Litigation hiring in San Francisco skyrocketed this quarter, demonstrating the largest growth in this sector in four years.As in previous months, the demand is almost exclusively for complex commercial litigators. Interestingly, where candidates with superior credentials have dominated this practice, more and more firms (specifically larger and mid-sized) are looking to hire junior and mid-level litigators with solid trial experience. Superstar associates with stellar credentials will always get their pick of employers. But even candidates with tier two law schools who have solid litigation skills are beginning to get interviews in San Francisco. Associates currently residing and practicing with an AmLaw firm in the Bay Area are given a clear preference. Associates with clerkship experience are valued. Of course, admittance to the California Bar is a must, although some firms may interview a candidate with superior credentials who is sitting for the July 2013 California bar exam.
This practice area continues to be the hottest sector in the California legal market. Hiring has remained steady in this practice for several years. Firms continue to seek both in-state and out of state candidates to keep up with the demand.Attorneys with electrical engineering and computer science degrees (graduate or undergraduate) continue to be the most desirable candidates and there is no indication that this is going to change. That said, there has been an increase in the number of postings for IP litigators with a science/life sciences background. Associates across all levels of experience are sought, including the partner level. For patent litigators, firms like to see candidates who have Markman hearing experience as well as ITC experience. Admittance to the Patent Bar is a priority for patent associates-and, increasingly, it helps to have USPTO admission for litigators as well. Candidates do not need membership to the California bar.
Activity in corporate hiring in San Francisco has remained very strong for the last two years. Until recently, the demand for mid-levels (3-6 years) with experience in transactions, M&A, general corporate, and securities outpaced all other experience levels but the need for junior corporate associates is strong. Candidates who already reside in the Bay Area and work for a well-regarded firm seem to have an edge over their out of state competitors and are bound to get interviews.
Patent prosecution hiring in San Francisco picked up considerably the last half of 2012 and remained strong the first quarter of 2013. Hiring has been steady with firms seeking patent prosecutors with 1-6 years of experience. Firms consistently seek candidates with technology, scientific, and life sciences, backgrounds, including degrees in computer science, chemistry, physics, electrical engineering, pharmacology, and biotechnology. USPTO registration is often required. Patent prosecutors are encouraged to also look in the Silicon Valley area for a position.
Hiring in Real Estate in San Francisco has finally picked up after years of slow growth. There was a discernible uptick in the number of real estate postings beginning in the last quarter of 2012 and hiring has continued into the first quarter of 2013. Current vacancies are evenly split between transactional and finance candidates in the mid-level range (3-5 years).Transactional candidates need experience inleasing, joint ventures, and purchase & sales. Real Estate Finance candidates need experience in origination of mortgage loans and mezzanine lending. Experience in restructuring and workouts of commercial loans is appreciated. Firms are also seeking partners with at least $1 million in portables.
Hiring in the labor and employment sector began to pick up in late 2012 and gained strength in 2013. Growth remained strong in last quarter with the demand still coming almost exclusively from mid-sized firms.Firms are seeking mid-level associates (5-7 years) with employment litigation experience and/or wage and hour, discrimination, and labor relations experience. Public sector experience appears to be in demand, as does class action experience.
During the first quarter of 2013, this sector experienced the strongest growth it has seen in almost four years. Firms of all sizes are seeking estate planning associates with 2-6 years of experience. Experience in estate administration for high net-worth individuals, families, family businesses and tax-exempt organizations is sought. Firms are also seeking candidates for charitable planning positions, specifically with experience working with exempt organizations and wealth planning. An LL.M. in Tax is almost always required.
After two years of no activity in the immigration sector, there are currently three postings for immigration attorneys in San Francisco. Experience in non-immigrant and immigrant matters is sought in both, as is PERM and H-1B experience.
Hiring in this area is up slightly. There are currently four postings insurance defense associates with 2-6 years of experience. Experience with coverage opinions and litigating coverage actions is desired. Membership in the California bar is required.
After a long hiatus with no postings, healthcare litigation hiring appears to be making a comeback. There are several positions open currently, all for candidates with 2-5 years of experience in healthcare regulatory work. Experience with Medicare and Medicaid is also appreciated.
Trademark Litigation & Prosecution
The market for Trademark attorneys in San Francisco improved somewhat in the first few months of 2013. There are several positions open currently for both Trademark Litigators and Trademark Prosecutors in the mid-level range. Litigators should have experience in liability and relief, as well as procedural issues, UDRP proceedings, cease and desist letters, and take-down letters. Trademark Prosecutors should have experience managing US and international trademark portfolios with additional experience in trademark clearance and routine trademark enforcement.
Dead Practice Areas
The following practices have shown no activity in several months: antitrust litigation, bankruptcy, construction, energy, environmental, ERISA/employee benefits, healthcare, securities litigation, and white collar crime.
However, firms will likely consider any mid-level candidate with a stable work history, strong academics, and solid pedigree from a well-regarded law firm. There is a strong preference to hire candidates who already reside in the Bay Area.
State of the Market: Silicon Valley by Evan P. Anderson, Managing Director, BCG Attorney Search
Silicon Valley has historically been an outstanding legal market, and it is typically easier to find a position here than in San Francisco. Candidates seeking a position in San Francisco ought to look in Silicon Valley where there are more opportunities and less competition. Many people live in San Francisco or a neighboring city and commute to the Silicon Valley area. The quality of life is outstanding and the area is close to Napa Valley, Sonoma, and Russian River wine country.
Hot Practice Areas:
Intellectual Property (Patent Litigation and Patent Prosecution)
The overwhelming need for intellectual property litigators and patent prosecutors at all levels make these attorneys the most sought-after candidates in Silicon Valley. Ideal candidates will have a background in electrical engineering, computer science, mechanical engineering, biotechnology, organic chemistry, biochemistry, pharmaceuticals, chemical engineering, and/or medical devices. Those in the life sciences fields are typically expected to have a Ph.D. or Master's degree. For patent prosecution, candidates must have experience in a big firm or boutique and a strong technical background. Registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office is a must. Candidates need not be admitted to the California bar.
There continues to be an abundance of hiring in the corporate sector at all levels. Candidates with venture capital and emerging company experience (especially tech companies) continue to be in the most demand. Attorneys with experience in M&A, capital markets, securities, public and private offerings, and life sciences are also highly sought after. Although there is a strong preference in hiring local candidates who already have the California Bar, nearly every firm will seriously consider a candidate relocating from another region like New York, DC, Texas and Chicago who also has top caliber academic and professional credentials.
General litigation has slowed down in Silicon Valley. There are only three active postings for litigators. Like their San Francisco counterparts, firms in Silicon Valley are seeking junior to mid-level commercial litigation attorneys with stellar credentials. Anyone who has some intellectual property litigation experience should be fairly marketable. Candidates should have membership to the California Bar.
Labor & Employment
As with the San Francisco market, hiring in the labor and employment sector in Silicon Valley has seen an increase in hiring. This is not typically a region one thinks of when considering strong L&E markets but Employment hiring began to pick up in late 2012 and gained modest strength in 2013. Unlike San Francisco, the larger AmLaw firms tend to be doing the hiring. Firms are seeking mid-level associates (5-7 years) with employment litigation experience and/or wage and hour, discrimination, and labor relations experience. Public sector experience appears to be in demand, as does class action experience.
Tax hiring has been historically slow in Silicon Valley for the past few years. The first quarter of 2013 saw a pretty sharp increase in the number of tax positions available relative to the previous years. There is one job opening for a tax attorney with 5-7 years of experience in executive compensation. As in this case, most firms appreciate (or require) an LL.M. in tax or CPA degree and big firm experience.
The need for attorneys with experience in technology transactions has decreased slightly from the previous quarter but remains steady. Firms are seeking candidates at all levels but are particularly interest in mid-levels. Candidates should have true technology transaction and licensing experience, and experience in at least one of the following areas: biotechnology, clean tech, medical device, semiconductors, computer software/hardware, and telecommunications. Firms have a strong preference for candidates with tech backgrounds; particularly: electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, computer science, computer engineering, biology, physics, or chemistry.
Historically, trusts & estates hiring is fairly slow in Silicon Valley, averaging 1-3 vacancies per year. However, the last quarter of 2012 and the first quarter of 2013 showed a slight increase in T&E needs at both large and mid-sized firms. Mid-level candidates (2-5 years) are in demand. An LL.M. in Tax is appreciated and admission to the California bar is a must.
We've been somewhat surprised that hiring in this practice hasn't increased more steadily over the last year or so. There were more EB/EC vacancies the first quarter of 2013 (4-5) but they were concentrated in two firms. Candidates with 2-6 years of experience seem to be the most sought when vacancies do arise. Experience working with private and public companies is appreciated, as is experience in transactions.
Dead Practice Areas:
There is currently no activity in bankruptcy, construction, energy, environmental, healthcare, insurance, and real estate (however, firms are always considering partners with at least $1.5 million in portable business).
