April 17, 2013
As the American economy continues its slow recovery, practice areas that were once lackluster are beginning to thrive again. Corporate law and real estate law, two practice areas that have been relatively quiet over the last few years, are seeing an influx of activity as people and companies are beginning to buy, sell, invest, and generally spend more than they have been.
“It’s an excellent time for the economy, and companies are merging and acquiring,” says BCG recruiter Julie Lehrman. “Deals are happening in a way that they haven’t in the last four years. It’s a great sign for the legal industry and for everyone really.”
“We are seeing quite a bit of interest in our candidates with experience in corporate law,” says BCG recruiter Jamie Bailey, “specifically those associates that practice general corporate, commercial finance, private equity, venture capital, M&A, and securities at a 2-6 year level. Attorneys with particular specialization in derivatives, commodities and the over-the-counter-markets are also in demand. In the commercial finance area, there is a need for associates with experience working with financial institutions and hedge funds.”
The recovering economy is also helping to boost the real estate market, and firms are seeing a greater demand for real estate associates. “With the stock market at record levels right now, people are looking for alternative investments and real estate is a great alternative.” says Bailey. "
Beyond the recovering economy, Bailey and Lehrman say that the single greatest outside influence on the legal industry at the moment is President Barack Obama’s national health care plan. Scheduled to take effect in 2014, Obamacare is expected to create big changes for the medical industry and virtually any company that offers its employees health care, and firms are looking for attorneys with health care experience.
“This increased demand for health care associates was something that was expected,” says Bailey. “With the recent changes in privacy and HIPPA laws, I suspect we will see even more of a demand for highly qualified health care associates in the months to come.”
“Additionally, health care is an employee benefit, and firms are working with their clients to ensure that employee benefit plans comport with the new healthcare laws, further increasing the need for attorneys with expertise in employee benefits law,” says Lehrman.
Some legal practice areas, according to Bailey and Lehrman, are evergreens, and intellectual property is one of those practice areas. Law firms have been consistently seeking associates with IP experience for the last decade, and they say that, due to the remarkable advances in the technology industry, the demand will likely remain high.
“The areas in which we are seeing the most significant demand in Chicago and the Midwest generally are intellectual property litigation and prosecution. These areas continue to boom,” says Bailey. “We’re seeing a lot of openings for IP associates at the 2-5 year level in a variety of technical areas, including electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, computer science, chemistry, and chemical engineering.”
For associate attorneys in Chicago and across the Midwest region, the changing legal job market means that it is an exciting time to consider career opportunities and advancement. Bailey and Lehrman both possess an intuitive understanding of the legal markets in these areas, and have helped place hundreds of attorneys at the world’s greatest and most prestigious law firms.
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