State of the Market Report: San Francisco by Claudia Barnes, Manager of BCG Attorney Search
Healthy Practice Areas:
Litigation hiring in San Francisco is the strongest it has been in at least 5 years. The greatest need is at the mid-level (3-5 years), but we are seeing a need at all levels. Complex commercial, general and securities/white collar litigators are consistently in demand. There is even a small need for Antitrust attorneys. Despite the active need in litigation, candidates must have strong academic and professional credentials. Associates with clerkship experience are highly valued. Admittance to the California bar is - for the first time - NOT necessarily a must. But candidates must quickly become a member of the bar once they are hired.
Corporate associates in San Francisco with solid academic and professional credentials are still in high demand in San Francisco, and the Bay Area in general. This has been consistently the case over the last 3 years. Attorneys with all levels of experience are getting interviews. Sub-specialties of particular interest include private equity, structured and debt finance, corporate finance, emerging company/venture capital, M & A, and securities. Candidates with hard science or life science degrees continue to get interviews. Firms generally do not require the CA Bar for corporate candidates.
Labor and Employment
Labor and employment hiring has picked up greatly in San Francisco, and the Bay Area in general. We have placed employment attorneys at all levels (junior, mid and senior level) in a variety of law firms (small, mid-sized and large). In particular, firms seek associates with wage and hour, discrimination, and client counseling experience. Class action, deposition, and trial experience are highly valued.
Steady Practice Areas:
Real Estate (Transactions & Finance)
Real Estate hiring in San Francisco was very strong in 2015. Mid to senior level candidates with solid transactional experience are highly sought after, although there is also a need for those with real estate finance experience (including CMBS). Transactional candidates need experience in leasing, joint ventures, and purchase & sales.
Patent Litigation hiring was still fairly strong in spring and summer of 2016, but not as in demand as previous years. Positions are evenly split between hard science and life science attorneys. Firms are also less likely to consider out of state attorneys. Associates with all levels of experience and partners are sought. ITC experience is highly valued. Patent Bar admittance is now a higher priority.
During the first quarter of 2016, patent prosecution hiring slowed down. Needs for firms were evenly split between attorneys with hard science and life science degrees. Firms are looking for attorneys with 1-6 years of experience. Attorneys with Electrical Engineering or Computer Science degrees still dominate the market, but attorneys with Physics degrees or a Ph.D. in Biology or Chemistry are also in demand, as well as those with biotechnology degrees. USPTO registration is required. Silicon Valley also offers a variety of opportunities for patent prosecutors.
There is a solid need for healthcare transactional attorneys - particularly at the senior level (6-15 years, Partners with portable business). Candidates at all levels with a solid work history will be marketable in San Francisco.
Tax hiring is quite busy at the moment in San Francisco. Firms are specifically seeking solid mid-level candidates with a LL.M. in Tax and who ideally work (or have worked) in a law firm setting. On occasion, firms will hire attorneys from a Big 4 accounting firm, but normally they will select candidates that have outstanding academic professional credentials and are no more than 5 years out of law school.
There is a steady demand for technology transactions attorneys in both the hard and life sciences, in the junior to mid-level range. Attorneys that have licensing experience are in demand. Attorneys with life sciences licensing, with experience in corporate transactions, and IP support are likely to get interviews.
ERISA/Employee Benefits/Executive Compensation
As we reported in our last State of the Market report, hiring picked up in ERISA/Employee Benefits/Executive Compensation in 2014 and 2015. The need for experienced attorneys in this field remains solid in 2016. Candidates at all levels will be seriously considered should they have experience in employee benefits, executive compensation, ERISA, and to a lesser extent tax experience.
This practice area started to pick up toward the end of 2015 and has kept going since then. Candidates with experience in one or more of the following will be seriously considered: renewable energy, project finance, project development, M & A involving electric utilities or independent power producers.
If you have ever reviewed our previous state of the market reports, you may notice that we normally do not cover immigration law. Well, it's making a debut! Immigration attorneys, particularly experienced business immigration attorneys with 7-10 years of experience should get several interviews.
Slow Practice Areas:
Some firms are very busy and seem to have all the work in trademark/copyright law. We are seeing openings for Staff Attorneys come up more often for this practice area. Candidates of interest have at least 3 years of experience. Those with at least 7 should certainly get a few interviews.
The need for environmental attorneys in San Francisco is not great. However, firms will always take a hard look at candidates with at least 3 years of experience.
The following practices have shown little to no activity: bankruptcy, construction, project finance, and trusts & estates.
State of the Market Report: Silicon Valley by Claudia Barnes, Manager of BCG Attorney Search
Silicon Valley has consistently been an excellent legal market, and it is often easier to find a position here than in San Francisco. However, both markets are very busy. And depending in your practice area, you may have better luck in San Francisco than Silicon Valley and vice versa. Anyone seeking a job in San Francisco should look at opportunities in Silicon Valley. Many people commute to the Silicon Valley area from nearby cities. The area has a high quality of life and is close to Napa Valley, Sonoma, and Russian River wine country.
Hot Practice Areas:
Patent prosecution needs in Silicon Valley have picked up tremendously in both Life Sciences and Hard Sciences disciplines, for both patent agents and attorneys. Candidates with strong academic and/or professional credentials who have backgrounds in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Physics, Chemistry, Biology and to a lesser extent Mechanical Engineering will get interviews. Most firms are seeking candidates with 2-8 years of experience. Registration with the USPTO is required, but candidates do not have to be admitted to the California bar.
The need for corporate attorneys in Silicon Valley and the Bay Area in general continues for the 3rd year in a row. The greatest need in the state is in Silicon Valley with San Francisco a close second. Candidates with 2-15 years of experience will get a number of interviews. Partners with books of business are highly sought out. The ideal candidate will have experience in one of the following: M & A, securities, venture capital, emerging companies, private equity, or corporate finance. Life Sciences hiring continues to be strong. Associates who have experience with tech companies are also getting interviews.
The need for patent litigators has markedly increased since 2015. That being said, firms are picky and willing to wait for the right candidate. Attorneys must have strong academic and/or professional credentials to get interviews. The ideal candidate will also have a scientific background, such as computer science, electrical engineering, physics, chemistry or biology. Firms have a strong preference for in-state attorneys admitted to the USPTO and who have experience in Hatch Waxman.
The need for attorneys with true technology transactional experience remains solid in 2016. The number of attorneys in this practice area in California is small, which means nearly any candidate with corporate transactional experience will be considered (especially if they have life science/technology degrees or experience). Furthermore, there is slow and growing need for attorneys with privacy and information security experience.
Labor & Employment
2016 is a great year for labor & employment attorneys in the Bay Area! Typically, the need for employment attorneys is much greater in San Francisco; however, this year the need is almost as strong in Silicon Valley. Firms are seeking attorneys at all levels, particularly the mid and senior levels, who also have strong academic or professional credentials and experience in employment counseling, discrimination, and wage and hour experience.
Attorneys with Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (EBEC) experience are in very high demand again in 2016. Candidates at all levels, particularly the mid to senior level, are getting interviews. Firms will consider out-of-state candidates with solid experience.
Litigation has picked up in 2016. While the market is stronger in San Francisco, litigators are getting more interviews in Silicon Valley than they have in the last 5 years. Despite the hiring frenzy, firms are still very picky. Candidates with exceptional academic and professional credentials will get multiple interviews - even if they do not have the California Bar (unheard of in past years). The greatest need is for commercial, securities, antitrust and white collar litigators.
Steady to SlowPractice Areas:
The need for healthcare attorneys, particularly at the mid to senior level has picked up greatly across the country, including Silicon Valley. Candidates with at least 5 years of health care transactional experience are getting interviews and offers. Membership to the CA bar is certainly the preference, but not an absolute requirement.
