State of the Law Firm Market: San Francisco by Evan P. Anderson, Managing Director, BCG Attorney Search
Healthy Practice Areas:
Intellectual Property/Patent Litigation
This practice area continues to be the hottest sector in the California legal market and in San Francisco specifically. 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. Associates across all levels of experience are sought, including the partner level. ITC experience is always valued. Admittance to the Patent Bar, a requirement for patent prosecutors, has become more of a priority for firms for their patent litigators. Candidates do not need membership to the California bar.
Corporate Corporate hiring in San Francisco remains strong. The demand for junior and mid-level associates is high and there has been a recent demand for more senior attorneys (up to 7 years' experience). Private equity hiring has been especially strong at all levels in 2014. Experience in emerging companies/venture capital, M&A, and securities is expected almost unilaterally although a few firms have begun consistently hiring associates with experience in fund formation and debt finance. Associates with experience in the 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.
Litigation Litigation hiring continued to increase in San Francisco in 2014 for firms of all sizes. As in previous years, the demand is almost exclusively for complex commercial litigators although there is some need for securities litigators, general litigators, and products liability attorneys. Hiring remains extremely competitive and candidates with superior credentials continue to dominate this practice. Some firms (specifically larger and mid-sized) are looking to hire junior and mid-level litigators with solid trial experience. Superstar associates with stellar credentials will always get their pick of employers. But even candidates with tier two law schools who have solid litigation skills are beginning to get interviews in San Francisco. Associates currently residing and practicing with an AmLaw firm in the Bay Area are given a clear preference. Associates with clerkship experience are valued. Of course, admittance to the California Bar is a must, although some firms may interview a candidate with superior credentials who is sitting for the next California bar exam.
Patent Prosecution Patent prosecution hiring in San Francisco has remained strong in 2014.Firms are seeking patent prosecutors with 1-6 years of experience. Employers 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 (Transactions & Finance) Real Estate in San Francisco-and across the state-skyrocketed in late 2013 and hiring continues to be steady in 2014. Current vacancies are evenly split between transactional and finance candidates in the junior and 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.
Steady Practice Areas:
Hiring in this sector picked up considerably the first and second quarters of 2014 and remains steady. Firms are seeking junior to mid-level associates, specifically with experience in the life sciences and technology sectors. Licensing experience is very much in demand. 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 remained strong into 2014. Unlike previous years in which the hiring was conducted almost exclusively by mid-sized and regional firms, large AmLaw firms have begun hiring L&E associates. However, many of the larger firms are offering non-partnership track positions with reduced hours and salaries. It will be interesting to see if this trend continues. Employers are seeking both junior (2-3 years) and mid-level associates (5-7 years) with employment litigation experience and/or wage and hour, discrimination, and labor relations experience. Class action experience is valued by firms of all sizes.
Immigration Immigration hiring in San Francisco has increased steadily in 2014, with a specific need for business/corporate immigration attorneys. Junior and mid-level associates are sought with PERM experience. H1-B1, IV, and NIV experience is also appreciated.
Slow Practice Areas:
Hiring in this practice was has been slow for the past two years but there was a slight uptick in hiring the first half of 2014. There are currently three postings for ERISA attorneys, all at the junior level. An LL.M. in Tax is preferred for all three.
There has been a slight increase in Environmental associate hiring with mid-sized firms in 2014. 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.
Bankruptcy has never been a very strong practice in San Francisco. Hiring in this sector has been slow since 2009. There is one current vacancy for a mid-level associate (3-5 years' experience) with an emphasis on corporate reorganization, loan workouts, and restructuring.
Dead Practice Areas
The following practices have shown no activity in several months: antitrust litigation, construction, energy, government/municipal, healthcare, insurance defense, project finance, securities litigation, tax, trademark, 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. Patent prosecution candidates need not be admitted to the California bar.
Corporate hiring has remained very healthy at all levels in Silicon Valley in 2014. Candidates with venture capital and emerging company experience (especially tech companies) continue to be in the most demand. As in the San Francisco legal market, there has been an increased demand for candidates with private equity experience. 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 large market, such as New York, DC, and Chicago. Top academic and professional credentials are expected.
The need for attorneys with experience in technology transactions has remained very strong in 2014. As with the San Francisco market, candidates with tech and life sciences transactional experience are most in demand. Firms are seeking candidates at all levels, but are particularly interest in mid-levels. Licensing experience is in very high demand. Firms have a strong preference for candidates with tech backgrounds; particularly: electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, computer science, computer engineering, biology, physics, or chemistry.
Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation/ERISA
Executive Compensation hiring has gone up and down in Silicon Valley, but it is currently quite steady. Large firms dominate the hiring market and are seeking candidates with 2-5 years of experience. Experience working with private and public companies is appreciated, as is experience in transactions. Excellent academics are required. California Bar admission is not.
Steady Practice Areas:
Real Estate (Transactions & Finance)
Real Estate in Silicon Valley picked up considerably in late 2013. Though hiring declined somewhat in the first two quarters of 2014, firms are still looking at (predominantly) real estate transactional candidates. Current vacancies are for transactional and candidates in the mid-level range (3-5 years). Candidates need experience in leasing, joint ventures, and purchase & sales.
Trademark Litigation & Prosecution
The market for Trademark attorneys in Silicon Valley in 2014 has been relatively steady, but not as strong as it has been in past years. There are a few 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.
Litigation (General, Complex Commercial, Securities) Litigation hiring in Silicon Valley has maintained a slow but steady pace since 2013. 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. Candidates should have membership to the California Bar or have recently taken the bar exam.
Tax Tax hiring in Silicon Valley was quite strong in the first two quarters of 2014 and has leveled off some since then. 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.
Slow Practice Areas:
Labor & Employment
Hiring in the labor and employment sector in Silicon Valley increased in 2013 but has fallen off considerably in 2014. Unlike San Francisco where mid-sized firms dominate the market, the larger AmLaw 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.
