State of the Market - 2006 Summer | BCGSearch.com

State of the Market - 2006 Summer

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State of the Market - 2006 Summer
 
Southern California
Los Angeles
by Claudia Barnes, Esq., Managing Director, BCG-Los Angeles

Most large and mid-sized and some small firms have raised their associates' salaries across the board. Now that the salary wars have died down and summer (and the heat) is in full swing, the market appears to be strong but without the frenetic activity we saw in winter and spring (this is typical in the summer).

If you are thinking about move to Los Angeles within the next six months, I would encourage you begin looking now; the market will remain steady until about October, when it really dies down. Since our last market report, some hot practice areas have died down a bit, while others have truly heated up.


Hands down, the hottest practice area is corporate, with a particular emphasis in corporate finance. Recently, many firms have asked us to meet with key partners in their corporate finance and corporate practices in order to better assist in recruiting high-caliber candidates. Candidates with any finance experience, including structured finance, are getting many interviews and offers quickly. In particular, candidates who currently practice or previously practiced in New York are in the highest demand. Los Angeles is becoming a major focal point in finance; but unfortunately, there are simply not enough candidates to go around. Some firms are even willing to transition associates who have experience in other practice areas, such as litigation, tax, or bankruptcy, but who have solid academic and professional records and a true interest in corporate.

In addition to corporate, many downtown firms are seeking associates with at least one year of experience in the following: employment and labor law (particularly in class action and wage and hour matters), real estate (both general real estate and finance—however, the need in this practice area has died down slightly), land use, environmental, patent litigation and prosecution, and litigation. We have also seen an increase in the number of openings in tax, employee benefits and ERISA, and bankruptcy. In fact, in one day I recall getting as many as five news openings in ERISA and employee benefits candidates in California, which is significant considering there were less than five from 2001 through 2004!

Corporate:
As noted above, corporate associates are in high demand. Since the winter and spring months, firms have expanded their hiring needs are now considering associate candidates at all levels. Some firms will consider candidates who have taken a few years away from the practice of law and are seeking to return (assuming they are willing to come in at a slightly more junior level). Candidates with experience in corporate finance, capital markets, securities, structured finance, mergers and acquisitions, investment management ('40 Act) and/or general corporate are in great demand.

If you have toyed with the idea of investigating the market, now is a good time to do it. It is a good idea to put together a deal sheet detailing every significant project you've worked on and your role in each. As noted above, candidates with solid New York experience will have many offers. So, for you New Yorkers tired of the weather, there's always L.A.!

Further, while it is helpful, admission to the California bar is not necessary to obtain a position in corporate. We also have searches for corporate partners with significant books of business (more than $2 million).

Labor and Employment:
During the winter and spring, there was a tremendous need for employment attorneys at law firms of all sizes, and that need is still thriving. The strongest need is for junior and mid-level associates; however, candidates at all levels will likely get interviews. Firms typically like candidates to have experience in class action and wage and hour matters. Some firms are receptive to general litigation candidates who are trying to transition into employment—assuming the candidate has a solid academic and professional record and is willing to come in at a slightly lower class year.

Real Estate:
The need for real estate attorneys has died down a little but remains strong. In particular, associates with broad experience in finance, leasing, and purchase-and-sale transactions are in demand. In many cases, firms are willing to retool candidates with experience in other practice areas and who have outstanding academic and professional credentials. However, we are not seeing as many firms receptive to this as in the past. Admission to the California bar is not necessary. Furthermore, L.A. firms like candidates who come from the East Coast and have ties to L.A.

Litigation:
The need for litigators seems to have slowed down a bit but remains steady. Candidates with two to five years of experience in any of the following practice areas are getting interviews: commercial and general business litigation, insurance coverage, securities litigation, and to a lesser extent, products liability and construction. There is far less demand for senior-level litigators unless they have books of portable business.

Intellectual Property:
The need is never-ending for candidates with patent litigation experience, particularly those with degrees in electrical engineering, computer science, and chemistry (in that order). Candidates must not necessarily have stellar academic credentials as long as they have solid experience at respected law firms. Although it helps, candidates do not need to be members of the California bar; but they should at least be admitted to the U.S Patent and Trademark Office. The ideal candidate has two to five years of experience; but frankly, as long as you have solid experience, I would consider testing the market. The ideal candidate also has some experience in patent prosecution.

The need for patent prosecutors is always steady. It is still an extremely competitive area of the law; and in order to stand out, candidates should have experience at well-regarded law firms and Ph.D.s or master's degrees from respected universities. Candidates with backgrounds in electrical engineering, computer science, chemical engineering, chemistry, physics, mathematics, and chemistry will get interviews. Candidates with backgrounds in biochemistry, biology, or mechanical engineering will have more difficulty finding positions unless they have advanced degrees.

There is a slowly growing need for trademark and copyright-prosecution attorneys in downtown; there is more of a need on the Westside. Candidates with between three and five years of experience in trademark and copyright law at top law firms will get interviews, however. Experienced attorneys with books of business will likely get many interviews, because few trademark attorneys in Los Angeles have enough business to grow a practice.

There are few openings for candidates with trademark, copyright, and trade secret litigation. Because this is a high-profile practice area, firms require top academic credentials and experience at a well-regarded law firm. Further, law firms frown upon candidates who have made several moves in their careers.

Employee Benefits/ERISA:
The need for employee benefits and ERISA attorneys has definitely picked up since last season. This is likely due to the increased need for corporate attorneys because employee benefits and ERISA work compliments a growing corporate practice. Candidates with either strong academics and/or two to five years of experience in the area will get interviews quickly. Candidates do not necessarily have to have major-law firm experience as long as they have solid academic credentials. If you are uncertain as to whether your background is marketable, I would highly recommend speaking with a recruiter.

Bankruptcy:
We are pleased to see the need for bankruptcy and corporate-restructuring associates on the rise. In fact, in the last month, our office placed three junior to mid-level corporate associates. This is significant in light of the fact that our office placed only three bankruptcy associates last year! Firms have very high standards for these candidates and expect solid academic records and experience at a top firm or bankruptcy boutique. Candidates who have bankruptcy-clerkship experience (including candidates who are currently clerking) will do very well in this market.

Healthcare:
Healthcare is a very stable practice area and appears to be recession-proof. Firms are usually willing to consider strong candidates in this area with at least two years of experience. Several firms downtown are currently actively seeking candidates with healthcare-transactional experience.

Tax:
The need for tax attorneys continues to rise at a slow and steady rate—also a direct result of the booming corporate need downtown. The ideal candidate has two to five years of solid tax experience from a well-regarded law firm. Candidates with LL.M.s in taxation from New York University and Georgetown University should not have too much difficulty finding positions.

Land Use:
The need for land use attorneys has remained steady due to the strong real estate market, and there are several great openings downtown. Most firms look for experienced attorneys, although a few will consider junior level associates. The ideal candidate has between three and seven years of experience with exposure to zoning and CEQA.

Environmental:
Consistent with the steady need for real estate and land use attorneys, there are a good number of openings for experienced environmental attorneys at downtown law firms. Candidates with two to seven years of experience in environmental litigation and/or regulatory matters will certainly get interviews. There is a strong preference for candidates who are already members of the California bar.

Trusts and Estates:
We are not seeing any activity in this area downtown. It has been very quiet in 2006. Most of the trusts and estates practices are on the Westside but no one is actively hiring in this area at the moment. That being said, firms are always willing to consider a superstar candidate (top academics and law firm experience) who may also have an LL.M. in taxation.
 

West Los Angeles:

As in downtown L.A., there is a significant need for corporate and corporate finance associates in West L.A. Unlike downtown firms, firms on the Westside are desperately looking for candidates with strong entertainment and media finance backgrounds. Firms will consider candidates with experience in general corporate finance or structured finance. In addition to corporate, entertainment, and media finance, the hot practice areas on the Westside include real estate, litigation, patent litigation and prosecution, labor and employment, and to a lesser extent, trademark prosecution, land use, and environmental.

Corporate:
Although Westside law firms tend to be a little more picky than downtown firms, these firms will usually consider candidates at most levels, with preference given to those in the three-to-five-year range. Ideal candidates will have experience in any of the following: corporate finance, capital markets, securities, mergers and acquisitions, and general corporate. Top academic records and strong law firm experience is a requirement. Candidates with experience in New York thrive here, as do those coming from Chicago and Washington, DC. Membership to the California bar is not necessary.

Entertainment and Media Finance:
This is a very sexy practice are with few candidates that have the exact experience law firms are seeking. Westside firms are seeking candidates with between three and six years of either solid entertainment and media-finance experience or corporate finance or structured finance experience. Firms will generally not considered anyone with any more or any less experience than what is advertised. Westside firms prefer candidates from other Westside practices but will consider any superstar candidate with top law school and law firm experience.

Real Estate:
The need for real estate attorneys on the Westside is as steady and a little better than downtown, partly due to the real estate boutiques located on the Westside. Firms will consider candidates at all levels and, in some cases, will transition superstar associates from other practice areas. The ideal candidates have experience in the following: sales and dispositions, leasing, development, and/or real estate finance.

Litigation:
The need for solid litigators with two to five years of experience is strong on the Westside, but there are generally more openings downtown. Candidates with strong academic credentials who are members of the California bar and come from highly regarded law firms should have no trouble getting interviews. However, do not take an interview for granted; there are a number of litigation candidates competing for the same jobs. Junior and mid-level litigators with substantive experience in complex commercial-litigation matters have many opportunities. This is especially true for litigators who have a stable firm history and superior writing skills.

Labor and Employment:
Similar to litigation, there is less of a need for labor and employment lawyers on the Westside, but the need certainly exists. Junior and mid-level employment attorneys with solid academics and good work experience can generally expect to have several firms to consider. Firms typically seek attorneys with California employment law experience who are members of the California bar.

Intellectual Property:
Patent litigation attorneys will have an equal number of firms to consider on the Westside as they do downtown. Westside firms have the same preferences for candidates as downtown firms; namely, they need candidates with electrical engineering, computer science, and chemistry backgrounds. Candidates do not necessarily have to have stellar academic credentials as long as they have solid experience from respected law firms. Although it helps, candidates do not need to be members of the California bar. Candidates with at least two years of solid patent litigation experience are always in demand. There is also a very strong preference for candidates who are admitted to the U.S Patent and Trademark Office.