Real Estate (Transactions & Finance)
The transactional real estate hiring happening in the rest of the state is not occurring in Silicon Valley. When there are openings, they are usually for mid-level associates. Experience in sales, acquisitions, leasing, and joint ventures is valued.
This area is currently slow, and firms are mainly hiring senior attorneys and partners when they are hiring.
Despite the uptick in executive compensation/employee benefits, tax is fairly quiet. However, several large multi-national firms are hiring at all levels. The candidate must have an LL.M. in Taxation and excellent academic and professional credentials.
Trusts & Estates
Like tax, there are a few firms seeking experienced trusts and estates attorneys with all aspects of estate planning and wealth transfer planning for high and ultra-high net worth individuals. Most firms like to hire candidates that have an LL.M. in Taxation.
Dead Practice Areas:
There is currently no activity in bankruptcy, energy, and environmental. However, firms will always also consider partners in any area who have at least $1 million in portable business.
State of the Market Report: San Diego by Claudia Barnes, Manager of BCG Attorney Search
Attorneys across the country consider San Diego the ideal place to practice law. The city features natural beauty and a good work-life balance. San Diego does not have a large legal community, making it very tough to obtain a position. Candidates who do well here typically have a strong tie to the area and have a very stable work history. San Diego firms are very critical of attorneys who look like "job hoppers." Attorneys here tend to stay put for the long haul. Because there are many technology companies across a variety of industries in San Diego, the hottest practice areas are patent prosecution, corporate, and IP/technology transactions. As a spin off to these areas, we are also seeing a great deal of activity in litigation and employment law.
Healthy Practice Areas:
The need for patent prosecution attorneys and agents is still at the forefront of the legal hiring market in San Diego in 2016. Unlike 2015, there is an even split for patent prosecutors with life sciences and hard sciences backgrounds. However, there is more of a demand for patent agents with hard science backgrounds. Candidates with at least 1 year of experience and who have a background in computer science, electrical engineering, biology, and chemistry are in high demand. San Diego is typically an excellent market for patent prosecutors with life sciences degrees.
Corporate hiring in San Diego is strong. Junior to mid-level (2-5 years) corporate associates across all sub-specialties are needed, including attorneys with M & A, capital markets, corporate finance, securities, emerging company, venture capital, public & private company experience. A certain amount of portable business may be required for more senior corporate positions, especially at smaller, local firms.
The need for employment attorneys is strong throughout the state of California, and San Diego is no exception. A variety of firms are seeking experienced employment attorneys at all levels. Ideal candidates will have employment litigation experience, including wage and hour. San Diego firms prefer to hire candidates who already are members of the CA bar.
The number of openings for litigators at all levels picked up dramatically in 2016. We are seeing more litigation openings than we have in at least 5 years! Firms in San Diego have a strong preference for candidates already admitted to the CA bar, who have substantive experience, including deposition, and ideally a solid connection to San Diego. We are seeing openings for general litigators, insurance coverage, and products liability.
Technology Transactions attorneys with licensing and commercial agreements experience are in strong demand in San Diego. The greatest need is for candidates with a biotech/chemistry background and many firms give weight to in-house experience. Firms are generally looking for junior to mid-level associates who have transactional experience, preferably negotiating licensing transactions in the life sciences field.
Slow Practice Areas:
Typically we do not see any job openings in bankruptcy; however, a couple have popped up this quarter. Bankruptcy has heated up across the country, and San Diego is included. It will never be a practice area that we see a lot of activity in for the San Diego market.
This practice area is very slow in certain parts of the country and busy in other parts. San Diego is not normally known as a place to practice energy law; however, we are seeing a little bit of activity in this area. The need is at the senior level for attorneys with regulatory/finance/transactional experience.
San Diego is not known as a city to practice healthcare. However, we are seeing a slight need for experienced healthcare attorneys with 5+ years of experience advising health care clients and with experience in entity formation, joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions and transition of ownership.
Patent prosecution is a much busier practice area in San Diego than patent/IP litigation. Firms that are hiring are looking for candidates at all levels with patent litigation experience, a life sciences background like chemistry or biology and ideally Hatch-Waxman/ANDA litigation experience.
Real estate hiring in 2016 continues to be slower as compared to other cities in California, such as Los Angeles. Where there are vacancies, they tend to be with Top AmLaw firms for associates with 2-6 years of experience. More senior attorneys with business who have a combination of corporate and real estate work are being sought out by indigenous and smaller firms. Experienced real estate attorneys with traditional leasing and acquisition work from well-regarded law firms will also get interviews.
Trusts and Estates
Surprisingly, we are seeing a slight pickup in hiring experienced trust and estate attorneys. Ideal candidates have an LL.M. in Taxation, at least 4 years of experience, and some probate litigation experience. Candidates should have the CA bar as well.
Unfortunately, we are not seeing a need for the following practice areas: executive compensation/employee benefits, ERISA, construction, environmental, immigration, securities litigation, tax, or trademark.
State of the Market Report: Los Angeles by Paul Danielson, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
While home prices and rents in Los Angeles are catching up to those in the Bay Area, the legal market is still smaller, at least on a relative scale. LA firms are varied in size and practice areas, and there has recently been a trend of rapid expansion from national and international firms targeted towards increasing their West Coast presence, and particularly Southern California. As a result, attorneys looking to relocate to or within LA will see more opportunities than they have historically. However, given the desirability of the city as a destination, competition has actually increased. Would be transplants should plan to have already taken the California Bar before they are considered competitive for most any position, even those where firms typically overlook local bar requirements at first for otherwise strong candidates (e.g., real estate and hard science patent prosecution). Partners seeking to lateral should have books of business starting at a minimum of one million and up.
Hot Practice Areas:
Litigation has picked up in many markets across the country, but it is hard to say there are more and varied new job listings for litigators than there are in Los Angeles. That being said, given how many litigators are on the potential lateral market, competition for each open position is extremely fierce, and thus firms can afford to be quite picky with their selections and have the luxury of longer, drawn-out interview processes that can often frustrate would-be lateral candidates. If you are looking to make a move to or within the Los Angeles market as a litigator, you should be bringing top credentials, including upper class GPA percentiles, law review membership, clerkships, and solid prior litigation experience, ideally including deposition and/or trial experience.
Labor & Employment
Labor & Employment has been in very strong demand the past few quarters, particularly at the junior and mid-level as firms seek to staff appropriately to handle the uptick in employment litigation and counseling matters, which is typical for this stage of the macro business cycle now that companies are well into a longer term hiring pattern. Wage and hour, discrimination, and class action work dominates the current demand, with significantly less demand for traditional labor and collective bargaining experience.
Corporate remains very strong in the Los Angeles market, with a specific focus on M & A and finance experience. Firms very much prefer candidates from top law schools and with large deal experience from major Am Law firms. There is also an extremely strong preference among firms in Los Angeles for transactional candidates who already have the California Bar exam, which is a shift from the past two years when corporate work was so busy that firms were hiring as quickly as they could while being willing to wait for candidates to become licensed down the road.
Steady Practice Areas:
Taxation, Trusts & Estates
In the mid-to-late stage of a typical long-term market cycle, it is not surprising to see a steady demand for attorneys with experience in taxation, trusts and estates. With both corporate and personal profits built up, wealthy companies and individuals seek strategies to preserve and grow their assets moving forward. Firms seek solid experience in this area, and have an extremely strong preference for lateral candidates with prior law firm experience, tending to disregard candidates coming from accounting firms. An LL.M. in Taxation is always helpful.
It has been a pleasant surprise to see healthcare pick up as a practice sector to the point where we are seeing fairly regular listings for mid and senior level attorneys with health care experience from Los Angeles firms, both in the transactional and litigation side of things. Being a somewhat niche practice area, firms are more focused on candidates who have excellent experience, rather than candidates with top law school credentials but not as strong experience.
