I’ve written a lot in the past about larger events in the overall economy eventually driving a hiring cycle in particular areas of the law, and want to give a current example of two niche practice areas that are very hot right now in the current market: Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation, and Technology Transactions, and even more specifically within the latter sector, Data Privacy.
First, Executive Compensation & Employee Benefits (and to some extent ERISA) is extremely hot right now. If you are at a small or mid-sized firm with solid expertise in this area, and have been looking for an opportunity to make the jump to a large Am Law firm, now is probably the best time in recent memory to attempt that lateral upward move (and of course BCG is happy to assist).
With the ongoing market recovery, corporate and transactional law started to come back in a big way. Deals were happening, companies were merging, new companies were being formed on a regular basis (especially in hot start-up hubs like Silicon Valley and Seattle, and even now in Los Angeles and New York), and along with those mergers on the business, finance, and securities side, these companies are needing expertise on issues relating to executive compensation packages as they try to lure and retain talent. This is especially true for international companies that may be dealing with compensation and employment laws from a wide variety of jurisdictions. You can almost always count on the executive compensation and employee benefit sector to pick up steam in the wake of an upward trend in corporate hiring, and right now is no exception.
Similarly, Technology Transactions is currently very, very hot. If you have technology transactional experience, such as licensing, outsourcing, and experience related to mergers, acquisitions, etc., for technology companies, you should definitely take a look at your options on the lateral market. Even if you are not actively looking, or are happy where you are, it will be a good long-term career exercise to see whether there might be firm with better work or future partnership opportunities. BCG can help you find these positions.
Technology transactions has become an extremely hot market for lateral attorney movement for a lot of the same reasons – with corporate transactions, mergers and acquisitions, venture capital, and corporate formation all on the rise the past two years, and the fact that the technology sector has been driving a lot of the current economic growth, it makes sense that there is a strong demand for attorneys with particular expertise in this area.
Along with general technology transactions, a new sub-niche now has more demand than ever before – expertise in data privacy. While there are only a couple of firms who can boast truly comprehensive expertise in this area, many firms have at least a couple of partners who service clients with legal needs in data privacy, and we only expect that demand to increase as data collection becomes a bigger factor in terms of corporate profits, as well as a part of the overall cultural zeitgeist as technology becomes a larger part of our lives each year.
If you are an attorney with expertise in either of these areas, it would be well worth speaking to a recruiter to see what your options might be on the lateral market. And if not in this area, think about how your own career trajectory might align now and in the future with overall market trends – it is a good thought exercise that will help you plan your career, and possibly a forthcoming career move.
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