Dead Practice Areas:
There is currently no activity in antitrust, bankruptcy, construction, energy, environmental, healthcare, immigration, insurance, and trusts & estates. However, firms are always considering partners with at least $1.5 million in portable business in any practice.
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 than other employment markets in the state. 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.
Steady Practice Areas:
Although not as strong as other larger markets in the state, Corporate hiring has remained steady in San Diego in 2014. Junior to mid-level (2-5 years) corporate associates with emerging company, venture capital, public & private company, and securities experience are in demand. Public & private company experience is especially hot right now. M&A experience is also valued. Some portable business may be required for more senior corporate positions, particularly at smaller, native firms.
Litigation Litigation hiring in San Diego began to pick up in the last quarter of 2013 and has remained steady in 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. Litigation partners with a solid book of business are always in demand.
2014 began with a spike in hiring for real estate transactional and finance associates but has since dropped off. Top AmLaw firms are doing most of the hiring and are seeking attorneys with 2-6 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.
Slow Practice 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. There are currently two openings in this sector. Wage and hour experience is a must, and admittance to the California Bar is required.
There has been a limited need for senior energy attorneys and energy partners with business in 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, and CPUC will garner interviews.
We are not seeing a lot of activity in bankruptcy, construction, environmental, ERISA/Employee Benefits, healthcare, immigration, insurance coverage, securities litigation, 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 Report: 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. Recently, there has been an up-tick in opportunities with a variety of firms - AM LAW 200 firms as well as some lesser known boutiques.
HOT Practice Areas:
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. Another real estate area that has gained prominence in the past few two months is hotel and hospitality related transactions as well as development. In a shifting market which lands real estate in center stage, even firms that have not traditionally prioritized this practice are starting to get in the game. This puts partners with portable clients in high demand. For someone with a solid book of business (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.
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.
Steady Practice Areas:
Intellectual Property (Patent Litigation/Patent Prosecution)
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). However, we recently witnessed an expansion of firms considering those with life science degrees as well. There are fewer opportunities for patent prosecutors, but this area is still alive primarily for those with an Electrical Engineering or Computer Science background. A few life science positions have trickled in with boutiques. Firms tend to prefer attorneys that are coming from big law firms or a reputable IP boutique.
Litigation is still not as active as it traditionally is in Los Angeles. However, we are seeing some new positions. The firms looking for litigators seem to be split between high profile AM LAW 100 firms and smaller boutiques. The most marketable area is in complex commercial and business litigation, including class actions. Other popular areas are finance litigation, real estate litigation, and products liability. The market for general litigation is still struggling and the competition for these positions is fierce. Attorneys with 3+ years and deposition experience are most marketable. California Bar admission is a necessity.
Labor/Employment opportunities are always pretty consistent, even in difficult markets. The current demand is for labor/employment attorneys with 3-6 years and wage and hour experience. Firms ideally want someone with experience conducting deposition (hopefully with second chair experience). We are seeing very few junior positions in this area. Firms are opting for attorneys that can hit the ground running. The need for traditional labor work has also tapered off in the past few months. 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.
Slow Practice Areas:
There has been a slight uptick in positions for environmental and land use attorneys. I definitely think this is a practice area to watch. As real estate continues to boom, this area should follow. There are a few opportunities for mid-level to senior litigators, specifically with a CEQA background. Firms are also interested in growing this area, so partners with portable clients are also in demand.
Dead Practice Areas:
Fields that remain slow, unless a candidate has portable business, include bankruptcy, tax, controversy, trademark and copyright, IP transactions, and construction.
State of the Market Report: 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 area has been relatively quiet during the first half of the year, I have noticed that when firms do have a need, they tend to hire relatively quickly. This has been the case this year, specifically in the corporate arena.
HOT Practice Areas:
There is a particular interest in junior level corporate attorneys (1-4 years) with prominent firms in Orange County. The attorney would ideal 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.
Both national law firms as well as regional firms are seeking junior to mid-level 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. Membership to the USPTO (or eligibility) is essential and advanced technical degrees are preferred. There are essentially no positions for someone with a life science background.
Steady Practice Areas:
Though the litigation market on the West Coast remains slow, there has been a slight uptick in Orange County. High end firms are seeking those with an employment or securities litigation background. Regional or smaller firms have a need for attorneys with experience in insurance defense, construction, and civil litigation. California Bar is essential.
Slow Practice Areas:
With respect to last quarter, there has been a slight uptick for prominent firms that are seeking transactional tax attorneys. They are particularly interested in those with a strong M&A background and who can "hit the ground running." Large firms experience preferred. There is also a slight movement in the estate planning practice area. Attorneys with 3-5 years of experience with a strong background in estate planning and administration as well as charitable formation and tax related advice are sought after. Partners with business in both transaction tax as well as estate planning are in demand.
Though several firms have a strong interest in partners with business in this area, we are not seeing many associate level positions in real estate. Compared to the active market in other parts of the West Coast, this is somewhat odd. However, I do believe this is certainly a practice to watch 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.
Dead Practice Areas:
Though there may be a position here or there, these practice areas are extremely slow in the Orange County market: ERISA, bankruptcy, patent litigation, trademark and copyright, IP transactions.
THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST
State of the Market: Seattle by Paul Danielson, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Seattle is a beautiful city, and especially so during the summer, when residents get a reprieve from the typical overcast and rainy skies that cover the city throughout most of the fall, winter, and even spring.2014 has generally seen a solid economy in the Seattle area, law firms included, and hiring has continued at an encouraging pace in a variety of sectors, particularly in corporate, IP, and technology transactions practices. Seattle firms continue to demonstrate a significant preference for candidates with strong existing ties to the area, but any candidate with excellent credentials will get a look from the larger national firms with a Seattle presence.
Hot Practice Areas:
Corporate finally came back at the start of 2014, and hiring has accelerated since then, with multiple corporate openings at the mid-to-senior level (less so at the entry and junior level). Firms in particular are looking for solid experience in the following corporate areas: M&A, emerging companies, venture capital, private equity, capital markets, 1934 Act reporting, partnership formation and structuring, private and public offerings, and securities and other regulatory experience. Most all firms will insist on candidates who have prior law firm experience, and preferably at a national or international firm. If you have solid corporate credentials and have thought about relocating to the Seattle area, now would be a very good time to test those waters.