Patent prosecution is also a steady practice area. Westside firms are on the lookout for candidates from top law firms or those who have Ph.D.s or master's degrees or excellent academic credentials. Candidates with backgrounds in electrical engineering, computer science, chemical engineering, chemistry, physics, mathematics, and chemistry should be able to get interviews. Candidates with backgrounds in biochemistry, biology, and mechanical engineering will have more difficulty finding positions unless they have advanced degrees.

Candidates with "soft" IP litigation experience—such as trademark, copyright, and trade secret infringement—are not nearly as marketable as patent litigators are. That being said, there are a couple of opportunities in this area on the Westside—more so than downtown. Candidates with top-tier academic and professional credentials will surely get multiple interviews.

There are more opportunities for trademark and copyright prosecution on the Westside than downtown, partly due to the proximity to entertainment companies. Candidates with three to five years of experience in trademark and copyright law at top law firms will likely get multiple offers.

Tax:
There is a greater need for tax attorneys downtown than there is on the Westside. However, firms will generally consider very strong candidates with top academics and professional credentials who have between one and four years of experience. An LL.M. in tax or a C.P.A. background is preferred.

Land Use:
The are fewer opportunities for land use attorneys on the Westside than downtown. As in downtown, firms look for candidates with three to seven years of experience and exposure to zoning and CEQA.

Environmental:
As with land use, there are more openings for environmental attorneys downtown than the Westside at the moment. Candidates with between three and five years of experience in environmental litigation and/or regulatory matters will certainly get interviews. There is a strong preference for candidates who are already members of the California bar.

Bankruptcy:
There are more opportunities in downtown than on the Westside, though there are several top-notch bankruptcy boutiques on the Westside. Firms will always consider true superstars with three to five years of experience.

Trusts and Estates:
A good portion of trusts and estates work is done on the Westside, as most of the trusts and estates boutiques are there. Now, this practice area is extremely quiet. Firms will always consider superstar candidates who have at least two of the following: top academics, an LL.M in taxation, and/or two years of experience in the area. Candidates with less than two years of experience should stay put, get more experience, and attempt to make a lateral move in the next year or so. Because the competition is incredible and so many attorneys want to get into this area of law, candidates must be members of the California bar.

Healthcare:
Many healthcare practices are situated on the Westside; and consequently, there are several great openings here. Candidates need at least one year of experience in healthcare in order to be considered for positions on the Westside. Ideal candidates have experience in regulatory matters and Medicare and Medicaid.

Employee Benefits/ERISA:
There is very little activity for employee benefits and ERISA candidates on the Westside. Candidates should focus their searches on downtown firms. However, many firms will always keep an eye out for superstar candidates.

  Orange County
by Gloria Noh Cannon, Esq., Recruiter, BCG-Los Angeles


Orange County:
Even though firms are currently in the swing of their summer programs, the market in Orange County continues to be very robust for candidates experienced in practice areas such as corporate, real estate, litigation, intellectual property litigation, and patent prosecution. Ideal candidates will have between two and five years of experience. California bar membership continues to be a requirement for most positions, but firms are definitely being more flexible in this regard. Therefore, if you are thinking about making a lateral move within or relocating to the OC, now's the time to contact us!

Corporate:
The demand for corporate associates with strong experience at all levels, especially junior and mid-level associates, continues to be extremely high. In particular, associates with good academic credentials and solid law firm experience in mergers and acquisitions, public and private securities offerings, private equity, corporate finance, venture capital, SEC reporting, and corporate governance matters will find a wealth of opportunities. In addition, several firms are looking for partners with significant (at least $500,000) portable books of business in order to expand their practices. Almost every firm has an opening for a corporate attorney; so if you've been thinking about making a move, now is definitely the time to start your search.

Real Estate:
As reported earlier this year, the market for real estate attorneys at all levels also remains equally strong, and this trend looks like it will continue for quite some time. It seems like every firm in Orange County is looking for real estate attorneys. If you have experience in commercial leasing, development, real estate finance, or purchase and sale agreements, there are an endless number of opportunities available. Attorneys with solid academic credentials and strong real estate experience in a law firm environment should have no problem finding jobs in this robust market. Firms are also very flexible regarding California bar membership if you have the right background and experience.

Litigation:
The trend that we saw at the beginning of this year for an increased demand for junior and mid-level general commercial litigators has continued, and the need for litigation attorneys has skyrocketed. There are also firms looking for associates with general commercial litigation experience as well as those with experience in specialized areas such as securities litigation and construction-defect litigation. There are numerous opportunities for associates with good academic credentials who have had significant, substantive litigation experience. California bar membership remains a definite requirement, but we believe that firms will start to be more flexible in this regard if the right candidate comes along.

Intellectual Property Litigation, Patent Prosecution:
There are still a fair number of openings for patent litigators with at least two years of patent litigation experience and strong technical backgrounds. In particular, firms are seeking candidates with electrical engineering, computer science, chemistry, and mechanical engineering backgrounds. Ideally, candidates should be admitted to both the California bar and the U.S Patent and Trademark Office.

The need for patent prosecutors remains steady as usual. Many firms are still looking for candidates with between one and six years of experience and technical backgrounds (preferably advanced degrees) in electrical engineering, computer science, biotechnology, chemistry, and mechanical engineering. Firms prefer admission to the U.S Patent and Trademark Office but will be flexible if you have a strong technical background.

Labor and Employment:
There are several openings at top law firms for labor and employment attorneys with two to five years of experience who have strong academic credentials and membership to the California bar. In particular, land use and environmental attorneys with strong experience in employment litigation are especially in demand.

Land Use:
As mentioned in the last report, there continue to be quite a few opportunities for environmental attorneys with at least two years of strong land use experience. Specifically, firms are looking for candidates with land use experience, including entitlement, development, CEQA, and NEPA matters. It is not necessary to come from a top law firm as long as you have strong, relevant experience.

There are also opportunities, albeit much fewer, for attorneys in the following practice areas: bankruptcy, energy, healthcare, insurance coverage, and trademarks and copyright (i.e., "soft IP").

San Diego
by Veronica Pawloawski, Esq., Recruiter, BCG-Los Angeles

San Diego remains a popular and highly desirable city for attorneys looking to make a lateral move. However, as we mentioned in our last report, the competition is fierce; and firms prefer candidates with strong ties to the San Diego area. Thus, attorneys interested in making a lateral move to San Diego should be members of the California bar, have ties to the area, or otherwise be able to demonstrate a commitment to living and practicing in San Diego.

Intellectual Property:
Intellectual property is traditionally the strongest practice area in San Diego. That remains true this summer. In particular, we have noticed a dramatic spike in the need for attorneys with biotechnology backgrounds. The opportunities range and include international law firms as well as firms with strong regional success. Either way, the opportunity to join a sophisticated biotechnology practice is real and strong in San Diego this summer.

In addition to biotechnology, attorneys with degrees in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, computer science, and physics are very much in demand. If you have an advanced degree in any of these fields, you will have great success in the San Diego market.

Incidentally, because of the high demand for intellectual property attorneys, this is the one practice area that may afford a bit of flexibility with respect to attorneys who are looking to break into the San Diego market—even if they do not have the strong ties to the community that firms look for in other practice areas. Similarly, this is one area of specialty in which admission to the California bar is usually not a prerequisite as long as the candidate intends to sit for the exam at the next possible opportunity.

Corporate:
Another hot practice area for the San Diego market this summer is corporate. Across the board, corporate attorneys are in demand. This includes attorneys with experience in M&A, finance, and securities. Again, opportunities can be found at a wide range of firms including local offices of international law firms and home offices of strong, regionally based law firms.

Employment/ERISA:
Since our last State of the Market Report, there has been a slight slow-down in the need for employment attorneys. This being said, if you have diverse experience that includes representation of labor unions, your experience will fit nicely into the current needs of San Diego law firms. Also, I should note that historically, labor and employment needs are steadily slow until the latter part of the year. As summer associates head back to school and law firms are left to reassess their needs, employment is an area that always experiences a bit of a spike. With that in mind, it makes great sense to start your search in mid-summer so that as fall approaches, you'll find yourself ahead of the competition.

Litigation:
Finally, the need for litigators has been steadily increasing since spring and, similar to the need for employment attorneys, we expect that the need for litigators will increase as summer programs come to an end. In addition, in the last several weeks, we've been contacted by several firms who seek attorneys with insurance coverage experience. Perhaps this will be another area of focus as we make our way through summer and into fall.

Overall, the San Diego market is very steady and consistent. However, one additional thing we will be keeping an eye on as we head into fall is the number of firms looking to strengthen their presence in San Diego. In the last few months, we've heard of a few national firms that might be heading into San Diego and have spoken with others who have tentative plans to focus on their San Diego offices as an area for growth. Thus, by the time summer programs come to an end and firms reassess their needs in the fall, we may find a few new faces in San Diego!

Northern California/Pacific Northwest
Silicon Valley
by Deborah J. Acker, Esq., Managing Director, BCG-Palo Alto

Summer has arrived in Silicon Valley. The pace of lateral hiring has slowed a bit, but firms are still anxious to find attorneys in key areas. Firms are currently seeking associates with experience in IP litigation, patent prosecution, corporate, IP transaction, securities litigation, and real estate practice areas. The bulk of these positions, as expected in the Silicon Valley area, relate to the technology sector.

The major national law firms remain selective. In this environment, the successful candidate will usually come from a top-tier school, have reasonable grades, and some longevity (at least two years) with a national firm. Firms looking for IP litigators or prosecutors with strong technology backgrounds will often consider just one year of experience. Multi-lingual capabilities, especially within the Asian languages, are definitely preferred. More than a few major firms are looking for senior attorneys, but almost all require a significant book of business. Any of these requirements may be flexible if you have unique strengths in a particular technology, unique litigation experience, or significant longevity with a good firm.

Even if your credentials are not quite up to these standards, good local and regional firms continue to seek candidates to serve clients in the high technology, real estate, land use, and environmental sectors. Not only are we able to help you get interviews at the "smaller" firms; we also can help you plan your career development in your current position to build a resume that will get you where you want to go.

