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 three years. The demand for junior and mid-level associates remains high. Experience in emerging companies/venture capital, M & A, and securities is expected almost unilaterally, although a few firms have begun hiring associates with experience in private funds and debt finance. Associates with experience in the clean tech and life sciences sectors are consistently in demand.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.
Compared to previous years, litigation hiring in San Francisco skyrocketed in 2013 and into 2014, 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 normally 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 Am Law 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 next California bar exam.
Patent prosecution hiring in San Francisco picked up considerably in 2013 and has remained strong in 2014.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 required. Patent prosecutors are encouraged to also look in the Silicon Valley area for a position.
Real Estate in San Francisco and across the state skyrocketed in late 2013 and hiring continues to be steady in the first quarter of 2014. Current vacancies are evenly split between transactional and finance candidates in the mid-level range (3 - 5 years). Transactional candidates need experience in leasing, 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 this sector was very slow for much of 2013, but the new year has seen a pretty steady increase in technology transactions hiring-but for candidates with very specific qualifications. Firms are seeking junior to mid-level associates, specifically with experience in the life sciences and healthcare sectors. Candidates with the very rare combination of life sciences licensing, corporate transactions and IP support are bound to get interviews.
Labor and Employment
Hiring in the labor and employment sector gained some strength in late 2013 and has continued into 2014. As in the previous two years, the demand comes almost exclusively from mid-sized & regional firms.Employers 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.
Hiring in this practice was very slow in 2013, yielding only a few vacancies for the entire year. There are currently two postings for ERISA attorneys, both with the same firm. This has historically been a fairly busy practice but it remains to be seen if 2014 will be the year that it rebounds.
There has been a slight increase in Environmental associate hiring with mid-sized firms, though certainly not enough to indicate a consistent, upward trend. Firms that are hiring are seeking junior to mid-level regulatory and litigation associates (2 - 5 years) with experience in land use, NEPA, CEQA, and the Clean Water Act. Top schools and grades are essential, as the positions are highly competitive.
The market for Trademark attorneys in San Francisco has been slow for the last two years. There are currently two positions open currently for both Trademark Litigators in the mid-level range. Candidates should have experience managing US and international trademark portfolios with additional experience in trademark clearance and routine trademark enforcement.
Hiring in the Tax sector remained slow in 2013 and into 2014. When there are vacancies, firms are seeking junior to mid-level associates with transactional tax experience, specifically with the tax aspects of mergers & acquisitions.
Dead Practice Areas
The following practices have shown no activity in several months: antitrust litigation, bankruptcy, construction, energy, government/municipal, healthcare, insurance defense, securities litigation, trusts & estates, 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.
The need for attorneys with experience in technology transactions has increased dramatically from 2013. As with the San Francisco market, candidates with life sciences transactional experience are most in demand. Firms are seeking candidates at all levels but are particularly interested in mid-levels. Candidates should have true technology transaction and licensing experience. Firms have a strong preference for candidates with tech backgrounds; particularly: electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, computer science, computer engineering, biology, physics, or chemistry.
Tax hiring in Silicon Valley is stronger than it has been in years. The first quarter of 2014 saw a very sharp increase in the number of tax positions available relative to the previous years. Firms are predominantly seeking transactional tax attorneys at all levels who have big firm experience and who have advised clients on the tax aspects of transactions. State and local tax vacancies are also increasing.
Real Estate in Silicon Valley picked up considerably in late 2013 and hiring continues to be steady in the first quarter of 2014. Current vacancies are predominantly for transactional and candidates in the mid-level range (3 - 5 years). There are occasionally openings for finance positions. Transactional candidates need experience in leasing, 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.
Trademark Litigation & Prosecution
The market for Trademark attorneys in Silicon Valley is currently very strong. There are several positions open for junior to mid-level associates with experience in trademark prosecution, counseling, and litigation. Experience with copyright litigation and domain disputes is also valued. Candidates should have experience managing US and international trademark portfolios with additional experience in trademark clearance and routine trademark enforcement.
General litigation has increased in Silicon Valley and remains steady. Like their San Francisco counterparts, firms in Silicon Valley are seeking junior to mid-level business/commercial litigation attorneys with stellar credentials.There are occasional postings for Securities litigators, as well. Anyone who has some intellectual property litigation experience should be fairly marketable. Candidates should have membership to the California Bar.
Historically, trusts & estates hiring is fairly slow in Silicon Valley, averaging 1 - 3 vacancies per year. However, the last 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.
Slow Practice Areas:
Labor & Employment
Hiring in the labor and employment sector in Silicon Valley gained strength in the Summer and Fall of 2013 but has fallen off considerably since then. Unlike San Francisco, the larger Am Law firms tend to be doing the hiring when there are vacancies. Firms are seeking mid-level associates (3 - 5 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.
ERISA/Executive Compensation hiring picked up steadily in the last quarter of 2013 but has fallen off in the first quarter of 2014. When positions are available, candidates with 2 - 6 years of experience seem to be in the most demand. Experience working with private and public companies is appreciated, as is experience in transactions.
Hiring in this practice area has historically been in cities with larger financial centers such as Los Angeles. Bankruptcy hiring in Silicon Valley is a rarity at best, averaging one position every two to three years, and always with mid-size or smaller firms. There is currently one Bankruptcy position. The firm is seeking a mid-level candidate with Chapters 7 & 11 experience.
Dead Practice Areas:
There is currently no activity in bankruptcy, construction, energy, environmental, healthcare, immigration, insurance, (however, firms are always considering partners with at least $1.5 million in portable business).
State of the Market Report: San Diego by Evan P. Anderson, Managing Director, BCG Attorney Search
San Diego is a highly sought after market for attorneys. The city boasts fantastic weather year round, natural beauty, and a slower pace. Traditionally, San Diego has been one of the hardest markets to penetrate in California. To be competitive here, you must be able to demonstrate strong ties to the area and have top credentials. Patent Prosecution(along with Patent Agent) hiring continues to dominate the San Diego legal market. We've also seen the addition of healthy Real Estate transactional hiring. Having the California Bar is a must in San Diego, even for transactional positions. Longevity at your current firm (2+ years) is also important. Be ready to explain your reasons for leaving your current firm, as well as any other moves on your resume.
Healthy Practice Areas:
Patent Prosecution and Litigation
Patent prosecution remains the hottest practice in San Diego with patent litigation following close behind. The strongest need for both litigation and prosecution is at the mid to senior level range. Candidates with backgrounds in one of the following will fare well: electrical engineering, biology/chemistry/chemical engineering/life science - particularly those with a Ph.D. There is a tremendous need for prosecutors with an electrical engineering or computer science background as much if not more so than in Silicon Valley. Candidates who currently work at a top boutique or large firm will surely get interviews.
Patent Agents are quite understandably in demand in San Diego. Candidates with degrees in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science or Physics are predominantly sought after. USPTO is almost always a must. Prior law firm experience is helpful but not always required.
The need for real estate associates in the areas of transactions and finance skyrocketed in the last quarter of 2013 and has continued into the first quarter of 2014. Top Am Law firms are seeking attorneys with 2 - 5 years of experience. Smaller, indigenous firms are seeking more senior attorneys with business who have a mixture of corporate and real estate work.Experienced real estate attorneys with traditional leasing and acquisition work from well-regarded law firms will also get interviews.