By far the hottest practice area in the Seattle market for the past two years running, the demand for solid patent prosecution attorneys doesn't show immediate signs of slowing down in the near future. Patent agent and attorney candidates with degrees in electrical engineering, computer science, and physics can expect to see interest from a number of firms, especially if they have an advanced degree in one of the aforementioned fields. Experience with wireless cellular technologies and software is especially preferred, as is registration with the USPTO. Unfortunately, demand for life science-side patent attorneys and agents remains minimal, but we hope to see that pick up within the next year. The Washington Bar is not immediately necessary, so if you have an EE/CS/Physics or Mechanical Engineering background and want to see what might be available in the Seattle market, get in touch with BCG today.
Similar to the corporate sector, real estate has come back in a big way in 2014 across the country, and Seattle is no exception. There have been over a half-dozen new openings for junior and mid-level real estate attorneys at major Seattle firms within the past three months, and we believe this demand will be sustained through the remainder of 2014 given the high demand for new residential and retail development as Seattle continues to grow in popularity as a city to live and work in.
Steady Practice Areas:
Litigation has picked up somewhat in the middle part of 2014, although the listings tend to disappear within a few days or weeks, as there is a large glut of would-be lateral litigation associate candidates on the market, and firms can take their pick of local talent without having to look outside of the direct Seattle market. That being said, you may find more opportunities as a litigator in Seattle if you have particular specialized experience in either real estate/construction defect litigation (following on the heels of the uptick in real estate transactional work), or insurance coverage defense (a relatively niche area where particular expertise is necessary at the mid-level).If you are a litigator looking to move to Seattle, the opportunities are out there, but they require swift action and you will be up against very strong competition.
Labor & Employment/Employee Benefits
Demand for both labor & employment litigators, as well as attorneys experienced in executive compensation, employee benefits and ERISA work, continues to be fairly steady heading into the summer months. If you are an employment litigator looking to lateral within the Seattle market, you will need to demonstrate strong experience in class action, wage & hour litigation, and discrimination cases. Attorneys with solid executive compensation experience will also see a number of opportunities, both in Seattle and on the market at large.
As I predicted in a 2013 State of the Market Report, we have indeed witnessed an uptick in demand for health care attorneys in the Seattle market, and listings are now coming online with some regularity for attorneys with experience in health care regulation, licensing, Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement, Stark, anti-kickback, HIPAA, and managed care issues. I do not foresee this area becoming as hot as, say, patent prosecution, but it represents what should be a steady and solid trend as the new health care marketplace continues to take shape with the enactment and rollout of the Affordable Care Act.
Slow to Dead:
Taxation, Trusts and Estates, Land Use, and Trademark/Copyright listings are infrequent to nonexistent in the Seattle market right now. Technology Transactions positions come online with slightly more frequency, but not enough to be considered a "strong" sector in the Seattle market at the moment, although that is one area in which we anticipate an uptick in demand following on the heels of general corporate transactional demand. Patent litigation has also slowed considerably, and seems to fluctuate wildly from quarter to quarter, so if you are a patent litigator looking to lateral into the Seattle market, do not lose hope and make sure you have your materials at the ready for when things inevitably pick up again.
State of the Market Report: Portland by Paul Danielson, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Portland has seen a remarkable growth in popularity over the last decade, thanks in no small part to offering world class experiences in food, art, urban planning and transit, and an abundance of outdoor recreational opportunities. It has been a magnet destination for the young, trendy class, and offers a manageable and highly live-able city for attorneys raising families. For all these reasons, you can always expect the competition for lateral attorney positions in the Portland market to be extremely high. Candidates will need not only stellar credentials, but also must demonstrate strong local ties to the area.
The overall market in Portland remains somewhat constrained, similar to what we saw earlier in the year, but the upside is that the slow trickle of open positions spans the entire spectrum of legal sectors and experience levels, so attorneys who are patient enough to wait for an opening and aggressive enough to jump on it quickly may find some luck no matter what their background and experience.
Hot Practice Areas:
The only practice area that has remained consistently in demand in the Portland market has been patent prosecution, and while there have been no small number of openings within the past few months, they are almost entirely dominated by demand for patent prosecution attorneys and agents with degrees in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Physics. Additionally, experience with wireless technologies is in particularly high demand right now. We do not anticipate the demand for attorneys with the aforementioned degrees and technology backgrounds to dissipate anytime soon, but if you are an attorney or patent agent with those credentials and are interested in Portland, now would be a good time to explore the market while demand remains high.
Steady Practice Areas:
Litigation demand in the Portland market can only be considered "steady" relative to the rest of the market overall. As mentioned in the introduction, the Portland market as a whole is very slow right now, and the available opportunities relatively scattered across a wide variety of practice areas. There have been only three formal job listings in total since the beginning of February, and those positions were taken offline again as quickly as they came on due to the intense competition for each and every opening. However, this does represent one of the more stable practice areas generally, and we anticipate steady (if very limited) demand for litigators.
Labor & Employment/Employee Benefits
Similar to general commercial litigation, demand for labor & employment attorneys, and particularly those with class action and wage & hour experience remains generally steady relative to the overall Portland market.
Health Care & FDA/Life Sciences
Though not directly equivalent practice areas, I have grouped Health Care & FDA/Life Sciences into one category, as we see an overlap in the experience required for listings in those areas, particularly in the regulatory matters involving HIPAA and FDA-regulations, health care contracting, fraud and abuse, and privacy matters. Though a relatively niche sector, demand has been steadily increasing in the Pacific Northwest, and surprisingly more so in Portland than Seattle. If you have a background and experience in the health care sector, I would highly recommend taking a look at the Portland market right now.
