Candidates who already reside in the Bay Area and work for a well-regarded firm seem to have an edge over their out of state competitors and are bound to get interviews.
Patent prosecution hiring in San Francisco has picked up considerably over the past six months. Beginning last Fall, hiring has been steady with firms seeking patent prosecutors with 1-6 years of experience. Firms consistently seek candidates with scientific, life sciences, and technology backgrounds, including degrees in computer science, chemistry, physics, electrical engineering, pharmacology, and biotechnology. USPTO registration is valued. Patent prosecutors are encouraged to also look in the Silicon Valley area for a position.
Steady Practice Areas:
Though hiring is somewhat healthier, this practice continues to be plagued with excessive candidate competition and firms reluctant to make commitments to hire associates (even after multiple interviews). The number of available positions continues to be uneven and all of the current vacancies are for junior and mid-level complex commercial/business litigators. Superstar associates with stellar credentials will always get noticed. Associates currently residing and practicing in the Bay Area are given a clear preference. Associates with clerkship experience are valued. Of course, admittance to the California Bar is a must, although some firms may interview a candidate with superior credentials who is sitting for the February 2013 California bar exam.
Hiring in Real Estate in San Francisco finally picked up in the first quarter of 2012 and has remained steady. There has been an impressive increase in the number of positions in this sector and we may be seeing the long anticipated rebound from the mass layoffs of real estate associates that occurred in 2009. That said, hiring in real estate can be protracted as firms are still somewhat cautious about hiring. Vacancies may remain open for several months. Current vacancies are predominantly for mid-levels (3-5 years) with real estate transactional experience. Experience in acquisitions, dispositions, commercial leasing and financing transactions (including origination of mortgage loans and mezzanine financing) is highly sought. Firms are also seeking partners with at least $1 million in portables.
Labor and Employment
Hiring in the labor and employment sector has remained steady from last quarter with the demand coming from both mid-size and large firms. Junior and mid-level associates (3-6 years) are sought who have employment litigation experience and/or wage and hour, discrimination, and labor relations experience. Public sector experience appears to be in demand, as does class action experience.
Slow Practice Areas:
There are currently two postings for technology transactions associates in San Francisco. Both are for mid-levels who have solid M&A experience. Technical backgrounds or work experience are preferred for both.
There are currently two postings for immigration attorneys in San Francisco although they have both been up since last year. Experience in non-immigrant and immigrant matters is sought in both, as is PERM and H-1B experience.
Hiring in this area is down significantly. There is currently only one posting for a senior insurance defense associate. Membership in the California bar is required.
There is currently one position for a transactional tax associate having 1-4 years of experience. An LL.M. is preferable, as is admittance to the California bar.
Trusts & Estates
There is currently one vacancy for a trusts & estates associate with 2-4 years experience. Experience with high net worth clients and an LL.M. are both preferable. Admittance to the California bar is required.
Dead Practice Areas:
The following practices have shown no activity in several months: antitrust litigation, bankruptcy, construction, energy, environmental, ERISA/employee benefits, healthcare, securities litigation, trademark, and white collar crime.
However, firms will likely consider any mid-level candidate with a stable work history, strong academics, 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 Evan P. Anderson, 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. The quality of life is outstanding and the area is close to Napa Valley, Sonoma, and Russian River wine country.
Hot Practice Areas:
There continues to be an abundance of hiring in the corporate sector at all levels. Candidates with venture capital and emerging company (especially tech companies) experience continue to be in the most demand. Attorneys with experience in M&A, capital markets, securities, public and private offerings, and life sciences are also highly sought after. 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.
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 Master's 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.
Steady Practice Areas:
The need for attorneys with experience in technology transactions has decreased slightly from the previous quarter but remains steady. Firms are seeking candidates at all levels but are particularly 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.
General litigation has slowed down in Silicon Valley. There are only three active postings for litigators. Like their San Francisco counterparts, firms in Silicon Valley are seeking junior to mid-level commercial litigation attorneys with stellar credentials. Anyone who has some intellectual property litigation experience should be fairly marketable. Candidates should have membership to the California Bar.
Slow Practice Areas:
Executive Compensation/Employee Benefits/ERISA
There is currently one vacancy for an executive compensation and employee benefits associate with 1 year of experience in general corporate work.
There is one job opening for a tax attorney with 5-7 years of experience in executive compensation. As in this case, most firms appreciate (or require) an LL.M. in tax or CPA degree and big firm experience.
Dead Practice Areas:
There is currently no activity in bankruptcy, construction, employment, energy, environmental, healthcare, insurance, real estate, and trusts & estates (however, firms are always considering partners with at least $1.5 million in portable business).
State of the Market: Los Angeles by Liz Hudson, Managing Director, BCG Attorney Search
Los Angeles, like the other Southern California markets, has shown some slow-down in legal jobs this fall. Though partner candidates are always popular, there has been an upswing in firms pro-actively looking for partners with portable business lately as many firms attempt to grow their LA offices. As usual, the mid-level associate is in highest demand with somewhere between 2-5 years being the sweet spot and the interview process in general is taking more time in LA-- it often takes a couple of months to get from application to offer.
Healthy Practice Areas:
It comes as no surprise that Intellectual Property litigation positions remain in demand, however it is not quite as popular as it was earlier this year. The hottest degree in LA, and all over the state, continues to be electrical engineering, with firms looking for computer science and physics degrees as well. Membership to the Patent Bar and advanced degrees in the above named subjects are often requirements.
Like IP litigators, IP attorneys specializing in patent prosecution continue to be in demand in LA. Not quite as hot as litigation and not quite as hot as last quarter, but definitely still plenty of opportunities in this practice area. Like the litigation positions, electrical engineering, computer science and physics backgrounds are most sought after. Additionally, most firms want advanced degrees in these fields and for candidates to be registered with the USPTO. This is one of the few fields in California where it is not mandatory to already be admitted to the California bar, though still typically preferred.
Labor and Employment
There is always a steady demand for labor and employment attorneys in LA and there has been more of a push this fall. Typically firms want someone with 3-6 years of experience, though we have seen an interest in candidates with as few as two years of experience. Most of the large firms don't require traditional labor experience, but it is always a bonus. These firms also love to see candidates with hands on experience in areas such as depositions and trial preparation.
Los Angeles, like the rest of the country, continues to have a need for general corporate associates. Most employers are asking for candidates with 3-6 years of experience and a background in general corporate work or lean towards traditional M&A and securities work. This is the other practice area where employers don't seem to be as concerned with attorneys being admitted to the California bar when they apply.
Steady Practice Areas:
Litigation hasn't seen as much traction as some other areas in LA, but there is a relatively steady stream of jobs. However, there is also an abundance of litigation candidates in the marketplace right now, so firms are looking for really top-notch candidates with top firm experience. Typically, these positions view membership to the California bar as a pre-requisite.
Trusts and Estates
There has been a recent insurgence of trusts and estates positions in LA. While there aren't dozens of them, it is unusual to even see a few being advertised at one time, which is the current case. The mid-level associate is most desired, but junior partners with small books of portable business are also in demand. Exposure to estate planning and non-profit work has been requested.
Slow Practice Areas:
The openings for environmental attorneys in LA are few and far between, but they are still around. Typically these positions want mid-level associates with very specialized environmental work and often look for CERCLA and CEQA experience. There is a mix of transactional and litigation focused environmental jobs currently.
While there was an uptick in tax positions in 2011, the tax market has slowed down considerably in LA. A position will occasionally open up and there seems to be an increased interest in SALT (state and local tax) work in the area. As before, firms like to see candidates who have an LL.M. in Taxation as well as experience on the transactional tax side. Firms are less picky about California bar admission in this field, though it is still strongly preferred.