State of the Market Report: San Diego by Allison Wottawa, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Especially compared with a large city like Los Angeles, San Diego seems to be a much slower market. People that come to San Diego often stay and remain comfortable in their positions. That being said, it is a steadily active market for patent attorneys with EE, CS, and physics degrees, as well as those with backgrounds in life science. While in the last quarter, we saw a tremendous increase in the corporate and transactional opportunities, which remains constant. Additionally, we have recently witnessed an uptick in real estate positions, particularly in the area of finance. While the first quarter started off a little slower than expected, the Sequester has come and gone and the confidence in the market and job growth is on the rise.
The most influx of new law firm openings this quarter has been in the area of real estate transactions and finance. Top tier law international law firms are seeking attorneys in the area of 2-5 years of law firm experience, while a few indigenous San Diego law firms are generally seeking attorneys that are more senior, typically with a mixture of corporate and real estate work. Especially in the latter case, business is always preferred, but not necessarily required.
There has been an increase in patent agent positions throughout San Diego, generally in the areas of Electrical Engineering, Computer Science or Physics. USPTO is a must, or strongly preferred.
Steady Practice Areas:
Unlike some other areas of California, patent prosecutors with degrees in organic chemistry, molecular biology, biochemistry, pharmacology or chemical engineering are able to find law firm opportunities in San Diego. However, the firms require advanced degrees. Prosecutors that have a background in Electrical Engineering, Physics, or Computer Science have a bit more latitude, as advanced degrees are preferred, but not required. Membership to the USPTO is also a must.
There are a handful of top tier firms looking for junior patent litigators. Even though San Diego is a hot bed for life science activity, the firms looking for an EE or CS degree beat out the firms seeking a life science degree by 2:1. While patent attorneys are popular, there are only a select number of new positions. Most of these firms have had openings for the past two quarters, but have yet to fill these positions. It's still the law firm's market and in San Diego they seem to be taking their time to find the right person.
Last quarter saw a rise in corporate positions in San Diego. The trend has continued with a slight bent toward finance, which has come to outweigh the general corporate and M&A available positions. However, general business/corporate attorneys are still in demand with smaller, indigenous, San Diego firms, but they generally require some portable business.
Smaller, indigenous, San Diego firms are seeking senior tax attorneys, both general transactional tax, as well as employee benefits. An LL.M. degree and portables are preferred, though not required.
Slow Practice Areas:
San Diego has not seen an influx in litigation openings in some time. However, they are popping up everyone once in a while with smaller law firms in the area. Many of these opportunities involve employment or intellectual property law. The competition is fierce and firms would prefer a litigator have solid experience in taking and defending depositions, representing clients in arbitrations and mediations and law and motion. Of course, an attorney with a top-tier academic and law firm background who has a portable book will certainly find a home.
Dead Practice Areas:
The San Diego market has seen no activity in bankruptcy, environmental, health care, trust & estates, or securities litigation. Openings can be found with most of these specialties in other cities around California, however.
State of the Market: Los Angeles by Liz Hudson, Managing Director, BCG Attorney Search
Los Angeles has started to see a pick-up in law firms, though it didn't happen in January or February as expected. Instead, LA seems to have just recently seen more demand for lawyers and we've seen a steady flow of candidates get interviews at firms in LA ranging in size from small to large. The interview process seems to be going slower than usual as firms continue to make sure they have the predicted need, but the offers are still coming in eventually. As always, partners with portable business are in demand year round with a minimum book of business typically being in the $750,000 and up range for LA, though there is some flexibility. Associate classes that are in highest demand are classes of 2007-2011.
Healthy Practice Areas:
Intellectual Property litigation positions remain in demand and at the top of the list. The hottest degree in LA, and all over the state, continues to be Electrical Engineering, with firms looking for Computer Science and Physics degrees as well. Despite almost every firm desperately wanting an IP litigator with an EE, they are still very picky and want to see impressive experience and education. Firms prefer to see at least a master's degree in a technical subject and a Ph.D. is highly sought after.The one lucky break here is that they are willing to look at litigators who are not yet admitted to practice in CA.
Los Angeles continues to have a need for general corporate associates and has had that need for over a year. Most employers are asking for candidates with 3-6 years of experience and a background in general corporate work or lean towards traditional M&A and securities work. This is the other practice area where employers don't seem to be as concerned with attorneys being admitted to the California bar when they apply.
Los Angeles continues to see a demand for real estate attorneys on the transactional side. There are some junior needs here with some firms looking for candidates with as little as one year of experience, though that one year has to be very impressive. Typically they are looking for a candidate who has top credentials and experience with real estate finance, acquisitions and dispositions, and general leasing work.
Steady Practice Areas:
Labor and Employment
There continues to be a steady demand for labor and employment attorneys in LA. Firms tend to want someone with 3-6 years of experience, though we have seen an interest in candidates with as few as two years of experience. While most of the firms focus on employment litigation experience, traditional labor experience is almost always a bonus and lately we have seen openings that specifically want significant traditional labor experience. These firms also love to see candidates with hands on experience in areas such as depositions and trial preparation. Right now, firms don't seem to be interested in transitioning general litigators to employment litigation.
Litigation has picked up the pace in recent months and we are seeing new openings on a fairly regular basis. However, there remain an abundance of litigation candidates in the marketplace right now, so firms are looking for really top-notch candidates with top firm experience. The sweet spot for experience tends to be 3-5 years and firms like to see candidates with first-hand deposition experience and exposure to trial. Membership to the California bar is almost always a pre-requisite.
Though it's not a booming area, there have been a few tax positions in the first quarter of 2013 and we continue to see a slight demand. The interesting thing about recently posted tax positions is that they tend to be highly specific. As before, firms like to see candidates who have an LL.M. in Taxation as well as experience on the transactional tax side. Firms are less picky about California bar admission in this field, though it is still strongly preferred.
IP attorneys specializing in patent prosecution continue to be in demand in LA, though not to the same degree as their IP litigation counterparts. Like the litigation positions, Electrical Engineering, Computer Science and Physics backgrounds are most sought after. Additionally, most firms want advanced degrees in these fields and it's typically mandatory for candidates to be registered with the USPTO. This is another of the few fields in California where it is not mandatory to already be admitted to the California bar, though still typically preferred.
The openings for environmental attorneys in LA are few and far between. Typically firms hiring in this area want mid-level associates with very specialized environmental work and often look for CERCLA and CEQA experience. There is a mix of transactional and litigation focused environmental jobs currently.
Additionally, there has been little to no need for attorneys in LA in the practice areas of employee benefits, healthcare,technology transactions or bankruptcy.
State of the Market: Orange County by Liz Hudson, Managing Director, BCG Attorney Search
Orange County looks to be one of the slower legal job markets on the West Coast right now. As always, partners with portable business are in demand year round with a minimum book of business typically being in the $500,000 and up range for Orange County, though there is some flexibility. Associate classes that are seeing the most traction are classes of 2006-2010. As of now, the demand is fairly spread out among different practice areas, with only one clear leader.
It comes as no surprise that Intellectual Property litigation positions remain in demand, and in Orange County it is still the busiest area. The hottest degree in OC, and all over the state, continues to be Electrical Engineering, with firms looking for Computer Science and Physics degrees as well. Membership to the CA bar is preferred and advanced degrees in the above named subjects are often requirements.
Like IP litigators, IP attorneys specializing in patent prosecution continue to be in demand in OC. In Orange County, they are just as in demand as IP litigators and haven't seen a slow-down recently. Like the litigation positions, Electrical Engineering, Computer Science and Physics backgrounds are most sought after. Orange County is more similar to San Diego than LA in the respect that it does have more interest in life science degrees, however. Additionally, most firms want advanced degrees in these fields and for candidates to be registered with the USPTO. This is one of the few fields in California where it is not mandatory to already be admitted to the California bar, though still typically preferred.
Labor and Employment
There continues to be somewhat of a demand for labor and employment attorneys in Orange County. Typically firms want someone with 3-6 years of experience if they aren't bringing portable business. Some firms have also been willing to consider more junior candidates, provided they have some good hands on experience with depositions and/or client counseling. Most of the large firms don't require traditional labor experience, but it is always a bonus.
Orange County has caught up to the demands in other parts of CA and is now seeing a demand for real estate attorneys on the transactional side. Most firms are looking for associates with between 2-5 years of experience and often prefer local candidates. Typically they are looking for a candidate who has top credentials and experience with real estate finance, acquisitions and dispositions, and general leasing work.
Orange County has followed the trend that the rest of California has seen for the past year with an uptick in general corporate/transactional hiring. Firms are typically looking for candidates with between 3-6 years of experience. Most employers are asking for general corporate work as well as traditional M&A and securities work. This is the other practice area where employers don't seem to be concerned with attorneys being admitted to the California bar when they apply.