Trusts & Estate Planning
With the caveat that demand is relative to the overall Portland market, which is slow, trusts & estate planning attorney positions have been appearing at a relatively steady pace throughout the late spring and early summer, and enterprising attorneys with at least 2+ years of experience in this area will see a decent number of lateral opportunities in their job search. It helps to have a CPA background, and especially an LL.M. in Taxation, and having even a modest book of portable business in this area will at least get you a serious look at most firms in town.
Slow to Dead:
Real Estate, Immigration, Bankruptcy, Corporate, and IP Transactional attorneys will find little to no opportunity in the current Portland market, as hiring in those sectors has taken a recent downturn (or, in the case of bankruptcy, failed to come back online as quickly as other major markets). That being said, if you have a self-sustaining book of business or better, you will always have solid lateral opportunities, as all Portland firms are looking at any way they can to increase their business prospects as the overall economy continues to recover.
State of the Market: Las Vegas by Paul Danielson, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
We were heartened to see litigation job listings pick up in the Las Vegas region in May, and are optimistic the steady hiring trend will continue through Summer 2014, although the recent history of significant up-and-down movement in the Las Vegas market somewhat tempers our optimism. Other practice areas remain slow, although solid patent attorneys will get a look on a prospective basis. Attorneys with a portable book of business will continue to see significant lateral interest in the Las Vegas market, and those without should keep an eye trained on market trends and be prepared to make a push as soon as their sector picks up, as opportunities can disappear just as fast as they come online, particularly in the highly-competitive litigation sector.
The Nevada Bar continues to be a threshold requirement for consideration by nearly all firms, and candidates should be prepared to make a strong pitch based on their local connections and sincere intent to remain in the region.
Hot Practice Areas:
Continuing the trend from this spring, Litigation continues to be the hottest practice area in the Las Vegas market, with over a half-dozen openings coming online since the beginning of May at both the junior and mid-level, and at regional and large national firms. General commercial litigation is the most desired area of experience, as is products liability, construction litigation, and insurance defense. Successful candidates will bring top academic credentials, solid litigation experience (particularly deposition and trial experience), and should already be members of the Nevada Bar.
Steady Practice Areas:
Corporate and M&A
Demand for transactional attorneys in Las Vegas continues to be relatively steady, though it is certainly still not the boom times. At the junior and mid-level, firms are seeking attorneys with experience in business entity matters, securities, M&A, public and private financings, and corporate governance.
Slow to Dead:
There has been a significant drop off in demand for patent attorneys since the last report, although firms are still willing to give a prospective look at attorneys and patent agents with Computer Science, Physics, and especially Electrical Engineering degrees and solid prosecution experience. There have been scattered and sporadic openings for taxation, trusts and estates, and labor and employment attorneys, with little to no opportunities in other legal sectors. Non-litigation attorneys seeking to move to Vegas need to exercise patience in the current market, and be ready to jump on any opportunity they can, as it may be the last one for some time as the Nevada economy continues its slow recovery.
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, but we are seeing a strong recovery in several practice areas. To break in to the Phoenix market, candidates should have a tie to the area or a well thought out reason for moving to Arizona. While top academics are still preferred, a sincere interest in the locale is equally important. Candidates coming from traditionally larger markets do well in Phoenix.
HOT Practice Areas:
Over the past month, we have a seen a strong rally in this market for corporate attorneys. Candidates with 2-3 years of experience are in most demand. Firms have a need for those with a background in M&A, capital markets, private equity, as well as financial transactions. I expect that we will also see an uptick in public finance.
A cornerstone of the Phoenix market, real estate was an active market last quarter and continues to grow. Firms are particularly seeking transactional attorneys with experience in hotel management and hospitality. The demand for these groups is so high that a firm may consider a well-credentialed corporate attorney that has an interest in transitioning into real estate work. Finance related work in this area is also a huge plus.
We are continuing to witness an uptick in the health care arena, most likely due to the changing political landscape. At the outset of the year, we saw a demand for more senior attorneys. Now, we have a number of openings for 2-3 year attorneys with prominent and regional firms in this field. Candidates must have a working knowledge of the health care industry. Experience with HIPPA and Stark regulations preferred. Firms are also actively looking for health care partners with portable business.
We have a few openings for junior to mid-level patent litigators. Firms prefer attorneys with technical backgrounds in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, ideally with an advanced degree. For attorneys with 5+ years of experience, the firms are seeking a modest book of business.
Slow Practice Areas:
Litigation hasn't quite recovered and has been slow throughout the country in the first half of 2014.With a few exceptions, litigation remains a tough area for the Phoenix market. There is some interest for litigators with a background in construction and insurance law. Arizona Bar is a must.
Trust & Estates
There is a need for experienced estate planning attorneys with an LL.M. in taxation. These regional law firms are ideally seeking attorneys with 10+ years of experience and a sophisticated practice. Book of business is certainly a plus.
Dead Practice Areas:
The Phoenix market has seen no activity in IP/transactions, Patent Prosecution, Environmental, Government, Project Finance, Tax, or Energy. However, there are always exceptions for partners with portables in these areas.
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.
Corporate - Securities; M&A; Finance; Private Equity
We would be interested in speaking with corporate associates with 3-5 years of experience handling general corporate, M&A, private equity and securities matters.
Intellectual Property - Patent Prosecution and Litigation; Technology; Trademark, Copyright and Licensing Denver firms are seeking IP litigation associates with 2-4 years of experience. We are also receiving requests for associates with 4-6 years of experience in trademark prosecution, copyright and licensing. We would also be interested in speaking with patent prosecution associates with 1-6 years of experience in patent prosecution and backgrounds in a variety of areas, including electrical engineering, chemistry, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, physics and computer science. Advanced degrees are preferred and USPTO is in most cases required. Associates with 3+ years of experience with technology transactions involving data privacy and security should get in touch with our Chicago office.
Healthcare -Transactional and Regulatory
We have seen an increase in requests for healthcare associates with transactional and regulatory experience and 3-5 years of experience. We would also like to speak with associates who have clinical research experience. Denver firms are also seeking healthcare associates with experience with FDA regulations, HIPAA/ privacy laws and fraud and abuse laws.