Intellectual Property:
Junior and mid-level IP litigators remain one of the most sought-after commodities in Silicon Valley. Laterals with IP litigation experience in a big firm, depending on their level of experience, are almost guaranteed an interview. The firms with the big players handling the big cases are looking for associates. A background in electrical engineering, computer science, or physics is your ticket to the top firms. Even without a technical background, if you can demonstrate strong litigation skills, experience in IP, and the ability to get up to speed on the technology at issue, you are sought after. A few firms that emphasize trial work are specifically looking for top-notch attorneys with significant time in court. Experience specifically in patent litigation is necessary for some firms. However, firms are also looking for litigators with experience in "soft IP," trade secrets, trademark, copyright, media, etc.

The demand for patent prosecutors has increased by 25 percent in this quarter alone. Associates with a physics, electrical engineering, or computer science background and between one and seven years of experience have a number of opportunities. Firms are begging for you. Other desired backgrounds include biotechnology, organic chemistry, biochemistry, pharmaceuticals, chemical engineering, and medical devices. Those in biology-related fields are usually expected to have a Ph.D. or at least a master's degree. Registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office is nearly always necessary. A steady demand for patent agents and technical specialists, primarily in the electrical and computer arts, also exists; but those attorneys should have some experience with patent law.

The growing economy here has generated a 25-percent increase in new transactional-IP positions at a number of major prestigious firms. Firms want experience with licensing and transactions related to emerging companies. Often, a solid foundation in corporate practice is also desired for these positions. Openings exist for junior and mid-level associates. The candidate who also has a strong technology background in biological or electronic arts will be highly sought after.

Most of the major national firms in the valley would like to speak with senior IP attorneys with portable business in any IP practice area.

Corporate:
The corporate practice sector is booming. Openings for corporate attorneys in the valley have increased by about 25 percent again in the last few months. International experience in mergers and acquisitions is particularly desirable. Securities, venture-capital, private-equity, and fund experience are sought. Most positions require two to five years of experience. Senior attorneys are needed but must have a book of business. Asian-language skills are particularly valued in this sector. Even with the demand, the top firms want top credentials.

Smaller firms are also looking for associates with broad experience in corporate governance. Solid experience with a solid firm will open doors even without sterling grades and top-20 schools.

California bar admission is a common but not absolute requirement.

Litigation:
Not much has changed in this sector in the last few months; litigators continue to be in demand at a steady pace. Large national and international firms are looking for litigators with between two and six years of experience; these firms often require top pedigrees, experience at a major firm, or a judicial clerkship. In Silicon Valley, many firms value IP litigation experience, even if that is not the primary focus of the practice group. Experience with unfair competition, trademarks, and copyright will add value to the resume of any potential Silicon Valley litigator, no matter his or her specialty. A number of openings exist in securities, antitrust, complex class actions, and products liability litigation. A few firms are recruiting appellate attorneys with top-notch credentials. Litigation firms look for associates whose experience is appropriate for their level. If you want to be a top-notch litigator, your professional development and increasing independence are critical for success. A few top firms emphasize trial work and are actively recruiting. Graduation from a top law school, law review experience, and hands-on experience are required for these positions.

Smaller regional and local firms are also looking for litigators. These positions require "in the trenches" experience and some familiarity with the local legal landscape. Smaller firms are more willing to think out of the box when considering schools and academic records. They also will value experience with mixed litigation practices in more than one area.

Real Estate:
The market for real estate attorneys in Silicon Valley remains steady. Firms seek transactional attorneys that can hit the ground running. Opportunities exist in both national and regional firms. In recent months, there has been increased demand for attorneys with environmental and land use experience. Law firms are interviewing and hiring real estate attorneys immediately. Please contact us if you have an interest in these areas and fit this profile. For senior-level attorneys, significant portable business is required. Specifically, expertise in the areas of general transactional work, acquisitions, construction, funding, and commercial leasing is sought.

Employment/ERISA/Employee Benefits:
As in recent months, Silicon Valley does have more than a few opening for labor and/or employment attorneys at major firms. Many of these positions require a combination of transactional and litigation work. International experience is a plus. Most require two to five years of experience in employment matters. Smaller firms also have a need for employment attorneys, but applicants should also have business-transactions or commercial-litigation expertise.

Silicon Valley continues to offer opportunities for ERISA/employee benefits attorneys. Mid-level associates with between two and five years of experience are sought. Additional experience in tax and securities is a plus. A few firms are ready to fill these positions immediately. A stellar academic record and graduation from a top school are required for these positions.
 
San Francisco
by James Fant, Managing Director, BCG-San Francisco

The Quiet Boom:
The number of new law firm entrants to the San Francisco legal market means that quality lateral openings will continue to be relatively strong—if specialized—for the rest of the year and into the next year. The most important thing to understand about this legal market is the tectonic shifts that are taking place when these new firms come to town and pluck some of the most lucrative partners and practices from their rivals.

It all boils down to the value proposition a firm can offer. In a relatively quiet market, there is no pressure for firms to sweeten the deals they offer their attorneys. In the cutthroat world of AmLaw firms in San Francisco, all bets are off; and the speed with which the recent wave of salary hikes swept over the marketplace is a good indication of the degree of competition.

This change—while it means higher blood pressure for firm managing partners—spells opportunity for those attorneys who keep a keen eye on the market and have a good working relationship with a BCG recruiter. Even if you are not looking, it pays to know what is going on. For example, I recently conducted a search for a New York firm that offered raises on the order of tens of thousands of dollars in a previously quiet practice area. The bottom line is to position yourself for success whether you decide to remain at your firm or not.

For some to win others must lose: This includes not only the older local firms but some of the newer entrants who have been unable to grow. Some of the most (justifiably) disenchanted lawyers are those who were attracted to new offices with assurances that have subsequently proved hollow. Some new offices have already been shuttered or are treading water while others continue to grow by leaps and bounds. Winston & Strawn is one example of a firm that has grown successfully over the last year.

One cannot afford to be attracted to a firm solely by the siren song of good things to come. Understanding the growth strategy and its execution are critical. There are many reasons why some firms have stayed small, and not all of these reasons are bad. How is your firm faring in the growth sweepstakes?

Corporate:
Corporate practices are strong and getting stronger with openings for junior associates up to fifth- and sixth-years and partners with substantial business.

In recent years, a number of firms planned to grow their corporate practices primarily in Silicon Valley because that was perceived to be the area of greatest opportunity. San Francisco, by contrast, was perceived as a high cost center without the same access to Fortune 500 companies and promising startups that the Valley offered. In addition, the whole SOMA business community took a major punch when the market tanked and their funding dried up.

However, that was before the arrival of the new entrants, many of which are using corporate as their anchor practice. In addition, many of these new entrants do not have Silicon Valley-type practices; instead, many have a wider mix that includes more public securities work and private equity at the higher end of the deal spectrum. This is undoubtedly a good thing; as an attorney, you are only as marketable as your skills and where you have honed them.

In addition, the planned biotechnology research center, though its effect is yet to be fully felt, will no doubt be a huge boost to the city's fortunes.

Real Estate:
As previously noted, there is a chronic deficit of qualified real estate attorneys in San Francisco. This dearth is actually getting worse, not better. This is one of the best-kept secrets in the legal community; and frankly, it is somewhat mystifying to me why more attorneys from other parts of California or out of state do not come here to take advantage of the greatest rush since the Comstock Lode was discovered. For example, I recently represented a candidate with mediocre grades from a small northern firm; this attorney received multiple offers at the city's finest firms because he is a real estate attorney who had solid training and experience at a respected firm under his belt.

Litigation:
The San Francisco litigation juggernaut continues. There are currently openings at all levels, especially for more senior associates. Most niches within litigation do presently have opportunities.

One of the most exciting changes that the new firms often bring to the table is the opportunity to work on cases and go to trial in ways that would make BigLaw associates in other cities envious. I am seeing junior attorneys getting trial experience that their peers would never dream was possible—all because they are good litigators and work in relatively small offices of big firms here.

Not all litigation partners are good at bringing in business; some are better known for their skill at trial. It is important when evaluating a lateral opportunity to consider this. One of the most oft-broken promises is that "work from X office will be sent here." In fact, getting stuck under a non-productive litigation partner is a precarious and frustrating position and one that should be avoided at all costs.

Patent Law:
Anyone who works as a patent attorney knows that this is a hot time to work in this practice area. Unlike most other practice areas, associates who have moved around a bit are not necessarily going to be rejected for being nomadic. I have seen candidates move after as little as six months simply because they were given an opportunity they could not refuse.

Is there an opportunity with your name on it? Call us today to find out.
 
  Pacific Northwest
by Pete Smith, Esq., Recruiter, BCG-San Francisco

Seattle, Olympia, Vancouver, Portland, Bend:
The Northwest remains a strong draw for attorneys. It also remains a fairly flat-growth market in terms of lateral hires. Thus, while strong candidates can find opportunities, the time horizon on searches remains long. Many candidates come to this market for the lifestyle, educational opportunities for spouses, and the natural beauty. In short, supply outweighs demand. The successful candidates are those that start looking early. Regardless, firms continue a steady but low-volume approach to hiring. They are looking for the perfect candidate at the perfect moment. The market is simply not deep enough to allow for any other approach.

Land Use:
Demand for land use attorneys remains strong. Firms are in need of a constant flow of talent to service this niche practice. Further, smaller markets outside the major metropolitan centers of Seattle and Portland may offer opportunities. Firms are aggressively marketing satellite offices devoted to land use in such areas as Bend, Oregon. Candidates willing to work outside the major markets may have great opportunities to get in on a growing industry.

Litigation:
Litigation demand seems relatively consistent. Junior to mid-level associates of a high caliber are finding firms willing to talk. However, be prepared to demonstrate a high level of interest in the particular firm. The laid-back style, low turnover, and shallow market mean firms take second and third looks at candidates.

Corporate:
Corporate associates are also getting traction. However, candidates must be prepared for firms to sift very carefully to find the exact mix of skills they seek.