Litigation continues to be making a slow but steady comeback in Orange. Commercial litigation is a hot area and some of the experience desired includes taking/defending depositions and heavy discovery experience. There has also been a need for securities and finance litigation backgrounds. Typically, these positions view membership to the California bar as a pre-requisite.
Slow/Dead Practice Areas:
Fields that remain slow, unless a candidate has portable business, include bankruptcy, trusts and estates, tax and environmental work. As always, if a candidate is incredibly strong with top academics, experience and the California bar they will likely gain some traction despite being in slow practice areas.
State of the Market: Seattle by Paul Danielson, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Seattle is a wonderful city, and a highly attractive place to live and work thanks to the wealth of outdoor activities, energetic population, robust transit system, and stunning natural beauty. Though it is a smaller market than some of its west coast counterparts down in California, Seattle firms continue to actively seek and hire candidates who have strong existing ties to the area and excellent credentials. IP candidates with strong technical backgrounds or corporate attorneys with tech transaction and/or venture capital experiencewill fare especially well in the current market as firms work hard to serve Seattle's bustling technology sector. If you have a strong tech background and have ever considered moving to the Pacific Northwest, there is no better time than right now.
Hot Practice Areas:
Patent prosecution remains especially hot in the Seattle market, with well over half of the active job listings at major, mid-size, and boutique firms coming in the IP category. Mid-level patent agent or patent attorney candidates with advanced degrees in electrical engineering, computer science, and physics and a couple years of solid work experience can thus expect to be courted by multiple firms. Undergraduate degrees in those same fields will also be strongly considered due to the overwhelming demand for attorneys and patent agents with technical backgrounds, however, demand for other IP areas, and particularly the life sciences, is very slow at the moment. Admission to the USPTO is typically required, and Washington Bar admission is always preferred, but not necessary.
We continue to see reasonably strong demand for corporate attorneys in the Seattle market, specifically for associates with solid private equity, venture capital, or tech transactions experience. An accounting degree, CPA certification, or a Tax LL.M. will also make for a stronger candidate in the current market. Most firms are seeking mid-level associates with 2-5 years of experience, but there will be plentiful opportunities for more senior associates as long as the candidate can bring a portable book of business.
Continuing a trend that began last summer, taxation and estate planning continues to be a hot practice area in the Seattle market, with multiple openings available for mid-to-senior level associates with experience in all manner of taxation, trusts, and estates issues. Candidates with an LL.M. in taxation will be especially successful, and firms will strongly prefer a candidate who is already a member of the Washington Bar, as well as attorneys with a portable client base.
Steady Practice Areas:
Labor and Employment
While the demand for attorneys in this area is not overwhelming, we do continue to see a steady stream of opportunities for attorneys with strong labor and employment experience, as well as attorneys with experience in employee benefits issues. Firms who are hiring in this area typically seek employer-side litigation experience and familiarity with class actions. Mid-level associates with 2-5 years of strong experience and existing membership in the Washington Bar are preferred, as well as more senior associates or partner level candidates with a strong portable book of business.
Slow to Dead:
Surprisingly, patent litigation opportunities have fallen off considerably since last quarter, and the vast majority of activity on the IP side is currently focused on patent prosecution and tech transactions. Similarly, general litigation opportunities are slow, although we expect to see demand increase somewhat in the second half of the year. Real estate, environmental energy and resource law, and trademark and copyright law continue to be slow practice areas, though we do foresee real estate picking up in the second half of the year as the general economy continues to come back online at a slow but steady pace. Though health care law remains slow at the moment, we see an increase in demand in this area over the next two years as the new federal health care laws continue to be phased in.
State of the Market: Portland by Paul Danielson, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Portland remains one of the most attractive cities in the country thanks to world class urban planning and transit, abundant outdoor recreational opportunities, progressive social scene, a fantastic food culture, and Portland's well-deserved reputation as a magnet destination for the trendy young creative class over the past decade. Consequently, competition in the Portland legal market is fierce for all open positions, and candidates should expect that their job search will take longer than anticipated given that firms currently have the luxury of selecting from a wide pool of excellent candidates (although movement has still been very quick on IP attorneys and patent agents with Electrical Engineering and Computer Science backgrounds). Candidates hoping to land a position should bring excellent academic and professional qualifications, solid reasons for wanting to relocate permanently to the Portland area, and current Oregon Bar admission or eligibility to waive in.
Hot Practice Areas:
Multiple and consistent job opportunities persist in the Portland market for prosecution attorney and patent agent candidates with degrees in electrical engineering and computer science, and particularly strong credentials in these fields will likely result in multiple interviews. Similar opportunities will also be available for candidates with degrees in physics and mechanical engineering, especially if they have practical work experience in their technical field. The life sciences side is quite a bit slower, although there are still opportunities for candidates with chemistry and organic chemistry backgrounds, although advanced degrees are typically required for any non-engineering backgrounds. Oregon Bar admission is not always essential, but registration to practice before the USPTO is a must.
Litigation continues to trend strongly in the Portland market, with multiple opportunities currently open for mid-level litigation associates as well as mid-to-senior level associates and partners who can bring a portable client base with them. Exceptional credentials and experience are key, as despite the relatively large number of openings, there is an even larger pool of applicants attempting to enter the Portland market, and thus firms will typically be choosing from a group of top-tier talent. Excellent writing skills and deposition experience are key, and trial experience will especially help a mid-level associate stand out from the crowd. Experience with insurance coverage or construction litigation is also especially desired. Attorneys who want to have a good shot at the Portland market should already have the Oregon Bar under their belt, or be eligible to waive in.
Steady Practice Areas
Labor and Employment
There continues to be steady demand for experienced labor and employment attorneys, both for litigation as well as compliance counseling and employee benefits and executive compensation issues, however most opportunities will only be open to attorneys who can bring at least a small book of portable business with them. Of note, the overwhelming majority of the demand is from firms who do defense-side work representing corporations and management.
The increase in demand we saw last quarter for attorneys with experience in trusts and estates issues, taxation issues, or both continues into the first half of this year. The desired experience level ranges anywhere from junior associates to established partners, but if you are a mid-level associate or above, you should plan to have a portable book of business to be considered for all but a very few number of opportunities. Familiarity with real estate, business transactions, and corporate governance will be beneficial, as will an LL.M. in tax or an accounting/CPA background. Oregon bar admission is always preferred, and it will strengthen your candidacy to also be admitted in Washington and/or California.
Portland (as well as nearby markets like Salem and Eugene) continue to see slow but reasonably steady demand for attorneys with experience in land use issues, primarily for mid-to-senior level associates as well as for partners with a portable book of business. Experience in local land use hearings and extensive knowledge of local regulations, codes, plans, and statutes is key. Real estate positions have slowed significantly, though we expect to see an uptick in the second half of the year with the housing and commercial development market slowly coming back online.
Demand for corporate attorneys in Portland has slowed somewhat since last quarter, but opportunities will still be available for attorneys with strong credentials and experience, and especially for attorneys with a portable book of business. With firms having recently hired extensively in the corporate market, we envision this sector to remain steady or more likely to slow down slightly in the second half of the year.
Slow to Dead Practice Areas:
Demand for patent litigation attorneys has almost disappeared relative to a fairly strong demand last year, and we envision this area to remain slow over the next few months, although attorneys with technical degrees in electrical engineering or computer science may still be interviewed and hired on a prospective basis. Few to no opportunities exist in the Portland market in the following areas: bankruptcy, health care, technology transactions, and energy, environmental, and natural resources attorneys. A few opportunities may arise here and there, but we see no significant upturn in demand in these practice areas over the next few months.
State of the Market: Las Vegas by Claudia Barnes,General Manager, BCG Attorney Search
We keep expecting the legal market for Las Vegas to bounce back but it simply hasn't. Las Vegas was once a terrific legal market. We are hopeful that the market will improve in 2013.
Hot Practice Areas:
Intellectual Property (Patent) Prosecution
While there is currently no active need for patent litigators, the need for patent prosecutors has heated up. As in our last state of the market report, there was a need for patent attorneys with experience prosecuting in the software, electrical, mechanical, chemical or life sciences areas. The ideal candidate will assist with the preparation and prosecution of patent applications, patentability and clearance opinions, patent estate management, licensing and enforcement of patents. Many firms will consider candidates who are moving from out-of-state but are members of the USPTO. In many cases, firms will even consider those candidates who are not yet admitted to the Patent Bar.
The greatest need throughout the state of Nevada is for commercial litigators (including those with foreclosure experience) - mainly at the mid-level (2-5 years). Firms of all sizes are seeking candidates who are already admitted to the Nevada Bar.
Slow to Dead:
The following practice areas have little to no activity: Corporate, Construction, Tax, Trusts & Estates, Land Use/Environmental, Intellectual Property Litigation, Healthcare, Employment (typically a hot practice), and ERISA/Employee Benefits/Executive Compensation.