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 season 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 and Chemical Engineering. Other areas with significant activity since spring 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.
Intellectual Property - Patent Prosecution
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 also seen an increase in demand for Chemical Engineers. 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. Significant 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 continue to see increased demand for corporate finance attorneys.
Litigation-Commercial and Specialty
Demand for litigators did increase somewhat 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 demonstrated independent level of functioning for the class year. For junior litigators, we have seen specific requests for Law Review experience, or a leadership role on a journal, and some firms ask for a federal clerkship.
Labor & Employment
We continue to see an 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.
Tax and Trusts & Estates
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 and top academic credentials.
Partners with Portable Business
Twin Cities firms are always interested in talking to partners with portable business that may provide work for associates or enable cross-selling opportunities within the firm. Smaller firms may be interested in speaking to partners with less than a million dollars in business, with the larger firms generally requiring a million dollars as a threshold amount. Partners with a persuasive, concrete business plan for growing business may also be considered. Partners with books of business should contact BCG's Chicago office for more information.
State of the Market: Indiana by 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.
Intellectual Property - Patent Prosecution
Intellectual property is an area of high demand in Indianapolis. Firms are seeking patent prosecutors with 2-5 years of experience and backgrounds in organic chemistry, chemistry, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and computer science.
Litigation - Antitrust
Litigation has not been an area in which we have seen significant need in Indianapolis, but we would like to speak with litigation associates with 3-5 years of experience in antitrust litigation.
We would be interested in speaking with healthcare associates with 2-4 years of experience in healthcare transactional and regulatory matters.
Firms in Indianapolis are also seeking real estate associates with 2-6 years of experience in commercial real estate transactions, including leasing and finance transactions.
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 engineering/science, with some interest in life sciences (including biochemistry and chemistry) and material sciences. Although litigation has not been as strong in recent years, we have seen a significant increase in recent months for commercial litigation and insurance defense litigation, with some demand for labor & employment litigation. We remain hopeful that this positive trend will continue. Other transactional areas, including corporate, real estate, healthcare and trusts & estates and ERISA 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.
Cleveland and Cincinnati
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). Less growth has been shown in labor & employment litigation, but there is still some demand. With regard to litigation associate candidates, some Ohio 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 engineering/science, with more limited interest in life sciences. 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 continues to show significant interest. Other apparent growth areas in transactional practices include real estate, trusts & estates 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 commercial litigation. Other areas that are in demand for partners with business include corporate, labor & employment, real estate, health care and trusts & estates. The amount of portable business required varies from firm to firm, but in general some firms will talk to partners with as low as $300,000 to $500,000 in portable business in smaller firms, while larger firms seek $1M or more. Partners with at least $300,000 and a concrete, specific business plan outlining how they seek to grow their business are encouraged to contact BCG for assistance in finding specific opportunities, as we have had success in Ohio with books at that level.
Columbus, Dayton, Akron 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. And while Dayton, Akron and Toledo are relatively small legal markets in comparison to the three largest Ohio cities, there is still a fair amount of activity in their markets on both the associate and partner levels. The firms in or near these cities are primarily seeking associates with backgrounds in commercial litigation, general corporate, healthcare, real estate, trusts & estates and IP (especially chemistry, electrical engineering and computer engineering/science).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. Candidates who have strong connections to the particular cities tend to be more marketable to their 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, including those cited above. As elsewhere, the level of business a partner needs to be marketable varies from firm to firm; however, the smaller firms in these cities will generally respond favorably to as little as $300,000 to $500,000 in business and a concrete business plan and possibly less for special circumstances. Larger firms, especially in Columbus, may seek as much as $1M or more. Again, partners with portable business who are interested in opportunities in Ohio are encouraged to contact the Chicago office for more information.
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 City area the strongest opportunities in IP, particularly for associates with technical backgrounds in electrical engineering, computer engineering/science and physics. We also continue to see significant demand for corporate associates, especially for those with general corporate or merger and acquisitions experience, as well as for commercial litigators. Significant interest has been observed in recent years for lawyers with a background in energy (aka 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. Consequently, 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 you should contact the Chicago office for more information.
State of the Market: Chicago by Jamie Bailey, Partner, BCG Attorney Search - Chicago
As we head into a much needed respite from a very harsh winter, we are excited about the activity we are seeing in the Chicago market. There is significant need for laterals in key transactional areas, including real estate, corporate (general corporate, finance, private equity, capital markets/securities and M&A), and health care. Intellectual property remains very strong, with higher demand for patent prosecutors. Many firms have entered the Chicago market via mergers and we are very excited to be working with a number of these new offices to assist them with their growth initiatives.
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 who are 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.
Corporate - Commercial Finance; Private Equity; Venture Capital; M&A; Capital Markets/Securities
Like last quarter, firms are continuing to request associates with 2-6 years of experience in general corporate, capital markets/securities, M&A, and private equity transactions. We have seen an increased demand for debt finance associates with 2-5 years of experience and we would be interested in speaking with associates who have experience in secured financing transactions. We would also like to speak with associates who have been involved in private fund work and the management of private funds, real estate funds and/or other similar investment vehicles.
Healthcare - Transactional and Regulatory
We would like to speak with healthcare associates with 2-6 years of experience in healthcare regulatory and/or corporate matters, including work with hospitals, managed care plans, Medicare and Medicaid, and federal and state healthcare regulatory issues.
Associates with 3+ years of clinical research experience and experience advising clients on clinical research compliance, as well as drafting and negotiating research-related agreements should also contact us. We would also be interested in speaking with associates with 2-4 years of experience working with hospitals and health systems, physician groups, senior housing communities, community mental health centers, pharmacy chains, and various health care vendors providing advice on Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement issues as well as licensure and regulatory compliance issues (e.g., fraud and abuse, Stark, HIPAA). Experience with corporate, health care and tax issues involved with organizational activities, corporate transactions and commercial ventures in the health care field is required. Experience in Medicare Part C and Part D is also required.
