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BCGSearch State of the Market Report Winter 2012 - Legal Industry Trends for Attorneys
Legal Recruiter » Legal News Winter 2012

In the News
State of the Market Reports for U.S. and International Regions

a. Northern California (San Francisco and Silicon Valley)
b. Southern California (Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego)
c. Northwest (Seattle and Portland)
d. Southwest (Phoenix ,Las Vegas and Colorado)
e. Midwest (Minnesota, Indiana, Ohio, Utah, Chicago, Wisconsin and Michigan)
f. Northeast (Boston, New England, New York and Washington D.C.)
g. South (Texas, Louisiana, Atlanta and Charlotte)
h. Southeast (Florida)
i. Foreign Markets (Europe and Asia)

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Top Legal Market Trends - Why Law Firms Are Dying and Lawyers Can't Find Jobs

1. Law Firms of All Sizes Are Closing and Going Bankrupt.

Law firms today are facing an unprecedented fight for survival. The list of firms that have closed, filed for bankruptcy, or imploded entirely has grown long in recent years. Some of the bigger names include Brobeck, ThacherProffitt& Wood, Thelen, Heller Ehrman, Dreier, Howrey, and Dewey & LeBoeuf. If one were to profile the type of firm that has failed to survive, there has been no single defining factor or pattern. The age or longevity of a firm is no safeguard: Thacher dissolved after 160 years of practice; Thelen closed its doors in 2008 after 73 years; and Brobeck went bankrupt after 77 years of practice. Size is no predictor of a firm's success or failure: Dewey &LeBoeuf, which filed for bankruptcy in May 2012, had more than 1,400 lawyers in 26 offices at its peak. Heller Ehrman, who at one point employed more than 730 attorneys, closed its doors in 2008; Howrey LLP, with over 500 lawyers, folded in 2011 after its partners defected en masse.

Some specialized firms have done incredibly well serving an emerging niche market, only to die when that same industry collapsed, taking with it the majority of their clientele. Such was the case for San Francisco law firm Brobeck, Phleger& Harrison, which successfully rode the Internet and start-up boom of the 90's. The firm even went so far as to forgo the traditional firm compensation structure in exchange for shares in the technology companies that made up the bulk of its business. This strategy worked well for years - until the dot com market went bust and Brobeck's shares became worthless.
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California Top Recruiter Liz Hudson Interviewed about California's Growing Real Estate Attorney Market
By Liz Hudson,
Managing Director, BCG Attorney Search

Liz Hudson, as a Managing Director at BCG Attorney Search, has her finger on the pulse of West Coast Law. With her unique position working with many of the largest firms in California, Arizona, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Alaska, and Hawaii, she is excited that to tell us of the improvements the market has made in the second half of 2012. Herself a lawyer with a J.D. from prestigious Northwestern University, who has herself once suffered the setbacks of a bear of a market, with all too many applicants and all too few positions, she knows first hand the frustrations lawyers feel finding employment. Getting her first major break at Bell, Boyd, & Lloyd (now K&L Gates) came as a great relief, a justification for all the work she had done, and now that she is a recruiter for BCG there are few joys in her life greater than helping others experience that same justification and relief of being rightly placed to do good work.

Overall, the State of the Market in California has been fair, at least relative to the last few years. Markets such as intellectual property, patent litigation, and patent prosecution, persistently fared the best through the turmoil, especially in San Francisco and Silicon Valley. General Litigation meanwhile notoriously is outweighed by candidates over positions. Real Estate began to perk up, finally, after much anticipation, in the first quarter of 2012, especially, and as always, for midlevels (3-5 years), but as we shall see, things got more exciting as the year progressed.
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Real Estate and Transactional Attorneys In Demand In Chicago- An Interview with Legal Recruiter Julie Lehrman
By Julie Lehrman,
Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search

The current Chicago market for real estate and transactional attorneys is very strong. Attorneys in these practice areas are in high demand, and as the economy continues to recover, this demand will certainly increase. This is great news for these attorneys, as many of them were laid off in the last four years, and those who remain have been overworked and unable to advance their careers.

As the economy slowly recovers, companies are beginning to conduct serious business again, and that includes mergers, acquisitions, and large real estate deals. In order to complete these transactions, real estate and corporate attorneys are required, but firms are finding that, due to the economy's downturn over the last four years, these types of attorneys are harder to come by than they once were.

The current lack of real estate and transactional attorneys is creating an incredibly hot market for attorneys that practice in these areas, meaning that, for anyone with the appropriate skills and experience, career advancement is beckoning. It's also a great time for transactional and real estate attorneys to make a lateral move, either to a larger market, a smaller market, or just some city where they may be interested in living.
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No Job Offer in Hand? Then You Need a Plan
By Suzanne Dupree Howe, Esq.
Managing Director, BCG Attorney Search, Texas

In the past, most summer associates working at large firms felt that if they showed up at a decent hour, acted respectably and did a reasonably good job on their assignments[...]
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What practice areas do you think will be in highest demand for 2013?
By Liz Hudson,
Managing Director, BCG Attorney Search

Question: As we wind down 2012 and start gearing up for 2013 that is a great question to focus on! The short answer is that we tend to see demand across all practice areas in the first quarter of most years.
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The 2012 BCG Attorney Search Guide to America's Top 50 Law Schools

The guide is a comprehensive overview of America's Top 50 law schools...
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