State of the Market: Phoenix by Allison Wottawa, Legal Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Phoenix has been a very interesting lateral market this quarter, since there is almost a smattering of everything, but not a huge uptick in any one area. Traditionally a smaller market, there seem to be just as many law firm openings in Scottsdale as there are in Phoenix (only with smaller, regional law firms). Firms traditionally like candidates from larger markets that have a good reason to re-locate to Phoenix, attorneys coming from the area's high end firms, or laterals from a regional boutique with a sought after specialty.
There has been an uptick in litigation openings, not only in Phoenix, but in other areas of Arizona as well (Scottsdale and Tucson). Firms are searching for candidates with 3-5 years of experience. Attorneys that have high-end litigation experience in drafting and arguing motions and taking and defending depositions will have success in this market. Firms require the Arizona Bar for litigation positions.
Phoenix and Scottsdale have seen an increase in corporate and transactional positions. Most of these opportunities are for general corporate associates with backgrounds in mergers and acquisitions, securities, and private equity, although we have seen a few positions involving finance. Associates with 3-6 years of experience are in demand. Smaller regional firms have an interest in more senior attorneys, but would prefer these attorneys have portable business.
There has been an increase in transactional tax positions with major law firms in the Phoenix area. These firms are typically seeking junior associates (1-3 years). There are very few opportunities for more senior attorneys at this time (except if the attorney has a book).
Steady Practice Areas:
As in other markets, there are still places for patent litigators and prosecutors with a background and degree in Electrical Engineering or Computer Science. This market does not seem to be as strict in seeking an advanced degree or admittance to the Patent Bar, but these certainly help. For associates, firms are seeking attorneys with 3-4 years of law firm experience. For more senior attorneys, a modest book of business is desirable.
There has not been a huge increase in real estate positions in Arizona, as expected. Still, there are regional law firms that are steadily seeking transactional real estate attorneys in the mid-level area (3-5 years), while national law firms are seeking more junior attorneys (1-3 years), particularly in the arena of hospitality.
Slow Practice Areas:
There is some activity in construction law and labor/employment (particularly involving NLRB) with well-known national law firms. There is also activity in trust & estates, but primarily with smaller, regional firms.
Dead Practice Areas:
We are seeing little to no activating in the areas of environmental law, energy, technology transactions, ERISA/Employee Benefits, health care, or securities litigation.
State of the Market: Colorado by Jamie Bailey, Partner, BCG Attorney Search - Chicago
Partners with Portable Business
We would be interested in speaking with partners with portable business. Generally, firms are seeking a minimum of $500,000 in portable business.
Denver firms' intellectual property practices continue to thrive. We are interested in talking with associates with 1-5 years of experience in patent prosecution and patent litigation and who have backgrounds in electrical engineering, physics, or computer science. We would also like to speak with associates with 5+ years of experience in trademark, transactional, licensing and opinion work with electrical or mechanical engineering backgrounds. USPTO is generally preferred in most cases and/or required and the CO Bar is preferred.
We would be interested in speaking with attorneys who have 2-5 years of experience in general corporate, M&A, securities and corporate governance. Those with cross-border M&A experience who have handled U.S. securities transactions, are familiar with Delaware corporate law, have Spanish or Mandarin language capabilities and have practiced abroad should get in touch with our Chicago office to discuss opportunities in Denver.
We also have a need for associates with 5+ years of commercial finance and lending experience.
We have a few Denver firms seeking trusts and estates associates with 2+ years of experience in estate planning and administration.
Employee benefits associates with 2-5 years of experience in defined contribution and defined benefit plans, health and welfare plans, multiemployer plans, and executive compensation should also contact our Chicago office for Denver opportunities.
We would be interested in speaking with junior to mid-level tax associates with 1-5 years of experience and significant federal income tax experience, as well as exposure to state income tax matters.
Excellent academic and an advanced degree (LL.M.) is preferred for these positions.
Labor and Employment
We would like to speak with associates who have 1-5 years of experience in labor and employment litigation matters.
We've seen a slight uptick in the need for environmental attorneys. Of particular interest would be those associates with 2-6 years of experience in environmental regulatory matters, including experience in energy, natural resources and environmental health and safety matters. Water law attorneys with 3-6 years of experience should also get in touch with us. We would also like to speak with oil and gas associates with 6+ years of experience in oil and gas transactional matters.
Litigation - General Commercial; Healthcare; Real Estate and Construction
Denver firms are requesting litigation associates at the 1-6 year level with experience in a broad range of litigation matters. Associates with 3-6 years of experience in commercial and/or construction litigation who are licensed in Colorado and have law review/journal should contact our Chicago office. Those with 5+ years of exposure to healthcare litigation matters, particularly those who have worked on matters relating to nursing homes, facilities, hospitals and physicians should call us to explore positions in Denver. We would also be interested in talking with real estate litigation associates with 1-3 years of experience in construction defect litigation matters.
Boulder, Broomfield, Englewood
For candidates interested in opportunities outside of Denver, we have firms in Boulder, Broomfield and Englewood seeking intellectual property litigation and patent prosecution attorneys, as well as general commercial litigation attorneys with 1-5 years of experience. We would like to hear from intellectual property litigators and patent prosecutors with 1-5 years of experience and backgrounds in electrical, computer or mechanical engineering, as well as those with computer science or physics backgrounds.
State of the Market: Minnesota by Julie Lehrman, Attorney Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
The Minneapolis/St. Paul market remains strong and appears to be getting even stronger. We see continued demand for corporate/business associates, and moderate demand for real estate and employment law. Additionally, there is a robust market for IP associates, especially those with Electrical Engineering and Computer Science degrees. The top law firms are always interested in partner-level candidates with a solid book of business as well. In general, attorneys currently practicing in Minnesota and those with strong connections to the state are more marketable than those without such a connection, although a solid connection (or bar admission) is not required, as long as the candidate has a valid reason for moving into the region.
The Twin Cities continues to generate high demand for patent prosecution associates. Both general practice firms and sophisticated boutiques have a need for junior to mid-level associates with one to five years of experience. The greatest demand remains for associates with technical backgrounds in electrical engineering, computer engineering, or computer science. Some firms require an advanced degree in the technical field, while some are interested only in associates who have can demonstrate the requisite technical expertise. Firms appear to prefer prior work experience within the technical field, and legal experience with a top law firm is always a plus. While patent litigators are not required to possess a technical degree, USPTO admission and a demonstrated ability to understand highly technical patent work is strongly preferred.
Corporate - Mergers and Acquisitions; Securities; Finance
We are seeing steady or increased demand for corporate associates. Law firms prefer corporate associates with top academic credentials (top law school plus top of class), hands-on experience with a large law firm, and a high degree of responsibility and trust indicating an ability to function independently, and possibly head up groups of more junior associates. We have seen an increase in demand over the last quarter for associates with finance backgrounds, although there remains a solid demand for candidates with 3 to 5 years of broad-based corporate experience, including general M & A and transactional work.
Litigation-General, Energy Litigation and Labor & Employment Litigation
Litigation appears to be creeping slowly back, but is not yet a growth area. The opportunities we have seen this quarter tend to be specialized in such areas as employment litigation, insurance, and IP litigation. Because of the volume of litigators looking for work, firms tend to only interview associates with the very strongest academic credentials, big law firm experience, and demonstrated independent level of functioning for the class year. For junior litigators, we have seen specific requests for Law Review experience, or a leadership role on a journal, and some firms ask for a federal clerkship.
Partners with Portable Business
Twin Cities firms are always interested in talking to partners with portable business that may provide work for associates or enable cross-selling opportunities within the firm. Smaller firms may be interested in speaking to partners with less than a million dollars in business, with the larger firms generally requiring a million dollars as a threshold amount. Partners with a persuasive, concrete business plan for growing business may also be considered. Partners with books of business should contact BCG's Chicago office for more information.
State of the Market: Indiana by Julie Lehrman, Attorney Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
The demand we have seen in Indiana continues to be in Indianapolis, with the rest of the state remaining quiet. Indianapolis has shown substantial growth since last year. While the focus in Indianapolis is without question on IP prosecution, we notice an increase in IP litigation, general litigation, real estate, and corporate.
In the patent arena, we have seen more demand at all levels in this area, including patent agents. Some firms in Indianapolis require a higher technical degree for patent prosecutors, but many do not. The most sought-after technical backgrounds remain Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Computer Engineering, and some opportunities for scientists with life sciences backgrounds.
We have also seen some activity in real estate and corporate positions, and the litigation market also appears to be poised for a comeback in Indianapolis. We are starting to see firms hire junior associates again in these fields, whereas in the recent past they were hiring only at the 3+ year level. Firms can still afford to pick and choose among associates, and many insist on top academic credentials and large firm experience showing progressive responsibility. The corporate positions tend to seek a broad range of experience rather than one specialized area of expertise, so M & A associates tend to be the most marketable. Litigation remains quiet, but there is some activity in the last quarter. Having said that, these are the most competitive positions in the market.Candidates with top credentials should contact our Chicago office for assistance in applying to these positions.