Intellectual Property - Patent Prosecution; Patent Litigation; Information Technology; Trademark and Copyright
Intellectual property continues to be an area in which Chicago firms have need. We still have significant need for patent prosecution associates, but patent litigation needs have somewhat slowed. Patent prosecution associates with technical backgrounds in electrical or mechanical engineering and computer science are still in demand. We would be interested in speaking with patent prosecution associates with 1-5 years of experience in opinion drafting, IP transactional work, and patent litigation support. Candidates who have a focus in the areas of wireless communications and/or network switching technology should also contact our Chicago office. Admission to the IL bar and USPTO is typically required.
On the patent litigation side, we have opportunities in Chicago for junior to mid-level IP litigation attorneys with 2-5 years of experience. These associates must be able to draft and respond to interrogatories, document requests and requests to admit, draft legal memorandum and briefs, research legal issues, handle document productions, prepare deposition outlines, take depositions, argue motions, and prepare for and attend trial. Firms are seeking patent litigators with technical backgrounds in electrical engineering, computer engineering, computer science, or a similar field.
Information technology transactional attorneys with 1+ years of experience in IP and technology transactions should contact our Chicago office for excellent opportunities.
Chicago firms are also seeking trademark attorneys with 2-5 years of experience. Qualified candidates will have significant hands-on experience working on trademark transactional matters, including domestic and international prosecution and oppositions. Some experience with trademark litigation or advertising/promotion law would be a plus.
Chicago law firms are seeing an uptick in real estate work and are seeking associates with 2-5 years of experience in commercial real estate transactions including real estate finance, acquisitions and dispositions and landlord and tenant leasing. Experience with multi-site and multi-jurisdictional transactions representing purchasers, borrowers and lenders is desired.
Labor and Employment
We would like to speak with labor and employment associates with 2-6 years of experience in employment law. Candidates with experience in providing international employment advice to multinational companies, including employment law, data privacy, and international comparative law should contact our Chicago office. The Illinois bar is required. We would also be interested in speaking with associates who have 3-4 years of experience in multi-plaintiff litigation.
We have not yet seen a significant uptick in the need for commercial litigation associates and the market continues to be 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 class action, trade secrets, securities, white collar, and real estate litigation.
We have a unique in-house opportunity at a leading provider of restructuring-based technology solutions. The company is looking for a Director of Business Development to reside in Chicago, New York City or Delaware. The ideal candidate would have a minimum of 4-6 years of experience practicing at a large law firm in restructuring or bankruptcy. Qualified candidates must have strong contacts in the bankruptcy and restructuring industry (mainly within law firms). This is a non-practicing position and the candidate must prefer networking and business development over practicing law. Some travel is required for this position.
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.
Intellectual Property - Patent Prosecution
Similar to our last report, intellectual property practices in Wisconsin firms continue to thrive and we are receiving numerous requests for patent prosecution associates, which are in high demand. We would like to speak with patent prosecution associates with 2-6 years of experience and backgrounds in any of the following areas: chemistry, biotech, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, computer science and physics. 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. We would also like to speak with patent prosecution associates with 2+ years of experience and a Ph.D. in one of the physical sciences, and extensive experience in physical chemistry, semiconductor, nanotechnology, physics, solar energy and/or biological science. Advanced degrees and USPTO are in most cases preferred or required.
We would also be interested in speaking with intellectual property litigators with 2-5 years of experience in patent litigation matters and strong litigation skills, including drafting briefs, arguing motions and taking and defending depositions.
Corporate and Finance
We have seen a very slight increase in corporate transactional work in Madison and Milwaukee and would be interested in speaking with associate with 4-6 years of experience in general corporate, M&A, and venture capital matters and commercial finance attorneys with 5-15 years of experience in commercial finance and restructuring transactions.
Labor and Employment
Although we have not received a significant level of requests for labor and employment attorneys, we would be interested in speaking with labor and employment associates with 3-4 years of experience who are licensed to practice law in Wisconsin and are interested in working in Milwaukee.
Trusts & Estates
We are interested in speaking 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.
Real Estate and Insurance - In-House Opportunities
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.
Significantly, for the first time this quarter, we are beginning to see a small demand for commercial litigation attorneys with excellent academics and experience in top-tier firms. We will monitor whether commercial litigation continues to trend.
Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Traverse City
Intellectual Property- Patent Prosecution
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. Solid experience in drafting patents is essential. The most desired backgrounds remain electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, computer science/engineering, and chemical engineering.
This quarter we noticed a new need in the healthcare arena and are interested in speaking with attorneys who have experience in this area. The main areas are fraud and abuse, FDA regulatory, compliance and transactions.
Corporate, Real Estate
We have seen a moderate but continued need for mid-level attorneys with experience in general corporate transactional matters, as well as real estate attorneys with generalized experience.
State of the Market: Philadelphia by Margaret Gilleran, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Philadelphia's Corporate market is not nearly as large or active as New York's; however, there are a number of large firms in Philadelphia that are actively looking for qualified Corporate Candidates (e.g. Duane Morris, Drinker Biddle, Dechert, et al.)In addition, there are transactional searches at smaller but highly sophisticated Philadelphia firms like Klehr Harrison and White and Williams. Firms are primarily interested in Candidates who have 2+ years of experience in one or more of the following areas: Capital Markets, Finance, Mergers & Acquisitions, Private Equity and/or Investment Management. Candidates who are coming from large New York firms are generally given preference in the Philadelphia market.
Intellectual Property Law:
The Intellectual Property market in Philadelphia is very active. Candidates who have 2+ years of Patent Prosecution experience are in demand. The demand encompasses a variety of scientific backgrounds, including Electrical Engineering and Computer Science as well as some of the Life Sciences such as Biology and Chemistry. Advanced degrees are preferred. If you are a Patent Prosecution Candidate who is considering making a move within Philadelphia, or relocating to Philadelphia, then it is an excellent time to commence a search.
Real Estate Law:
While the steady uptick in Real Estate appears to have leveled; the need for qualified Real Estate Candidates in Philadelphia remains strong. The Candidates who are the most in demand have 3+ years of large firm experience with a focus on Real Estate Finance.