Several corporate positions opened up in San Diego in the last quarter of 2013 and into the first quarter of 2014. Junior to mid-level corporate associates with emerging company, venture capital, public & private securities experience are in demand. M &A experience is also valued. There has been recent surge in the need for corporate candidates with experience in technology transactions specifically. Some portable business may be required for more senior corporate positions, particularly at smaller, native firms.
Litigation hiring in San Diego began to pick up in the last quarter of 2013 and is still quite steady in the first quarter of 2014. Almost all hiring is being conducted by mid-sized or small local firms. Candidates sought tend to be junior to mid-level associates in the business, civil, and commercial litigation areas.
The need for attorneys with experience in technology transactions increased only slightly in 2013 and into 2014. When there are openings (there are two currently), senior candidates with life sciences transactional experience are most in demand. Traditional M &A experience is also valued.
Labor & Employment
In 2014, Labor & Employment hiring has slowed considerably for junior and mid-level associates but there continues to be a demand for partners with portable business. Wage and hour experience is a must, and admittance to the California Bar is required.
The need for senior energy attorneys and energy partners with business has picked up with smaller, native firms in San Diego. Those with experience in energy finance and the purchase and sale of energy projects as well as energy regulations such as FERC, CEC, CPUC will garner interviews.
We are not seeing a lot of activity in bankruptcy, construction, environmental, ERISA/Employee Benefits, healthcare, immigration, insurance coverage, tax, trademark,or trusts and estates. Anyone in these practice areas should seriously consider looking into the Orange County and Los Angeles markets.
State of the Market: Los Angeles by Allison Wottawa, Legal Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Los Angeles is an extremely active market saturated with diverse practice areas. Being the second largest city in the U.S. (next to New York), Los Angeles offers a variety of opportunities for attorneys and should be a solid consideration for those seeking a fast paced environment coupled with terrific weather. There is a solid divide between firms that are located downtown and on the Westside (typically Century City) and I highly recommend residing on the same side of town that you work.
The uptick in the market for corporate attorneys has continued. We are continuing to see positions for junior and mid-level corporate attorneys with a background in M &A, private equity, capital markets and general corporate transactions.However, there has been a particular influx of firms that are seeking corporate/finance attorneys with experience representing financial institutions in complex finance transactions. Although there is a strong preference for attorneys with the California Bar, most firms will consider a strong candidate from a high profile market (New York, Chicago, D.C., Texas, etc.) without being admitted. However, they will be expected to sit for the next California Bar exam.
There continues to be an influx of real estate positions with prominent national and regional law firms. Though several firms are seeking attorneys with experience in purchase and sale, leasing and joint ventures, there is a particular need for attorneys with a strong background in the finance aspects of real estate law.The ideal candidate has 2 - 6 years of experience with a reputable firm, though the real estate market is so strong that firms may consider attorneys outside of this bracket. As firms are gearing up for a real estate boom, partners with business in this area are in high demand. For someone with a solid book (800K+), it is the perfect time to scout the law firm landscape as many firms are seeking to expand or launch a real estate practice.
There continue to be plenty of opportunities for IP litigators with technical backgrounds, with a sharp skew toward those with a degree in Electrical Engineering or Computer Science (advanced degree preferred). We have solid opportunities with prestigious firms for mid-level associates, but have also witnessed an uptick in firms looking for junior attorneys with this background (1 - 3 years). There are fewer opportunities for patent prosecutors, but this area is still alive primarily for those with an Electrical Engineering or Computer Science background. Firms tend to prefer attorneys that are coming from big law firms or a reputable IP boutique.
Litigation has taken quite a hit over the past few months, but the market is certainly warming. We have seen an influx in litigation positions for junior and mid-level attorneys, primarily for niche areas.Popular areas are in finance litigation, real estate litigation, securities litigation, and products liability. The market for general litigation is still struggling and the competition for these positions is fierce. Attorneys with more than four years are expected to have conducted depositions and would ideally have at least second chair experience. California Bar admission is a necessity.
Labor/Employment is traditionally a consistently warm area. Several prominent firms as well as labor firms are seeking mid-level associates.Wage and hour class action experience is particularly in demand. In addition, we are also seeing a need for exposure to traditional labor law work (including NLRB proceedings). The ability to speak Spanish is certainly a plus for labor/employment attorneys in Los Angeles. Partners with business in this area are also highly sought after.
There are a few transactional tax positions in Los Angeles. These firms are seeking someone with 2 - 4 years of experience handling the tax aspects of M &A, capital markets transactions, restructuring, as well as partnership formations. There is a narrow need for ERISA/Employee Benefits as well as estate planning attorneys. There are relatively no positions for tax litigators or controversy attorneys at this time.
Dead Practice Areas:
Fields that remain slow, unless a candidate has portable business include bankruptcy, environmental, trademark and copyright, IP transactions, and construction.
State of the Market: Orange County by Allison Wottawa, Legal Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Orange County is a very interesting market with a cross between strong regional law firms and prominent firms with smaller offices. Though the OC typically has specific hiring needs for its market (intellectual property, real estate), the area has been relatively quiet since the beginning of 2014. Partners with at least 750K in portable business are always marketable to OC firms in any practice area.
HOT Practice Areas:
Both national law firms as well as regional firms are seeking patent prosecutors with a technical background in Electrical Engineering or Computer Science. Firms are particularly interested in those with experience in wireless technology, telecommunications, and semiconductor engineering. The ideal year level is for 2 - 5 years, but someone with this specific experience is in such demand that firms will look outside of these parameters. Membership to the USPTO is essential and advanced technical degrees are preferred.There are essentially no positions for someone with a life science background.
There is a demand for junior to mid-level corporate attorneys (anywhere from 1 - 7 years) with prominent firms in Orange County. The attorney would ideally have a mixture of public and private company mergers and acquisitions, capital markets, and general corporate work. Orange County firms tend to have a proclivity for corporate attorneys that are coming from larger markets and have a strong interest or nexus in the OC.Corporate partners with portable business are in high demand, specifically with strong regional firms that are based in Orange County.
Though the litigation market has been quite slow for the past few months, there are some possibilities in the Orange County market. These openings are typically with regional law firms and involve business, real estate, and insurance litigation. The ideal candidate has about 2 - 5 year of experience.California Bar is essential.
Firms are primarily seeking partners in this area, but there are a few associate positions with prominent regional law firms. These positions are for mid-level to senior associates (4 - 7 years) that have solid real estate transactional experience. Given recent trends, we believe this area will be on the upswing in the coming months.
There is a strong demand for partners with business in the arena of health care law.Though we are not seeing many associate positions, the firms are definitely gearing up for an uptick in healthcare work and are seeking to expand or launch their practice in this area.
Slow/Dead Practice Areas:
Though there may be a position here or there, these practice areas are extremely slow in the Orange County market: tax, trust & estate, ERISA, bankruptcy, patent litigation, trademark and copyright, and IP transactions.
THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST
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.The Seattle economy continues to do well heading into the first half of 2014, especially the tech sector, and this is reflected in the legal hiring landscape. IP candidates with strong technical backgrounds or corporate attorneys with tech transaction and/or venture capital experience will fare especially well in the current market.Junior and mid-level real estate attorneys with solid firm experience will also find multiple opportunities.For all openings, firms who are hiring look for candidates who have strong existing ties to the Seattle area and excellent credentials.That being said, if you have a solid technical background in electrical engineering, computer science, or physics, you will be welcomed by Seattle firms regardless of local ties as long as you have a familiarity with the climate and culture, and can demonstrate an intent to settle in the area.
Hot Practice Areas:
Patent prosecution remains especially hot in the Seattle market in early 2014, representing a solid majority of active job listings at major, mid-size, and boutique firms.Patent agent or patent attorney candidates with advanced degrees in electrical engineering, computer science, and physics can expect interviews at multiple firms, especially at the mid-level (3 - 5 years of experience).Under graduate degrees in those same fields will also be strongly considered due to the overwhelming demand for attorneys and patent agents with technical backgrounds.Additionally, we have also seen a recent and promising uptick in the previously slow life sciences patent sector, although an advanced life sciences degree is often a requirement for consideration.Admission to the USPTO is also typically required of successful candidates, and Washington Bar admission is preferred, but not necessary.
After slowing down significantly in the second half of 2013, law firm hiring in the real estate sector has come back online in recent weeks, and we anticipate this trend to continue throughout the first half of 2014, and optimistically through the course of the calendar year.Interestingly, while the majority of the demand falls on the transactional side, we have also seen a number of listings for litigation associates with real estate litigation experience.Litigation associates who are still junior in their career and considering a switch in practice areas may wish to take advantage of these litigation openings as a way to gain real estate experience and make a slow transition into the transactional side of the sector.
Patent litigation died off in the second half of 2013, but has become hot again following the holiday period and now represents a significant percentage of new job listings in the Seattle area.As was the case in early 2013, firms continue to look for IP litigation associates with technical degrees in electrical engineering, computer science, and physics.Patent litigators with life sciences degrees will find fewer opportunities, and the openings that do come online will typically be filled by candidates with advanced degrees in their field or candidates with a solid book of portable business.
Steady Practice Areas:
Labor & Employment/Employee Benefits
As was the case throughout 2013, we continue to see regular demand for labor and employment attorney candidates, split evenly between litigation and counseling on the one hand, and ERISA and employee benefits attorneys on the other hand.Litigation side attorneys will want to have excellent discrimination, wage and hour, and particularly class action experience, while benefits attorneys will want to have at least a couple solid years of experience in the design and implementation of compensation and retirement plans.
Not surprisingly for the first quarter of the year, we are seeing an uptick in demand for taxation attorneys, particularly attorneys with experience in Washington state & local taxation, as well as income and partnership tax matters.An LL.M. is almost always required, as is law firm experience (candidates coming from consulting and accountancy firms will face an uphill battle, as there continues to be a strong firm side prejudice for prior law firm experience).
Steady demand for corporate attorneys continues apace, and specifically for associates with solid M &A, private equity, venture capital, or tech transactions experience.Most firms are seeking mid-level associates with 2 - 5 years of experience, but there are also regular listings for more senior associates or partners with a solid book of portable business.
Slow to Dead:
Aside from the aforementioned demand for real estate litigation experience, litigation on the whole has slowed significantly in the lateral Seattle market, and opportunities are minimal right now unless a candidate has a significant book of portable business, in which case firms will always be very interested.Trademark and copyright listings have been sporadic, and get filled quickly, so attorneys looking to make a lateral move in that area should keep a steady eye on the market.Health care law, trusts and estates, and land use remain slow.
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.
Candidates seeking a lateral move to Portland in the current market will need to exercise a significant degree of patience, as hiring across all sectors has tapered off significantly towards then end of 2013 and in the beginning months of 2014, with only a few active listings coming online in recent months.
Firms currently have the luxury of selecting from a wide pool of excellent candidates, and it takes top-tier credentials and strong ties to the area to land an interview for any open position.The major exception to this slowing trend is for IP attorneys and patent agents with Electrical Engineering and Computer Science backgrounds.Counter to the general slow trend, firms will almost always be interested in partners with a portable book of business, and the threshold is typically lower given the smaller size of the Portland market - a book of $300k/yr or greater will attract significant attention.
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 - 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.
Portland firms continue to look opportunistically at strong litigation associates, although stellar credentials, strong ties to the area, and admission or eligibility for admission on motion to the Oregon Bar are absolute musts to be considered.Experience with insurance coverage and construction defect litigation is desired, as is experience with employment litigation.Given the small number of openings and large number of candidates in the current market, competition for litigation jobs is significant.
We continue to see relatively steady demand in the labor and employment sector, both for litigation side practitioners as well as mid-to-senior level attorneys with significant experience in ERISA and employee benefits matters, particularly in the implementation of health and welfare benefit programs, deferred compensation arrangements, and qualified retirement plans.Oregon Bar admission is essential.
Slow to Dead:
As mentioned above, the Portland market has recently experienced a significant downturn when it comes to lateral hiring, and attorneys looking for jobs in real estate, trusts and estates, taxation, environmental law, and corporate law will need to exercise patience and be opportunistic in jumping on any opening immediately. That being said, any candidate with a solid portable book of business of $100k or more will generally get a strong look from all but the largest firms, and even those too, depending on the practice area.
State of the Market: Phoenix by Allison Wottawa, Legal Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Phoenix is the largest legal market in Arizona and is home to a number of national and regional firms. Like so many other cities, Phoenix was struck hard by the economic recession, although we have seen the beginnings of recovery and a corresponding need for associate-level attorneys. To break in to the Phoenix market, candidates should have a tie to the are aora well thought out reason for moving to Arizona. While top academics are still preferred, a sincere interest in the market is equally important. Candidates coming from traditionally larger markets do well in this locale. As with other geographic locations, we are cautiously optimistic that demand for associates at all levels will increase as the recession subsides.
A cornerstone of the Phoenix market, real estate is certainly seeking an uptick as the field is actively growing since the recession. We are seeing positions for junior and mid-level attorneys. Finance related work in this area is a huge plus. Firms tend to focus on associates with stellar experience and superb academic credentials. They are not looking to re-tool, so candidates should have legitimate experience in this area.
Health Care is another rapidly growing market, likely due to the changing landscape of the field. We are seeing a demand for mid to senior-level attorneys with 5+ years of experience. Candidates must have a working knowledge of the health care industry. Experience with HIPPA and Stark regulations is preferred. Firms are also looking for partners with portable business in this area.
We have a few openings for patent litigators as well as patent prosecution. Firms prefer attorneys with technical backgrounds in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, ideally with an advanced degree. The positions tend to be for junior or mid-level attorneys. For attorneys with 5+ years of experience, the firms are seeking a modest book of business.
In general, the West Coast has seen quite the uptick in general corporate opportunities. This is not the case with the Phoenix market. Corporate is traditionally a strong area and there are a few listings (portable books preferred), but the demand in this area has dropped from where it was in 2013. I believe this drop should be temporary, so make sure to keep your eyes out for new opportunities.