Slow/Dead Practice Areas:
There has been little to no need for attorneys in LA in the practice areas of employee benefits, tax, environmental, technology transactions or bankruptcy.
State of the Market: Orange County by Liz Hudson, Managing Director, BCG Attorney Search
Though Orange County doesn't see the high volume of jobs that LA sees, it has been busier than usual the past few months. There continues to be a need for partner level candidates or senior associates, provided each has a book of portable business. In Orange County, this typically means a candidate will warrant serious consideration if they have a book of business of $500,000 or more. This is especially true as we've seen more firms opening Orange County offices and look to partners to build up that office.
Healthy Practice Areas:
It comes as no surprise that Intellectual Property litigation positions remain in demand, and in Orange County it is still the busiest area. The hottest degree in OC, and all over the state, continues to be electrical engineering, with firms looking for computer science and physics degrees as well. Orange County is more similar to San Diego than LA in the respect that it does have more interest in life science degrees, however. Membership to the Patent Bar and advanced degrees in the above named subjects are often requirements.
Like IP litigators, IP attorneys specializing in patent prosecution continue to be in demand in OC. In Orange County, they are just as in demand as IP litigators and haven't seen a slow down recently. Like the litigation positions, electrical engineering, computer science and physics backgrounds are most sought after. Orange County is more similar to San Diego than LA in the respect that it does have more interest in life science degrees, however. Additionally, most firms want advanced degrees in these fields and for candidates to be registered with the USPTO. This is one of the few fields in California where it is not mandatory to already be admitted to the California bar, though still typically preferred.
Though litigation went through a dry spell in OC and LA, it seems to be making a comeback with several new postings in the past few months. Commercial litigation is a hot area and some of the experience desired includes taking/defending depositions and heavy discovery experience. Typically, these positions view membership to the California bar as a pre-requisite.
Steady Practice Areas:
Labor and Employment
There is always a steady demand for labor and employment attorneys in general and OC is no exception. Typically firms want someone with 3-6 years of experience, though Orange County has a higher demand for senior associates/junior partners with portable business. Some firms have also been willing to consider more junior candidates, provided they have some good hands on experience with depositions and/or client counseling. Most of the large firms don't require traditional labor experience, but it is always a bonus.
Orange County is one of the two stronger markets for investment management attorneys in California, with the Bay Area being the largest. With several power house clients being located in Orange County, it keeps that practice busy at the firms. Typically firms want candidates with registered fund experience and at least three years of law firm work under their belt. The jobs haven't been as prevalent as in the past, so a strong resume in specific fund work is necessary. Firms are typically more lenient with California bar admission.
Slow Practice Areas:
Though there has been a slight uptick in employee benefits law in OC, it is still a relatively slow practice. Other fields that remain slow, unless a candidate has portable business, include bankruptcy, trusts and estates, general corporate, tax and environmental work. As always, if a candidate is incredibly strong with top academics, experience and the California bar they will likely gain some traction despite being in slow practice areas.
State of the Market: San Diego by Liz Hudson, Managing Director, BCG Attorney Search
San Diego remains one of the smallest legal markets in California and also is known as being the most difficult to break into. A book of business goes farther in San Diego than probably any other city in the California market, so a candidate with portable business of $300,00 and more will almost surely get interviews in San Diego. It is also important in San Diego to have clear ties to the community in order to catch their eye.
Healthy Practice Areas:
No changes here, IP litigation and patent prosecution still rule in San Diego. It is a biotech and high tech town, so it comes as no surprise that these positions remain in high demand. Despite being a small legal market, San Diego has a plethora of openings for qualified IP litigators. The hottest degree in San Diego, and all over the state, continues to be electrical engineering, though there are still plenty of firms looking for computer science and physics degrees as well. San Diego sees more preferential treatment to chemistry and biology degrees than other CA cities, given its client base. Membership to the Patent Bar and advanced degrees in the above named subjects are often requirements.
Like IP litigators, IP attorneys specializing in patent prosecution continue to be in demand in San Diego. In San Diego, patent prosecutors are every bit as much in demand as IP litigators, maybe even more so. Like the litigation positions, electrical engineering, computer science and physics backgrounds are most sought after. But, also like the IP litigation positions, San Diego sees more preferential treatment to chemistry and biology degrees than other CA cities, given its client base. Additionally, most firms want advanced degrees in these fields and for candidates to be registered with the USPTO. This is one of the few fields in California where it is not mandatory to already be admitted to the California bar.
Steady Practice Areas:
Labor and Employment
There is always a steady demand for labor and employment attorneys in general and San Diego continues to see that trend. Typically firms want someone with 3-6 years of experience, though senior associates /partners with business are always welcome in San Diego. Some firms have also been willing to consider more junior candidates, provided they have some good hands on experience. Most of the large firms don't require traditional labor experience, but it is always a bonus.
San Diego continues to have a steady need for general corporate associates. Firms are typically looking for candidates with between 2-5 years of experience. Most employers are asking for general corporate work or lean towards traditional M&A and securities work and show preferential treatment to candidates with tech transactions work. This is the other practice area where employers don't seem to be concerned with attorneys being admitted to the California bar when they apply.
While there are only a few open positions, there has been an uptick in tax work in San Diego. Firms are targeting more senior associates with eight or more years of experience and are also eager to add partners with business to their practices. As before, firms like to see candidates who have an LL.M. in Taxation as well as experience on the transactional tax side. Firms are less picky about California bar admission in this field, though it is still strongly preferred.
Slow/Dead Practice Areas:
San Diego has not yet seen the uptick in litigation positions that LA has experienced or even the steadiness that OC has enjoyed. Some positions continue to pop up and in those cases it helps to have experience taking/defending depositions and heavy discovery experience. As is common in San Diego, a book of business will generate interest. Lastly, there has been traction for litigators with very strong credentials such as top national law schools and big firm experience. Typically, these positions view membership to the California bar as a pre-requisite.
San Diego isn't seeing growth in the real estate legal market and hasn't had much activity in that sector for some time. If a candidate has top credentials and experience with real estate finance, acquisitions and dispositions, and general leasing work, they can often still land interviews.
Other practice areas that have come to a halt or remain at a halt include bankruptcy, environmental law, healthcare and trusts and estates. Several of those markets will have better luck in Northern California or Los Angeles.
Though Seattle has historically been a smaller legal market than some of its west coast counterparts to the south, it remains a highly attractive city to many attorneys because of the wealth of outdoor activities, energetic population, robust transit system, and stunning natural beauty. Firms will typically favor candidates with strong existing ties to the area, but someone with excellent credentials and a demonstrated love of the outdoors will also do well here. If you are flexible about location and would consider a smaller city, there are also regular openings available in the Spokane or Vancouver offices of regional and national firms.
Healthy Practice Areas:
Intellectual Property/Patent Litigation
There remains a strong need in the Seattle market for mid-level patent litigators, with firms indicating a specific interest in candidates with degrees (and ideally advanced degrees) in electrical engineering and the life sciences. Admission to the Washington Bar is not always a requirement, but you should be admitted to the USPTO if you are looking for a position in this area.
Similar to other west coast markets, patent prosecution is far and away the area with the strongest demand in the Seattle market right now. Overwhelmingly, firms are looking for junior to mid-level patent prosecution attorneys and agents who have backgrounds in electrical engineering, but a degree in computer science, physics, and mechanical engineering will also be given significant weight. Even an undergraduate degree in one of these areas combined with a few years of patent prosecution experience will currently make you a stellar candidate given the current level of demand. Admission to the USPTO is almost universally required, but firms are not as concerned with admission to the Washington Bar.