Overall, to be successful in this market, candidates need to take the time to articulate with as much specificity as possible what their experience level is and where their interests and temperament are leading them. If there is any market where a top-20 law school education is no guarantee of employment, it is also a market where solid attorneys with the right mix of skills can practice at the highest levels.

The Southeast Region
Atlanta
by Raffaele Murdocca, Managing Director, BCG-Atlanta

This is the busiest summer we have experienced in five years. There are more opportunities, especially on the transactional side, than we have seen in a long time. It seems that the Southeast is moving more towards a candidate-driven market such as existed prior to September 11, 2001. If the economy continues to grow, we believe this pace of hiring in the region will continue to rise.

Corporate:
Corporate practice is burning up this summer. We have so many positions in small, mid-sized, and large firms for all corporate transactional positions. If you are a 2005 graduate or older with any experience in mergers and acquisitions, securities, capital markets, or private placement work, we can find the right fit for you. If you feel your firm is not the right fit for your long-term career goals, please give us a call; we can help you.

Finance:
We have several positions for associates with at least one year of finance experience. Those with experience in real estate finance, mortgage-backed securities, bank lending, and bond work are all in very high demand.

Intellectual Property:
IP is finally picking up again in Atlanta. We have several patent prosecution positions for those with electrical- or mechanical engineering backgrounds. We are also seeing an increase in positions in IP litigation; interested candidates should have between two and six years of experience. However, Atlanta still is not as busy in IP as other markets.

Commercial Real Estate:
Real estate has picked up again at a furious pace. We never really saw a downturn; it just leveled off. However, real estate is as busy as it was two years ago. Firms in Atlanta are still looking for associates with two to six years of experience in this practice area. Firms are looking for associates with experience in acquisition & disposition of property, leasing, or lending work.

Litigation:
This area has slowed down considerably. We are hoping litigation turns around soon. It seems like the market is flooded with great commercial-litigation candidates and very few positions. However, we still have opportunities in commercial litigation. If you have specialized in construction or reinsurance, we have several opportunities for you.
 
Charlotte:
Finance:
Banking, lending, structured finance, asset securitization, and capital markets all continue to be the busiest practice areas in this market. In most cases, the associate pay and bonus structures are much more competitive than other markets in the Southeast, while the cost of living is still less. We have a number of positions in all of these areas of practice with top firms. At some firms, the pay is on par with large New York; Chicago; and Washington, DC, firms.

Real Estate:
Real estate is hot in Charlotte. We have many positions in commercial real estate with great firms. You will have a work-life balance and be paid at the top of the market. The real estate market is really picking up again here. As the city continues to develop, we will see more and more positions. Firms are also looking for junior associates with between two and four years of experience in the acquisition and disposition of commercial property and lending work.

Corporate M&A:
We are seeing a steady increase in positions for corporate M&A and securities associates with at least two years of experience.

Bankruptcy: We are seeing a substantial upswing in associate bankruptcy positions. Our clients are looking for at least two years of experience on the creditor or debtor side. Ideal candidates will have Chapter 11 experience.

ERISA/Employee Benefits:
We still have several ERISA/employee benefits positions with our top clients. They are looking for associates with at least two years of experience.

Health Care:
We are seeing a slight increase in healthcare regulatory positions in the Charlotte area. These positions will not last long; interested candidates should contact our Atlanta office immediately. We have a couple of healthcare positions on the regulatory side in the RTP area.

Raleigh:
Partners:
There are several firms looking to grow their Raleigh offices. If you are a partner with some portable business, you should contact us. We have many opportunities that would offer you more offices and greater reach for your existing client base or to grow your practice.

Corporate:
Corporate M&A is starting to pick up in Raleigh. We see this as a growth area for this market.

Life Science:
We continue to believe that the life science practice area will take off in 2006-2007. Partners or associates with backgrounds in this area are encouraged to call our Atlanta office. We know several firms who would be interested in continuing to develop this practice.
 
Miami and South Florida:
Real Estate:
Real estate continues to be the busiest practice area in the city. Firms are looking for candidates with experience in acquisition and disposition of property, leasing, and lending. We have several firms who are also looking for associates with condominium and homeowner experience. There continues to be a lot of development going on all throughout south Florida with hotels, office buildings, and luxury condominiums. Our clients are looking for associates with at least two years of experience.

Corporate M&A and Securities:
Corporate M&A and securities associates with at least two years of experience have myriad opportunities in south Florida; this practice area is experiencing the most rapid growth in the region. There are more opportunities in this practice area then we have seen in a long time.

Labor and Employment:
We have a few positions in labor and employment for stellar candidates with at least two years of experience.

Trust and Estates:
We continue to have needs for trust and estates attorneys with at least three years of experience. Our clients prefer attorneys with an LL.M. in tax or estate planning.

Litigation:
This area has seen a considerable slowdown. When there is an opening, the hiring firm is primarily focused on litigation attorneys who are members of the Florida Bar. However, for top candidates, there are always open positions.
 
Orlando, Tampa, & Jacksonville:
Real Estate:
Real estate still remains a very hot practice area in Northern and Central Florida. We have a number of positions for attorneys with experience dealing with issues surrounding large condominium complexes and for attorneys with commercial development experience. Our clients are also looking for attorneys with land use and environmental experience.

Corporate:
If you have at least two years of corporate mergers and acquisitions experience, we can find the right firm for you.

Litigation:
We see litigation slowing down in North Florida as well, but we still have a few positions at some of the best firms in the region.

Nashville:
Most firms in Nashville are looking for corporate M&A associates and commercial real estate associates.
 
Washington, D.C.
by Dan Binstock, Esq., Managing Director, BCG-Washington, D.C.

Summer is a time when lateral recruiting slows down a bit because a law firm's main focus, from a recruiting perspective, is on the summer associate program and big lunches (not necessarily in that order). This fact, combined with vacations, slows the process slightly. While this summer is no exception, the lateral market is still very active at this time. We are telling our candidates to be patient and to not misinterpret a firm's slight delay in responding as a sign of any lack of interest.

Here is a quick snapshot of the current D.C. market, arranged by practice areas in alphabetical order.

We have also taken an extra step to give a better idea of the state of the market. As you will see below, we have used the terms Hot, Warm, and Cool to indicate the hiring demand in the area. However, understand that hiring demand alone can be somewhat misleading, since there may be a high demand but also a very large pool of very qualified candidates, which in turn lowers your odds of being able to land a position. Thus, we have also used the terms Large, Medium, and Small to indicate the size of the qualified candidate pool, which gives you an idea of the level of competition for these positions. Therefore, if you are thinking of making a lateral move and the hiring demand is hot in your area but the candidate pool is small, the odds are in your favor.

Antitrust:
Hiring Demand: HOT
Candidate Pool Size: MEDIUM
This area remains hot for both litigation and counseling and agency practice. We have a number of opportunities for attorneys with experience from the Department of Justice or the FTC. Also, there are numerous searches for attorneys who want to handle M&A-related internal investigations and counseling and/or litigation.

Bankruptcy:
Hiring Demand: COOL
Candidate Pool: SMALL
This continues to be a slow area, but we do have several sporadic positions that have opened up somewhat recently.

Construction:
Hiring Demand: COOL
Candidate Pool: SMALL
Even though there are very few active opportunities in this area, if you have relevant experience, you will have several very good firms who will want to speak with you.

Corporate/Finance
Hiring Demand: HOT
Candidate Pool: SMALL
Corporate and finance continue to remain very hot. There is a shortage of strong mid-level corporate associates; and firms are anxious to hire in this area, which is illustrated by the high number of searches we have for corporate and finance attorneys in a wide range of areas, such as financial services (structured finance, banking, lending, project finance) and securities ('33, '34, and'40 Acts). We have also received a number of M&A-focused searches very recently. Are you interested in transitioning from general corporate into structured finance and securitization or '40 Act work? If you have demonstrated interest in this sophisticated and sought-after area as well as a strong pedigree, numerous firms will speak with you.

Last, our candidates with corporate experience from a mid-sized or large New York firm have experienced a very high level of success in the D.C. market.

ERISA/Employee Benefits:
Hiring Demand: HOT
Candidate Pool: SMALL
As always, ERISA and employee benefits are a highly specialized and in-demand area right now with a number of firms seeking associates. If you have relevant experience and good credentials, you will have several very good firms to choose from and little competition from other interviewers. As I was typing this, I received a very good ERISA search with a top national firm.

Employment/Labor Law:
Hiring Demand: WARM
Candidate Pool: MEDIUM
The hiring in this area has remained steady, with several of the same firms having positions open for a long time. We have noticed more and more litigators looking to transition from general litigation to employment and labor law because employment-related issues are often very tangible.

Energy:
Hiring Demand: HOT
Candidate Pool: SMALL
If you have experience (regulatory or litigation), there are numerous firms looking to hire junior to mid-level associates. Several firms remain open to considering attorneys with corporate or litigation backgrounds who are interested in transitioning into this area. Candidates with prior experience in energy-related fields will have a substantial advantage, even if their grades are not as high as the firm's usual cutoff.

Environmental:
Hiring Demand: HOT
Candidate Pool: MEDIUM
The environmental market has continued to pick up; and if you have between one and six years of experience and strong credentials, you will have more than a handful of firms to consider. We find that environmental law is an area that is very attractive to law students and is among the harder fields to break into without experience; but if you do have experience, you will be in high demand.

Food and Drug, FDA:
Hiring Demand: HOT
Candidate Pool: SMALL
Again, this constitutes a very in-demand and specialized area. If you are coming from the FDA and have experience with pre-market and post-market regulatory requirements for the pharmaceutical and medical device industries, you are likely going to have several offers from which to choose.

Government Contracts:
Hiring Demand: HOT/WARM
Candidate Pool: MEDIUM/SMALL
Government contracts was an area that was booming over the past 12 months. One of my candidates received nine cold calls in one day. While numerous firms have done substantial hiring in this area over the past six months and the hiring demand has decreased slightly, there are still numerous opportunities with terrific firms. As I mentioned in the last newsletter, experienced government-contracts candidates who are not from top-25 law schools and don't have top grades are receiving multiple interviews from firms in this area.