Indiana firms are interested in partner-level candidates with solid books of portable business. Firms tend to consider partners with $500,000 or more in business if they can possibly provide work for associates and/or create cross-selling opportunities within the firm. Partners with a portable book of business who are currently practicing in Indiana or interested in moving their practice there should contact our Chicago office.
State of the Market: Ohio by Julie Lehrman, Attorney Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Opportunities continue to arise for associates and partners alike in Ohio. The majority of positions are in the area of intellectual property, with the most sought-after technical backgrounds being Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, and Life Sciences. We have seen more opportunities this quarter for commercial litigation, and we are hopeful that the trend will continue. Many firms require candidates to be admitted to the Ohio Bar, while others will consider candidates who plan to gain admission, but they should have substantial ties to the community and a compelling reason for making the move to Ohio.
Ohio had a few opportunities for litigators last quarter, and has a few more this quarter. We hope that this is indicative of a growing need for litigators in the state. The demand appears to be in the general commercial litigation sector. Some firms require demonstrated courtroom experience, and soup-to-nuts litigation experience, rather than simply brief writing, litigation support, and other back-office work. Leanly staffed firms require associates to demonstrate an ability to work independently, supervise others, and be responsible for a caseload. At firms such as these, outstanding academics will take a backseat to demonstrated experience and progressive responsibility. Having said that, the litigation market is such that many firms will not consider litigation associates without stellar academics, or even a clerkship.Most firms in Ohio focus heavily on candidates with a strong connection to the state (and particular city), with a particular emphasis on those already admitted to the Ohio bar.
Intellectual property has remained largely steady, with firms generally looking for patent associates with technical backgrounds in electrical engineering or the life sciences including biology, biochemistry, and chemistry. Most firms are currently looking for prosecution associates but others are looking for litigators and those with both prosecution and litigation experience. There is also some demand for patent agents. In general, firms like to see a minimum of two years of solid experience from a large law firm or sophisticated boutique. Interested candidates should contact our Chicago office for more details.
Partners with Portable Business
Demand is high for highly-qualified partners with portable business. Most firms are looking for partners in all areas of law, but we are seeing a particular desire for corporate, labor and employment, and intellectual property attorneys with established and/or growing books of business. The amount of portable business required varies from firm to firm, but in general some firms will talk to partners with $500,000 or more in portable business. Even so, partners with less than $500,000 and a concrete, specific business plan outlining how they plan to grow their business are encouraged to reach out to BCG for assistance.
Dayton, Columbus, and Toledo
While Dayton, Columbus, and Toledo are relatively small legal markets, there is a fair amount of activity on the associate and partner levels. The firms are primarily seeking associates with healthcare, and IP experience. We've also seen some patent agent opportunities for those with significant patent prosecution experience. Agents should be PTO admitted, have technical experience as well as significant prosecution experience. Those with strong connections to the particular cities tend to be more marketable to the firms.
In addition to the need for a variety of associates, we continue to see opportunities for partners with portable business, in a variety of area. As elsewhere, the level of business a partner needs to be marketable varies from firm to firm; however, generally firms in the area will respond favorably to $500,000 and/or a concrete business plan.
State of the Market: Utah by Julie Lehrman, Attorney Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Over the last quarter, we have seen a variety of opportunities in the Salt Lake area, including IP associates with technical backgrounds in electrical engineering and computer science, for corporate associates, especially for those with banking and finance experience, litigators, and energy (oil and gas). Because of the strong community in and around Salt Lake City and the large number of candidates attracted to the city, firms strongly prefer candidates currently residing in Utah, originally from the area, or with significant ties. Admission to the Utah bar is often required.
Utah firms are always interested in speaking to partners with significant portable business, especially if currently practicing in Utah or with strong ties to the area. Firms are skeptical of attorneys without connection to Utah who seek to move there, so if you are such an attorney, be clear as to your reasons for making the move. The amount of portable business required varies from firm to firm, so contact the Chicago office for more information.
State of the Market: Chicago by Jamie Bailey, Partner, BCG Attorney Search - Chicago
Partners with Portable Business
Chicago firms are receptive to income and equity partners with portable books of business, who are highly motivated to continue to grow their books in law firm environments which are well equipped to service their clients' increasing demands for diverse services and attractive billing rate structures. We would be interested in speaking with energetic junior partners who have growing books of business.
We would also like to speak with more seasoned partners who have well established clients seeking environments which are financially stable, and which will offer their clients creative fee structures, excellent representation in key practice areas, and the ability to cross-sell services. Chicago firms are generally looking for a minimum of $1-2 million in portable business, but some smaller and mid-sized firms will consider books starting at $500,000.
During the fourth quarter of 2012, corporate practices were experiencing significant pick up in corporate transactional needs and at year-end we were hearing encouraging reports of heavy deal flow from our law firm clients. During the first quarter, we have continued to receive corporate openings. Firms are seeking associates with 2-6 years of experience in securities (including experience in derivatives and commodities, futures, swaps, securities brokerages and OTC markets), M&A, venture capital, and private equity transactions. We would also be interested in speaking with associates who have 4-7 years of experience in commercial finance matters, including work with financial institutions and hedge funds.
We would like to speak with healthcare associates with 2-6 years of experience in healthcare transactions. Healthcare associates with experience in the life sciences area and who have exposure to health regulatory, FDA, fraud and abuse, advertising and promotion and clinical research matters should definitely call our Chicago office. We would also be interested in speaking with associates who have 3-5 years of experience in working with Stark and Anti-kickback statutes, the False Claims Act, fraud and abuse compliance, HIPAA, HITECH, privacy and security, managed care, and hospital/physician contracting matters.
As we have reported over the past few years, Chicago firms' intellectual property practices are continuing to expand and thrive in both patent prosecution and patent litigation. Firms are contacting us requesting associates with 2-5 years of experience handling intellectual property litigation matters and who have electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, computer science or computer engineering backgrounds. Patent prosecutors with 2-6 years of experience and electrical engineering, computer software and/or hardware technology backgrounds should get in touch with us to discuss opportunities in Chicago. Those with 8+ years of experience handling patent prosecution matters and who have chemistry or chemical engineering backgrounds should also contact us. USPTO is most often required for these positions.
Real estate continues to be an area where we are seeing need at some of the top firms in Chicago. Associates with 2-6 years of experience in commercial real estate matters, including real estate finance, acquisition, disposition and leasing, and real estate finance should contact us to discuss opportunities in some of the best real estate practices in Chicago.
We are seeking associates with outstanding academic credentials and large law firm experience with 2-5 years of experience in federal tax transactional matters (or tax controversy matters) and employee benefits matters. We would also like to speak with trusts and estates associates with probate and trust and administration matters, estate and gift tax returns, and experience in establishing private foundations and other charitable vehicles.
State of the Market: Wisconsin by Jamie Bailey, Partner, BCG Attorney Search - Chicago
Milwaukee and Madison
Partners with Portable Business
Law firms in Wisconsin continue to be focused on increasing their bottom line and we are seeing a lot of movement among the partner ranks. We would be interested in speaking with partners who have portable business in the key practice areas generally found in large general practice firms.
As we reported last quarter, intellectual property practices at Wisconsin firms continue to be very busy. We would like to speak with patent prosecution associates with 3-5 years of experience and backgrounds in chemistry or biological sciences. We would also be interested in associates with 1-6 years of patent prosecution experience with electrical engineering or computer science backgrounds and who have experience with Internet technologies, communications systems and networks, wireless systems, and optical systems. Those with 1-3 years of experience in mechanical and electro mechanical technologies and related software applications who have backgrounds in mechanical engineering, physics or computer science should also get in touch with us. USPTO is in most cases required.
On the intellectual property litigation side, firms in Madison and Milwaukee are seeking patent litigation associates with 2-3 years of experience and electrical engineering or mechanical engineering backgrounds. USPTO is in most cases required.
We are interested in speaking with associates with 2-5 years of experience handling environmental matters and with particular exposure to the Clean Water Act, RCRA, CERCLA and the Clean Air Act.
State of the Market: Michigan by Jamie Bailey, Partner, BCG Attorney Search - Chicago
Partners with Business
We are interested in speaking with partners practicing in Michigan who are seeking opportunities in Detroit and/or the surrounding legal markets, including Lansing, Southfield, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Novi or Troy. In particular, we would like to speak with partners with a minimum of $300,000 in portable business.
Detroit, Bloomfield Hills, Lansing, Southfield, Novi, Troy, Royal Oak
Intellectual property practices at firms in Detroit are continuing to expand and we would be interested in speaking with intellectual property attorneys with 5+ years of experience in copyright, trademark, licensing and litigation, trade secret and technology protection, Internet and e-commerce, software development and licensing. We would also like to speak with patent prosecution associates with 2+ years of experience handling matters involving robotics, automation software and apparel and backgrounds in electrical engineering or computer science. USPTO is in most cases required or preferred for these positions.