Steady Practice Areas:
Seattle continues to have a steady need for corporate associates. While firms are typically seeking mid-level associates or partners with a portable book of business, any candidate with strong experience and credentials is likely to land at least a few interviews. The most commonly-sought candidates will have strong experience in securities, mergers and acquisitions, private equity, venture capital, and IPOs, the latter being a common requirement due to Seattle continuing to be a hotbed for start-ups. In general, solid tech transaction experience is a great credential to have in this market.
While there are always fewer litigation positions available in Seattle due to its smaller market size, opportunities remain steady for mid-level associates with good experience and partners with portable business. Most firms will be looking for extensive experience in all aspects of discovery, particularly taking and defending depositions for associates and trial work for partners. Litigation positions for attorneys with experience in foreclosure and creditors' rights have been specifically trending recently in the Seattle market.
Taxation and Estate Planning
Surprisingly, there have been a number of recent opportunities for mid-level associates with experience in estate planning, probate and trust administration. A few opportunities have also arisen for tax attorneys, although these are primarily for more senior candidates or partners with portable business. Candidates who have an L.L.M. in taxation will certainly have a leg up on these opportunities, and it is a requirement for many of these positions.
Slow to Dead:
The Seattle and greater Washington market has seen little to no recent activity in the areas of real estate, trademark and copyright, health care, labor and employment, IP transactions, and environmental, energy and resource law.
Portland is a smaller legal market than its Pacific Northwest counterpart, Seattle, but it consistently remains one of the most desirable places in the country to live due to a combination of world class urban planning and transit, abundant outdoor recreational opportunities, a fantastic food scene, and a creative and engaged population. While Portland has seen a steady influx of young creative and professional types from all across the country over the last decade or more, candidates for legal positions should still be prepared to demonstrate strong ties to the area in order to be seriously considered. Excellent academic and professional qualifications are also expected, given the size and competitiveness of this market. Candidates must also be admitted or able to waive in to the Oregon Bar.www.osbar.org.
Hot Practice Areas:
The litigation market in Portland continues to strengthen this fall after being uncommonly slow last year. While there are some opportunities for junior litigation candidates, firms are more frequently looking for mid-to-senior level associates with at least 3-5 years of experience and partners with portable books of business. Candidates hoping to land a position should have strong experience in all phases of litigation with a particular emphasis on managing discovery and taking depositions. More senior candidates will also be expected to have trial and/or arbitration experience under their belts. We are currently seeing litigation opportunities in the particular areas of asbestos and products liability, insurance coverage, and construction litigation.
The market for corporate attorneys in Portland has also continued its upward trend since last year, with firms primarily seeking mid-level associates with experience in securities, mergers and acquisitions, private equity, and public finance. Multiple opportunities will also be available for any partners with portable books of business, specifically in the business transactional area.
Similar to other west coast markets, patent prosecution is trending strongly in Portland, and candidates with a degree in electrical engineering are in the highest demand at the moment. Patent prosecutors with at least 2 years of experience can expect to garner interviews, and firms are also looking for backgrounds in mechanical engineering and physics. Opportunities will also be available for candidates with organic chemistry backgrounds. In all cases, an advanced degree like a Master's or Ph.D. will earn a candidate more consideration. While it is not essential that candidates be admitted to the Oregon Bar, registration to practice before the USPTO is a must.
Steady Practice Areas:
While not as in demand as patent prosecutors, patent and IP litigators should still see opportunities in the Portland market. Unlike patent prosecution, patent litigators need not have a background in a particular area of specialty to be considered, but firms are unlikely to hire anyone who lacks a technical background of some sort and/or substantial technical experience.
While this is traditionally a slow area in the Portland market, three firms posted bankruptcy vacancies in the past quarter, however the opportunities are limited to attorneys with substantial experience with bankruptcy and creditors' rights, preferably 7 years or more. We do not expect this to be a continuing trend in the Portland market.
Slow Practice Areas:
There have been limited opportunities in estate planning and labor and employment, but only for partner level candidates with a portable book of business. Few to no opportunities exist in the Portland market in the following areas: health care, real estate, land use, energy, environmental, tax, technology transactions, and trademark. We do not expect to see significant changes to the hiring landscape in the second half of 2012.
State of the Market: Phoenix by Claudia Barnes, General Manager, BCG Attorney Search
Phoenix, including Scottsdale, is the largest legal market in Arizona and it is home to a number of national and regional firms. The economy is still slowly improving, and not nearly as much as we had expected it would at this point in the year. Firms continue to be very cautious and only hire when absolutely necessary. That being said, 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.
Hot Practice Areas:
Intellectual Property/Patent Litigation/Patent and Trademark Prosecution
Last quarter, the emphasis was on building practices at the partner level. This has continued well into 2012. Firms are seeking patent prosecution attorneys with any technical background and a self-sustaining book of business. 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, with USPTO admission preferred. Firms are seeking candidates who have experience in cross-marketing with other practice groups. Thankfully, there is also a push to hire junior and mid-level patent prosecution and litigation associates. Specifically, we are seeing an increase in demand for mid-level patent litigators who also have a degree in electrical engineering, computer science or computer engineering and having completed a Federal clerkship. We are also working on a search for a firm seeking a junior patent prosecutor with 1-3 years of experience and background in organic chemistry. The ideal candidate will have a Bachelor's degree and/or advanced degree in chemistry or chemical engineering.
The need for litigators continues to hold strong in Phoenix. Specifically, firms are currently seeking candidates with 3-5 years of hands-on commercial litigation experience who also are admitted to the Arizona Bar. Candidates must have substantial experience in depositions and court and an interest and willingness to participate in business development efforts. We are also working on a search for a mid-level health care litigator with at least 3 years of experience. Lastly, firms are also considering senior level litigators with at least 5 years of experience who also have some portable business (at least $150,000).
Steady/Growing Practice Areas:
We are happy to see a slight increase in activity for environmental attorneys. Presently, the need is at the senior level. Specifically, a Phoenix firm seeks a senior environmental attorney with 10+ years of experience. Candidates should have experience in handling compliance issues involving state and federal environmental laws, rules and regulations, including CERCLA, RCRA and ADEQ rules and regulations. Environmental attorney typically work with the real estate and corporate/business practices in connection with due diligence review of environmental assessments and analysis of potential environmental issues in connection with real estate transactions and mergers and acquisitions. The ideal candidate will also have a solid book of portable business.
Labor & Employment
Unfortunately, the need for employment attorneys has not increased but it has remained steady. Our active openings are for experienced labor and employment attorneys with 5-10 years of experience. Admission to the Arizona Bar is required.
Historically, real estate has been the cornerstone of the Arizona legal market. Thankfully, we are seeing a slight up-tick in hiring in this area of law. Specifically, several firms are seeking candidate with at least 3 years of experience with practical, hands-on real estate experience, including title and survey review, review and drafting of commercial leases, and work on purchase and sale transactions. Admission to the Arizona bar is preferred.
Trusts & Estates
There are a couple firms seeking experienced trusts and estates attorneys (at least one year). Candidates should have an LL.M in taxation and either be a member of the Arizona bar or be willing to sit for the exam. Candidates with at least five years of experience and a portable book of $150,000 will surely get interviews.
Slow to Dead:
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.
The need for corporate attorneys had picked up in the Spring Quarter; and in fact, we had placed several corporate attorneys in Phoenix. However, presently, the need seems to have dwindled. There are several firms seeking corporate attorneys with 3-5 years of experience in finance, general corporate, securities, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate governance. Firms are also seeking senior associates with at least 5 years of experience and at least $150,000 in portable business. Candidates must be members in good standing of the Arizona Bar.