Patentprosecution remains steadily in demand in Los Angeles, and we do not foresee that need diminishing significantly in the near future, especially with a rapidly growing tech sector in Silicon Beach (Venice), and other areas in and around Los Angeles. With the Bay Area fairly saturated, and the comparably nicer weather and attractive lifestyle, many tech start-ups and established firms are recognizing that it is easy to recruit talent to Southern California, so this growth should continue for some time.
It has been quite some time since we have seen regular and steady demand for attorneys with immigration experience, so now is the time to be looking to make a lateral move to or within the Los Angeles market if you are an attorney with a strong immigration law background, particularly if you are bilingual in one or more Asian languages. Most of the immigration lateral opportunities will be found at smaller and mid-sized firms, but there are also occasional openings at Am Law firms. Either way, it is a good time to be looking for attorneys with a solid skill set in this area.
Real estate was white hot for the last two years in Los Angeles, and while demand has tapered it can still be considered quite steady, and we do not foresee the demand diminishing significantly for at least another year or two given the rapid pace of development in many hot Los Angeles neighborhoods, in the retail, corporate office, and residential side of things. That being said, keep an eye out for a pair of ballot measures slated to go up for a vote next year in 2017 during the mayoral election, as at least one of them has the potential to throw a giant proverbial wrench in the gears of large-scale development across the city.
Slow to DeadPractice Areas:
There have been a handful of listings in Los Angeles in the following areas during the past quarter: environmental, technology transactions, IP litigation, trademark and copyright, and ERISA/Employee benefits & executive compensation. All other practice areas not mentioned above are not seeing any current demand at present, although that is always liable to change. Specifically, based on broad market trends, we would expect that bankruptcy law will pick up sometime within the next three quarters, especially given the typical East-to-West demand and hiring trend and the fact that bankruptcy practices on the East Coast have recently come back online in a strong manner.
State of the Market Report: Orange County by Paul Danielson, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Orange County is often overlooked by lateral attorneys seeking to relocate to California, as it is not as well-known as the two cities it sits between - Los Angeles and San Diego. However, attorneys who are flexible on location and/or have personal ties to Southern California should seriously consider the Orange County market as a potential target, as it offers a variety of opportunities with boutique, regional, and top Am Law firms in very sophisticated practices. If you want the Southern California weather and don't need the fast pace of LA life or the traditional beach life of San Diego, Orange County can be a very appealing location that is safe, family-friendly, and offers top market salaries in the offices of Am Law firms. The most widely represented practice areas in the OC market include litigation, corporate, real estate, and intellectual property matters.
HOT Practice Areas:
Like many markets on the West Coast right now, demand for litigation attorneys has come back in a big way. While numerous openings exist at any given time, there is strong competition for each opening, and litigators will need to bring solid credentials and sophisticated experience if they want a shot at being considered for an interview or offer. It is a must to be licensed in California if you are searching in Orange County. Getting a little more granular in terms of what firms are looking for right now, there is specific demand for attorneys with practice experience in the following litigation areas: insurance, real estate and construction, personal injury and products liability, and general trial experience.
As mentioned above, Orange County has a very strong market for patentprosecutionwork, particularly in the areas of computer science and electrical engineering, but also with a reasonably strong market for mechanical engineering work and some life sciences-side work. Southern California is a significant hub for research, as well as the home to a number of top technology and engineering companies, and so it is a natural fit for attorneys practicing in these areas. Firms will be less picky in terms of law school prestige, but extremely selective when it comes to the strength of a candidate's technical background and actual patent prosecution experience.
Labor & Employment
Similar to other markets on the West Coast, labor and employment attorneys are seeing a welcome uptick in demand for their services. More specifically, attorneys at the junior and mid-level with significant experience in wage & hour, discrimination, and especially class action employment litigation work will find a number of opportunities in a current survey of the lateral market. The demand is less strong for traditional labor experience, although any attorney with a solid portable book of business will at least get consideration.
Steady Practice Areas:
Corporate attorneys are still in demand in Orange County, although the market is not quite as white-hot as it has been the last 1-2 years. M & A experience is in the highest demand, followed by securities, finance and project finance, with some venture capital and emerging companies work sprinkled in the job listings as well. Firms in Orange County prefer to see candidates from top law schools and large deal experience at Am Law firms.
Similar to corporate and general transactional work, real estate continues to be in demand in Orange County, but listings and hiring in this sector have definitely slowed from their peak in mid-2015. Firms will prefer candidates from top law schools with solid large-deal experience in real estate acquisitions, leases, land use, and finance.
Slow to DeadPractice Areas:
We have seen a smattering of listings in the areas of antitrust, healthcare, and bankruptcy in Orange County in the early part of 2016, and aside from those and the above mentioned practice areas, all other practices can be considered slow to dead in the current market. That being said, Orange County firms are always open to considering lateral candidates with a solid book of portable business, and will frequently take a look at top caliber candidates in any practice area on a prospective basis, so if you are considering a lateral move to Orange County, get in touch with BCG to see what your prospects might be.
State of the Market Report: Seattle by Paul Danielson, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
At this point, nobody can seriously question Seattle's status as one of the hottest cities in the country. The population and economy are booming, and development is springing up across the city with such an intensity that many long-time residents are grumbling about the rapid pace of change. Fueled by a strong technology sector, as well as a wide variety of other business enterprise, Seattle continues to remain attractive to residents of all ages, but particularly career-oriented 20-, 30-, and 40-somethings. It doesn't hurt that Seattle also sits in the middle of an immensely beautiful Pacific Northwest landscape and has a world class dining, arts, and entertainment scene. Be prepared for intense competition for any open lateral position in Seattle.
Hot Practice Areas:
Litigation has picked up in a big way in the Seattle market, with firms of every size seeking to hire litigators with solid credentials and experience. Experience in construction litigation, securities and white collar, and complex commercial litigation is particularly in demand, and attorneys with solid deposition and trial experience will receive more interest. Seattle firms are still biased towards attorneys with strong connections to the area, but are very much open to litigators with stellar credentials and major market Am Law firm experience who are seeking to relocate to the Pacific Northwest.
Seattle's economy is largely driven by the prominent technology sector, including tech behemoths like Microsoft and Amazon, all the way down to nascent spin-offs and start-ups. Consequently, it is not surprising that patentprosecution has been, and continues to be a very hot practice area in the Seattle market. While the vast majority of firms are seeking lateral attorneys with backgrounds and experience in the computer science and electrical engineering sectors, especially patent practitioners with solid experience in software, circuits, and wireless communications, there are also occasional openings in the life sciences due to the University of Washington and strong medical and hospital system in the greater Seattle area.
Corporate and Transactional
M & A and Project Finance are the two dominant skill sets currently in demand in the Seattle corporate transactional lateral market. Firms are still picky, and prefer to interview and hire attorneys who have large deal experience at major national and international firms, but even locally grown attorneys with solid deal work and some portable business will get consideration in the current market.
Real Estate & Land Use
Although well into its stride, Seattle's real estate boom is far from over, as development in both the residential and retail/office sector continues apace at a rapid clip to accommodate the growing economy and booming population. Attorneys with both real estate finance experience as well as commercial leasing experience will continue to see strong interest, even attorneys seeking to relocate to the Seattle area from other markets.
Steady Practice Areas:
Tax, Trusts & Estates
As is typical in the middle-to-end portion of a long term market cycle, the demand for taxation, trusts, and estate attorneys has grown recently, spurred by corporations and wealthy families and individuals seeking strategies to grow and protect their recent wealth and earnings. Firms typically only hire practitioners with at least 3-5 years of experience in this practice area, though recently we have seen a couple listings at the entry level. If you have a solid background, and ideally an LL.M. in Taxation, now would be an excellent time to get in the door of a solid practice group to establish yourself for the long term.
Labor & Employment
Labor and employment, along with ERISA, employee benefits, and executive compensation attorneys, continues to be in demand in Seattle, especially attorneys with at least 3-5 years of solid experience in those areas. Given the long term market cycle, we expect to see steady demand in this practice area through the next year, but beyond that it is difficult to predict, so if you are an employment or employee benefits attorney looking to potentially make a move to or within the Seattle market, I would suggest seriously focusing on your job search now.