Health Care:
Hiring Demand: HOT
Candidate Pool: SMALL
This area has remained hot, especially for those with experience in Medicare and Medicaid, fraud and abuse, regulatory and compliance matters, and reimbursement issues. If you are interested in transitioning to a great firm that provides substantial policy- and regulatory-related healthcare work, we are working on a fantastic new search.

Insurance Coverage:
Hiring Demand: WARM
Candidate Pool: SMALL
As always, there is an ongoing specialized need for litigators with insurance coverage experience.

Intellectual Property, Patent Law:
Hiring Demand:
For Electrical Engineering/Computer Science: HOT
For Mechanical Engineering: WARM
For Biology/Chemistry: WARM
Candidate Pool:
For Electrical Engineering/Computer Science: SMALL
For Mechanical Engineering: MEDIUM
For Biology/Chemistry: MEDIUM


The state of the market is essentially the same in this area. We are continuing to see a widening gap between the demand for electrical engineering- or computer science-degreed patent attorneys vs. those with degrees in life sciences (biology and chemistry). We are still receiving calls from law firms pleading for electrical engineering- or computer science-degreed patent attorneys, while our biology and chemistry patent attorneys are finding it much more challenging to get interviews. This is an especially difficult market for those without advanced degrees or substantial litigation experience. The above information applies to both patent prosecution and litigation, with one exception: Firms focusing on hiring patent litigators with electrical engineering or computer science degrees are open to considering patent litigators with degrees in mechanical engineering.

Intellectual Property, Trademark and Copyright Law:
Hiring Demand: WARM/COOL
Candidate Pool: MEDIUM/SMALL
With respect to trademark attorneys, the number of opportunities has leveled off; but is considerably higher than it was last year. Because the trademark field was slow from 2001 to 2004, firms are having trouble finding strong mid-level associates. If you have between two and five years of experience in both trademark prosecution and litigation from a mid-sized or large firm, you will likely be in high demand. If you are a litigator and interested in transitioning to trademark litigation, we have a unique and excellent opportunity with a top firm.

For those of you who are interested in practicing exclusively copyright law in a D.C. firm, the market is virtually nonexistent; and you would be better off either focusing on trademark law or moving to a market where this field is more active, such as New York or Los Angeles.

Litigation:
Hiring Demand: HOT
Candidate Pool: LARGE
Litigation continues to occupy the most positions, but there is also a tremendous candidate pool for litigators in D.C. Thus, firms can afford to be selective and are very selective for these positions. If you check our website, you will see litigation positions in virtually all fields. Moreover, if your litigation practice focuses on a particular field of law or you have experience litigating matters that are based in regulatory issues, you will have an advantage in the D.C. market.

Real Estate:
Hiring Demand: HOT
Candidate Pool: SMALL
Second to perhaps only patent lawyers with electrical engineering or computer science backgrounds, real estate attorneys are still in very high demand. Because of this, firms are considerably more flexible regarding grades requirements and are often willing to consider candidates who are interested in making a practice area switch and don't have prior experience but have strong credentials.

Tax:
Hiring Demand: HOT
Candidate Pool: MEDIUM
There is a continuing demand for tax attorneys with either transactional or litigation experience. If you are a tax attorney at a large firm, you have probably been receiving calls on a regular basis.

Telecommunications:
Hiring Demand: WARM
Candidate Pool: MEDIUM
We have seen a growing rise in the number of firms seeking telecommunications associates, which is most likely due to the VOIP, wireless, and satellite issues that are coming to the forefront. Almost all of the firms are looking for associates with two to five years of relevant experience (e.g., wireless and common carrier issues, wireline, VOIP, satellite, etc.). Candidates from the FCC and candidates with a mix of transactional and litigation experience are experiencing the most success.

Trade, International Trade:
Hiring Demand: MEDIUM
Candidate Pool: MEDIUM
This area has slowed down a bit over the past few months, probably because of the significant hiring in this area over the past year. We still have numerous opportunities, particularly for those with prior experience in antidumping and countervailing duty matters as well as customs and export matters.

Partners and Practice Groups:
Last, partners with significant books of business remain in demand, as they always have been. Partners in all practice areas with at least $1 million in portable business will find the firms of their choice. We are also getting very good offers for partners with much less in portables, depending on the practice area. We are working on a number of partner searches, including practice group searches; so if you are interested in confidentially discussing these opportunities, please feel free to contact us at 202-955-5585.
 
Northern Virginia
by Carrie Leonard, Esq., Recruiter, BCG-Washington, D.C.

It's summertime in Northern Virginia, and that means cookouts, concerts, festivals, trips to the Outer Banks and the Eastern Shore, and a slight slowdown in the hiring process as a result of all of this fun in the sun.

Despite the dog days of summer, the Northern Virginia legal market continues to track the busy hiring activity of the Washington, D.C., market, though to a lesser extent due to the smaller number of firms and practice areas. In particular, practice areas that are hot in Northern Virginia right now include the following:

Corporate:
Several top firms seek associates with corporate experience, particularly in the areas of M&A and securities transactions.

Intellectual Property and Patent Work:
The abundance of technology and communications companies based in Northern Virginia keeps the demand for patent attorneys high, especially patent prosecutors with electrical or computer engineering degrees.

Real Estate:
Continued commercial real estate development in Virginia means a continued need for real estate attorneys with experience in commercial real estate development, acquisition, leasing, and finance.

For all of the above hot areas, the size of the qualified candidate pool is relatively small, since firms with Northern Virginia headquarters or branch offices must find attorneys who are either admitted to the Virginia bar, willing to take the Virginia bar, or eligible for waiver into the bar without examination.

A number of candidates have asked us about Virginia's requirements for admission to the Virginia bar without examination. Here is a brief summary of the requirements, pursuant to Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia 1A:1:
  1. The applicant must be admitted to practice in a jurisdiction that permits Virginia-licensed lawyers to be admitted to practice without examination in that jurisdiction (i.e., a reciprocal jurisdiction).
  2. The applicant must have been engaged in the active practice of law for at least five years and have been licensed to practice in the reciprocal jurisdiction for at least two years.
  3. The applicant must have been engaged in the active and full-time practice of law for at least five of the last seven years immediately preceding his or her application to the Virginia bar.
  4. "Active practice" means practice at a law firm or as a sole practitioner; as corporate counsel; as a government attorney; as a federal or state judge; or as a judge advocate or legal specialist for a branch of the armed forces.
  5. The applicant must have received a J.D. degree from an ABA-approved law school.
  6. The applicant must have failed no more than two bar examinations given in any state or territory of the U.S., including Virginia, and must have failed no bar exam within the five years immediately preceding the application.
  7. The applicant must intend to practice law full-time from an office in Virginia promptly upon admission.
For more detailed information on these requirements, go to www.vbbe.state.va.us/guidelines.html. In addition, if you are a member of the Virginia Bar or eligible to become a member, and you would like to explore opportunities in Northern Virginia, please feel free to contact us at 202-955-5585.
 
South Carolina
by Jenny Van Veen, Recruiter, BCG-Atlanta

We're still baffled by the fact that we don't see more attorneys taking advantage of the growth and increasing need for attorneys across the board in this state. Is it concern over a lack of contacts in a seemingly "boys club" state, or do attorneys simply not know what they're missing?

Either way, take advantage now; because as we've been saying, it's definitely going to change. Despite not seeing the high salaries that are being offered in some states, firms are keeping their eyes and ears open to the salary wars; and the larger firms are making increases, which means that small to mid-size firms will eventually do the same. Also, keep in mind the cost-of-living difference; you likely don't need to make the money offered in larger markets to have a comparable lifestyle in South Carolina.

Real estate, corporate finance, banking, healthcare, and commercial litigation are hot practice areas, as they are in many of our other markets. The transactional areas are busy, and qualified attorneys are in demand. While it's nice to have a tie to the state, if you've got the experience firms are looking for, particularly in the abovementioned areas, don't hesitate to get your resume in front of them. As usual, the mid-level attorneys with significant experience but still not on the verge of partnership are a hot commodity. Attorneys with language skills, particularly German, given BMW's presence in the state, will certainly pique their interest. There is always a need for attorneys with solid experience in tax, real estate, trusts and estates and general corporate matters. If you've got portable business and feel like this may be the time, do not hesitate! Large firms in other states are making their move to places like Charleston, Greenville, and Columbia, and they want star players to join their team. We're still dealing with state bar reciprocity, but most firms will still consider exceptional candidates.

The Northeast Region
New York and New Jersey
by Carey Bertolet, Esq., Managing Director, BCG-New York

The principal dynamic affecting lateral recruiting in this quarter is the hiring of summer associates, which generally marks a downturn in lateral-recruiting activity. While it has little to no effect on the types of lawyers firms seek, or even the urgency with which firms need lawyers in any particular practice area, it does affect the rapidity with which a firm can get a lateral recruit through the process.

While we caution candidates about the glacial quality of mid-summer recruiting, we have been pleasantly surprised by the fluid recruiting efforts of firms, especially with excellent candidates. A particularly well-qualified and pedigreed candidate recently came to us seeking a quick relocation, and we are pleased to report that our firms were happy to oblige.

I usually begin the state of the market with the trends in corporate law; but just to mix it up, let me identify some of the dark horses.

Bankruptcy:
We have some very interesting searches in bankruptcy. Of particular note, the bankruptcy jobs we are working on tend towards the more senior associates (those with between five and eight years of experience); and firms are anxious to fill these positions quickly. As bankruptcy practitioners are aware, the market has not been as vibrant as one would have expected; but we are finally seeing some glimmers in the bankruptcy marketplace.

ERISA and Employment:
We have some interesting jobs in specialty areas as well. One of note is an ERISA-litigation position with a young and dynamic group. While not an area of law that most attorneys normally consider, it is an opportunity to be a leader in a relatively small but busy field. I encourage people to think carefully about looking at niche practices such as this. For an ERISA practitioner with an interest in litigation or an employment litigator looking to identify an interesting subspecialty, these types of positions can be good paths.

Energy and Environmental:
There are also a very few energy and environmental opportunities. This is an interesting dynamic for those types of lawyers who thought that they would only be sought out by Washington, DC-based practices. While not in great abundance, these positions are a rare marriage of regulatory work and M&A work. Lawyers who can handle the regulatory aspects or implications from the acquisition of a company's assets (usually real estate) can become indispensable parts of large law firm practice.