The following practice areas have little to no activity: ERISA/Employee Benefits and Tax.
State of the Market: Las Vegas by Claudia Barnes, General Manager, BCG Attorney Search
The legal market of one of my favorite cities to visit, Las Vegas, unfortunately, still has not bounced back. Before the real estate crash, the city couldn't get enough attorneys to move there. For the last several years, the legal market has been stagnant. We are seeing an oh-so-slight increase in hiring but we are not very optimistic. We believe it will be at least 6-12 months before things are in the upswing.
Hot Practice Areas:
We are thrilled that more and more firms are seeking mid-level corporate associates, specifically, those in the 2-7 year range. Candidates must have top-notch academic and professional credentials to compete. They must also have experience in following: business entity matters, securities (including SEC reporting compliance), mergers and acquisitions, public and private financings, corporate governance, and real estate, contract and tax matters. There is a strong preference for candidates who are already admitted the Nevada bar, but it is not a requirement.
Much like last quarter, the most opportunities in Las Vegas and Reno are for litigators. We are seeing a need for commercial litigators at all levels. Furthermore, there are several openings for litigators with experience in consumed finance -at ALL levels. Candidate must be admitted to the Nevada Bar.
Intellectual Property (Patent) Prosecution
While there was absolutely no need for patent prosecutors earlier this year, this seems to have changed slightly. We are seeing a need for patent attorneys with experience prosecuting in the software, electrical, mechanical, chemical or life sciences areas. The ideal candidate will assist with the preparation and prosecution of patent applications, patentability and clearance opinions, patent estate management, licensing and enforcement of patents. Many firms will consider candidates who are moving from out-of-state but are members of the USPTO. In many cases, firms will even consider those candidates are not yet admitted to the Patent Bar.
Slow to Dead:
There is a slight need for bankruptcy attorneys. Specifically, candidates with 3-4 years if experience will do well in Las Vegas - particularly those coming from out of state.
The following practice areas have little to no activity: Construction, Labor & Employment, Tax, Trusts & Estates, Land Use/Environmental, Intellectual Property Litigation, Healthcare, and ERISA/Employee Benefits/Executive Compensation.
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. Generally, firms are seeking a minimum of $500,000 in portable business.
Real estate continues to be an area where we are seeing expansion and need. We would be interested in speaking with associates with 5+ years of experience in commercial real estate and finance matters.
Intellectual property continues to be an area in which firms in Denver are expanding. We are interested in talking with associates with 2-5 years of experience in intellectual property litigation. We would also be interested in speaking with patent prosecution associates with 1-5 years of experience and backgrounds in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, chemistry, chemical engineering, computer science, pharmaceutical, biotechnology or physics. USPTO is generally preferred in most cases and/or required and the CO Bar is preferred.
Additionally, we are in need of technology transactions associates with 4+ years of experience.
We would be interested in speaking with associates with 3-8 years of experience in general corporate, M&A or securities. We would also like to speak with associates who bring private equity, debt and equity financing, and equity formation experience.
State of the Market: Minnesota by Julie Lehrman, Attorney Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
The Minneapolis/St. Paul market is doing quite well, and on the associate side, we are seeing a steady stream of corporate, litigation, and intellectual property positions for talented and experienced associates. The top law firms are always interested in partner-level candidates with a solid book of business as well. In general, attorneys currently practicing in Minnesota and those with strong connections to the state are more marketable than those without such a connection, although a solid connection (or bar admission) is not required as long as the candidate has a valid reason for moving into the region.
Intellectual Property - Patent Prosecution and Litigation
The Twin Cities continues to generate high demand for patent prosecution and litigation associates. Both general practice firms and sophisticated boutiques have a need for junior to mid-level associates with one to five years of experience. The greatest demand remains for associates with technical backgrounds in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, computer engineering, or computer science. Some firms require an advanced degree in the technical field; while some are interested only in associates who have can demonstrate the requisite technical expertise. Firms appear to prefer prior work experience within the technical field, and legal experience with a top law firm is always a plus. While patent litigators are not required to possess a technical degree, USPTO admission and a demonstrated ability to understand highly technical patent work is strongly preferred.
Corporate - Mergers and Acquisitions; Securities; Finance
We continue to see steady demand for corporate associates. Law firms prefer corporate associates with top academic credentials (top law school plus top of class), experience with a large law firm, and a high degree of responsibility and trust indicating an ability to function independently, and possibly head up groups of more junior associates. The majority of the current positions seek candidates with 3 to 5 years of broad-based corporate experience, including M&A, securities corporate governance, private equity and finance.
Healthcare work appears to have declined somewhat, but there are a still a few opportunities for associates with top academic credentials and large law firm experience, both on the regulatory and transactional sides.
Litigation-General, Energy Litigation and Labor & Employment Litigation
Litigation remains a thin demand area, but, again, we have seen some opportunities within certain specialties, such as products liability, real estate, and business litigation. Because of the volume of litigators looking for work, firms tend to only interview associates with strong academic credentials, big law firm experience, and strong experience for the class year. For junior litigators, we have seen specific requests for Law Review experience, or a leadership role on a journal, and some firms ask for clerkship experience. There is some demand for environmental associates, and qualified candidates are encouraged to reach out to BCG for assistance.
Partners with Portable Business
Twin Cities firms are always interested in talking to partners with portable business that may provide work for associates or enable cross-selling opportunities within the firm. Smaller firms may be interested in speaking to partners with less than a million dollars in business, with the larger firms generally requiring a million dollars as a threshold amount. Partners with a persuasive, concrete business plan for growing business may also be considered. Partners with books of business should contact BCG's Chicago office for more information.
State of the Market: Indiana by Julie Lehrman, Attorney Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
The demand we have seen in Indiana is in Indianapolis, with the rest of the state remaining quiet. The heaviest demand in Indianapolis is for patent prosecutors and litigators. Most of the recent demand in this area is at the 2+ year level. While some firms in Indianapolis require a higher technical degree for patent prosecutors, many do not. The most sought-after technical backgrounds remain electrical and mechanical engineering, computer science, and life sciences.
We have also seen an uptick in litigation and corporate positions for associates in Indianapolis. We are starting to see firms hire junior associates again in these fields, whereas in the recent past they were hiring only at the 3+ year level. Firms can still afford to pick and choose among litigators, and many insist on top academic credentials and large firm experience showing progressive responsibility. The corporate positions tend to seek a broad range of experience rather than one specialized area of expertise. Candidates with top credentials should contact our Chicago office for assistance in applying to these positions.
Indiana firms are interested in partner-level candidates with solid books of portable business. Firms tend to consider partners with $500,000 or more in business if they can possibly provide work for associates and/or create cross-selling opportunities within the firm. 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 Julie Lehrman, Attorney Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Opportunities continue to arise for associates and partners alike in Ohio. The majority of positions are in the areas of corporate (general corporate, banking and finance, private equity, etc), healthcare, litigation and intellectual property. Many firms require candidates to be admitted to the Ohio Bar, while others will consider candidates who plan to gain admission, as long as they have a compelling reason for making the move to Ohio.
Cleveland and Cincinnati
Ohio has several opportunities for litigators, including general litigation, business litigation and labor and employment litigation. Some firms require demonstrated courtroom experience, but this appears to be less of a demand at the larger firms. Leanly staffed firms require associates to demonstrate an ability to work independently, supervise others, and be responsible for a caseload. At firms such as these, outstanding academics will take a backseat to demonstrated experience and progressive responsibility. 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.