IP & Technology Transactions
Given the makeup of Seattle's economy, it is difficult to foresee a future time when there is not at least a decent level of demand for attorneys with a solid background and/or understanding of licensing and technology transactions in the Seattle market, even if there should be another broad economic downturn. Technology is here to stay as a mainstay of the Seattle economy, and attorneys who can facilitate the growth of technology companies will find client work, even if the competition for that work becomes more intense. Firms looking to hire in this area prefer to see tech degree backgrounds and major law firm experience.
IP litigation work seems to come and go in the Seattle market, but has not gone away completely in quite some time, and demand looks to be steady for at least a couple quarters out at this point in the market cycle. Seattle is a hub for tech development, similar to Silicon Valley, and so companies and firms who have invested significant resources in research and development of new technologies will of course seek to protect the fruits of that labor. As is the case in the patent prosecution side of things, hard technology backgrounds are in the strongest demand, although attorneys with life sciences backgrounds and significant Hatch-Waxman/ANDA litigation experience will also see regular opportunities for lateral moves.
Slow Practice Areas:
There were a handful of new openings in ERISA/employee benefits, healthcare, and environmental law in Seattle. Aside from these practice areas, any practice area not mentioned above is fairly dead at the moment, so attorneys seeking to make a lateral move will have to remain patient for the time being. That being said, any attorneys with a solid and portable book of business upwards of $500k will find many firm doors open in the greater Seattle area.
State of the Market Report: Portland by Paul Danielson, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Save for Denver, with which it is often tied in such rankings, there is probably no hotter city in the country in terms of desirability and quality of living right now than Portland. An unprecedented boom in population and development is driving Portland rapidly into the midst of the 21st century, and it not only ranks high nationally, but also internationally, as one of the premier cities for transit, cuisine, culture, and overall quality of life. Not all is roses in the City of Roses, however, as many long-time residents are seeing their rents double and even triple within the last half decade, and competition for top jobs remains fierce, especially in the legal market, which is still expanding cautiously despite the overall boom. Attorneys seeking to relocate to Portland must have stellar credentials, and firms across the board will want to see direct personal ties to the greater Portland area.
Hot Practice Areas:
Litigation has been strong recently in Portland, at least in terms of the number of new job listings coming online. Firms are still being quite picky, however, and will take a long time for the interview process and speak with at least three or four top candidates, if not more, for any given opening before making a decision. You will have the best shot at a litigation lateral position in Portland if you bring top credentials, solid experience, and strong ties to the local area. Portable business also helps. Firms seek generally solid litigators, and frequently are looking for specialized knowledge in the areas of construction litigation, insurance coverage, and complex commercial litigation.
Corporate and Finance
With the economy steadily growing in Portland, and new companies and firms both starting up and continuing to grow in the Pacific Northwest, the lateral market for transactional attorneys in Portland remains strong. Firms particularly desire skill sets and backgrounds in M & A and finance, with a solid need for venture capital experience as well to help guide the steadily growing technology sector.
Steady Practice Areas:
Employment and Labor
Employment and labor is enjoying strong growth in many parts of the country right now, which is typical of the longer term market cycle following a boom in corporate, real estate, and patent work, now that many newer companies have established themselves and older companies are coming off a recent hiring boom. Most of the demand in this practice area is focused on wage & hour and counseling work, as well as employee benefits and executive compensation. There is less of a demand at present for traditional labor experience.
Portland continues to grow as a regional technology area, and while not as strong as Seattle or Silicon Valley in this respect, it is rapidly catching up, with many start-up firms choosing to begin in Portland due to the lower overhead costs and large base of educated potential employees who are drawn to the city for both personal and professional reasons. Electrical and computer science-related backgrounds will fare the best, while openings in the life sciences are still quite rare in the city.
Real Estate & Land Use
Although not as hot as it has been in recent quarters, real estate and land use remains a steady practice area for the time being, and we do not anticipate that will change for at least another year or two in Portland, as population and housing factors are currently dominating the discussion in city politics given the rapid increase in population and the relative paucity of housing to accommodate it. Expect to see a continued demand for real estate and land use attorneys, with a very likely uptick in demand for attorneys with specific affordable housing development experience.
Slow to Dead Practice Areas:
Technology and IP transactions, healthcare, IP litigation, and taxation, trusts and estates provided only a few small openings during the first few months of 2016. Any other practice area not mentioned above saw no movement on the job listing front. Following the typical trend of practice area movement in Portland lagging behind the trends in Seattle, we anticipate a possible uptick in tax, trusts & estates as well as IP transactions. It is still too early in the overall cycle to see movement in areas such as bankruptcy, especially as the business climate in Portland remains generally healthy and strong.
State of the Market Report: Phoenix by Christina Brown, Legal Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
The largest market in Arizona and ever expanding, Phoenix offers a range of national, regional, and local firms. Though, like Nevada, Arizona bar membership is required by most firms, this is far less burdensome where there exists the potential of admission by motion.
Firms here also favor major firm experience, judicial clerkships, law review, and appellate experience.
This quarter we have noticed that a number of firms have ongoing postings in virtually every practice area seeking both associate and partnership level candidates.
Hot Practice Areas:
When we last reported, litigation had enjoyed a spike in demand for litigators, with firms of all sizes seeking candidates. Like Las Vegas, firms seeking litigators have more than doubled their demand from our last report. Firms are seeking candidates with 1-15 years of experience in commercial litigation, insurance defense, construction defect, and class action. Particularly valued is trial experience and significant deposition work.
The corporate transactional market is still very strong, with firms seeking candidates with experience in M & A, securities and finance. Also valued is corporate governance and formation, joint venture and private equity, and IPO experience in the 3-6 year range.
Steady Practice Areas:
Up from last quarter is the demand for experienced real estate attorneys. The primary experience level firms are looking for ranges from 2-6 years, including those with hotel industry experience.
We have seen an increase in need for family law practitioners in the Phoenix area, especially those with 1-5 years' experience.
Holding steady is demand for patent prosecution for those with at least 2 years' experience holding a degree in electrical engineering, physics, or computer science. USPTO registration is almost always required, while being a member of the Arizona bar is not as crucial for these attorneys.
State of the Market Report: Colorado by Jamie Bailey, Partner, BCG Attorney Search - Chicago
Partners with Portable Business
Are you a partner with portable business looking to lateral to a new firm in Colorado? Generally speaking, firms are looking for a minimum of $500,000 in portable business. If you are a partner with business interested in transitioning to a new firm in Colorado, please call our Chicago office.
Law firms in Denver are experiencing need in the following practice areas:
2-4 years of experience in M & A and private equity transactions, structuring, drafting, reviewing and negotiating IP and technology related agreements. Knowledge of data security and privacy areas preferred.
1-3 years of patent prosecution experience and an advanced degree in chemistry with a focus on organic or medicinal chemistry.
1-4 years of experience and a background in electrical engineering or computer science and experience with wireless communications.
3-5 years of experience in patent prosecution, opinion work and licensing and a background in electrical, mechanical or computer science. Post graduate degree preferred and CO bar or eligibility to waive in required.
2-5 years of experience in employment law, including counseling, drafting employment agreements and employment litigation.
2-4 years of experience in EEOC and discrimination investigations, class action litigation, and federal anti-discrimination regulations. Colorado bar preferred.
State of the Market Report: Las Vegas by Christina Brown, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Las Vegas is nothing if not dynamic and ever changing; I am always amazed to watch its evolution as its economy rebounds and continues to steadily improve. Spring and summer in Sin City has brought a boom in the market for litigators who, as we reported in the winter months, were most in demand, with corporate and real estate close behind.