Corporate:
While there are some novel developments in the market in New York, the ever-growing corporate machine cannot be ignored for too long. As usual, New York firms dominate the corporate and financial landscape; and as such, they represent the biggest players on the scene. Most notably, those large firms representing the world's largest banks are looking for qualified associates in all manner of corporate, finance, and lending positions to facilitate the most noteworthy deals.

There is not much change in this area, except a continuation of abundant need for mid-level expertise in M&A, securities, private equity, hedge fund, fund formation, finance, structured finance, capital markets, and public and project finance. What corporate associates should pay attention to is how they want to shape their careers. Firms are very different in terms of whether and when they encourage an associate to specialize. Depending on what makes you happy, the market may provide more or less specialization within these highly focused corporate practices. We have also seen a lot of interest in candidates with excellent academic backgrounds who may be at smaller firms and are looking for a big-name practice.

Intellectual Property:
Intellectual property is seeing some resurgence among the active listings. While firms have been making bright-line distinctions among patent litigation and patent prosecution jobs, we are seeing a call for more candidates who have expertise in both, which is a great opportunity for a lawyer who likes to get a foot in both worlds. Electrical and mechanical positions remain in strongest demand, with pharmaceutical and organic chemistry not far behind.

The intellectual property area picking up the most steam is technology-transactional work, which generally describes licensing, joint venture, and outsourcing work. Associates who have cross-border outsourcing experience (including facility with the attendant privacy issues) should do very well.

Tax:
Corporate tax and tax litigation are both steadily busy, with a real need for corporate tax practitioners with an LL.M. in taxation and large law firm experience. While some firms will consider Big 4 accounting experience, the candidate must be able to show great deal-driven tax experience. A tax associate with structured finance experience will do particularly well in this marketplace.

Real Estate:
Real estate continues to do well, but we are seeing less desperation than previously. More real estate finance jobs exist in proportion to the traditional transactional leasing, acquisition and disposition deals, but both are still represented among the positions.

Litigation:
For litigators, specialization seems to be the trend of the summer. We have a good handful of white-collar positions, a continued need for securities litigators, and some antitrust activity. We had anticipated a need for highly skilled products liability lawyers and finally have seen those needs increasingly articulated by various firms. While a good economy generally signals a downturn with respect to employment litigation, our employment-litigation positions are hotter and more urgent than they have been in some time.

While healthcare needs in New York seem to have slowed for the moment, trusts and estates and transactional ERISA have some nice opportunities. The very small community of high-end reinsurance lawyers have some urgent needs that are quite compelling for an associate with relevant experience.

We remain more than satisfied with the pace of the market in New York today across most major practice areas. We suspect and anticipate that these needs will only become more acute as the summer ends.

New Jersey:
The New Jersey market continues to thrive this summer, and hiring is fairly active. Interestingly, it is quite impossible to rank one practice area over another in terms of the urgency of the search. While this sort of market dynamic doesn't yield substantial advantage for any one particular practice area above another, it does reflect a good and vibrant marketplace in general.

In further evidence of the positive direction of the marketplace, New Jersey associate salaries are substantially on the rise. While New Jersey firms do not match New York salaries, it is commonly considered substantially more economical to live and work in New Jersey. This notwithstanding, the major New Jersey firms have carefully watched the associate salary changes, and many have made the appropriate adjustments. Thus, New Jersey firms continue to offer competitive overall packages to the New York-trained lawyer who is ready to make the professional and personal move.

With respect to particular searches, we have seen continued interest in tax attorneys, particularly corporate tax attorneys; real estate practitioners, both "dirt"- and finance-oriented; insurance coverage and reinsurance associates; and patent litigation attorneys. There are some specific corporate opportunities, such as mid-level corporate securities and more senior M&A positions. We are interested to see that the practice area demands are varying quite dramatically from firm to firm. In other words, not every firm is looking for the same type of associate as the same time. While entrants to the New Jersey marketplace may not feel that they are being courted by myriad firms, they will be virtually guaranteed that interested firms have a true need for their talents. This is a strong indicator that a position has good long-term potential.

A couple of the more interesting practice area opportunities are private-equity searches, which may appeal to some of the New York practitioners. There are interesting healthcare opportunities that appear to be great long-term prospects for associates with an eye on partnership. The emphasis for healthcare we've seen has been particularly in the transactional and regulatory fields.

In general, we've been very pleased with the response from New Jersey firms. Although it is summer, and there is always a certain amount of slowing down, our candidates are getting prompt recruitment, a trend we anticipate will continue in New Jersey!
 
Boston
by Stephen Seckler, Esq., Managing Director, BCG-Boston

Private Equity, Mergers and Acquisitions, Securities, Investment Management, Corporate:
Private equity deals continue to drive the demand for corporate associates at top firms in Boston. Attorneys with leveraged-buyout experience or fund-formation experience will find many opportunities available at single-office, Boston-based firms; multi-office, Boston-based firms; and branch offices of national firms. Associates with strong mergers and acquisitions experience and securities experience will also find opportunities at larger firms and at branch offices.

Associates with experience in investment management ('40 Act, etc.) continue to be in demand, particularly at some of the branch offices of national firms.

The merger activity in the past six months has caused significant partner shuffling as some partners exit firms because of conflicts of interest or because they do not support a merger. This, in turn, will cause another wave of moves, particularly in the corporate arena. The result of all this movement is that the demand for experienced corporate associates will remain high for the foreseeable future.

Litigation:
Litigation departments report that they are busy with commercial litigation of all types. IP-related litigation is on the rise, and lawyers with patent litigation experience are in greatest demand. But litigation hiring is still weaker than corporate hiring.

Intellectual Property, Patent:
Many firms are still looking for patent attorneys with top credentials. Lawyers with a background in electrical engineering are particularly in demand; but there are also opportunities for lawyers with backgrounds in the life sciences (particularly associates who have Ph.D. credentials) and in chemistry. Software and biotechnology continue to play an important role in the Massachusetts economy, and this is generating significant work for IP boutiques as well as general practice firms that have expanded into patent work.

Real Estate:
Firms with good real estate practices are finding it very difficult to hire mid-level real estate associates who have strong finance experience. While the overall number of opportunities for real estate associates are smaller than the opportunities in corporate, this is a good time to be looking if you have three to five years of experience in real estate finance.

Partners with Portable Business:
Partners in search of a better platform are finding the marketplace to be very receptive. Corporate partners with over $750,000 in portable billings are in particular demand; but there are many opportunities for partners in other practice areas and some willingness to speak with partners with smaller practices (i.e., where there is good evidence of marketing potential.) This is particularly true at branch offices of national firms that are trying to grow or expand into the Boston market.

Bankruptcy, Environmental:
Hiring in the bankruptcy and environmental practice areas remains weak in Boston.
 
Philadelphia
by Danice Kowalczyk, Esq., Managing Director, BCG-New York

Philadelphia is a great market. I like the cheese steaks; or, as my ever-humorous colleague says, "It's just something about a bell." Notwithstanding its whimsy, Philly has a lot to offer the right candidate. The city continues to be a dynamic and close-knit legal community. That said, you can be sure that there is nothing small-town about the environment in Philly. In fact, Philly firms have a tendency to maintain long hours if you are working for one of the Big Guns.

This summer, a number of areas are hot. Let's start with the following:

Intellectual Property:
IP work has always been active in Philly for any number of reasons, including the region's close proximity to Jersey-based pharmaceutical companies. To that end, there is a strong desire for candidates with backgrounds in patent prosecution on the electrical engineering, biotechnology, or chemical-engineering sides.

Litigation:
As always, the area seeks out top litigators. Philadelphia firms like New York litigators and top-firm New Jersey practitioners in such areas as commercial or business litigation (financial services, securities, antitrust). Health effects and healthcare litigation also remain active. Labor and employment also continues to be a major practice area for which practitioners are consistently sought.

Corporate:
As compared to litigators and IP practitioners, corporate attorneys are not in high demand in Philly. However, when corporate candidates are sought, it is largely for private-equity work. Especially this summer, private-equity work is the big draw, with M&A, fund formation, and investment management following.

Real Estate:
Finally, real estate practitioners with experience in acquisition, disposition, and finance remain popular.

Philly is one of these areas that, due to its neighboring relationship to Princeton, really does love practitioners who are dual-qualified in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. You will find its litigators to be in and out of courts on both sides of the state line. As a result, if you are dual-qualified in both states, Philly may offer you a very nice opportunity.
 
Connecticut
by Carey Bertolet, Esq., Managing Director, BCG-New York

Connecticut is not currently showing as much across-the-board needs as some other East Coast legal markets. Largely, the two areas with the most need by law firms are corporate finance and intellectual property, especially as it concerns the computer and electronic arts.

Corporate:
With respect to the corporate finance associate listings, these tend to run from mortgage finance to general corporate finance and even project finance. This is significant because it opens up an area of practice for lawyers from New York and Boston who are used to sophisticated corporate finance work but who were previously disinterested in more suburban legal markets. While the salary scale does not match that of a large city, Connecticut firms are better than they've ever been with respect to articulating how the work-life balance may be worth a salary cut. Moreover, the associates who have made the move to these firms indicate a higher likelihood of running entire deals. Potential entrants to the Connecticut market should also be aware that it is more common for firms to consider senior associate candidates for these positions. Moreover, Connecticut firms are generally quite aware of the compensation scale in larger cities; and they can help candidates through the process in terms of evaluating the factors of a move to Connecticut.

Intellectual Property:
Moving to the intellectual property landscape, patent prosecution in the mechanical and electrical arts is probably the most in-demand sub-specialty, followed by technology-transactional work. For the latter, backgrounds in licensing (particularly software licensing), outsourcing agreement, and joint ventures are highly in demand. We have seen less interest in patent litigation backgrounds and very little in the trademark and copyright fields, at least for the moment.

While there is demand for strong credentials in other practice areas, it is clearly finance and intellectual property that lead the pack this summer. Real estate continues to have a good amount of play, as do mid-level general corporate lawyers and commercial litigation associates.

Full-service firms show a consistent but not urgent need for litigators, and occasionally call for tax, trusts and estates, and ERISA specialties.