Health Care Law:
The demand of Health Care Candidates has shifted to reflect an increased demand for Partners in this area. While we continue to see a demand for Associates 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, the demand for Partners with the foregoing type of experience is greater.
Litigation and Labor and Employment:
The Litigation and Labor and Employment markets in Philadelphia remain inactive. If a Candidate has outstanding credentials or a book of portable business, then it may be possible to make a move. However, if you are a Litigation Candidate or Labor and Employment Candidate who is considering making a move, then you should prepare yourself for the fact that your search may take longer than your friends or colleagues who work in other areas.
State of the Market: New York by Robyn Ginsberg, Senior Managing Director - East Coast, BCG Attorney Search
It's no surprise that the practice areas which continue to dominate the New York market are corporate law, IP, and real estate. However, thus far in 2014, we are seeing some shifting trends within many of these practice areas, which are addressed in further detail below. We are also seeing increased demand in unexpected areas, including litigation/white collar, bankruptcy/restructuring and even regulatory practices. Overall, the New York market appears to be thriving, with firms ready and willing to hire strong candidates at all levels across a wide range of practice areas.
There are a number of large and mid-sized law firms seeking corporate candidates. The greatest demand thus far has been for candidates with cross-border and domestic mergers and acquisitions, private equity and securities experience. There are also a number of firms seeking finance associates, generally with corporate, structured or leveraged finance experience. We are also continuing to see a great deal of demand for mid- to senior-level associates with strong private investment fund experience, primarily with hedge and private equity funds.
For the first time in a long time, it seems there are more firms looking to hire than there are corporate associates looking to make lateral moves. Thus, this is a fantastic time for corporate associates to consider lateraling to another firm. Additionally, because there is a dearth of strong mid-level corporate candidates with top level transactional experience, we are seeing more firms willing to consider candidates at the junior level (e.g., Class of 2012 associates).
There has also been a surprising trend shift in the IP sector. For the first time in a few years, the New York market is showing greater demand for patent litigation candidates as compared to patent prosecution attorneys. The few firms actively looking for patent prosecutors are focused on those with strong life science (biology, molecular biology, immunology) or chemistry expertise, with some demand for engineering expertise (mechanical or electrical).
The demand for patent litigators is largely focused on junior to mid-level candidates with technical backgrounds in computer science or electrical engineering, with much more limited interest in candidates with a life science background.
We are seeing some consistent but minor interest in candidates with licensing and technology backgrounds, but this area is largely stagnant for the moment. Similarly, there are a small number of firms looking for candidates with trademark and copyright experience, but these opportunities are dwarfed by the number of current patent litigation positions.
2014 has breathed some life into the bankruptcy and restructuring space. This practice area, which has been all but dead for the last few years, has actually been quite vibrant thus far this year. While some smaller and mid-sized firms have been adding partner-level candidates with strong bankruptcy experience, the majority of demand is at the 4-6 year level. Firms are primarily interested in candidates with debtor and creditor experience working on restructurings and reorganizations, as well as those with substantive Chapter 11 experience.
Real estate continues to be a hot practice area in New York. Firms are generally seeking candidates in the 3-5 year range, with sophisticated commercial real estate and related finance experience. There is also consistent demand for candidates with development, leasing and survey/title experience. The level of demand in the real estate sector is similar to what we saw in 2012 and 2013.
We've seen a surprising, if minor, surge in demand for white collar and securities enforcement associates at the mid-level. Additionally, there are a handful of firms seeking general or commercial litigators with between 3-6 years of experience. Not surprisingly, most firms are seeking associates with strong experience representing financial institutions or those in the consumer finance sector.
New York is not typically viewed as a hot-bed for regulatory lawyers, however that may be changing. We have noticed a clear increase in demand for attorneys with regulatory law experience spanning the energy, international trade, investment fund and health care sectors, among others. For example, one large AmLaw 100 law firm is seeking health care and policy candidates with FDA regulatory experience, while another large firm is seeking candidates with beverage and alcohol related regulatory experience, and numerous others are in search of candidates with health care regulatory expertise. We are also seeing increased demand for candidates with broker-dealer and investment advisory experience.
There has consistently been strong demand thus far in 2014 for transactional tax associates at all levels, especially for candidates with experience working on the tax aspects of capital markets, mergers and acquisitions and finance matters. New York firms are also very interested in partner level transactional tax experience, particularly those with significant portable business ($1 million plus).We are also seeing some demand for associate level candidates with international tax experience, but not as much as anticipated.
Partner Level Searches:
Partner level demand is high in all practice areas in New York, with many large, mid-sized and small firms poised to grow. We've had a number of requests for partner level candidates with transactional tax, finance, corporate, bankruptcy and litigation experience. As is the norm, smaller firms want to see portables of at least $500,000 with mid-sized firms wanting a minimum of $1 million in portables. Larger firms typically want to see higher figures, depending on the practice area, but generally no lower than $2 million.
State of the Market: Boston/New England by Nicole Callahan, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Boston is the heart of the legal market in New England. It is by far the busiest sector of the region. Currently, Boston firms have an abundance of openings in the area of Intellectual Property law, with Corporate not far behind. Litigation continues to remain the slowest area of the market, and the competition for those opportunities is intense.
Boston remains a hot bed for patent prosecution work, with firms mostly seeking junior to mid-level associates. While Electrical Engineering and Computer Science degrees will likely remain sought after for quite a while, the market is opening up quite a bit to the Life Sciences and Chemistry. Boston's already booming Biotech industry is only expected to grow over the next few years and, along with it, candidates with backgrounds in Chemistry, Immunology, Biochemistry, Microbiology, and Cell Biology will be desired. Also, in addition to Electrical Engineering, firms are now seeking attorneys with degrees in Chemical, Biomedical, and Mechanical Engineering. Firms are also interested in Patent Agents or Technical Specialists with USPTO experience.