Although litigation is by far the most robust in the market, to judge by the sheer number of positions would be somewhat deceptive in that we see many positions remain unfilled as firms wait for ideal candidates.
Insurance defense, construction defect, and general commercial experience are the most commonly sought areas of expertise.
Candidates in the 2-5 year range who bring significant deposition and arbitration experience (ideally trial experience) along with judicial clerkship, law review, and moot court work are highly favored, and membership to the Nevada bar is essentially a given prerequisite for litigators.
Steady Practice Areas:
Firms continue to show a steady need for associates and partners with traditional M & A, finance, joint venture and securities experience. The range of experience runs the gamut from very junior to partner level, and in some instances firms are indicating a mere "preference" for Nevada state bar members.
The need for IP prosecutors and agents remains constant since we reported sudden demand at the close of 2015. Less important than Nevada licensure is USPTO registration and an electrical, computer, mechanical engineering or science background. The range of experience is from 2-15 years.
Although the local economy remains healthy, the call for transactional real estate attorneys has dropped somewhat since we reported an upswing in demand in our last report. Still, those with four or more years of transactional commercial real estate experience will find opportunity, particularly those who bring large law firm backgrounds.
Slow to Dead Practice Areas:
There has been a significant drop off for lateral attorneys in Nevada in most other practice areas apart from than those mentioned above, including employment, white collar crime, environmental, or bankruptcy law.
State of the Market Report: Chicago by Jamie Bailey, Partner, BCG Attorney Search - Chicago
Stock market activity during first quarter 2016 has impacted lateral hiring activity in Chicago and we have seen needs shift, reflecting a level of uncertainty in the market. Transactional practices in Chicago are busy and we have seen a marked increase in the need for associates with experience in finance, banking, securities and investment management. Likewise, the need for tax associates has remained constant. However, in contrast to the last three quarters of 2015, during the first quarter of 2016, counter-cyclical practices, including litigation, employeebenefits, labor and employment, and bankruptcy have experienced increased need in firms across Chicago. The need for patent litigators has slightly decreased, but we've seen an increase in the need for trademark and copyright associates. We have also seen an increase in hiring in smaller firms here in Chicago and in our submarkets across the Midwest region.
Partners with Portable Business
If you are a partner with portable business, we are interested in speaking with you. Generally speaking, firms in this market are looking for a minimum of $750K in portable business. Partners seeking to make a move should contact our Chicago office at 312-321-9411.
The following are significant areas of need at the associate level in law firms across Chicago.
Corporate - Finance; Structured Finance and Asset Securitization; Transportation Finance; Banking; Investment Management; Private Equity; M &A; Joint Venture; Securities; Venture Capital
1-6 years of experience in structured finance and asset securitization.
1-7+ years of experience in investment management.
2-6 years of experience in M & A, finance, securities and private equity.
2-6 years of experience in transportation finance, including aviation, aerospace and railroad.
3-6 years of experience handling mezzanine debt, investment transactions or middle market loan transactions.
3-7 years in commodities, with experience handling securities and derivatives, futures and swaps.
3-7 years working on venture capital and fund formation transactions.
4-6 years of experience in securities transactions, including transactions involving the Investment Company Act of 1940, the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as well as experience representing registered investment advisers.
5-6+ years handling bank regulatory matters working for a state or federal bank regulatory agency.
1-5 years of experience in patent prosecution with a background in electrical engineering, computer science (with video coding experience), physics, mechanical engineering, or chemical engineering, and opinion work and client counseling experience.
3+ years of patent prosecution experience and a background in cellular biology, immunology, molecular biology, pharmaceutical sciences, genomics, biochemistry or biotech.
4+ years of experience in patent prosecution matters with a Ph.D. in the biological, chemical, physical, life, medical or pharmaceutical sciences.
2-5+ years of commercial real estate experience handling REITs and development matters, and working with private lenders and commercial banks in complex real estate transactions, including commercial, hotel and multi-family properties.
3-4 years handling acquisition, disposition, leasing, development and joint venture transactions.
3-5 years of experience handling debt and equity, asset based lending and commercial leasing transactions.
7+ years of retail and industrial leasing experience.
4-8 years of experience handling Stark, Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement, healthcare regulatory compliance, Anti-Kickback and False Claims Act matters.
7+ years of experience in health and welfare, Affordable Care Act, HIPAA, employee benefits and data privacy.
State of the Market Report: Indiana by Jamie Bailey, Partner, BCG Attorney Search - Chicago
Partners with Portable Business
We would be interested in speaking with partners with portable business. Generally speaking, firms in this market are seeking a minimum of $500,000 in portable business. Partners seeking to make a move in this market should contact our Chicago office.
Indianapolis firms are hiring lateral associates in the following practice areas:
4-8 years of experience representing hospitals and large physician groups in Stark, Anti-Kickback, and False Claims Act matters.
State of the Market Report: Wisconsin by Jamie Bailey, Partner, BCG Attorney Search - Chicago
Milwaukee and Madison
Partners with Portable Business
If you are a partner with portable business, we would be interested in speaking with you. Firms in this market are generally looking for a minimum of $500,000 in portable business. Partners seeking to make a move in this market should contact our Chicago office.
Milwaukee and Madison law firm offices are hiring lateral associates in the following practice areas:
2+ years of experience handling energy solutions and sustainability matters.
State of the Market Report: Minneapolis/Saint Paul by Julie Lehrman, Senior Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
We continue to see plenty of activity in the Twin Cities area. While last year was especially strong, we see continued demand for areas such as corporate, litigation, and tax in the TwinCities this spring and summer.
We also continue to see a need for partners with portable business. $500k tends to be the minimum for mid-sized and some larger firms. Partners with $1M in portables will be competitive at the largest firms. If you are a partner with some portable business seeking opportunities in the Twin Cities, we encourage you to contact the Chicago office of BCG to learn about the market there.
Corporate and Transactional
This spring and summer, we noticed a continued trend towards attorneys with experience in corporate and securities law. All level of corporate attorneys are needed, but especially senior, mid-level, and partners with portable business. Attorneys with a large or mid-sized firm and a strong academic background are especially marketable.
The trend we saw last year of an increase in litigationneeds has continued through 2016. This is not surprising, and we expect it will continue. As happened last year, firms are generally seeking outstanding academic credentials as well as a high level of responsibility at a law firm. We have seen demands in mass torts, product liability, general commercial litigation, and consumer litigation. An ability to function with as little oversight as possible is always desirable in litigation.
The Minneapolis/Saint Paul market always has a need for IP attorneys. PatentProsecution is the strongest market, and those with Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering or Computer Science, and Mechanical Engineering tend to be the most marketable. This market also generated needs for biotech and pharma patent prosecution attorneys with life sciences backgrounds. A large law firm background is a plus, but not required, as excellent experience with a small firm or boutique can also make an IP prosecutor competitive. The key is a high level of responsibility and a large number of patents drafted and prosecuted. Of course, attorneys must be admitted at the USPTO.
State of the Market Report: Saint Louis by Julie Lehrman, Senior Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Saint Louis has remained a strong and active market into 2016. Particular areas of demand include labor and employment, tax, litigation, real estate, and IP. Saint Louis is a difficult market to break into if an attorney is not from there, or doesn't have a very sound reason for trying to move there. The Missouri bar is very helpful (and almost required) and the Illinois bar can be helpful too in certain practice areas, as the Saint Louis area extends into Southern Illinois as well, and certain attorneys may practice in both states.
Partners with Portable Business
The Chicago office of BCG is happy to speak with partners with any amount of business. Those with $500k or more will do best at medium to large sized firms. AmLaw100 firms may require more. We are happy to help you put together a marketing plan to present you to law firms in Saint Louis.
Tax and Employee Benefits
Last year we saw a rise in demand for experienced tax attorneys, and we have seen that trend continue into 2016. Those who have experience in a large or mid-sized law firm are especially marketable. Certain practice groups from Big 4 Accounting firms can be marketable too, depending upon the level of experience gained that translates into the practice of law. Firms are seeking those with senior-level or mid-level experience. At least 3 years in a solid firm makes a tax attorney very marketable. An LLM or CPA may also be required.