Litigation hasn't quite recovered and has been slow throughout the country in the first quarter of 2014. However, we do have a handful of openings with top firms in Phoenix. Firms are generally looking for mid-level (3 - 5 years) with high profile, complex litigation work or labor & employment experience. Arizona Bar is a must.
We are seeing a slight need for junior estate planning attorneys with regional law firms in the area. LL.M. in taxation is strongly preferred.
Dead Practice Areas:
The Phoenix market has seen no activity in IP/transactions, Construction, Environmental, Government, Project Finance, Tax, or Energy. However, there are always exceptions for partners with portables in these areas.
State of the Market: Las Vegas by Paul Danielson, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
The Las Vegas market continues to be tough in the wake of the economic recession, when the city was hit particularly hard due to a decrease in the core business areas of gaming, tourism, and real estate.However,there is still a regular need for quality attorneys in several practice areas, including commercial and consumer finance litigation, patent prosecution, labor & employment, and corporate/M &A.To a lesser extent, there is also a need for construction defect litigators and real estate attorneys.
Any partners with a solid portable book of business ($500k or more) will also find numerous opportunities in Las Vegas.
For lateral attorneys, the Nevada Bar is almost always a requirement with a few exceptions such as patent prosecution attorneys, and sometimes labor and employment attorneys.
There is a steady need for litigation associates at the junior, mid, and senior levels, and attorneys with portable business will always see lateral success in the Las Vegas market. In particular, mid-level (3 - 6 years) litigators who have a strong background in construction defect, consumer finance, products liability, toxic tort, insurance coverage and defense, or general and complex commercial litigation are in demand. Membership to the Nevada Bar is strongly preferred.
Labor and Employment
There is almost always a need for labor and employment attorneys in Las Vegas. There is an immediate need for both junior (1-3 years) and mid-level (3-5 years) attorneys with significant employment litigation experience on the management side. Nevada bar membership is preferred, but not required.
Typically, Las Vegas has not been a hotbed of Intellectual Property work.However, there has been an increasingly strong demand for patent prosecution attorneys, particularly those with technical degrees or industry backgrounds in the areas of Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, and Physics. Attorneys with those technical backgrounds are in such high demand regionally and nationwide that Nevada bar membership is almost never necessary to be considered by a Las Vegas firm in this practice area.
Steady Practice Areas
Corporate and M &A
While many transactional practice areas (e.g., Real Estate, Public Finance, and Land Use) remain significantly depressed following the economic recession, where Las Vegas was particularly hard hit, we have seen an encouraging resurgence in demand for general corporate and M &A attorneys, with at least a few listings in each quarter of the past year. We hope to see this trend continue, hopefully bringing new development and demand in related practice areas with it. Nevada bar membership is generally preferred, but not required.
Slow to Dead Practice Areas
We have seen very little to no activity in the following practice areas in Las Vegas: Real Estate, Taxation, Trusts & Estates, Land Use/Environmental, ERISA/Employee Benefits, Gaming, and Bankruptcy. While most of these practice areas are recession related, and thus will likely see no significant uptick in demand in the foreseeable future, Real Estate and Land Use is the most likely practice area to come back online later this year or early next year to the extent the recovery in Vegas follows the trends and patterns of the overall market.
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 in the following areas: construction; corporate transactions; products liability litigation; labor and employment; oil and gas; health care; patent prosecution; real estate; tax; and trusts and estates. Generally speaking, firms are seeking a minimum of $500,000 in portable business. If you are a partner with business interested in transitioning to a new firm, please call our Chicago office.
Denver firms' intellectual property practices continue to expand. We are interested in talking with associates with 1-4 years of experience in patent prosecution and who have backgrounds in electrical engineering, physics, mechanical engineering, aerospace, biomedical engineering or computer science. We are particularly interested in speaking with attorneys with 6+ years of experience in patent prosecution with advanced degrees in chemistry and small molecule patent prosecution experience and more senior associates (5+ years) with electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, chemical engineering or computer science backgrounds. USPTO is generally preferred in most cases and/or required and the CO Bar is preferred. Associates with advanced degrees in any of the technical areas mentioned above are always highly sought after.
Corporate - Private Equity; Securities; M &A; and Commercial Finance
Corporate practices at firms in Denver are very busy and firms are asking us to send them strong corporate associates with 2 - 5 years of experience in general corporate, M &A, securities and private equity transactions. We would also like to speak with more senior associates (5+ years) of experience in commercial finance and banking experience. Corporate associates with 2-3 years of experience with the Investment Advisors Act of 1940 and the Investment Company Act of 1940 should get in touch with our Chicago office.
Real estate has picked up in Denver firms and we are in need of real estate associates with 2 - 5 years of experience in commercial real estate transactions, including experience in acquisitions and dispositions, financings, joint ventures, leasing and development.
We would be interested in speaking with tax associates with 2 - 6 years of experience in corporate and partnership tax, executive compensation, general transactional tax, state and local tax, and U.S. taxation of transactions involving foreign entities. We would also like to speak with tax attorneys with partnership and tax credit transactional experience, and who have a LL.M. in taxation.
Litigation - General Commercial; Consumer Finance
Denver firms are continuing to seek 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 consumer finance litigation matters should call us to explore positions in Denver.
State of the Market: Chicago by Jamie Bailey, Partner, BCG Attorney Search - Chicago
During first quarter 2014, law firms in Chicago have shown encouraging signs of continuing to grow their ranks via strong lateral hiring at both the associate and partner levels. Firms have opened new offices in Chicago via mergers with local firms and group acquisitions. These offices are well positioned for growth and are very receptive to adding lateral partners and associates. Many of the largest Am Law 100/200 firms, as well as middle market and regional firms, are very active in continuing to expand their practices with partners bringing a strong client base. Increased lateral needs in the corporate, real estate and health care transactional areas, as well as continued high demand in patent prosecution and patent litigation, is raising the spirits of associates seeking to transition to new firms. We are very excited about the level of activity we have seen so far in this first quarter. We encourage you to contact our Chicago office to discuss potential opportunities.
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 this first quarter of 2014, we have continued to see increased activity coming off of strong fourth quarter 2013 activity in the corporate transactional area. Firms are seeking associates with 2 - 6 years of experience in general corporate, securities (40 Act), private fund formation, real estate funds, M &A, and private equity transactions. Commercial finance associates with 3 - 6 years of experience are in particular demand and we would be interested in speaking with associates who have experience in syndicated secured financing transactions, intercreditor and subordination agreements, and Article 9 of the UCC. We would also like to speak with associates who have been involved in representing commodity pool operators and trading advisors, private investment funds, fund sponsors and investment advisors.
We would like to speak with healthcare associates with 3-6 years of experience in health care regulatory matters, including Stark and Anti-kickback statutes, HIPAA, HITECH, Medicare, licensing and reimbursement.
Intellectual Property - Patent Prosecution; Patent Litigation; Information Technology
Intellectual property continues to be one of the strongest areas of need in Chicago law firms. Patent litigation associates with 2-6 years of experience in intellectual property litigation and who have electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, computer science or computer engineering backgrounds should contact us. Of particular interest are associates with strong case management and deposition skills. We would also like to speak to associates who have 3 - 4 years of experience in pharmaceutical litigation handling infringement, validity and damages strategies. Experience with ANDA and/or other life sciences patent litigation experience are preferable.