The Southwest Region

Southwest
by Melanie Neale, Esq., Managing Director, BCG-Denver

Utah:
Utah is still a tough market for out-of-state attorneys seeking to move laterally to Utah. Attorneys seeking positions in Utah are most likely to be successful if they can demonstrate that they have strong reasons for being in the area and are likely to stay for a significant number of years. While the market currently is tough even for those attorneys who meet such criteria, opportunities may exist in areas such as corporate and real estate.

Corporate:
The demand has increased for junior to mid-level corporate associates in Salt Lake City. The reason for the increase is due to the positive shift in mergers and acquisitions, which are the result of a good economic climate. Thus, we see a high demand for junior to mid-level corporate associates with experience in M&A.

Real Estate:
There has also been an increased demand for real estate attorneys in Salt Lake City. Again, the good economic climate is the reason for the increase in demand. Salt Lake City has seen an increase in real estate development. As such, there is a corresponding need for legal services in the real estate area. Firms are looking for candidates with solid real estate experience.

Litigation:
Utah continues to be a tough market for litigators. The firms have decreased their needs for litigators. As such, we generally find it difficult to place litigators at this time. The reason for this downturn is that more and more clients are mediating and arbitrating their claims rather than going to trial.

Intellectual Property; Biotechnology, Electrical Engineering, Computer Science:
IP practices in Utah remains steady. Patent prosecution attorneys with between one and six years of experience are in demand; these associates should have advanced degrees in electrical engineering, computer science, and biotechnology. Most firms require admission to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Colorado:
Colorado is still open to hiring out-of-state lateral attorneys. It is important to have a connection to the area, but this is not required. Denver's economy has been doing extremely well recently, and firms have been in a hiring mode. Many of our clients particularly like candidates with New York City, large-firm experience.

Corporate:
The demand continues to increase for junior and mid-level corporate attorneys in Denver. The number of lateral corporate positions we have received in 2006 has increased since last year. One reason for the increase is that there has been a positive shift in mergers and acquisitions, largely a result of the good economic climate in Denver. As such, we see a high demand for junior to mid-level corporate associates with between two and five years of experience in mergers and acquisitions. We also have been seeing a need for corporate associates with securities transactions experience.

Real Estate:
The demand continues to increase for junior and mid-level real estate attorneys in Denver. The number of lateral real estate positions we have received in 2006 has increased since 2005. This surge is a result of a variety of factors. There has been an increase in real estate development in Colorado, including hospitality and resort development. There has also been an increase in commercial real estate leasing. Our clients seek real estate associates and partners who have exposure to leasing, lending, construction, acquisitions, dispositions, and finance.

Litigation:
As clients lean more and more toward mediation and arbitration, the need in Denver for strong litigation associates has declined dramatically. At this time, only a couple of Denver firms are looking for litigation associates. The few firms seeking litigation associates require clerkship experience as well as excellent litigation skills, including deposition, extensive motion practice, and first- or second-chair trial experience. Excellent research, writing, and analytical skills, as well as top-notch academics, are absolutely necessary.

Intellectual Property; Biotechnology, Electrical Engineering, Computer Science:
IP practice in Denver remains steady. Patent prosecution attorneys with between one and eight years of experience are in demand at both general practice firms as well as IP boutiques. Ideal candidates will have advanced degrees in electrical engineering, biotechnology, and computer science.


Phoenix
by Gloria Noh Cannon, Esq., Recruiter, BCG-Los Angeles



Phoenix:
The Phoenix market continues to be extremely strong for real estate, corporate, and litigation associates with at least two years of solid law firm experience. Phoenix firms tend to have high standards when it comes to academic credentials and law firm experience. In addition, attorneys admitted to the Arizona bar have an advantage over the competition. That being said, this is less of an issue for transactional attorneys than for litigators.

Real Estate:
There doesn't seem to be an end to the incredible need for well-qualified real estate transactional attorneys at all levels. Attorneys should have solid law firm experience in commercial real estate, including purchase and sale agreements, leasing, development, and finance. As previously reported, it is not necessary to have top academic credentials or even work for a well-known law firm as long as you have law firm experience in commercial real estate matters. The need for outstanding real estate transactional attorneys is so strong here that attorneys with more seniority, who traditionally face a relatively tough market when making a lateral move, have more opportunities open to them than usual. In addition, while admission to the Arizona bar is preferred, it is certainly not necessary for well-qualified candidates.

Corporate:
Many firms are still looking for corporate attorneys with two to five years of solid corporate experience. In particular, firms are looking for attorneys with strong law firm experience in mergers and acquisitions, debt and equity finance, public and private securities, '34 Act, and general corporate matters.

Litigation:
There are still firms looking for litigation associates with between two and five years of experience, but the demand is not as high as it was in the beginning of the year. Thus, excellent academic credentials, training with a solid law firm, substantive litigation skills, and membership to the Arizona bar are essential.

Intellectual Property - Litigation/Patent Prosecution:
There are a few great opportunities for patent litigation attorneys with strong technical backgrounds (e.g., electrical engineering, semiconductors, computer software, etc.), and at least three years of law firm experience. In addition, being admitted to the U.S Patent and Trademark Office is generally preferred. There are also some top-notch firms looking for patent prosecutors with strong technical backgrounds in electrical, chemical, or computer engineering and admission to the U.S Patent and Trademark Office.

There are also opportunities for attorneys in the following practice areas: labor and employment (particularly employment litigation), environmental, healthcare, and tax.
 
Las Vegas
by Veronica Pawloawski, Esq., Recruiter, BCG-Los Angeles

The name of the game in Las Vegas is growth, and the Las Vegas legal market remains very strong for attorneys at all levels. More importantly, recent recruits to the Las Vegas market have confirmed that it is an enjoyable place to practice law. Of special note, the consensus seems to be that because law firms in Las Vegas are very much in a growth mode, there is huge potential for attorneys to shape the destiny of their own careers and achieve professional fulfillment as they define it.

Litigation:
The highest demand this summer is still for litigation attorneys. Having said this, the specific desired experience within our litigation opportunities has grown increasingly diverse over the last few months. The key is for litigators to have strong academic credentials and solid litigation skills. Beyond that, firms tend to focus on whether candidates have transferable litigation skills and will often consider candidates who wish to broaden or change their focus within litigation. Currently, opportunities exist for attorneys who are interested in a wide range of areas including products liability, real estate, intellectual property, and other types of litigation.

For litigation positions, there is a very strong preference for candidates with Nevada bar membership.

Corporate:
This summer, there is a definite need for corporate attorneys in Las Vegas. Although Las Vegas has always offered corporate opportunities, it is interesting to see that this summer; there is a stronger demand than ever. In particular, a corporate attorney looking for a broad practice and an opportunity to help a group grow would be very well suited for the Las Vegas market.

Intellectual Property:
If IP is your specialty, Las Vegas also has much to offer. The demand for IP attorneys tends to focus on the mid-level to senior candidates with prosecution experience. In addition, candidates with copyright, trademark, or technology experience are sought by boutiques and full-service law firms with clients in the gaming industry.

Real Estate:
Finally, the pressing demand for real estate attorneys remains very strong. Whether your experience is transactional or litigation-based, the need for your real estate experience is definitely strong this summer. In addition, attorneys with strong transactional experience enjoy added flexibility in that they need not be admitted to the Nevada bar.

Although these are the strongest demands for the summer, I want to emphasize that the Las Vegas market is very receptive to attorneys that are relocating and offers much flexibility with respect to practice areas and experience levels. In addition, firms are generally receptive to hearing about qualified candidates who are interested in moving to this quickly growing city. Thus, candidates with strong academic credentials and a sincere desire to establish themselves in this legal market are often successful in doing so.

The Midwest Region
Midwest
by Jamie Bailey, Esq., Managing Director, BCG-Chicago
 
July 2006

During the first two quarters of 2006, the economy experienced dramatic growth; however, experts predict that it will begin slowing in the third quarter. With the federal government continuing to raise interest rates, we are hopeful that the economy will continue to flourish during the second half of 2006. The most prestigious firms across the Midwest continue to focus their efforts on hiring lateral talent in practice areas such as corporate mergers and acquisitions, private equity, finance and securities, real estate, intellectual property, tax, and employee benefits.
 
Chicago
Private Equity, Finance, M&A, Securities, Venture Capital, and Banking
Mirroring the first two quarters of 2006, firms continue to experience a significant surge in hiring in a number of key areas, including general corporate, M&A, private equity, securities ('40 and '33 Act) and finance. Firms are seeking associates with expertise in these areas and between two and seven years of experience. Firms are also interested in speaking with associates who have had exposure to technology transactions, including technology contracts, distribution agreements, outsourcing, and licensing. We are also receiving requests for associates with secured lending experience with anywhere from two to10 years of experience.

Tax, In-House and Corporate:
With the continued surge in hiring in the corporate area, firms are seeking to supplement their tax departments with strong junior and mid-level corporate tax associates with exposure to the tax aspects of corporate M&A, joint ventures, and reorganizations. Firms look favorably on superior academics and LL.M.s in taxation.

Employee Benefits, Executive Compensation:
With the need for strong tax advisors comes a corresponding need for experienced employee benefits attorneys with between two and seven years of experience dealing with qualified retirement and welfare benefit plans, deferred compensation plans, and executive compensation matters.

Real Estate: Finance, Leasing, and Land Use
Our report in this area mirrors our report for the first two quarters of 2006. Real estate associates with between two and seven years of experience are in high demand in firms of all sizes, especially those with finance and leasing exposure. Select firms are also pursuing land use attorneys with between two and four years of experience.

Intellectual Property Litigation and Prosecution:
Intellectual property continues to be one of the busiest practice areas in firms across the Midwest region and particularly in Chicago. We are seeing the most significant need for patent prosecutors and patent litigators with between two and six years of experience. Significant need exists for those with degrees in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and computer science. Patent attorneys must either have or be eligible to admission to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Litigation:
Litigation needs remains steady at the two-to-six-year level. Class action litigators and those with labor and employment litigation exposure at the two-to-five-year level should also contact us.