The demand for commercial litigators over the past couple of years has continued to rise, and we predict it will continue to do so. General commercial litigation is probably the most in demand, but we have also seen a demand for sub-specialties of litigation, including mass torts, trial work, medical malpractice, and consumer products. Firms continue to demand excellent academics in this practice area.
USPTO-admitted attorneys are always in demand in Saint Louis. Firms value experience in drafting and prosecution of patents, and the more responsibility a patent prosecution attorney has had, the more desirable they are to law firms. IP prosecution attorneys with backgrounds in Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering, and Computer Science remain the most sought-after in Saint Louis, as elsewhere. Many firms also value industry experience.
State of the Market Report: Michigan by Julie Lehrman, Senior Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search - Chicago
The BCG Chicago office is happy to speak with partners who have at least $250k in portable business, as they may be marketable to smaller firms in Detroit. Large firms tend to look at partners with $500K+, with the largest firms sometimes requiring $1M. We are happy to discuss these firms with attorneys who have portable business.
Detroit, Bloomfield Hills, Southfield, Novi, Troy, Royal Oak, Lansing
Patent prosecution remains the largest area of demand in the Detroit metro area. Attorneys with any technical background are marketable here, but those with Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Computer Engineering and Computer Science degrees will find the most openings. Those with experience gained in large or medium sized firms, or respected boutiques, who can show a high level of autonomy, should do very well in terms of marketability. USPTO admission is required for these positions.
Corporate law appears to have slowed a bit in the Detroit area, but continues to generate a steady demand. Those with M & A and securities experience are most marketable. Corporate finance is also a valuable skill set, and banking is a solid niche practice as well.
Although the uptick in commercial bankruptcy work is small, it is worth mentioning because we are seeing it in other areas of the country as well. We expect to see more growth in this area in the next quarter.
Like bankruptcy, we have seen a nationwide expansion in needs for tax attorneys with law firm backgrounds. This has affected the Detroit area, and we expect to see more growth next quarter.
State of the Market Report: Ohio by Julie Lehrman, Senior Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Partners with portable business in amounts exceeding $250,000 are encouraged to contact BCG's Chicago office to learn about opportunities throughout Ohio.
As with other areas of the country, the most sought-after technical disciplines with IP prosecution are electrical engineering, computer or software engineering, and computer science. There is some mild demand for mechanical engineers, as well as IP prosecution attorneys with backgrounds in the life sciences. We have also seen a slight increase in demand for intellectual property litigation this quarter.
Cincinnati firms continue to generate demands for qualified lawyers with corporate transactional skills. Especially marketable are those with M & A and securities law skills. Progressive responsibility in a respected law firm is essential, and those attorneys with two or more years' experience are the most in demand.
We have started to see some signs this quarter, as well as last quarter, that the market for trademark attorneys in Cincinnati is coming back. There is still only moderate demand, but this is more than we have seen in prior quarters, so we will continue to monitor this trend.
Litigation needs seem to be growing all over the country, and Cincinnati is no exception. Large firms tend to favor those with strong academic credentials, federal clerkships, and large-firm training. Medium and smaller firms tend to look for associates with trial and deposition skills, in addition to drafting and research skills.
Labor & Employment
There is a small demand this quarter for labor and employment attorneys in Cincinnati. Employers tend to favor employment counseling as well as litigation, and traditional labor experience is sometimes helpful.
Real estate continues to generate a small amount of need in this area, but it has become quieter than a year or so ago. We will continue to monitor real estate law to see whether this area begins to grow again.
Tax, Trusts & Estates and Employee Benefits
As with last quarter, Cincinnati continues to generate moderate demand for attorneys with tax backgrounds, and training in tax, trusts, and employee benefits. An LL.M. or CPA in the chosen discipline are often preferred, and sometimes required. Law firm training is almost always required.
Corporate attorney hiring in Cleveland was more significant this quarter than in the previous quarter. Senior attorneys are in demand in this practice area. Attorneys with M & A, securities, and corporate finance are the most in demand.
Demand for real estate attorneys is moderate, but remains steady. Real estate attorneys with transactional experience and/or real estate finance expertise on commercial deals are the most in demand at the more prestigious firms. Leasing experience can also be helpful.
Patent prosecutors remain in demand in Cleveland. As with other regions, the highest demand is for those with technical degrees in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, and Computer or Software Engineering.
We are seeing a small but significant need for litigators in Cleveland. This quarter the needs were most concentrated in general commercial litigation, as opposed to more nuanced subpractices of litigation.
Labor & Employment
Labor and employment remains a moderately strong practice area throughout Ohio, including Cleveland. Excellent litigation skills are usually required, and counseling is also high on the list of preferred skills.
Demand for health care attorneys in Cleveland is steady and moderate, as in previous quarters. Health care transactional work, including regulatory compliance, is preferred.
Columbus, Toledo, Dayton, Akron
We continue to see strong activity throughout Ohio in the corporate law sphere. Those with M & A experience are especially sought-after, and finance can also be desirable.
Litigation has grown throughout Ohio in the last quarter, and we expect to see more growth on a national level in this practice area. Commercial litigation is strong, and litigation practices such as insurance, construction litigation, and other specialized practices have also posted needs.
Labor and Employment
Labor and employment is steady and moderate in Ohio, and traditional labor skills are sometimes requested.
Ohio's real estate need comports with what we have seen throughout the region: slow and steady needs for solid commercial real estate attorneys with transactional, finance, and/or leasing experience.
IP prosecution continues to generate steady needs in Ohio for those with Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, and Computer Engineering degrees.
State of the Market Report: Utah by Jamie Bailey, Partner, BCG Attorney Search
Salt Lake City
Partners with Portable Business
We are interested in speaking with partners with portable business who are seeking to lateral to new firms in Salt Lake City. Generally speaking, firms are seeking a minimum of $500,000 in portable business. If you are a partner with business interested in transitioning to a new firm in Salt Lake City, please call our Chicago office at 312-321-9411.
Associates and Junior Partners
Law firms in Salt Lake City have lateral associate (and junior partner) needs in the following practice areas:
3-5 years of experience handling consumer financial services regulatory work. Experience with the Truth in Lending Act, Equal Credit Opportunity Act, Electronic Funds Transfer Act, and credit card products and services is required.
2-5 years of experience with consumer finance litigation in state and federal court. Utah bar admission is required.
2-6 years of experience in commercial real estate finance transactions.
State of the Market Report: Boston/New England by Nadeen Weybrecht, Esq., Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
What happens in the Boston market tends to be indicative of the trends occurring in New England as a whole. The two hottest practice areas in Boston are corporate and intellectualproperty. The gap between the openings for transactional and IP attorneys and the next area in demand - real estate - is substantial but, there is a healthy, continuous need for real estate associates with finance experience. And while we are seeing a large uptick in litigation nationally, the lateral market for litigators is still quite slow in Boston. Other areas with less activity include tax, employee benefits/ERISA, trusts & estates, and health care.
For transactional attorneys, the greatest demands are for investment management associates, fund formation associates, and general corporate associates with experience in M & A and Capital Markets. Firms seek associates in the 2-5 year range who bring strong law school and law firm credentials.
Within the IP arena, there is a very strong need for patent prosecution associates with Life Science backgrounds, and a healthy, continuous demand for Electrical Engineering and Computer Science backgrounds. Of course, IP has always been strong in Boston as the city is home to such a large number of key biotechnology companies. The need for Life Sciences backgrounds, especially in Biotechnology, Chemistry, Biology and Immunology are 2:1 to the need for Electrical Engineering and Computer Science backgrounds. In both areas, the demand for Patent Prosecution associates far outweighs demand for Patent Litigators. As is always the case, firms seek advanced degrees, and 9 times out of 10, they want candidates who hold PhDs.