Patent prosecutors with 1 - 5 years of experience and electrical engineering, computer science, computer engineering, mechanical engineering, biomedical or chemical engineering backgrounds should get in touch with us to discuss opportunities in Chicago. We are particularly interested in speaking with attorneys with 6+ years of experience in patent prosecution with advanced degrees in chemistry and small molecule patent prosecution experience. IL Bar and USPTO are most often required for these positions. Associates with advanced degrees in any of the technical areas mentioned above are always highly sought after.
Information technology transactional attorneys with 1 - 4 years of experience in IP and technology transactions should contact our Chicago office for excellent opportunities at a top Am Law 100 firm.
Associates with 2 - 6 years of experience in commercial real estate matters, including real estate finance, acquisition/disposition and leasing, should contact us to discuss opportunities in some of the best real estate practices in Chicago.
Other than IP litigation (mentioned above), we have not seen a significant uptick in the need for commercial litigation associates - the market is extremely competitive for even the most credentialed litigation associates seeking to transition to new firms. We would, however, be interested in speaking with litigation associates with top credentials and 2 - 4 years of experience in products liability, mass tort, class action, and asbestos litigation who have the CA bar.
State of the Market: Indiana by Jamie Bailey, Partner, BCG Attorney Search - Chicago
Partners with Portable Business
We would be interested in speaking with partners with portable business in the following areas: healthcare regulatory (working with physicians, hospitals, long-term care and sub-acute care facilities); corporate securities and M &A; real estate; public finance; and IP litigation. Generally speaking, firms in this market are seeking a minimum of $500,000 in portable business. Partners seeking to make a move in this market should contact our Chicago office.
Real estate has been fairly strong in Indianapolis and we would be interested in speaking with associates with 2 - 6 years of experience in commercial real estate finance, development and leasing. The Indiana bar is required for most of these positions.
Intellectual Property - Patent Prosecution
Mirroring other legal markets nationally, IP departments at firms in Indianapolis are busy and in need of strong IP associates with patent prosecution experience. Patent prosecution associates with 2 - 4 years of experience and backgrounds in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, organic chemistry and computer science should contact our Chicago office. We will also look at more senior patent prosecution attorneys with up to 10 years of experience with electrical or mechanical backgrounds. We are particularly interested in speaking with attorneys with 6+ years of experience in patent prosecution with advanced degrees in chemistry and small molecule patent prosecution experience. IL Bar and USPTO are most often required for these positions. Associates with advanced degrees in any of the technical areas mentioned above are always highly sought after.
Healthcare practices are continuing to expand at firms in Indianapolis. Of particular interest are healthcare associates with 2 - 6 years of experience in handling regulatory compliance work for health care organizations, physician practice groups and other businesses, and with experience in the False Claims Act, Stark law and Anti-Kickback Statute; HIPAA; HITECH; and Medicare reimbursement.
Labor and Employment
We would be interested in speaking with labor and employment associates with 2+ years of experience in employment litigation and counseling.
State of the Market: Minnesota by Julie Lehrman, Attorney Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
The Minneapolis/St. Paul market remains an especially robust Midwest market. The past year has continued its high demand for IP prosecution attorneys, especially those with Electrical Engineering and Computer Science degrees, as well as a moderate demand for those with Chemistry, Biology, and Biotech. Other areas with significant activity in the past year include corporate, tax, trusts and estates, employment and labor, and real estate. 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.Interested candidates should contact our Chicago office for more details.
The Twin Cities continue 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. However, we have seen a significant increase in demand for attorneys with life science backgrounds as well, including Chemistry, Biology, and Biotech. Some firms require an advanced degree in the technical field, while some are interested only in associates who can demonstrate the requisite technical expertise. Firms prefer prior work experience within the technical field, and legal experience with a top law firm is always a plus. Some experience prosecuting patents, either as an attorney or patent agent, is almost always required.
Corporate - Mergers and Acquisitions; Securities; Finance
The past year has brought steady 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 supervise groups of more junior associates. There remains a solid demand for candidates with 3 to 5 years of broad-based corporate experience, including general M & A and transactional work. We have also seen a slight increase in demand for corporate finance attorneys.
Demand for litigators did increase significantly over the past year; however, the demands are almost always in specialty litigation areas rather than general commercial litigation. For example, the opportunities we have seen this year have been in areas such as insurance coverage, oil and gas, consumer class actions, anti-fraud, professional liability litigation, and construction. Because of the volume of litigators looking for work, firms tend to only interview associates with the specified experience they seek, as well as with the very strongest academic credentials, big law firm experience, and those who have demonstrated an 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.
We have seen a significant uptick in labor and employment positions as well, with firms seeking associates at mostly the mid-level, who can function with some autonomy. Firms continue to seek hands-on litigation experience as well as client counseling and training. Traditional labor law experience can be a plus.
This year has brought a moderate demand for Tax and Trusts & Estates attorneys in the Twin Cities. Activity has picked up in large and mid-sized firms alike. Tax attorneys are often required to have an LLM, a CPA, or both, as well as significant experience.
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: Ohio by L. Roger Boord, Senior Attorney Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Opportunities continue to arise for associates and partners alike in Ohio. A substantial number of positions are in the area of IP, with the most sought-after technical backgrounds being electrical engineering and computer science, with some interest in life sciences (including biology, biochemistry and chemistry) and mechanical engineering. Although litigation has not been as strong in recent years, we have seen significant activity this quarter for commercial litigation and insurance defense litigation. We remain hopeful that the positive trend will continue. Other areas, including corporate, healthcare and other areas identified below have also demonstrated significant demand. In general, many Ohio firms require candidates to be admitted to the Ohio Bar. 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.
Both of these major cities have a substantial legal market. Most of the demand in these two cities appears to be in the general commercial litigation sector, with additional demand in insurance defense (including medical malpractice) and product liability. Even more growth has been shown in labor and employment litigation.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. Nevertheless, 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 strong emphasis on those already admitted to the Ohio bar.
Intellectual property has remained largely strong and steady. Ohio firms are generally looking for patent associates with technical backgrounds in electrical engineering or computer science, with more limited interest in life sciences and mechanical engineering. Most firms are currently looking for prosecution associates, but others firms are looking for litigators or attorneys 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 patent prosecution experience from a large law firm or sophisticated boutique. Interested candidates should contact our Chicago office for more details.
Corporate and Other Transactional Practices
Corporate remains in significant demand, especially in general corporate, mergers & acquisitions and securities. Healthcare has shown strong interest. Other apparent growth areas in transactional practices include IT, tax and ERISA. Again, interested candidates should contact our Chicago office for more details.
Partners with Portable Business
As always, demand is very high for partners with substantial portable business. Most firms are looking for partners in virtually every area 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 as low as $500,000 in portable business or possibly less in smaller firms, while larger firms seek $1M or more. Even so, partners with at least $300,000 and a concrete, specific business plan outlining how they plan to grow their business are encouraged to contact BCG for assistance in finding specific opportunities, as we have had success in Ohio with books as low as $300,000.