Intellectual property has remained largely steady, with firms generally looking for patent associates with technical backgrounds in electrical engineering or the life sciences including biology, biochemistry, and chemistry. Most firms are currently looking for prosecution associates but others are looking for litigators and those with both prosecution and litigation experience. In general, firms like to see a minimum of two years of solid experience from a large law firm or sophisticated boutique. Interested candidates should contact our Chicago office for more details.
Health Care, Trusts & Estates, Labor & Employment
The need for healthcare and trusts and estates associates remains strong in Ohio. We have seen a decline in demand for employee benefits associates, but an uptick in demand for labor and employment. The largest and most sophisticated firms focus on associates with superb academic and law firm credentials, but the smaller to mid-sized ones tend to instead focus on solid, hands-on experience, preferring a candidate who can take responsibility for matters early on. Most firms are looking for attorneys with 2 to 6 years of experience and a strong connection to Ohio. If you have such credentials, please contact our Chicago office to hear more details about the specific opportunities in this region.
Corporate and Real Estate
There is still a small demand for corporate and/or real estate associates. On the corporate side, some large and mid-sized firms tend to look for associates with finance and banking experience, while others seeks candidates with a more broad-based corporate background that includes M&A, private equity, corporate governance and the like. We have also seen a few opportunities for real estate associates, both transactional and litigation-side, but the demand was stronger earlier in the year. Overall, associates with three or more years of experience with superb academic credentials are the most marketable, but some firms will look at more junior associates as well.
Partners with Portable Business
Demand is high for highly-qualified partners with portable business. Most firms are looking for partners in all areas of law, but we are seeing a particular 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 some firms will talk to partners with $500,000 or more in portable business. Even so, partners with less than $500,000 and a concrete, specific business plan outlining how they plan to grow their business are encouraged to reach out to BCG for assistance.
Dayton, Columbus, and Toledo
While Dayton, Columbus, and Toledo are relatively small legal markets there is a fair amount of activity on the associate and partner levels. The firms are primarily seeking associates healthcare, labor and employment, environmental, and IP. Those with strong connections to the particular cities tend to be more marketable to the firms.
In addition to the need for a variety of associates, we continue to see opportunities for partners with portable business, in a variety of area. As elsewhere, the level of business a partner needs to be marketable varies from firm to firm; however, generally firms in the area will respond favorably to $500,000 and/or a concrete business plan.
State of the Market: Utah by Julie Lehrman, Attorney Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Over the last few months, by far the greatest demand in Utah is for IP associates with technical backgrounds in electrical engineering and computer science. We have also seen a few positions for corporate associates, especially for those with banking and finance experience. 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. Admission to the Utah bar is often required.
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 making the move. The amount of portable business required varies from firm to firm, so contact the Chicago office for more information.
State of the Market: Chicago by Jamie Bailey, Partner, BCG Attorney Search
Lateral hiring activity over the past quarter in Chicago has continued to be focused mainly in the transactional and intellectual property practices. We are happy to also report that we are now seeing an uptick in real estate transactional practices in some of the largest firms. Additionally, we have heavy lateral activity in the corporate transactional, M&A, securities and finance areas, as well as the healthcare transactional area. Intellectual property continues to be a stronghold, both in the litigation and prosecution areas. Many firms with strong intellectual property practices are seeking talented intellectual property litigators and prosecutors with electrical engineering backgrounds and advanced degrees, as well as USPTO. Finally, there has been a significant increase in the need for patent agents with particular technical backgrounds, including mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, biomedical engineering, or medical physics.
Partners with Portable Business
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.
Corporate transactional practices are getting busier and much like the first quarter, we have seen continued need for transactional associates in Chicago. Particular areas of demand in top Am Law 100 firms include general corporate, finance and securities, M&A and private equity transactions. We would be interested in speaking with associates who have 2-6 years of experience (preferably large law firm experience) in any of these areas. Associates with 3-4 years of experience in debt finance/lending transactions should also get in touch with us.
Some of the best real estate practices in Chicago are pursuing commercial real estate associates with 2-5 years of experience in commercial real estate transactions, including real estate finance, acquisitions and dispositions, and leasing. With the downturn in the market over the past few years, Chicago firms are struggling to find highly qualified real estate associates with solid experience for their class level. Thus, they are open to candidates with a variety of skills and backgrounds.
Intellectual property remains constant and continues to be an area in which we see high demand, both in patent prosecution and patent litigation. We would be interested in speaking with patent prosecutors with 2-5 years of experience and backgrounds in computer science, computer engineering, or 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 or computer science. USPTO is generally required for all of our patent prosecution positions and for some of our patent litigation positions. IL Bar is generally preferred. Advanced degrees are always a plus.
We are also seeking technology and outsourcing transactional associates with 1-4 years of experience. Transactional experience in general corporate, corporate finance and information technology is preferred.
Additionally, we have seen a marked increase in Chicago and across the Midwest generally for patent agents with 2+ years of patent prosecution experience. Typically, we are receiving requests for those with mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, biomedical engineering, or medical physics backgrounds.
Of course, advanced degrees and USPTO are in most cases preferred or required.
We have not seen any increase in the need for litigation associates in Chicago firms during this past quarter, but we do have openings and would be interested in speaking with associates with 2-6 years of experience in general commercial litigation matters. Firms are generally seeking associates with strong discovery, motion practice and court room experience. Excellent academics and large law firm experience, plus IL bar admission are generally required for these positions.
We would be interested in speaking with healthcare transactional associates with 1-7 years of experience in healthcare transactional and/or regulatory experience. Large law firm experience or experience working with healthcare companies is preferred. Those candidates who possess M&A, joint venture or comparable corporate transactional experience with an interest in learning healthcare law should contact our Chicago office.
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.
We are interested in speaking with healthcare associates with 1-5 years of experience in healthcare and regulatory matters. Associates with particular experience relating to hospice and palliative care, long-term care and assisted living and senior housing should get in touch with us regarding opportunities in Wisconsin firms. Additionally, we would be interested in speaking with associates who have experience in corporate transactions, HIPAA security, intellectual property, software licensing, and leasing and finance experience for healthcare industry clients.
During the second quarter, Wisconsin firms continued to exhibit strong intellectual property practices, requesting patent prosecutors and patent litigators with 1-8 years of experience. We would be interested in speaking with associates with a life sciences background and patent prosecution experience and those with backgrounds in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and computer science. In most cases, USPTO is required for these positions.
Additionally, we have seen a marked increase in Wisconsin and across the Midwest generally for patent agents with 2+ years of patent prosecution experience. Typically, we are receiving requests for those with mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, biomedical engineering, or medical physics backgrounds.
Of course, advanced degrees and USPTO are in most cases preferred or required.
Corporate - Private Equity; M&A; Corporate Finance and Securities; Banking
We are interested in speaking with associates with 2+ years of experience in private equity, M&A, corporate finance and securities, and general business counseling. Those with an interest in financial transactions, project financings and restructurings should also contact our Chicago office.
Tax and Trusts and Estates
We have a few prominent firms that are seeking trusts and estates attorneys with 5+ years of experience in estate tax, gift tax, generation-skipping transfer tax and fiduciary income tax concepts, and who have experience drafting sophisticated estate planning documents.
We would also be interested in speaking with tax attorneys with 2-5 years of experience in transactional tax and tax litigation.
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.