Partners with Portable Business:
We are interested in speaking with partners with significant portable business in any of the following areas: employee benefits and executive compensation, real estate finance, corporate transactions, products liability, private equity, labor and employment, healthcare, patent prosecution, IP litigation, and trusts and estates.

Minnesota:
Corporate, M&A, and Finance and Securities
Similar to law firms across the nation, Minnesota firms are experiencing a strong surge in transactional work. Transactional associates with one to five years of experience in securities, M&A, and joint venture matters should contact our Chicago office to discuss current opportunities.

Intellectual Property and Trademark:
Minnesota firms continue to supplement their strong intellectual property departments. In high demand are patent prosecutors with one to six years of experience and possessing technical degrees in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, biotechnology, or chemistry. Attorneys with advanced degrees in any of these areas will be given top consideration. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office admittance is required for most of these positions. IP litigators are also in demand at the two-to-five-year level.

Michigan:
Detroit:
Real Estate, M&A, and Employee Benefits:
Detroit firms are experiencing growth in their corporate M&A practices, as well as other transactional areas, including real estate finance and leasing. Candidates with three to four years of experience in any of these areas should contact our Chicago office. Mirroring some of the other major markets, Detroit is experiencing a marked increase in employee benefits positions; and we would be interested in speaking with associates in this area with between two and six years of exposure to welfare benefits and executive compensation matters.

Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, Lansing, Troy, Birmingham:
Corporate, Finance, and Real Estate:
In the outlying areas of Detroit, we are seeing a need for associates with between two and five years of experience in corporate transactions, finance, tax, real estate finance, employee benefits, and litigation.

Partners with Portable Business:
We are interested in speaking with partners practicing in Michigan who are seeking out opportunities in Detroit or the surrounding legal markets, including Lansing, Ann Arbor, and Grand Rapids. In particular, we would like to speak with partners with a minimum of $300,000 in portable business in real estate (acquisitions and development), private equity, securities, and banking. We would also be interested in speaking with business-transactional attorneys with international or cross-border exposure.

Wisconsin:
In Milwaukee and Madison, firms are continuing to expand their transactional practices. Associates with at least two to five years of exposure to real estate finance, leasing, and development transactions are highly sought after, as well as transactional associates with general corporate, mergers and acquisitions, and securities experience.

Wisconsin firms are also supplementing their intellectual property practices with junior to mid-level associates who have patent litigation and patent prosecution experience. Associates who possess mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and computer science degrees are in particular demand. Trademark litigation associates with between two and five years of experience should also contact us. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office admittance is required for most of these positions.

Partners with Portable Business:
Wisconsin firms are actively seeking partners with portable business in a variety of areas, including ERISA, trusts and estates, healthcare, employment relations, patent litigation, and real estate.

Indiana:
Indiana firms are seeking corporate finance, venture capital, private equity, and M&A attorneys at the two-to-six-year level; real estate and land use attorneys at the two-to-five-year level; IP litigators with biotechnology, chemistry, and computer science backgrounds; mid-level litigation associates with products liability exposure; and senior-level trusts and estates attorneys.

Ohio:
Cleveland and Cincinnati:
Corporate Transactions, Tax, and Real Estate:
Similar to firms in other cities across the nation, Cincinnati firms are experiencing growth at the associate levels in tax, real estate, corporate transactions, securities, M&A, and private equity. Candidates with between two and seven years of experience in any of these areas should contact our Chicago office. We would also like to speak with litigators with two to six years of experience.

Dayton, Columbus, Toledo:
Tax, Real Estate, and Corporate:
Firms in Columbus, Toledo, and Dayton are experiencing heavy need for tax associates, particularly those with tax structuring, federal tax, real property, and franchise tax possessing between two and seven years of experience. We are also receiving calls from firm hiring partners asking for experienced real estate attorneys with two to five years of experience and corporate M&A, joint venture, and securities associates with three to five years of experience.

Partners with Portable Business:
Ohio firms continue to experience expansion and are interested in speaking with partners who bring portable business in trust and estates, corporate transactional, real estate, business litigation, and labor and employment. Partners with portables in Ohio seeking to transition to a new firm should contact our Chicago office.

International: Asia
by Danice Kowalczyk, Esq., Managing Director, BCG-New York

Hong Kong

Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai and Tokyo:
Like Europe, Asia demands certain things of candidates coming to its shores, and these demands are unwavering.
  1. You must have experience from a Wall Street or Magic Circle firm;
  2. You must have a corporate background;
  3. You must possess stellar academics from a recognizable U.S. or Asian institution; and
  4. You must be fluent in English and Mandarin (and, very often, Cantonese).
With regard to language skills, this is extremely important. You need to be fluent, not just conversant. Firms want candidates with both fluent English-language skills and fluent Mandarin-language skills. More recently, they have also sought out fluent Korean and Japanese speakers. Either way, you must be able to flawlessly read, write, and speak in the given language, both business and legal terms.

The current areas of importance are capital markets, M&A, private equity, and project finance for all regions. Unbelievably, it's not so much the practice strengths that firms seem to be focusing on as much as the language skills. As the work in these regions gets more and more sophisticated and cross-border driven, firms cannot tolerate anything less than flawless communication skills that leave no margin for error. Aside from the these requirements, a few of the regions have been adding their own little extra demands or desires for good measure.

Hong Kong:
In addition to the above-mentioned practice areas, Hong Kong is also interested in restructuring- and insolvency-experienced associates.

Beijing:
Many Beijing offices have required that their candidates be Hong Kong qualified as well as U.S. or U.K. qualified. This is something we haven't seen as much of before, so take note. As to the U.S. admittance, a majority of the firms look most kindly upon New York bar-admitted applicants.

Shanghai:
Shanghai continues to ask for Putonghua language skills.

Tokyo:
Unlike other areas in Asia, Tokyo has been very vocal about its desire to see candidates with backgrounds in real estate. In particular, the following areas of interest have been mentioned: acquisitions, dispositions, acquisition financings, refinancings, restructurings, development transactions, and joint ventures. Obviously, Tokyo further requires flawless Japanese language skills.

International: Europe
by Danice Kowalczyk, Esq., Managing Director, BCG-New York

London:
There are certain things which do not change with regard to candidates wishing to move to London, and they are as follows:
  1. You should currently be working (or recently worked) for a Wall Street or Magic Circle firm in the U.S. or abroad;
  2. Your practice is either corporate or international arbitration; IP transactional recently comes in a close third;
  3. You possess an exemplary academic history from a notable U.S. or international educational institution; and
  4. You should maintain a connection to London (e.g., through family, past work history, past study history, practice flow) in some way.
Of equal importance is bar admission. Some firms look for U.S. J.D.s; others look for U.K.-qualified practitioners. This summer, the majority of firms are looking for U.K. qualified folks with two to three PQE or more. Having said this, I expect to see a rise in firms looking for dual-qualified practitioners in the fall of 2006.

Any way you look at it, seasons may change, but the above requirements will stay the same and, as competition heats up, become more strictly enforced. What will change is practice areas of interest. Currently, candidates with experience in the following areas are very marketable in London (provided, again, they meet the above checkpoints):

Corporate:
M&A and private-equity practitioners will always be marketable in the U.K. More recently, we have seen an increase in capital-markets practitioners. M&A and securities are on parallel tracks in terms of demand. The key thing in London is that some firms mix their M&A practice with their capital-markets practice, and others do not. Thus, if you are applying to London firms, make sure you know what you are getting into.

Banking and Finance:
Attorneys with a background in finance have been highly desirable over the past few months in London. Some of the key finance areas are acquisition finance, secured lending, project finance, noncontentious insolvency, general corporate banking activities, cross-border transactional experience, secondary-debt trading, and securitization.

Tax:
We have not seen listings for tax associates in some time, but a few firms are showing needs. Particularly, candidates with experience in share-option schemes, stamp duty, VAT, SDLT, and SDRT are popular. Experience in offshore-funds work is also desired.

Real Estate:
It is rare that we see real estate listings; however, there are a few. Having said this, the candidate who applies for such position must have experience from a U.K.-based firm and be dual qualified or U.K. qualified.

Intellectual Property:
Finally, IP-transactional practitioners continue to be popular in London. It's an area where U.S. practitioners (if you are coming from New York or L.A., in particular) can really break into the market. The U.K. firms want these people, and they are willing to make a deal for the right person. Ideal candidates must have licensing, outsourcing, and corporate support (due diligence) in a background largely fed by technology-sector work.

Paris:
Similar to London, Paris has its own set of "checkpoints" which candidates must comfortably meet in order to be considered for employment. These are:
  1. Fluency in the French language and
  2. A U.S. LL.M. or MBA from a top U.S. educational institution with top grades as well as a French legal degree.
Of course, other conditions apply; however, these are the two most regularly brought up in conversation with Paris' law firms.

Candidates with experience in the following areas are encouraged to inquire:

Finance:
Finance, in many ways, is the most popular area this season. Although a finance practitioner may be defined as having any number of talents, Paris' firms have been focusing on
  1. Structured finance (tax efficient transactions, balance sheet regulatory structures, derivatives, specialized capital markets issues, and securitization);
  2. Trade and export finance; and
  3. Shipping finance.
Corporate:
Hands down, M&A has gotten the biggest surge this season. While capital markets and M&A are toe-to-toe in London, Paris still wants those M&A associates the vast majority of the time.

Germany:
Germany's requirements for success begin with:
  1. Fluency in the German language (particularly, business and/or legal German) and
  2. A strong corporate background from a top U.S. firm.
Germany's requirements are more "lightweight" than the rest of Europe. Firms recognize that Germany is more difficult market to sell to candidates. You either love it or you don't. The candidates who do best here in terms of generating firm interest in their candidacy are candidates with family connections, or past work histories in Germany. Firms want to know that you have lived here or worked here in the past and are coming back with your eyes wide open.

Frankfurt, Munich, and Düsseldorf remain the hottest centers of legal activity in Germany. To that end, the following practice areas remain of interest:

Corporate:
As always, M&A and private-equity practitioners will always be marketable here.

Intellectual Property:
This is a surprise. Hands-down, German firms this summer have been looking for intellectual property attorneys. Experience in the technology or life sciences sector is extremely marketable. A good deal of this work is trademark; however, patent is also coming into play relative to representing technology companies in their prosecution work.

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