Dayton, Columbus, and Toledo
Being the largest city in Ohio, as well as the state capital, Columbus is a relatively large legal market with a significant number of opportunities in a wide variety of practice areas. While Dayton and Toledo are relatively small legal markets in comparison to the three largest Ohio cities, there is still a fair amount of activity in the market on both the associate and partner levels. The firms in these cities are primarily seeking associates with backgrounds in healthcare, general corporate, commercial litigation, trusts & estates, IT, oil & gas and IP. We've also seen some patent agent opportunities for those with significant patent prosecution experience, particularly in electrical engineering and computer science. Patent agents should be USPTO admitted and have strong technical backgrounds. 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 many opportunities for partners with portable business in these cities in a wide variety of practice areas. 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 a concrete business plan, and possibly less for smaller firms and special circumstances.
State of the Market: Utah by L. Roger Boord, Senior Attorney Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Over the last quarter, we have seen in the Salt Lake area the strongest opportunities in IP, particularly for associates with technical backgrounds in electrical engineering and computer science. We have also seen significant demand for corporate associates, especially for those with general corporate or merger and acquisitions experience, as well as commercial litigators. Particularly strong interest has been observed for lawyers with a background in energy (a/k/a oil and gas or natural resources). 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 who are currently residing in Utah or originally from the area, or who at least have significant ties to the state. Admission to the Utah bar is often required.
Of course, Utah firms are always interested in speaking to partners with significant portable business, especially if the partner is currently practicing in Utah or at least has strong ties to the area. Firms are skeptical of attorneys who lack a clear 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: 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.
Similar to our last report, intellectual property practices in Wisconsin firms continue to expand.In particular, patent prosecution associates are in high demand.We would like to speak with patent prosecution associates with 1-6 years of experience and backgrounds in any of the following technical areas:electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, biomed, chemistry, physics and computer science.We would also be interested in speaking with associates who have experience with physical chemistry, semiconductor, nanotechnology, solar energy and/or biological sciences.Associates with an electronics background and experience with Internet technologies, communications systems and networks, wireless systems, optical systems and other technologies should contact us regarding opportunities in Madison and Milwaukee.Advanced degrees and USPTO are in most cases preferred or required.
We are interested in speaking with tax associates with strong skills in tax transactional matters and a minimum of 2 years of experience who are seeking a position in Milwaukee.We would also like to speak with junior associates with 1 - 3 years of experience in estate planning and trust administration matters and more senior level associates or junior partners with 10+ years of experience in estate, gift, generation-skipping transfer tax and charitable planning matters.Wisconsin bar admission is required.
We have two unique in-house opportunities in Milwaukee for attorneys with backgrounds in real estate and insurance.We would be interested in speaking with commercial real estate associates who have 2+ years of experience in commercial real estate and/or real estate investment, development, asset management or mortgage lending.A J.D. from a nationally recognized, top tier law school is required.
Additionally, we would like to speak with experienced insurance attorneys.Candidates should have experience in insurance and annuities, including product development, advertising, marketing, sales, underwriting, policy owner services and product administration, reinsurance, claims, regulatory compliance, as well as sourcing (vendor and consultant). Excellent academic credentials and admission to the WI bar are required.
State of the Market: Michigan by Julie Lehrman,Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search - Chicago
Partners with Business
We are always interested in speaking with Michigan partners 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 - Patent Prosecution
Intellectual property prosecution practices at firms in Detroit continue to expand.We have seen a need for intellectual property prosecution attorneys with backgrounds in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, physics, biomedical science, or computer science. USPTO is almost always required, as is at least one year of solid patent prosecution experience.Firms are sometimes willing to relocate the right candidate from another jurisdiction, so ability to waive in is a definite plus.
Corporate Securities and Commercial Finance
We are interested in speaking with corporate transactional associates at all levels.We are still seeing the strongest need for mid-level and senior attorneys with experience in general corporate transaction, securities and commercial finance matters.
Commercial Real Estate
Michigan firms have continued to experience an uptick in their commercial real estate practices at all levels. We would like to speak with commercial real estate associates with solid academic backgrounds and experience in commercial real estate matters, including leasing, acquisition and disposition, tax structuring, and financing.
Labor and Employment
We have seen a moderate need from Detroit firms seeking labor and employment associates. Experience with traditional labor is a definite advantage, as well as wage & hour, trade secrets/non-competes, and related matters.Solid litigation experience is also heavily preferred.Excellent academics and law review or law journal are required for these positions.
We are interested in speaking with patent prosecution associates and patent agents with at least one solid year of patent prosecution experience and USPTO admission. The most desired backgrounds remain electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, computer science/engineering, and chemical engineering.
We have also seen a moderately increased need for mid-level attorneys in real estate (acquisitions, dispositions, leasing, and financing) and general corporate matters.
State of the Market: Philadelphia by Katy Anderman, Recruiter, East Coast, BCG Attorney Search
The Philadelphia market is holding steady on the job front.We continue to see lateral growth at many of the "big law" firms in the areas of corporate, real estate, health care and intellectual property. Hiring remains centered on the health care, pharmaceutical and life science industry sectors although we are seeing a significant uptick in real estate, corporate and finance positions.Unfortunately, the litigation market in Philadelphia is not very active and some firms have recently reported layoffs within the associate ranks. Overall, BCG's statistics confirm that law firm hiring trends are on the rise in Philadelphia in early 2014 with the majority of the jobs centering around corporate/transactional and IP work.
We are seeing a lot of activity within the corporate sector at law national firms in Philadelphia. Candidates with strong M &A, debt finance, securitization and investment management skills are highly sought after for positions at the big, national firms in Philadelphia.Candidates with "big law" experience - especially from New York - are likely to have several opportunities available.Law firms are also focused on candidates with health care transactional experience in Philadelphia and New Jersey.
We continue to see a demand for candidates with health care regulatory experience as well as M &A and transactional experience. Firms are looking for candidates with experience in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement and public policy issues, compliance, licensing, the Stark Law, the Anti-Kickback Statute, HIPAA and various other fraud and abuse laws.
Intellectual Property Law
The IP market remains hot for those candidates with a technical or science background.We are seeing an increased demand for candidates with electrical engineering or computer science degrees on both the litigation and prosecution sides. There are also several opportunities for candidates with an advanced degree in a life sciences discipline (biotechnology, chemistry, biology, and immunology).
Labor & Employment Law
Although the litigation market is slow, we have seen some demand for candidates with labor and employment experience, primarily in the employment litigation context.
We continue to see a 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. Generally, bill rates at Philadelphia firms are lower than those at neighboring firms in New York City and firms are attracting clients who are looking to scale back large legal bills.
The job market in Philadelphia is holding steady and even growing in some areas.Firms are moving quickly to fill positions especially within the corporate, real estate and IP practice groups. If you are considering a move, act quickly, as these jobs are not staying on the market for very long.
The New York market is booming for certain practice areas, and if you have experience in one of the "hot" areas, then it is an excellent time to commence a search. What are the "hot" areas? Intellectual Property, especially if you are a Patent Prosecutor with an advanced degree in one of the Life Sciences, Corporate, and Real Estate are thriving practice areas at the present time. With respect to the latter two practice areas, all types of experience are in demand.