The real estate market may have diminished a bit nationally, but it remains healthy enough in Boston. Firms are generally seeking more mid-to-senior level associates in the 4-6 year range with a good amount of real estate transactional experience, including financing, lending and leasing issues. If you are a strong real estate senior associate with the right background and experience and want to transition from a smaller or mid-sized firm, you may find that some larger law firms are interested in you.
The lateral litigation market is showing signs of life nationally but, unfortunately, it remains pretty quiet in Boston still. The firms that are seeking associates are looking for associates in the 2-5 year range with experience in business and commercial litigation, IP litigation, and white collar litigation.
State of the Market Report: New York by Nadeen Weybrecht, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
In what has been an exciting change in the New York market, which we saw some of in the last quarter, litigation is really starting to pick up here, and in a way that has yet to hit the rest of the country. We are seeing top AM Law firms looking for litigation associates, with the vast concentration of openings at the junior to mid-level range. The market for litigation associates at the senior level, however, remains slow. Corporate has remained steady, despite expectations that it might slow down with the increase in litigation, but is certainly not as robust as this time last year, and same is true for real estate. Bankruptcy/restructuring is also the place to be right now in New York, with a large number of top and mid-sized firms looking for associates to fill needs in this area. Within the small and mid-sized firm world, we are seeing a lot of openings for insurance and insurance defense work, as well as continuous need for smaller firms looking for partners interested in joining and heading up a practice at the firm. Trust & estates and tax also have remained steady. While it is certainly not a booming area right now, there is some action in executive compensation/employee benefits.
As noted above, the litigation market in New York is exciting right now for anyone in the cushy mid-level years (2014-2011). Firms from top mid-sized firms to large firms are starting to put out openings for litigation associates in a wide range of areas. We are seeing continued interest for general litigation as well as employment litigation. However, the news is not as good for attorneys at the senior level (especially 2009 or higher). At this time, most openings are not looking for someone with senior-level skills.
Despite predictions that corporate might start slowing down, it has remained steady in the first quarter of 2016. Firms are still putting out openings in this area and are interviewing for positions, but certainly it is not as strong as it had been over the last 12 months. A significant part of the interest here is in M & A and finance work, with fewer openings in project finance or more specialized areas (energy, environmental) in the New York region. Although most of the interest is in junior/mid-level, we have been seeing some senior positions sprout up in the area at exciting firms, especially of interest if the attorney has some flexibility on class year.
Real estate continues to hold steady in a similar way as to corporate. Firms have openings, but there are fewer openings coming out than at the equivalent time last year or last quarter. Most of the interest is again for the mid-level range, looking for someone with lender side experience.
Intellectual property in New York is an area that never seems to slow down. Firms are looking for transactional attorneys with licensing experience, especially as it relates to corporate transactional deal work, with familiarity with reviewing agreements for intellectual property advice. There are also openings on the prosecution side, but certainly not as much as in the technology transactions world.
On the patent side, openings continue to come out for life sciences work and pharmaceutical backgrounds with top firm experience - if this is your area, now is a very good time to consider making a move.
ERISA/Employment and Tax/Trust and Estates
ERISA in New York is doing well right now, with firms over the last year continuing to look for talented associates in this area. On the other hand, openings in the Trust & Estates market and other tax-specific areas remain very slow, with more openings in the taxation area than in the Trusts & Estates area, although certainly it is not a dead market, and candidates are getting interviews at top firms in these areas as well.
State of the Market Report: Philadelphia by Robyn Ginsberg, Senior Managing Director - East Coast, BCG Attorney Search
The Philadelphia legal market is showing signs of increased activity in early 2016, as compared to the second half of 2015. Interestingly, small to midsized local and regional firms are doing as much if not more hiring than the larger Philadelphia firms. Additionally, hiring seems to be fairly evenly spread across a diverse range of practice areas, including corporate, patent law, real estate, litigation, and more specialized practices such as employment law, employee benefits, insurance, and family law, among other things.
Litigation was one of the few fairly busy practice areas in Philadelphia at the end of 2015. This trend continues thus far in early 2016. Although litigation demand largely continues to be in specific niche areas like professional liability, insurance coverage, product liability, and construction law, there has also been a noticeable uptick in demand for commercial litigators at large, midsized and smaller firms. Generally, the larger to midsized firms are interested in meeting with litigators who have 3 to 5 years of experience, with an emphasis on deep skill set and admission to both the Pennsylvania and New Jersey bars. Smaller firms continue to be focused on potential portable business along with a deep litigation skill set.
Surprisingly, demand for corporate associates is rather stagnant in Philadelphia at this time. We are not seeing the level of demand we have seen in other major cities on the East Coast, such as New York and Washington, DC. The majority of demand for corporate attorneys in early 2016 is at the larger Philadelphia law firms, such as Dechert; Morgan, Lewis; and Pepper Hamilton. These firms are generally seeking mid-level corporate associates with diverse transactional experience, especially M & A, finance, and securities experience, as well as "big law" training. There is also some demand for deal support attorneys with transactional tax or employee benefits experience.
Real Estate Law
The real estate law market is not as busy in Philadelphia as it was in 2015. Only a small number of larger law firms are looking for real estate associates, typically at the mid-level, and in almost all instances the firms are seeking candidates with real estate finance experience. There is an unprecedented amount of demand at smaller mom-and-pop type shops for candidates with real estate experience, many of them seeking attorneys with general commercial real estate or real estate development experience.
Intellectual Property Law
There has been a slight increase in demand for intellectual property attorneys thus far in 2016. However, this demand is almost exclusively focused on patentprosecution and preparation. In contrast to other East Coast cities, there is little to no demand for IP litigation, soft IP, or technology transactions experience in the Philadelphia market. With respect to patent prosecution, firms are mostly looking for associates at the junior to mid-level, with electrical engineering or computer science backgrounds, and some demand for candidates with a chemistry or chemical engineering background. There is noticeably less demand for attorneys with life science backgrounds as compared to previous months.
State of the Market Report: Kansas City, Missouri by Julie Lehrman, Senior Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
In Kansas City, this quarter has brought growth in litigation, labor and employment, and health law. IP prosecution and corporate also remain strong practice areas. Kansas City firms have a strong tendency to hire locally, so non-local attorneys should have a very compelling reason for moving to the area. Additionally, the Missouri bar may help, along with the Kansas Bar, of course.
Partners with Portable Business
Partners with portable business in any amount are encouraged to contact BCG's Chicago office to learn more about opportunities in Kansas City. We are happy to help you put together a business plan and market you to appropriate firms. Kansas City partners who have business in excess of $500k are marketable to medium and large size firms. Those with $1M or more in portables should be competitive in large firms. We will be happy to discuss the market with any such attorneys.
The rising trend in litigation begun last year continues in Kansas City. Commercial litigation attorneys with at least 2-3 years of solid experience, excellent academics and a strong law firm background should be very marketable. Subpractices of litigation include trial work, torts, and medical malpractice. It is helpful to have both an MO and KS license.
Labor and Employment
We have also noticed a slight increase in demand for labor and employment attorneys in this area. Title VII litigation is always the most sought after, but employment counseling, wage & hour, school/education law, and NLRA experience are all popular subpractices.
We have a seen a small but not insignificant demand for healthcare attorneys with medical malpractice and/or hospital law experience.
IP Prosecution has stayed robust in this market. The most marketable IP attorneys hold technical degrees in Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, and Computer Engineering. These attorneys should also be admitted at the USPTO, and should have drafted and prosecuted a significant number of patents with as little supervision as possible. Those with backgrounds at large or medium sized firms, respected boutiques, or firms with sophisticated practices should do well. Industry experience is valuable as well.