Usually holding strong, patent litigation is surprisingly slow, more in line with general litigation positions. Also slow are "soft" IP positions, including Trademark Prosecution and Litigation, as well as Copyright work. However, the market is slowly emerging in the area of Technology Transfer and Licensing.
Corporate is not quite as busy as IP, but it is a close second. There are openings across all specialties of the practice area, including Business Transactions, Finance, Mergers and Acquisitions, and Capital Markets. Corporate generalists are also in high demand. Firms are predominantly looking for candidates with 3-6 years of experiences, although there are a few openings for more junior candidates as well.
Real Estate remains steady, with firms seeking mid-level candidates that have a broad background, including Acquisitions and Dispositions, Financing, Leasing, Development, and Lending.
The Litigation market in Boston remains slow. In additional to IP, the strongest areas for litigation candidates are Labor and Employment and Commercial Litigation, with a few openings in Securities. Competition is fierce, and without top credentials or niche experience, attaining a position will be an uphill battle.
New England, Outside Boston
Like in Boston, firms in the smaller markets of New England are looking for junior to mid-level patent prosecution attorneys across all areas. Also very marketable is experience in the areas of Corporate Transactions and Real Estate Finance. Unlike the bigger market of Boston, there are a surprising number of litigation positions in other areas of New England, with openings spattered across practice groups, including Labor & Employment, Construction, and Commercial, as well as general civil litigation positions. Very different than Boston, the smaller markets of New England hold an interest in candidates with experience in Environmental Law, including litigation, regulatory, and land use work.
State of the Market: Washington, D.C. by Katy Anderman, Managing Director - East Coast, BCG Attorney Search
This summer, the DC market is showing signs of moderate growth, with an increase in opportunities in intellectual property, corporate and health care. We have seen a few new positions open up in government (contracts and government relations), energy, antitrust, litigation and white collar crime, but competition for these available positions remains fierce.
We are seeing the highest number of job openings in within the Intellectual Property area. There is 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 have also seen an increase in demand for Technology Transactions, Licensing, Data Security and Privacy opportunities in the DC market and candidates with a strong technology, media and advertising and/or transactional background are very marketable.
Corporate attorneys are also in high demand (especially mid-level associates with 3-5 years of experience). Corporate restructuring is seeing a revival in New York and that demand is translating to the DC market as well. We are also seeing a new need for project finance, lending and banking attorneys. However, the greatest corporate demand is 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.
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.
Although demand for real estate attorneys remains strong nationwide, the DC market has fewer positions available compared to NYC and Boston. In the last few months, we have seen a few new openings at mid-sized and smaller boutique firms in Maryland. There is a steady demand for attorneys with traditional commercial real estate and development experience as well as tax and finance 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 growing nationwide as well as in DC. Associates with transactional health care experience in Medicare/Medicaid, health care fraud and abuse laws including Anti-Kickback Statute, Stark and False Claims Act are highly sought after.
International Trade: We continue to see a 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 has seen a bit of an uptick over the last 2-3 months with a couple of new opportunities on the market. As always, attorneys with electric and/or natural gas and FERC experience are always needed.
The D.C. market for general litigators and white collar attorneys is quiet. Firms continue to seek out very highly credentialed 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, government contracts attorneys and political/government relations associates.
We anticipate that hiring in the DC legal market will continue to pick up throughout the summer and early fall. However, positions are quickly being filled and the market remains competitive. If you are looking to make a move, we suggest you stay on top of new openings and cast a wide net (even considering neighboring areas such as Baltimore).
State of the Market: Texas by Suzanne Dupree Howe, Esq., Managing Director of BCG - Texas & the Southeast
The second quarter of 2014 has remained active with a number of Corporate, Energy and IP needs. We continue to see needs across many sectors, but find that our most significant needs are Transactional, with a lot of needs in M&A, Venture Capital, Private Equity and Real Estate. We have also seen a remarkable uptick in Employee Benefits needs and find that many of these candidates are very much in demand.
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 us at 713-270-1199.
This practice area has slowed remarkably, though we have had a handful of opportunities in recent months.
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 a low but steady supply of needs in this 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. Corporate remains our very highest need.
Tax needs have slowed a bit in 2014 here in Texas, but we continue to have a low supply of corporate tax needs. 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. In fact, I would say that Patent Agents are one of our very highest needs right now. 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.
This area has been exploding across the country. This would be a great time to look as we have needs in all markets of the country.
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. We have had a number of needs at the senior associate level and a great deal of needs within Real Estate Finance.
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 in Real Estate, IP litigation, Patent Prosecution and Corporate. Corporate is a very hot area in Atlanta and it's an excellent time to look if you are considering a move. We have also seen a rising need in Patent Prosecution since 2013 in many technological areas. We have a number of needs in IP Litigation for those with EE and Computer-related degrees. Much like other markets, there are a number of needs for Employee Benefits associates currently.
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.
Litigation is the busiest practice area in Florida, and this is significant because Litigation is not a particularly busy practice area in other parts of the country. Firms are most interested in Candidates with 4+ years of real litigation experience, i.e. experience taking and defending depositions, and/or experience in court arguing motions. If a Candidate has the foregoing experience, and has some familiarity with insurance defense, consumer finance, or foreclosure, then it is likely that such Candidate will have a fairly short job search. Another plus is the ability to speak Spanish and/or Portuguese.
Corporate is still a busy practice area, especially in and around Miami. Firms are considering Candidates with 3+ years of experience in the following areas: Capital Markets, Mergers & Acquisitions, Finance, and General Corporate Transactions. Like Litigation, Candidates who have the ability to speak Spanish and/or Portuguese have a slight advantage.
Real Estate has slowed, and here again Florida is different from other parts of the country where Real Estate remains very busy. Other areas like Labor & Employment, Trusts & Estates, and Health Care remain steady. Intellectual Property, specifically Patent Prosecution, remains steady as well; and there is a significant preference for Candidates who have advanced degrees in Electrical Engineering or Computer Science over Candidates who have advanced degrees in Biology, Chemistry, and other Life Sciences.
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