Intellectual property remains a hot practice area in New York; however, there have been some significant changes during the last quarter. There has been a shift with Life Sciences - especially Chemistry and Biochemistry - surging ahead of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science for the first time in years. Advanced degrees, particularly a Ph.D. or M.S., are often a requirement.
Patent Prosecution is busier than Patent Litigation; and there is an increasing need for strong Patent Agents and Technical Specialists. Generally, firms are looking at candidates with three to six years of experience for these positions. However, there are a number of positions for candidates who are more junior - one to two years of experience - and more senior - eight to ten years of experience with no book of business required. Trademark and copyright continue to be very slow. There was an increase in transactional IP during the latter quarters of 2013; however, this trend seems to be illusory. Many of the firms that initially posted positions have not filled said positions. Hence, while the firms are still looking for candidates for these transactional IP openings, the firms are being extremely selective.
Corporate remains a hot practice area. In fact, the demand for Corporate Associates has increased; and such demand encompasses a wide range of "specialty areas". If a Candidate has experience with Capital Markets, M &A, Finance, Securitization, Investment Management and/or Derivatives, then it is an excellent time to commence a search. Firms are particularly interested in Candidates with two to five years of experience. However, given the high demand, firms are being flexible, and are interviewing Candidates who do not fit the "traditional" mold. For example, if a Candidate has excellent experience, but is currently unemployed or is coming from an in-house setting, firms are often still open to meeting with these types of Candidates.
Real Estate is an extremely hot practice area at the present time. We began to see more activity in Real Estate throughout 2013, and the trend is continuing at a very fast pace in 2014.
It is worth noting that Real Estate Associates of all types are in demand. Firms are searching for Real Estate Associates with experience in Acquisitions, Dispositions, Joint Ventures, Capital Markets/Real Estate Investment, Fund Formation, and Leasing. Real Estate Associates with three to eight years of experience are more in demand than Junior Real Estate Associates. In fact, there are almost no opportunities for Real Estate Associates with less than three years of experience.
If you are a Real Estate Associate with three or more years of experience and you are curious about the current market, it is an outstanding time to commence a search.
Litigation remains slow; and it is a particularly difficult market for General Litigators. Litigators who have a niche like White Collar Defense, Product Liability, or even experience with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act or Foreclosure are faring much better than General Litigators. One interesting change to the Litigation landscape is that Senior Litigators - five plus years of experience - are much more in demand that Junior Litigators - two to three years of experience. Thus, if a Senior Litigator has a niche, and does not feel that his current firm is the best option, then it is an excellent time to commence a search, probably the best time in a number of years.
Labor and Employment is very slow at the present time. ERISA is slightly busier that in recent quarters; however, Candidates must have top academic credentials and excellent experience. Because these practice areas are not busy, firms are being extremely selective.
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 $2M, depending upon seniority) across a wide variety of practice areas. Of particular interest are Real Estate, Corporate, and Patent. Smaller firms are considering Partner Candidates with a book of business from $300K to $600K.
State of the Market: Boston/New England Market
Boston is the hub of the legal market in New England.It is the busiest market by far in the region, and we have seen steady growth to date in 2014.The areas that are particularly strong in Boston include Intellectual Property and Corporate.Real Estate remains steady, but lateral openings have not increased.Other areas, like Litigation, remain slow and the competition for these opportunities is intense.
Intellectual Property remains very strong in Boston.In fact, IP is probably the most active practice area in Boston.The busiest practices within IP are for Patent Prosecutors with Electrical Engineering or Computer Science degrees.Given Boston's vibrant Biotechnology industry, there is also a need, albeit to a lesser extent, for Patent Prosecutors with Biology, Chemistry, Biochemistry, or related degrees.Patent Litigation is busy as well, and the preference for science backgrounds corresponds to the needs in Patent Prosecution.In both Patent Prosecution and Patent Litigation, advanced degrees are preferred.Even "soft" IP - Copyright and Trademark - is showing an increase in lateral opportunities.In sum, if you are a Patent Prosecutor or Patent Litigator and you are considering a lateral move, then now is a wonderful time to commence a search.
Corporate is nearly as busy as IP, and the opportunities encompass almost every conceivable practice area.Corporate generalists are in high demand, as well as candidates with specialty areas like Capital Markets, Private Equity, Investment Management, and Leveraged Finance.The greatest demand is for candidates with 2 to 5 years of experience; however, there are a fair number of openings for more senior candidates as well.
Real Estate remains steady; however, it has slowed since 2013.The most sought after Real Estate candidates have between 2 to 6 years of practice, and a broad background encompassing Acquisitions and Dispositions, Leasing, Financing, Development, and Joint Ventures.
The Litigation market remains weak.There are opportunities, but the competition is intense.If a Litigator has not gone to a top school and done extremely well at said school, then the odds of securing a new position are not good.The odds are somewhat better if a candidate has a niche.For example, it is easier for candidates with Employment or Product Liability experience (or another specialty area) to secure a new position than a candidate with a more general background.
Hartford is probably the busiest city in New England next to Boston.There are a variety of openings in Hartford, including in Corporate, Intellectual Property, Litigation (especially in Insurance) and Real Estate.Patent Prosecution is probably the busiest practice area in Connecticut, and these opportunities are throughout the state.
Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont
Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont are small markets with not a lot of activity.With respect to associates, there are openings in general areas like Corporate, Litigation, Real Estate, and Tax.Partners with portable books of business are generally always in demand, and the required book is fairly low, approximately $250,000.Often firms in these states require a candidate to be licensed in multiple states.
Legal opportunities in Rhode Island are concentrated in Providence, and include opportunities in traditional areas, including Corporate, Litigation, Real Estate, and Tax.Like Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, firms in Rhode Island often require candidates to be licensed in multiple states.
State of the Market: Washington, D.C. by Robyn Ginsberg,Senior Managing Director - East Coast, BCG Attorney Search
The DC market has been rather stagnant in the first quarter of 2014, with demand focused on a couple of key practice areas, including intellectual property, investment management, corporate law and health care. As in recent years, litigation and white collar practice growth continues to be sporadic, and thus competition for the few available positions is fierce.
Thus far in 2014, the greatest corporate demand has been for associates with transactional and regulatory investment management experience, including associates with '40 Act, private equity and/or hedge fund experience. Corporate demand also continues to heavily favor those with strong public and private M &A and/or securities experience. Lastly, as always, there is some demand for candidates with corporate finance experience, but we are seeing much greater demand for this kind of experience in the New York market.
We have seen some specialized corporate opportunities, but the trend continues to favor corporate associates with broad-ranging experience, including M &A, finance, securities, joint venture and private equity experience.
Demand for real estate attorneys has consistently been focused on those with real estate finance experience, including lending, CMBS and structured finance experience. We've also seen a steady demand for attorneys with traditional commercial real estate and development experience.
FDA: The FDA/regulatory market in DC continues to be strong, with several firms looking for food and drug attorneys with experience in FDA regulatory issues related to the pharmaceutical and medical device industries as well as biologics and biotechnology.
Health Care: 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. We are also seeing consistent demand for associates with HIPAA and HITECH experience and ACA expertise.