State of the Market Report: Atlanta by Nadeen Weybrecht, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
For the first time in a long time (nationally as well as in Atlanta), litigation openings rival those in corporate. The first quarter brought with it a very healthy demand for junior to mid-level litigators in Atlanta - indeed, the demand is almost equal to that for corporate associates. Of the openings for litigators, about half are in the area of labor & employment. Also holding steady but to a lesser extent than the previous quarter are the areas of real estate and IP. This quarter also evidences a new - and we think growing - demand for bankruptcy and trademark attorneys.
As mentioned above, roughly half the positions open now are for junior to mid-level labor & employment litigators. Other needs in litigation are also for junior to mid-level associates in the areas of commercial litigation, products liability, and bankruptcy/creditor's rights.
While it is typical for litigation and corporate to have a converse relationship and we expect to see corporate openings decrease as litigation ones increase, corporate openings for junior to mid-level associates in Atlanta remain quite healthy. The needs are for associates in banking and finance, and general corporate including M & A and capital markets. Firms here seek well-credentialed associates from "peer" large law firms and top law schools.
While real estate has been the hottest practice area in Atlanta for the two quarters previous to this one, we are starting to see the market slow just a bit in relation to corporate and litigation work. Transactional real estate lawyers in the 2-6 year range are still in very healthy demand and the most sought after experience includes real estate finance experience in addition to more traditional real estate backgrounds including acquisitions, dispositions, and leasings.
Currently, IP remains steady and the market is as healthy in this area as it is for real estate attorneys in Atlanta. There are openings both for patentprosecutors and for patent litigators and demands for hard science backgrounds in Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Computer Science, as well as for Life Science backgrounds, particularly in Biotechnology. The greatest needs are for mid-level associates. Advanced degrees, especially PhDs, are always preferred.
New Trend: Growing Needs in Bankruptcy and Trademark
While nationally the corporate market begins to show signs of slowing, bankruptcy is emerging as an area that naturally will begin to be in demand. In Atlanta, we have about a handful of new restructuring positions with the needs being for junior to mid-level and even more senior associates. Additionally, we are seeing new openings for associates with mid-to-senior level experience in trademark and copyright.
ERISA/Employment and Tax/Trust and Estates
Low demands for ERISA/employee benefits, tax, and trusts & estates attorneys continue to be the case in Atlanta. These areas have been slow for a while now in, but where there are openings in tax and T & E, the preference is for associates with sophisticated law firm experience and LL.M.s in Taxation.
State of the Market Report: North Carolina by Suzanne Dupree Howe, Managing Director for Texas and the Southeast, BCG Attorney Search
The main action in North Carolina continues to center around Charlotte (with fewer openings in Raleigh).
The litigation market in Charlotte continues to be extremely slow, with almost no openings at any firms in this quarter. Intellectual property in the first quarter picked up slightly, with some of the larger and more mid-sized firms looking for associates with this type of background, typically patent work related. In the large firm market, corporate continues to remain strong, with most of the top firms in the area looking for experience in capital market, finance, and M & A. Most openings are looking for mid-level attorneys with 2-5 years of experience, although a couple of positions are looking for someone with more experience, especially in the intellectual property practice group.
Real estate also continues to be strong in North Carolina, although it has slowed down in new openings as compared to this time last quarter. Firms continue to be interested, however, in strong real estate attorneys.
The litigation market in North Carolina continues to be very slow, with only a handful of openings, and almost none at the top firm level in the area. This trend seems to have continued from prior quarters, although litigation has begun to pick up in New York, so we expect to start seeing some growth in the Charlotte market especially in the second and third quarters of 2016.
Similar to the trend in other markets, North Carolina has a steady corporate market, but certainly not a booming one. Firms are generally looking for someone at the mid-level stage, with 2-5 years of experience, and generally in the M & A, capital markets, and finance areas. There is less need for securitization work and almost no need for health care or intellectual property technology with a corporate focus.
Real estate in North Carolina continues to be active, but has slowed. Whereas, in the last two quarters we were consistently seeing new openings in this area, now firms seem to be moving slowly on active openings and few large firms have put out significant new openings in real estate in quite some time. Moreover, the large majority of openings relate to transactional real estate work and less related to litigation work.
The Intellectual Property market in North Carolina remains strong, and may be the strongest market in the area, especially for attorneys with sciencebackgrounds and patent prosecution history. Transactional IT work however, is less in demand in this area.
ERISA/Employment and Tax/Trust and Estates
Tax, ERISA and Trusts & Estates remain slow in North Carolina, with more interest in the ERISA corporate category than other areas. Trusts & Estates has some interest, but mainly at smaller firms in the area. Tax is very slow, with no openings at any firms in this first quarter for a tax transactional associate.
State of the Market Report: Texas by Suzanne Dupree Howe, Managing Director for Texas and the Southeast, BCG Attorney Search
The overall economy is fluctuating in Texas with the change in oil prices. The energy sector is down, but the overall economy is still strong. We are in an interesting time where we are still seeing a need for transactional candidates, but are also seeing a rise in litigation and bankruptcy needs. Consequently, for many practice areas, it's a great time to look. We here at BCG are always happy to discuss the market conversationally with no pressure, so never hesitate to give us a call at 713-270-1199 if you want to discuss your practice area.
Further, we do a lot of geographic relocations to Texas for associates and partners. If you would like to discuss salary considerations in Texas and the receptiveness of law firms to transplants, that is an area in which we are well-versed.
Patent Litigation and Patent Prosecution
Patent Litigation has been slower in the last couple of years, but we have seen regular needs in Houston and Dallas. PatentProsecution has been slower this year, but I would still call it a strong market. Candidates with technical backgrounds are always most marketable. We typically find that candidates with EE and Computer Science backgrounds gain the most traction in Texas, due to the immense software industry here. We also find Mechanical, Chemical, and Physics backgrounds to be in demand.
Patent Agents and Technical Advisors
BCG regularly places patentagents. We are always happy to have a conversation with you about potential opportunities.
Employment law is strong in Texas currently. We have consistent needs in Dallas and Houston. Considering that Texas is a right-to-work state, we generally don't see as many labor-related positions in Texas. However, we've had more positions with a labor component in Texas than we've ever seen before. Candidates with labor experience are particularly marketable right now, especially because they are rarer.
Litigation is picking up all over the U.S., with Texas as no exception. We are seeing consistent needs in commercial litigation. Litigation has been a slower practice area for many, many years, so it's nice to see this change. Firms are still being picky about candidates, however. Candidates with judicial clerkship experience, along with strong law firm experience, are highly in demand.
What comes up must go down. The energy industry continues to suffer in Texas and many oil and gas companies are filing for bankruptcy. As a result, we are seeing up an uptick in bankruptcy across Texas. If you have been thinking about making a move, now is the time.
It's been a tough time for energy candidates. However, many of our energy M & A candidates are as busy as they've ever been, given that many companies are making acquisitions on the cheap. But oil and gas attorneys have seen better days. There are a lot of these candidates on the market right now.
This is still a very hot area in Texas. While it's slower now than in the last three years, I still believe corporate is one of the hotter areas in Texas. Candidates with M & A and private equity experience are being sought at many firms. We also had several securities openings in the last six months.
This has been a great year for finance openings. We have many openings in Dallas and quite a few in Houston. Structured finance candidates will find this to be a great time to consider options.
Employee Benefits and ERISA
This is a very hot area right now across the country. Texas has had quite a few positions as well. Candidates at many levels of experience are marketable in this practice area.
Tax has been consistent. We've had tax needs throughout the year in Dallas and Houston. Most of these needs have been in corporate, though we have had a few needs in state and local taxation.
State of the Market Report: Louisiana
Louisiana firms have had strong litigation needs recently in a number of areas. We have also had consistent employment needs in New Orleans recently, as well as energy litigation. Out of state candidates will find that Louisiana law firms have a strong preference for Louisiana-licensed candidates. However, exceptionally strong candidates with ties to Louisiana may receive a reprieve until they can take the next available bar exam.
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