Detroit, Southfield, Bloomfield Hills, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Royal Oak, Novi and Troy
Intellectual Property - Patent Prosecution
Intellectual Property continues to be a hot practice area in Michigan firms. Attorneys with anywhere from 3-9 years of experience in patent prosecution matters and backgrounds in any of the following should contact our Chicago office: physics, electrical engineering, chemical engineering, biology, biotechnology/life sciences, pharmaceuticals, chemistry, mechanical engineering, computer science, or computer engineering. USPTO is required for these positions. We would also be interested in speaking with patent prosecution attorneys with 2+ years of experience and the ability to speak Japanese or Mandarin Chinese.
We are interested in speaking with associates with 2+ years of general corporate transactional experience. Those with fluency in Spanish, Korean, Chinese and/or Japanese should definitely get in touch with us to discuss opportunities at one of the top Michigan firms.
Like some of the other markets we cover in the Midwest, we have seen an uptick in lateral real estate needs in Michigan firms. We would like to speak with associates who have 2+ years of experience in commercial real estate transactions, including those with real estate finance, construction, lending and leasing experience.
There are a select group of firms in Michigan expanding their healthcare practices. Those associates with 2+ years of experience in healthcare regulatory and/or transactional matters should definitely get in touch with our Chicago office. In particular, these firms would like to speak with associates with fraud and abuse, anti-kickback/Stark compliance, Medicare/Medicaid and FDA regulatory experience.
State of the Market: Boston/New England by Bonnie Nathan, Esq., Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Boston/New England Market
The Boston legal market continues to grow coming into the third quarter of 2012. We are seeing an increased number of lateral openings - specifically in the areas of corporate, real estate and intellectual property. However, firms are still hiring judiciously - taking their time to evaluate, interview and hire candidates. As more firms make decisions on new hires, we anticipate that there will be a ripple effect that will result in additional open positions as some firms will need to hire attorneys to replace those who recently left.
Corporate & Real Estate
We are seeing a need for corporate generalists and those with extensive M & A experience, but there is also a growing need for mid-level associates with expertise in fund work (hedge funds, private equity funds and fund of funds), investment management, and finance/lending.
On the real estate side, Boston firms continue to look for top-level real estate associates (particularly those 2 to 5 years out of law school), and partner candidates with portable books of business. The bulk of the current openings are for real estate candidates with some level of real estate finance expertise.
The IP trend that is sweeping the nation continues in the Boston market. Although there is some demand for patent litigation associates (particularly those with a technical background in engineering and computer science), the greatest demand is on the prosecution side. There are numerous openings at top Boston firms for laterals in patent prosecution (particularly those 2 to 5 years out of law school) both for attorneys with a technical degree in engineering (particularly electrical engineering) and computer science and also for those with an advance degree in chemistry, biology or a related field. Now is probably the best time in years for IP attorneys with these technical backgrounds to seek to make a lateral transition.
For the first time in a few years, we are seeing a slight resurgence in law firm litigation hiring - both at large, national firms and at more regional firms. The interest, at this stage, is primarily for mid level commercial litigators, particularly those with financial/securities litigation experience.
State of the Market: New York by Christine Gately, Managing Director, BCG Attorney Search
The second quarter of 2012 has been steady with certain sectors remaining strong, while others continue to see low levels of activity and less active job openings.
While there are openings for litigation associates on varying levels within the areas of complex commercial litigation, white collar, and antitrust litigation, there has not been an increase of activity in this practice area. Even very strong candidates with litigation experience from top law firms are having trouble securing offers or even getting interviews in New York. Securities litigation and patent litigation have seen the most consistent continued increase in activity.
There continues to be a demand in the second quarter of 2012, for transactional corporate attorneys having at least 3-5 years of experience. Typically firms are looking for traditional corporate experience, mergers and acquisitions, public and private counseling, but there are areas within corporate like cross border experience and distressed debt and high yield exposure that is specifically in higher demand currently.
Banking experience in acquisition and other leveraged finance transactions, including the preparation and negotiation of credit agreements, security agreements, intercreditor agreements and other loan documents, remains another area of high demand. Candidates with at least 3-5 years of experience from large law firms are preferred.
Although the demand for mid to senior level corporate associates in the sectors of corporate and finance remains strong, there has not been an increase in activity in these areas, but a continued plethora of job openings. In other words, I am not seeing more firms request to interview my corporate candidates, but the opportunities do exist. The top law firms continue to seek candidates from large law firms, with at least 3 years of corporate experience, and top notch academics.
Commercial Real Estate
In the second quarter of 2012, commercial real estate remains slow, with few interviews being conducted and few job openings in this area. However, certain firms are seeking junior to mid-level real estate attorneys having 2-6 years of experience working on a broad range of sophisticated commercial real estate transactions including acquisitions, dispositions, financings, joint ventures, construction, fund formation, and leasing.
Firms are more commonly looking for specific experience including the origination of mortgage loans and mezzanine loans. Firms are especially seeking those with experience in the restructuring and workout of commercial mortgage loans, and specifically experience representing mortgage and mezzanine lenders. Retail development and leasing experience can also be helpful.
Employment and Labor Law
This is a practice area that is continuing to do well. There is currently 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 generally look for 3rd, 4th, or 5th year associates with extensive employment litigation and counseling experience. For example, handling federal and state harassment and discrimination suits from inception through trial, FINRA arbitrations, FLSA and wage-hour audits and litigation, drafting and revising employee manuals and policies, handling RIFs and WARN act issues, drafting separation and severance agreements and releases. Significant experience litigating cases in NY state and federal courts is sought after.
The need for health care associates has somewhat tailored off in the second quarter of 2012, with some firms still looking for associates with upwards of 4 years of experience in health care 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.
Intellectual property remains one of the hottest practice areas in the second quarter of 2012, specifically for candidates with a strong technical background.
Specifically, firms are looking for advanced degrees in the areas of electrical engineering, computer science, or mechanical engineering, in order of more popular demand. Several firms have recently requested backgrounds in medicinal chemistry, organic chemistry, synthetic chemistry, biochemistry, or a closely-related field, in particular. Industry experience is a further plus if the industry experience matches matters the firm might be involved in.
Trademark and copyright continues to be an area with less activity, although some firms are still looking for associates with 3 plus years of experience handling trademark prosecution, licensing, and trademark and copyright infringements.
The partner market in New York continues to show high levels of demand, with larger firms searching for corporate and litigation partners with a substantial book of business; at least $1 million. Partners of other sectors such as intellectual property, health care, 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. Firms will look for proof of 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.
Firms are generally interested in candidates with at least 3-5 years of experience from larger law firms and some prefer judicial clerkships. Firms are not moving as quickly in the process of interviewing and extending offers, but the opportunities are there. The third quarter of 2012 should see a significant increase in activity, to accommodate the associate and partner hiring needs of our client firms.
State of the Market: Washington,D.C. by Robyn Ginsberg, Senior Managing Director, BCG Attorney Search
Two things really stood out in the second quarter of 2012, with respect to law firm hiring trends. First there was the much-publicized Dewey & LeBoeuf implosion, which led to a brief but intense saturation of the associate and partner market in the DC area. Many firms that might have otherwise filled slots with candidates from other firms instead picked up ex-Dewey attorneys, as these folks tend to have very strong academic credentials.
Second, Q2 of 2012 included a quicker-than-expected pick-up in law firm hiring. In fact, this spring and early summer, we saw many law firms scrambling to make quick hires (either to sustain growing practices or to replace departing attorneys). Although increased hiring seems to be occurring at all levels, there has been a noticeable uptick in junior-level associate hiring, which is particularly noteworthy given that hiring at this level generally tends to drop off in the summer months, since summer associates are often available to handle this work. This trend suggests that law firms are busier than expected.