International Trade: Thus far in 2014 we have seen less demand for International Trade attorneys than is typical in the DC market. However, we are seeing some steady demand for attorneys with customs experience and/or expertise with Office of Foreign Assets Control ("OFAC"), Export Administration Regulations ("EAR") and/or the International Traffic in Arms Regulations ("ITAR").
Energy: The energy sector hasn't been as vibrant thus far in 2014, however we continue to see some demand for attorneys with electric and/or natural gas and, of course, FERC experience.
Intellectual Property continues to be the most vibrant practice area in DC. We are seeing equal demand for patent litigators and patent prosecutors. In both cases, the focus is on those with Electrical Engineering or Computer Science, Chemistry, Biochemistry, and/or Physics degrees. We are also seeing a renewed interest in candidates with a Mechanical Engineering background. We've seen a significant increased demand for candidates with pharmaceutical and biologics experience in both the patent litigation and prosecution areas.
We expect to see resurgence in Technology Transactions and Licensing opportunities in the DC market in the coming months, with a particular focus on candidates with life science and pharmaceutical expertise, as well as those with strong technology experience.
The D.C. market for general litigators and white collar attorneys remains quite dormant. Firms are really only interested in meeting with litigation candidates from top 15 law schools with law review and federal judicial clerkship experience. However, we have seen some increased demand for antitrust litigators, particularly those with Hart-Scott Rodino experience, and government contracts attorneys.
State of the Market: Texas by Suzanne Dupree Howe, Esq., Managing Director of BCG - Texas & the Southeast
The first quarter of 2014 has remained active, much like what we saw in 2013, which was a great year for BCG in Texas. We continue to see needs across many sectors, but find that our most significant needs are in Corporate and Intellectual Property. We've continued to see needs in Transactional Energy and also in Real Estate. Firms' strongest needs are currently for corporate candidates with both M &A and Securities Experience. We have also seen unprecedented needs for candidates with private equity experience over the last year.
As always, with its low cost of living yet comparable firm salary structure, Texas remains a great option for partners and associates. The colder winter across the Midwest and Northeast continues to drive a great deal of relocating attorneys to Texas and the Southeast. 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 is up for 2013 and 2014, but our needs are still medium to low. With the transactional markets really heating up, we have indeed seen increased needs for litigation associates however. 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. Out of state candidates competing in Texas can make themselves stand out by getting Texas licensure before they begin looking.
Labor and Employment
Employment needs have been consistent in Texas, though not necessarily a hot area. We have seen a lot of partner movement in this area and have quite a few needs for Employment partners with books of business currently.
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 increased at the end of 2013 and continued into 2014. 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. We have had more needs for Mechanical, Chemical, and Biological candidates recently as well. This is a great time to move as firms are consistently busy and have ample work to go around.
Patent prosecution needs have 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, Biological and Mechanical backgrounds recently. In Houston, candidates with experience in oilfield tools are highly valued.
Patent Agents/Technical Advisors
As I mentioned previously, Patent Agents and Technical Advisors are also in high demand and BCG has successfully assisted many Patent Agents and Technical Advisors with both lateral and beginning opportunities. Candidates with a background in Electrical Engineering or who have a Ph.D. in a hard science area are most valuable to firms.
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 2012. Candidates at the junior and mid-level are being sought in Dallas and Houston, with some needs appearing in Austin as well.
State of the Market: Louisiana by Suzanne Dupree Howe, Esq., Managing Director of BCG - Texas & the Southeast
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.
State of the Market: Atlanta by Suzanne Dupree Howe, Esq., Managing Director of BCG - Texas & the Southeast
Atlanta law firms have had very strong needs for Real Estate, IP litigation, Patent Prosecution and Corporate candidates. Corporate is a very hot area in Atlanta and it's an excellent time to look if you are considering a move. We have also seen a rising need in Patent Prosecution since 2013 in many technological areas. Litigation needs have also dramatically increased in Atlanta over the last year, especially in products liability, and it is an excellent time to look.
State of the Market: Charlotte and North Carolina by Suzanne Dupree Howe, Esq., Managing Director of BCG - Texas & the Southeast
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: Saint Louis by Julie Lehrman, Attorney Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Saint Louis continues to hire conservatively in a number of areas. There are opportunities for associates and partners alike in such areas as tax, Trusts & Estates, corporate, and intellectual property, with the most sought-after technical backgrounds being Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, and Mechanical Engineering. Saint Louis remains an especially tightly-knit market. Many firms require candidates to be admitted to the Missouri 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 Missouri.
Saint Louis saw some opportunities for tax-based attorneys in the past year, and has a few more this year. The emphasis in all of these areas tends to be on the senior associate side, with special attention given to attorneys who can demonstrate autonomy and progressive responsibility throughout their career. CPAs and LLMs are often preferred but not always necessary. Because Saint Louis is a smaller legal market, attorneys can be aided by having connections within the target firm, and out of state attorneys should have a very strong connection to the market, as well as MO admission.
Intellectual property has remained largely steady, with firms generally looking for patent associates with technical backgrounds in electrical engineering, computer science, and mechanical engineering. Most firms are currently looking for prosecution associates, rather than litigation. 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.
State of the Market: Kansas City, MO by Julie Lehrman, Attorney Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Over the last quarter, we have seen a variety of opportunities in Kansas City, including IP associates with technical backgrounds in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and computer science, for corporate associates, labor & employment, trusts & estates, and real estate. Because of the strong community in and around Kansas City, firms strongly prefer candidates currently residing in Missouri, originally from the area, or with significant ties. Admission to the Missouri bar is almost always required.
The strongest market sector continues to be patent prosecution. There has been some small demand for IP Litigation, but has not been as significant as prosecution. The technical backgrounds requested of prosecutors include Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Computer Science. Similarly, there have been moderate demands for corporate attorneys as well as attorneys in tax, labor and employment, trusts and attorneys on the more senior side, and real estate attorneys with finance experience.
Partners with Portable Business
Kansas City firms are always interested in speaking to partners with significant portable business, especially if currently practicing in Kansas City or with strong ties to the area. Firms are skeptical of attorneys without connection to Kansas City who seek to move there, so attorneys should have very strong ties to the area, or a compelling reason 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: Florida by Katy Anderman, Recruiter, East Coast & Florida, BCG Attorney Search
Law firm hiring in Florida has been steadily growing for the past year among a broad range of firms, from Am Law 100 to boutiques. A lot of this growth can be attributed to both recent mergers (Jorden Burt and Carlton Fields) and lateral growth among nationally recognized firms such as AkermanSenterfitt, Jones Day and Fox Rothschild.
Firms continue to hire at an increased pace in Corporate, Real Estate and Litigation. The litigation openings are focused on candidates with general commercial, products liability and/or consumer finance experience.Corporate teams are looking for candidates with general M &A experience, securities and private equity experience.Law firms with real estate openings need candidates with traditional commercial real estate transactional experience.Labor and Employment, Trusts & Estates and Health Care teams saw a moderate increase in openings.IP openings were more prevalent in Orlando than Miami with firms looking to hire candidates with degrees in electrical engineering or computer science.
Overall, we are seeing significant growth in the Florida market, especially in South Florida. Candidates with big law firm experience, the Florida bar and Spanish language skills will have a number of opportunities to consider.
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