Corporate Securities and Commercial Finance
We are interested in speaking with corporate transactional associates who have 5-10 years of experience in corporate securities and commercial finance matters (including transactional experience representing financial institutions, mezzanine and subordinated lenders, real estate lenders and borrowers.)
As we indicated last quarter, some Michigan firms have been experiencing quite an uptick in their commercial real estate practices. We would like to speak with commercial real estate associates with 5-10 years of experience in commercial real estate matters, including leasing, acquisition and disposition, environmental, construction, and commercial mortgage foreclosure experience.
Labor and Employment
We have a few top Detroit firms seeking labor and employment associates with 3-7 years of experience in wage and hour litigation, non-compete and trade secret compliance and litigation, collective bargaining union avoidance, and experience with the Fair Labor Standard Act and the National Labor Relations Act. Excellent academics and law review or law journal are required for these positions.
We are interested in speaking with associates with 1-5 years of experience handling commercial banking and loan origination transactions and 3-10 years of experience handling commercial finance matters representing banks and financial institutions. The MI bar is required for these positions.
Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Traverse City
Intellectual Property and Technology - Patent Prosecution; Technology Transactions
We would also be interested in speaking with patent prosecution associates with 2-5 years of experience and a background in mechanical engineering, computer science, chemical engineering or electrical engineering. We would also be interested in speaking with biotech/life sciences patent attorneys with 5+ years of experience and familiarity with FDA compliance. (This is a unique leadership opportunity and requires some level of self-sustaining portable business.)
Technology transactional associates with 2-5 years of experience should call our Chicago office to discuss opportunities.
State of the Market: Philadelphia by Robyn Ginsberg, Senior Managing Director-East Coast, BCG Attorney Search
For the first time since the economic downturn began, the Philadelphia legal market is showing clear signs of an increase in lateral law firm hiring. Notably, while there is evident growth in both corporate and litigation practice areas, most hiring appears to be centered around the health care, pharmaceutical and life science industry sectors - as clients in these sectors have been particularly active in and around the Philadelphia area.
Additionally, Philadelphia has become one of the most attractive cities on the east coast for lateral relocations. This is, in part, because the city offers a more affordable alternative to New York and a more relaxed culture, some would argue, than Washington, D.C. However, there are other factors in play, including a buyer-friendly real estate market as well as a general revitalization of Philadelphia's art and food culture. In fact, the city of Philadelphia was recently declared by Lonely Planet to be a top U.S. travel destination for 2013.
All of this is good news for the Philadelphia legal job market. While we saw legal hiring pick up at a slow but steady rate in many legal markets in late 2011 and 2012, Philadelphia consistently lagged behind its neighboring east coast cities. The city's legal job growth was stagnant for the last few years and this resulted in a very competitive job market, with many strong candidates feeling frustrated by the lack of viable lateral opportunities.
BCG's statistics confirm that law firm hiring trends are on the rise in Philadelphia in early 2013. We recently surveyed Philadelphia law firm job listings from 2009 to the present in several key practice areas, including Corporate, Health Care; Intellectual Property and Toxic Torts. Although the second quarter of 2013 has just begun, we have already seen more law firm job postings so far in 2013 than we respectively saw in 2009 and 2010. Right now, in fact, we are on pace to see at least 60% more jobs by year end than we saw in all of 2011 and 50% more jobs than we saw throughout 2012.
Product Liability/Toxic Tort Litigation:
As is the trend throughout much of the east coast right now, most if not all of the active litigation positions in Philadelphia are seeking candidates with product liability experience. Examples include the following:
Philadelphia office seeks litigation attorney having 3+ years of experience handling product liability or general casualty defense matters. The candidate must have insurance defense experience. Should have experience handling arbitrations and depositions. Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bar admissions are required.
Philadelphia office seeks attorney having 1-3 years of civil defense experience. The candidate should preferably have general liability, toxic tort including asbestos and product liability experience. PA Bar admission is required. DE Bar admission is a plus.
Several law firms in Philadelphia are currently seeking candidates with broad-ranging corporate experience. The two hottest sub-specialties right now are corporate finance and mergers & acquisitions, with multiple firms seeking candidates with experience in one of these two areas. Additionally, we are seeing some demand for candidates with restructuring experience as well as investment fund experience. Additionally, law firms have been increasingly focused on candidates with health care transactional experience in Philadelphia and New Jersey thus far in 2013.
Real estate has consistently been a vibrant practice area in Philadelphia and that is still the case now, with the focus largely being on real estate finance and lending. Right now 80% of our Philadelphia-based real estate positions are focused on finance and lending. The remaining listings seek candidates with real estate investment fund or commercial real estate experience.
Health care has also consistently been a major industry in the Philadelphia area and we typically feel the impact of this on law firm hiring. We are mostly seeing this impact in litigation and transactional practices, however we are also seeing a slight but growing demand for candidates with health care regulatory/FDA experience as well. We will monitor this trend during the second quarter of 2013.
Thus far in 2013, the majority of IP law opportunities are focused on patent prosecution. Multiple firms are seeking candidates with patent prosecution experience in a wide range of technologies, including mechanical engineering, electrical and electro-mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, software and biotechnology.Notably, we are also seeing an increased demand for candidates with focused technology transactions experience, including licensing.
This practice area is quite active right now in Philadelphia. There are a number of firms seeking candidates with combined tax and wealth planning experience, while other firms are focused on candidates with niche tax experience, such as partnership tax expertise.
We have since a marked increase in demand for candidates at all experience levels with labor and employment experience, primarily in the employment litigation context.
We are seeing a consistent demand for partner level candidates in a diverse range of practice areas. The demand for portable business ranges from $500,000 to closer to $2 million, depending on the size of the firm in question. Generally, however, Philadelphia firms require a slightly lower portable threshold than neighboring cities, such as New York and Washington, DC.
Philadelphia is in close proximity to a number of other large cities and prosperous financial centers in New York, New Jersey and Delaware, among others. A continued economic resurgence in Philadelphia is sure to entice and attract businesses and "big law" players from other key east coast markets. If the revitalization of Philadelphia as a whole continues, along with increased activity in the local law firm sector, than we expect to see additional law firms establishing a presence in the Philadelphia market, including top national law firms as well as highly-ranked regional firms. This would impact lateral moves at the partner level, as new players seek to poach top talent from established law firms in Philadelphia and, in turn, will lead to new opportunities for associate attorneys needed to service partners' clients.
In conclusion, early indicators in 2013 suggest that it is a good time to be a Philadelphia attorney looking to make a lateral law firm move. For those who have long been frustrated by the lack of activity in the Philadelphia market or who are only just beginning to contemplate a lateral move, 2013 may just be your year. Similarly, for those living elsewhere but with ties to the Philadelphia area who have been considering returning home, it appears this may be a good time to get the ball rolling.
State of the Market: New York by Nicole Callahan, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
The beginning of 2013 is showing an increase in interest from firms to grow their practice groups, although they continue to be slow in making decisions about specific candidates. Intellectual property remains very hot right now, and Litigation, Real Estate and Employment Law are noticeably picking up. As always, firms are demanding top-level academic credentials and work experience.
Patent litigation and prosecution are still very hot practice areas, particularly for candidates with a strong technical background. Firms are looking for candidates with all levels of experience that have advanced degrees in the areas of electrical and mechanical engineering, computer science, biology, and chemistry backgrounds. We expect this trend to continue, with more and more firms seeking candidates with a life sciences background.
Trademark and copyright continue to be very slow. While activity in these areas is picking up in other east coast markets, we are not seeing any movement in New York.
We have seen a significant increase in activity in the area of transactional IP. Firms are looking for mid-level associates with broad transactional experience, including technology transfers and licensing, and M&A support.
Firms are now beginning to search for junior general litigation associates, likely to fill the gap created by the economic downfall. There is a demand for mid-level associates in the areas of complex commercial litigation, securities, and insurance work. Interestingly, the demand for experienced products liability candidates had popped, and interest in litigators with white collar experience has decreased.
As we have seen the past couple of years, many of the firms that are looking to add litigation associates to their New York offices are still moving extremely slowly with their searches. We are hopeful that the pace will pick up now that it is spring.
There is a high demand for mid-level corporate associates, typically with traditional corporate experience, including mergers and acquisitions, securities, and capital markets work. We have noticed an increase in interest in finance/banking candidates with acquisitions, leveraged financing, and restructuring/reorganization experience. Also hot right now are tax attorneys with a broad base of corporate experience, including corporate restructuring, capital markets transactions, M&A, and structured product tax work.
Commercial real estate has picked up quite a bit, with firms looking for junior to mid-level associates with experience across a broad range of sophisticated commercial real estate transactions, including acquisitions, dispositions, financings, joint ventures, fund formation, and leasing. Although a small amount, there is some interest in candidates with backgrounds in construction or development, but only if they also have experience in the aforementioned areas as well.