Lastly, as was the cases in early 2012, we are continuing to see a noticeable upswing in a number of practice areas that have been consistently dormant since the start of the economic downturn (such as trusts & estates, employee benefits, food and drug law and commercial litigation).
We expect that the above trends will continue through the remainder of 2012, with a steady increase in law firm hiring across the board.
General Corporate Trends
DC law firms continue focusing on corporate candidates with a more varied practice base rather than a niche sub-specialty. More specifically, instead of seeking candidates with one particular practice strength, firms are seeking qualified candidates with broad-based transactional expertise. We believe this transition is the result of client demand for greater cost efficiencies on the part of outside counsel. We expect this trend will last well into the future, as clients continue to focus on cost-cutting measures.
Notably, we are monitoring what appears to be a slight spike in demand for attorneys with expertise in technology transactions and believe this trend may strengthen throughout 2012.
Other corporate transactional and corporate regulatory practices that have been showing strong signs of growth include mergers & acquisitions, securities and capital markets, and fund-based practices.
Intellectual Property Law
This continues to be the busiest practice area in the DC market Firms of all sizes continue to seek patent prosecution and patent litigation associates at all levels. As in early 2012, the majority of demand is for candidates with an advanced degree in electrical engineering or computer science, with a slight but noticeable increase in demand, in recent weeks, for candidates with an advanced degree in chemistry.
As noted above, we have also seen an increased demand for strong IP transactional (tech transactions) candidates. While this practice area has typically been hottest in the New York and Boston markets, firms in the DC area have consistently been seeking candidates with a tech transactions background throughout the first half of 2012.
Food and drug law continues to be quite hot in DC right now, though to a lesser degree than in early 2012. We are, however, seeing a very noticeable pick-up in health care regulatory law openings, with multiple firms seeking experienced associates in this area.
DC law firms also continue to try to expand their energy regulatory practices, particularly at the partner level and in the FERC sector. We continue to receive a number of requests from law firms seeking energy regulatory partners with FERC experience and a large portable book of business and have also had numerous requests from firms looking to add a FERC practice group to their DC office. Many firms are also seeking to expand their energy practices at the associate level, with the greatest demand being for associates with energy project finance, renewable energy and/or energy regulatory experience.
We are still noticing a small but meaningful spike in the number of commercial litigation openings in the DC market, though the competition for these openings is fierce. It still appears that the firms looking to make such hires are simply filling in vacated positions rather than looking to grow existing and busy litigation practices. We continue to see very little demand for white collar practitioners, as compared to 2011, with the focus thus far in 2012 being on commercial litigation and patent litigation practitioners.
For the first time in several months, we are seeing a pick-up in demand for antitrust attorneys, primarily for associates at the junior to mid-level. Right now we have at least 5 active listing for antitrust associates in the DC market.
Other Hot Practice Areas
2012 has been a boom year, thus far, for trust & estate practices across the east coast. We continue to get a consistent stream of listings for T&E associates and also have had multiple requests from firms looking to add partners with T&E experience. We expect this trend will continue into the next quarter of 2012.
We are also seeing increased activity on the executive compensation/ employee benefits front, with several new listings appearing in the second quarter of 2012 (in addition to a few that cropped up in early 2012).
Commercial real estate and real estate finance associates have been in demand throughout the spring and summer months in and around the DC area. While it remains unclear exactly what will happen, if the real estate market continues to bounce back as it has been for the last couple of months, we expect this practice area will get consistently busier.
The second quarter of 2012 was busier than expected, with increased hiring across the board. Although the demise of Dewey & LeBoeuf temporarily saturated the market with associate and partner level candidates in all practice areas, the impact was not as large as expected. It seems that firms are eager to hire new talent and have the budgets to do so. We expect this increase in hiring will generally continue throughout 2012.
State of the Market: Texas by Suzanne Dupree Howe, Esq., Managing Director, BCG Attorney Search
We've seen a lot of growth in the transactional markets in Texas over the last eight months. Our needs have been steady in corporate and transactional energy with a scattering of real estate needs, as well. IP needs have also been steady, especially with firms that need Patent attorneys in litigation and prosecution, though these needs have mostly been for EE's and computer science majors. As I mentioned previously, increased needs in real estate are a terrific economic indicator of our continued growth in the legal market in Texas.
While we are excited to see this growth in the legal market compared with last year and especially 2010, it is still a highly competitive market with a large applicant and interview pool for every position. Many of our candidates have had to be patient throughout their job search and often go on multiple interviews before landing the right position.
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 transactional candidates find little barrier to entry in Texas as long as they have strong credentials, however litigation candidates may be less competitive without the Texas Bar. Signing up for the next available bar exam, or gaining reciprocity shows dedication to a move to Texas on a resume.
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 remarkably, though we have several firms that are looking to solidify this practice area with partner growth.
Strong litigation candidates are always actively being sought in Houston and Dallas, though needs are sporadic. Candidates with judicial clerkships and solid writing skills have a definite competitive edge. This is a much more competitive area than corporate right now.
Labor and Employment
Employment needs have slowed somewhat but we still have a smattering of associate needs. We have consistent needs at the partner level.
This area of law has really picked up from last year. Many of our clients are considering corporate resumes with strong deal experience. Private Equity experience remains a hot area for firms.
Tax needs have been much more prevalent in 2012 thus far, but we have seen this practice area slow this fall. Like real estate, tax needs are a good economic indicator of heavier deal volume. Candidates with an LL.M from top programs such as NYU, Florida, and Georgetown are most valuable to the firms.
IP Litigation needs have been very consistent. We are seeing many needs in this area for those 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 also increased 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, physics or computer science. In Houston, candidates with experience in oilfield tools are highly valued.
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. This is probably the most active area for hiring in Houston.
This practice area has tapered off since a record high level of needs in 2010. However, these candidates are always marketable.
As I mentioned, needs in this area have dramatically increased! Candidates at the junior and mid-level are being sought across Texas.
State of the Market: Louisiana by Suzanne Dupree Howe, Esq., Managing Director, BCG Attorney Search
New Orleans law firms have needs on a rolling but scattered basis. We currently have needs in corporate, real estate, and litigation. Candidates with personal ties to the area are often favored for this market.
State of the Market: Atlanta by Suzanne Dupree Howe, Esq., Managing Director, BCG Attorney Search
Atlanta law firms have had very strong needs Real Estate, Healthcare, Employment, IP litigation, and Corporate. Atlanta usually trends similarly to needs in Texas, but we have actually seen more corporate needs in Atlanta recently. This is a very hot area in Atlanta and it's an excellent time to look if you are considering a move.
State of the Market: Charlotte by Suzanne Dupree Howe, Esq., Managing Director, BCG Attorney Search
As a major hub for Finance work, Charlotte continues to have almost constant needs for junior to mid-level Finance candidates with excellent credentials. Candidates with Mortgage experience are highly sought as well as general corporate candidates. We have also had consistent IP needs across North Carolina and in Charlotte. Real Estate has also been a hot area in North Carolina recently.
State of the Market: Florida by Bonnie Nathan, Esq., Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Florida firms have openings on a scattered basis. Much of the demand is for corporate associates, particularly in Miami and for attorneys that are 3 to 5 years out of law school. However, there is also demand for commercial litigation associates and for intellectual property associates, particularly on the prosecution side.
State of the Market: Europe and Asia by Claudia Barnes, General Manager, BCG Attorney Search
Hot Practice Areas:
Without a doubt the biggest need in London is for well-credentialed and experienced corporate attorneys. Corporate attorneys with 1-6 years of experience in any of the following will undoubtedly get multiple interviews: banking, finance, capital markets, mergers and acquisitions, structured securities, securitization, CDO, private equity, fund raising work, cross border work, IPO, financial services regulatory (FSR) work, investment banking matters and management, securities, and structured or asset finance. Candidates must come from a leading law firm and have excellent academic credentials. In some cases, firms are seeking candidates with experience in Indian Law. Further, finance attorneys with experience in aviation, shipping or a combination of both will do well.