Employment and Labor Law
The need for employment/labor law attorneys remains steady. Firms are seeking candidates with all levels of experience across a broad range of areas, including wage and hour, discrimination, and employee benefits.
The need for health law candidates is only slightly higher than we saw at the end of 2012. A few firms are looking for mid-level candidates with experience in regulatory, compliance and transactional matters. We are hopeful that this practice area will pick up more as the year progresses because of the new health care initiatives and the current vitality of the life science sector.
The partner market in New York continues to show high levels of demand. Large firms are seeking partners with a substantial book of business (between $1 and $2 million, depending upon seniority) across a wide variety of practice areas. Of particular interest are real estate, financial services (hedge funds mostly), and patent and commercial litigation. Smaller firms are considering partner candidates with a book of business between $250 and $600 thousand.
State of the Market: Boston/New England by Bonnie Nathan, Esq., Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Boston/New England Market
The Boston legal market has grown in the first quarter of 2013 and we anticipate that it will continue to grow. We are seeing an increased number of lateral openings - specifically in the areas of intellectual property, finance, real estate and tax - however, there have also been more openings for litigation, particularly in the areas of securities and labor and employment.
We are seeing a need for corporate generalists and those with extensive experience in finance and corporate lending and mid-level associates with expertise in fund work (hedge funds, private equity funds and funds of funds) and investment management.
The IP trend that has been sweeping the nation continues in the Boston market. Although there is some demand for patent litigation associates (particularly those with a technical background in engineering and computer science), the greatest demand is on the prosecution side. There are numerous opening at top Boston firms for laterals in patent prosecution (particularly those 2 to 5 years out of law school) both for attorneys with a technical degree in engineering (particularly electrical engineering) and computer science and also for those with an advance degree in chemistry, biology or a related field. Now is probably the best time in years for IP attorneys with these technical backgrounds to seek to make a lateral transition.
We are now seeing a resurgence in law firm litigation hiring - both at large, national firms and at more regional firms. The interest, at this stage, is for mid-level commercial litigators, particularly those with financial/securities litigation experience and for labor and employment litigators.
State of the Market: Washington, D.C. by Katy Anderman, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
The DC market continues to thrive with over 140 legal opportunities open in litigation, intellectual property and corporate. Historically, Washington, DC has attracted strong litigation talent but we are seeing an increasing need for attorneys with transactional skills, regulatory experience and IP experience (with engineering and life sciences backgrounds).
We are seeing an increased demand for general corporate M&A associates but also for associates who have specialized experience with capital markets and securities, structured, debt and project finance, and/or hedge fund and fund formation and investment management matters. While in the past, DC firms have trained associates many of their to be corporate generalists, we are now seeing an increased need for specialists to work within sub-corporate practice groups.
FDA: The FDA/regulatory market in DC is heating up and several firms are looking for food and drug attorneys with experience in FDA regulatory issues related to the pharmaceutical and medical device industries and in FDA regulations governing foods, dietary supplements, OTC drugs, medical devices, and cosmetics.
The regulatory health care market is thriving in DC as well. Associates with health care experience in Medicare/Medicaid, health care fraud and abuse laws including Anti Kickback Statute, Stark and False Claims Act are highly sought after.
International Trade attorneys who have experience with the Office of Foreign Assets Control ("OFAC), Export Administration Regulations ("EAR") and/or the International Traffic in Arms Regulations ("ITAR") will continue to have opportunities to explore.
There is no doubt that the hottest practice area in D.C. at the present time continues to be Patent Litigation. The demand is particularly acute for Patent Litigators with Electrical Engineering or Computer Science, Chemistry, Biochemistry, and/or Physics degrees. Candidates who are admitted to the USPTO will have a leg up on the competition.
Patent Prosecutors are very much in demand as well in D.C., although the demand is roughly half of what we are seeing for Patent Litigators. The highest demand is for Patent Prosecutors with Electrical Engineering or Computer Science degrees.
The D.C. market for general litigators remains tight. Firms are really only interested in meeting with litigation candidates from top 10 law schools with law review experience. In DC, you pretty much have to have had a federal clerkship to be a competitive candidate. However, we have seen some need for white collar, antitrust/international trade and insurance litigation associates. Again, patent litigation needs remain strong. DC has always been able to attract very qualified litigation associates and right now the supply is just greater than the demand.
The first quarter of 2013 has seen some pretty impressive highs for the transactional market. Our corporate needs in Texas are almost nearing 2006 and 2007 levels. This could be due to the fact that so few corporate associates were "created" in 2009, 2010, and even 2011. We've continued to see needs in transactional energy with a scattering of real estate needs, as well. But most of our needs have been in corporate, with a particular need coming from Houston. The majority of our needs have been in M&A with a few securities positions as well. IP needs have also been steady, especially with firms that need Patent attorneys in litigation and prosecution, though these needs have mostly been for EE's and Computer Science majors. We have also seen a marked uptick in firms seeking Patent Agents and Technical Advisors with these backgrounds.
As always, with its low cost of living yet comparable firm salary structure, Texas remains a great option for partners and associates. Out-of-state transactional candidates find little barrier to entry in Texas as long as they have strong credentials, however litigation candidates may be less competitive without the Texas Bar. Signing up for the next available bar exam, or gaining reciprocity shows dedication to a move to Texas on a resume.
Below is a breakdown of various practices areas as they relate to firms' needs in Texas:
Partner movement remains high as many firms have fared better than others throughout the recession. Many firms have expressed their desire to review partner candidates with portable business. BCG Attorney Search is a leader in partner placements nationwide, and we can use our contacts to make that transition very smooth and confidential for you. If you are interested in confidentially discussing in any of these opportunities, please contact me at 713-270-1199.
Litigation has risen a bit in 2013, but our needs are still medium to low. With the transactional markets really heating up, we hope to see increased needs for litigation. Candidates with judicial clerkships and solid writing skills have a definite competitive edge. This is a much more competitive area than corporate right now and my litigation candidates have had to be patient as new opportunities ebb and flow.
Labor and Employment
Employment needs were slow throughout last year, but we saw a last quarter surge in this area that has continued into 2013.
As I mentioned, this area is very hot. Many of our clients are considering corporate resumes with strong deal experience. Private Equity experience remains a hot area for firms and now we are starting to see more securities needs, as well.
Tax needs have slowed a bit since last year. Candidates with an LL.M from top programs such as NYU, Florida, and Georgetown are most valuable to the firms.
IP Litigation needs have been very consistent. We are seeing many needs in this area for those with a background in Electrical Engineering or Computer Science. This is a great time to move as firms are consistently busy and have ample work to go around.
Patent prosecution needs have also very heavily increased at firms in Texas and this is a trend we have noticed nationwide. Particularly attractive to firms are those attorneys with a background in Electrical Engineering, Physics or Computer Science. We have also had needs for candidates with Chemical and Mechanical backgrounds recently. In Houston, candidates with experience in oilfield tools are highly valued. As I mentioned previously, Patent Agents and Technical Advisors are also in high demand.
Energy and Project Finance
Transactional Energy associates are heavily in demand as per usual in our Houston markets. We have positions in M&A, development, cross-border, and project finance.
As I mentioned, needs in this area have dramatically increased since last year. Candidates at the junior and mid-level are being sought in Dallas and Houston, with some needs appearing in Austin this year as well.
New Orleans law firms have needs on a rolling but scattered basis. We currently have needs in corporate and real estate. Candidates with personal ties to the area are often favored for this market.
Atlanta law firms have had very strong needs Real Estate, IP litigation, Patent Prosecution and Corporate. Corporate is a very hot area in Atlanta and it's an excellent time to look if you are considering a move.
Charlotte and North Carolina
As a major hub for Finance work, Charlotte continues to have almost constant needs for junior to mid-level Finance candidates with excellent credentials. Candidates with Mortgage experience are highly sought as well as general corporate candidates. We have also had consistent IP needs across North Carolina and in Charlotte. Real Estate has also been a hot area in North Carolina recently as has general corporate.
State of the Market: Florida by Bonnie Nathan, Esq., Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Florida firms are having an increased number of openings at this time. Much of the demand is for corporate and intellectual property attorneys who are 3 to 6 years out of law school. However, there is also an increasing demand for commercial litigation associates, particularly in the areas of insurance defense and general commercial litigation. There has also been a noticeable increase in open positions in the Tampa market.
Partners with Business
We are interested in speaking with partners practicing in Florida, particularly in Miami and West Palm with a minimum of $300,000 in portable business. Of particular interest are partners with portable business in the following areas: intellectual property, tax, trusts and estates, commercial litigation, immigration, real estate and corporate.
Miami/Ft. Lauderdale/West Palm
We would be particularly interested in speaking with attorneys in these markets (or looking to relocate to these markets) with 1 to 6 years of experience in the areas of employment counseling and litigation; general commercial litigation; foreclosures; insurance defense; patent prosecution; tax (including ERISA) and corporate transactions (specifically including corporate finance, real estate finance and M & A).
We would be particularly interested in speaking with litigators in this market (or looking to relocate to this market) with 2 to 6 years of experience in insurance defense and general commercial litigation, corporate attorneys with 2 to 5 years of experience in corporate transactions (particularly real estate and M & A), and attorneys with estate planning experience with 1 to 5 years of experience.
We would be particularly interested in speaking with attorneys in this market (or looking to relocate to this market) with 2 to 5 years of experience commercial litigation and banking and finance.
We would be particularly interested in speaking with attorneys in this market (or looking to relocate to this market) with 2 to 5 years of experience in intellectual property, tax, and real estate transactions, and attorneys with 4 or more years of experience in labor and employment law.
State of the Market: Europe and Asia by Margaret Gilleran, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
The hiring trend in London for corporate attorneys with large firm backgrounds and excellent academic credentials remains strong. Moreover, the need for corporate attorneys crosses over into multiple disciplines: Capital Markets, Energy, Finance, Investment Management, Mergers & Acquisitions, Private Equity, Project Finance, and Structured Finance. Generally, London firms are looking for candidates with 2+ years of experience.
The demand for litigators in London has increased dramatically during the first quarter of 2013. The heaviest demand is for litigators with experience handling Banking and Financial Services disputes. However, litigators with experience in any of the following areas are in high demand: Construction, Insurance, International Arbitration, Regulatory, White Collar Defense, and General Commercial Litigation. The highest demand is for litigators with 3 to 5 years of experience.
There appears to be a growing need for attorneys who have experience with Intellectual Property Technology, Privacy, and/or Data Security. Generally, London firms are interested in attorneys who have experience with technology transactions, including licensing agreements, e-commerce, media and entertainment deals, data security and privacy matters, and IP due diligence in M&A and financing transactions. The level of experience is fairly broad ranging from 1 to 5+ years of experience.
Real estate continues to be a very busy area in London. Firms are interested in attorneys who have "traditional" real estate experience, i.e., experience with real estate finance, and acquisitions and dispositions, as well as attorneys who have experience with real estate funds matters.
While we are not seeing any strong trends in the following areas, there are openings and if a candidate has the right credentials and wishes to relocate, then a move to London is certainly possible. Such areas include: Antitrust, Construction, ERISA, Environmental, Insurance, and Tax.
In addition, there are other markets in the U.K. - such as Bristol, Leeds and Sheffield - that are active. Bristol is probably the most active with a variety of opportunities, including Corporate, Insurance, Intellectual Property, Litigation, and Real Estate. The opportunities in Leeds and Sheffield have more of an emphasis on Finance.
Europe (Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Ireland, Spain, Switzerland)
There are a number of openings for corporate attorneys in Amsterdam, Brussels, Dublin, Frankfurt, and Munich. Nearly every corporate practice area, including Capital Markets, Energy, Finance, Investment Management, Mergers & Acquisitions, Private Equity, Project Finance, and Structured Finance are in demand. Brussels and Frankfurt are particularly hot markets with the greatest number of new corporate opportunities during the first quarter of 2013. Some opportunities in Brussels require Dutch qualification, and attorneys with French, Dutch and English fluency are the most in demand. Generally, Frankfurt and Munich firms require both German and English fluency. Another developing trend is a spike in Project Finance opportunities in Dublin.
The increased demand for litigators in London is not the trend in the rest of Europe. However, there are several litigation openings in Antwerp, Brussels, Munich and Piraeus. With respect to the openings in Antwerp and Brussels, candidates should have litigation and arbitration experience, Dutch or French as their mother tongue, and an excellent knowledge of English. The opening in Munich requires both German and English fluency. The Piraeus position does not specify language abilities, but the successful candidate must have 3+ years of experience with shipping litigation.
There are several openings for experienced anti-trust attorneys in Amsterdam, Brussels, Dusseldorf and Madrid. Ideally, an attorney will have 2 to 4 years of experience with all aspects of EU competition law representing clients in merger control proceedings, cartel investigations, and antitrust litigations, and counseling clients on business practices and regulatory matters. Fluency in English is usually required, and fluency in other languages is an asset. The opening in Madrid requires fluency in both English and Spanish.
The demand for employment attorneys has increased during the first quarter of 2013. There are openings in Antwerp, Brussels, Dublin, Franfurt, and Munich. The positions require experience handling a mix of transactional, advisory and litigation work in the employment field.
There are openings for Intellectual Property attorneys in Brussels, Dublin, Moscow, and Munich. Some of the openings are Information Technology opportunities, whereas others are more traditional Patent opportunities that require technical degrees. An example of the former is a Brussels firm that is seeking an IP /IT lawyer having 1 year of experience spent in a Belgian law firm or abroad. The candidate should have a first-class Belgian law degree, preferably combined with additional education abroad or a post-graduate degree in IP- related areas of law, or at least a strong interest in that field. Candidate should speak English, French and/or Dutch.
An example of the latter is a Moscow firm that is seeking a junior to mid-level patent attorney with an Electronics, Software or Computer Science background. Candidates should be fluent in English and Russian. Likewise, a Munich firm seeks a Patent attorney with 3 to 4 years of experience and an Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering or Physics background. Fluency in English and German is required.
Real Estate is slow throughout Europe. There is an opening to join the Real Estate practice of an international firm's office in Brussels. The firm is looking for junior attorneys (1-2 years of experience) and candidates must have French as mother tongue and an excellent command of English and Dutch.
Offices in Brussels, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, and Geneva are seeking junior, mid-level and senior associates with tax experience. Depending on the position, the firms seek US attorneys, Belgian or U.K. attorneys. Language skills are important and many positions in Brussels require fluency in French, Dutch and English. French fluency is required for all opportunities in Geneva. Experience with international tax, customs, and transfer pricing matters are particularly attractive to German firms.
There is significant demand in Asia for corporate attorneys. Such demand is particularly high in Beijing, Hong Kong, and Singapore. In Beijing and Shanghai, nearly all opportunities require fluency in Mandarin and English. We highly recommend any corporate attorney having difficulty finding a position in a major US market to consider Asia. There is a strong demand for corporate attorneys at every level in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Beijing, and Tokyo; however, the demand for corporate attorneys in Thailand has dropped in the last quarter. Generally, attorneys should have 3+ years of experience and have worked in one or more of the following areas: Capital Markets, FCPA (Foreign Corrupt Practices Act),FDI (Foreign Direct Investment), Finance, High Yield Debt, Hong Kong Takeovers Code, Mergers & Acquisitions, Private Equity, Project Finance, Regulatory, and/or Structured Finance.
The demand for litigators in Asia is not as strong as for corporate attorneys; however, there are some markets - like Hong Kong - that are more active than others. Interestingly, nearly all of the Hong Kong positions require Hong Kong qualification. The foregoing is not true in other markets. For example, there is an opening in Tokyo where qualification to practice in the U.S. is required. Other active markets include Beijing, Shanghai, and Singapore. Qualified attorneys will have experience in one or more of the following areas: Arbitration, Complex Civil Litigation, Cross-Border Disputes, Investigations (Internal, Regulatory, FCPA, and/or Financial Fraud), and Securities.Generally, attorneys should have English and Mandarin language skills for opportunities in China. The Tokyo position requires that the candidate have the ability to speak Japanese at a level adequate to participate actively in meetings conducted in Japanese. There is one litigation opening in Thailand; the candidate should have 2 to 5 years of experience and must be Thai-qualified.
A Tokyo office seeks project lawyer with 8+ years of experience to join firm's Major Projects Group. The Major Projects Group advises major Japanese power utilities, manufacturing multinationals and trading houses on offshore projects and investments. The Group has a strong focus on power, mining, oil and gas and renewable energy projects in various parts of the world. Japanese language ability and strong drafting skills will be required. Experience in resources work is preferred. Candidates with Banking and Finance, Corporate, or Mergers & Acquisitions experience will be considered.
Intellectual Property is an area in which there is a steady demand in Asia. There are opportunities for attorneys in Beijing, Guangzou, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, and Tokyo. The opportunities include both contentious and non-contentious matters. Generally, attorneys should have 3+ years of experience in a variety of areas including: patent litigation, patent invalidation, freedom to operate search and analysis, client counseling related to protecting patent, trademark, copyrights, trade secrets, and transactional matters involving intellectual property (e.g. licensing.)In Tokyo there is a demand for attorneys with 3+ years of experience with licensing and litigation matters. Candidates with strong Japanese language are highly preferred.
There has been very little change in the legal market in the Middle East during the last quarter. There are opportunities in Abu Dhabi and Dubai for corporate attorneys with 3+ years of experience in one or more of the following areas: Energy (specifically Oil and Gas), Islamic Finance, Mergers & Acquisitions, and Private Equity. Firms seek candidates from top regional or international law firms and who speak English. Arabic languages skills are necessary in some cases.
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