There are a few opportunities for true energy/project finance lawyers in London. Specifically, firms seek candidates at the mid to senior associate levels with experience in the following: finance and project contracts for projects within the oil and gas and petrochemical sectors in the UK, the Near and Middle East and Africa; advising on oil and gas financings (including reserve-based lending); upstream and midstream oil and gas including upstream contracts, UK petroleum licensing, joint operating agreements, farm-out agreements, oil and gas sale and marketing agreements, oil and gas transportation and processing agreements, unitization agreements, product sharing contracts, and other principal upstream oil and gas agreements.
English offices are seeking construction attorneys with experience at all levels. Attorneys should have experience in non-contentious and contentious construction matters and possibly international projects (in particular energy and oil and gas projects).
There are a number of openings for litigators with 2-6 years of PQE (post -qualification experience) in London. The areas of law include: international arbitration, bank or regulatory litigation, finance and insolvency litigation, general commercial disputes, shipping litigation, construction litigation, and insurance litigation.
Steady Practice Areas:
There is an opening for a bankruptcy attorney having 2+ years of experience gained in a firm noted for its expertise in contentious insolvency work.
There are a nice number of openings for true insurance attorneys who have insurance coverage or reinsurance experience. Firms are seeking candidates at the junior, mid and senior levels.
Intellectual Property Litigation
There is a bit more of a need for intellectual property litigators, particularly those with a strong technical background in electrical engineering, math, physics, or computer programming.
There is an increase in activity for real estate attorneys. We are seeing a need for attorneys who have experience in drafting and updating standard real estate agreements as well as real estate finance matters.
Europe (Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Italy, Russia, Spain)
Antitrust and Trade Regulation
There are several openings for qualified competition law lawyers in Brussels and Dusseldorf. The ideal candidates will have 1-6 years of experience in advising on national and European competition issues across a wide range of sectors. Candidates must be fluent in English and proficient in another language, such as German or Dutch. Candidates also must be EU qualified.
Corporate (HOTTEST Practice Area)
There are a number of openings for corporate attorneys in Berlin, Brussels, Frankfurt, Madrid, Moscow, Munich, Netherlands, Rome and Paris. Firms are seeking candidates at all levels with experience in one or more of the following areas: mergers and acquisitions, capital markets, finance, banking, and private equity. Some firms prefer candidates with US law firm experience. And in some cases, an LL.M. and fluency in English, Dutch, German, French, Russian, and Spanish is required. Superstar academic and professional credentials are required for all positions, and in some cases candidates should be US or UK-qualified.
There are openings in Brussels and Frankfurt for employment lawyers with 1-3 years of experience.
Patent and Trademark Prosecution
Firms in Brussels and Munich are seeking junior to mid-level patent attorneys with life sciences, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering or physics backgrounds. Candidates should be fluent in English and German or Dutch.
There are a couple litigation openings in Brussels and Frankfurt. Firms are looking to hire native Europeans who are already qualified in the EU. Firms are looking for candidates mainly at the junior associate level. In all cases, qualified candidates should have an excellent knowledge of English in addition to the language of the country.
There is an opening to join the Real Estate and Construction practice of an international firm's Brussels office. The firm is seeking candidates with 2-4 years of experience who speak French, English and Dutch.
Offices in Geneva, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt and Brussels are seeking junior, mid-level and senior associates (up to 7 years) with tax experience. Depending on the position, the firms seek US attorneys or UK attorneys.
Asia (China, Japan, Singapore, Thailand)
There are a couple of openings in Beijing for construction/project contract lawyers at the mid- and senior levels. Candidates must have top academic and professional credentials and admission to Australian, US, UK or PRC Bar. Candidates must be native English or Chinese speakers with an excellent command over the other language.
Corporate (HOTTEST Practice Area)
We are still seeing incredible opportunities for corporate attorneys in Asia. We highly recommend any corporate attorney having difficulty finding a position in a major US market to consider Asia. There is a demand for corporate attorneys at ALL levels in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Beijing, Tokyo, and Thailand. Candidates should have experience in one or more of the following: capital markets, securities, mergers and acquisitions, private equity, finance, IPO, FDI (Foreign Direct Investment), FCPA (Foreign Corrupt Practices Act), Hong Kong Takeovers Code Experience, high yield experience, regulatory/financial services, debt capital market, structured finance, and project finance. Fluency in English is required. In most cases, fluency or proficiency in Japanese or Mandarin Chinese or Cantonese is preferred or required.
There is an opportunity to join the Beijing office of an international firm if you are an employment lawyer with 4-6 years of experience in advising clients on a broad range of contentious and non-contentious labor and employment issues. Candidate should speak Mandarin and read and write Chinese and English.
There is an uptick in the need for energy attorneys in Beijing, Singapore and especially Tokyo. Firms are seeking candidates at all levels with experience in several of the following: upstream oil and gas field, LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas), mining, power and alternative energy, project development, corporate, mergers and acquisitions, advising on offshore projects and investments, resources work, banking and finance. The ability to speak Mandarin would be of added value.
We have an opening in Hong Kong for a mid-level associate who has experience in professional indemnity and D&O (Directors and Officers) insurance matters. Chinese language skills are preferred.
There is a small need for attorneys with experience in technology transactions (also known as Technology Media Transactions "TMT") in Hong Kong. Candidates with experience in drafting IP agreements in licensing and corporate transactions and IP due diligence would be preferred.
In Shanghai, Beijing, and Tokyo, there is a need for intellectual property litigators with experience in a variety of areas including: patent litigation, patent invalidation, freedom to operate search and analysis, client counseling related to protecting patent, trademark, copyrights and trade secrets in China. Candidates should have a technical background in life sciences or electrical engineering and fluency in English and Mandarin.
There is a slight need for patent prosecutors in Tokyo who also have experience in handling trademark, copyright and other intellectual property matters.
In Shanghai, there is a need for traditional trademark and copyright prosecution attorneys with experience in trademark registration, enforcement, and counterfeit areas particularly in the Pharma and Hi-Tech sectors. Fluency in written and spoken English and Mandarin Chinese are essential.
There are a number of openings for litigators at all levels in Hong Kong, Bangkok, Beijing, and Shanghai. Qualified attorneys will have experience in the following: investigations (internal, regulatory, FCPA, financial fraud), securities, arbitration, complex civil litigation, and cross-border disputes. Candidates should be admitted in US and have English and Mandarin language skills.
Hong Kong and Tokyo firms are seeking real estate attorneys at all levels with leasing, acquisitions, financing, and/or restructuring. Fluency in English and Mandarin or Japanese is critical.
Middle East (Dubai and Abu Dhabi)
There is an opening for a commercial projects attorney in the Dubai office of an international firm. Candidates must have 4-6 years of experience and must be familiar with concessions, O&M agreements, offtake agreements, and feedstock agreements in a range of sectors (energy, infrastructure, mining and metals, oil and gas). Familiarity with major procurement methods (EPC, EPCM) is desired. Candidates should speak English and have experience working at a top-tier regional or international firm.
Corporate (HOTTEST Practice Area)
There are opportunities in Dubai and Abu Dhabi for corporate attorneys in the mid-level range with experience in the following: Islamic finance, mergers and acquisitions, general corporate or private equity. Firms seek candidates from top regional or international law firms and who speak English.
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