The demand for corporate associates in San Francisco, which has been steadily consistent, came roaring to life in 2014 and was the strongest hiring sector in this market. Junior and mid-level associates are in high demand (especially those with experience in the life sciences and tech sector's) and there has been a steady need for senior associates with 7 years of experience or higher. Attorneys with experience in private equity were the most sought after, and this trend is expected to continue well into 2015. Structured and debt finance positions, usually the domain of the New York market, have begun creeping westward and firms in the Bay Area have begun hiring associates with this experience. Experience in emerging companies/venture capital, M&A, and securities is needed almost unilaterally. Local candidates already employed with a top firm have a clear advantage over their out of state competitors.
Real Estate hiring in San Francisco remained especially high in 2014 and was the second strongest hiring sector the last half of the year. This trend is expected to continue well into 2015, making Real Estate one of the hottest practice areas in California. Most firms are seeking transactional associates in the junior and mid-level range (3-5 years), although there is an occasional need for finance candidates as well. 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.
San Francisco is one of the few legal markets in the state that has continued to experience an increase in litigation hiring for law firms of all sizes, and lateral hiring was particularly strong in 2014. The demand is consistently in the area of complex commercial litigation, although there is the occasional need for general litigators, securities litigators, and products liability attorneys. As has been the case, candidates with stellar credentials dominate hiring in this practice given that hiring remains so competitive. Federal clerkships are always valued, as is admission to the California bar.
The need for Patent Prosecution associates is a constant in the Bay Area, and the demand for junior to mid-levels in this practice remained steady in San Francisco this year. Firms of all sizes are seeking attorneys with 1-6 years of experience. Computer Science and Electrical Engineering candidates continue to rule the market but associates with degrees in Physics or a Ph.D. in Biology or Chemistry are also in demand. Biotechnology degrees are also appreciated. USPTO registration is required. Patent prosecutors are encouraged to also look in the Silicon Valley area for a position where firms are always seeking solid candidates.
Labor and Employment
Hiring in the labor and employment sector grew steadily in 2014 in San Francisco. It appears that more L&E matters are heading to trial and law firms are hiring accordingly. There has been an increased demand for attorneys with deposition and trial experience. Employers are seeking both junior and mid-level associates with wage and hour, discrimination, and client counseling experience. Class action experience is also a must and is sought by firms of all sizes. Mid-level candidates are expected to take active roles in their matters.
Patent Litigation leveled off in 2014 but still remained fairly strong in San Francisco. Because demand dropped off somewhat, firms appeared to be more reluctant to consider out of state candidates as readily as they previously had. 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.
The candidate pool for technology transactions candidates is relatively small. Law firms always seem to be in need of these associates, even when there are no advertised vacancies. This is particularly true of associates who have licensing experience. Hiring in this sector was fairly consistent in 2014 and, in some cases, was opened up to candidates with only general transactions experience. Junior to mid-level associates who have experience in the life sciences and technology sectors are clearly valued.
Hiring in this practice area increased statewide in 2014 and there were a few postings this year in San Francisco. The need for associates with qualified plan experience is consistent statewide. Junior to mid-level associates with employee benefits, executive compensation, and tax experience are highly desirable.
Tax has never been a particularly strong practice area in San Francisco. However, following other statewide trends, there was a slight increase in the need for junior to mid-level tax associates. Tax hiring in California is predominantly in the transactional tax sector but there were also occasional needs for state and local tax candidates. Firms are generally willing to consider candidates from both law firms and big 4 accounting practices.
Trademark vacancies have been somewhat of a rarity in the Bay Area since 2011. Soft IP hiring in California has not been able to keep pace with the high demand for patent litigators and prosecutors. That said, there were a few Trademark vacancies in the city in 2014.Hiring tends to be by larger firms seeking a junior to mid-level attorney with experience in trademark enforcement and prosecution. TTAB experience is always valued.
State of the Market Report: Silicon Valley by Evan P. Anderson, Managing Director, BCG Attorney Search
Silicon Valley has been a great legal market in past years. Finding a position is usually easier to do here than it is in San Francisco. For those candidates looking in San Francisco, looking in Silicon Valley instead is a good idea, as opportunities are easier to find. There are quite a few people living in San Francisco or a nearby city that commute to Silicon Valley daily. This area is close to Napa Valley, Sonoma, and Russian River wine country, and allows for a high quality of life.
As in San Francisco, corporate hiring in Silicon Valley was the busiest practice area in last half of 2014, displacing patent hiring for the first time in years. Firms continue to hire associates who have worked with tech companies, specifically in the private equity and venture capital arenas. General corporate experience, including capital markets, M&A, and securities is always in need, especially with candidates who have worked in the life sciences.
Patent prosecution hiring in Silicon Valley is pretty much a constant and was very strong throughout 2014. As more and more tech companies open their doors in the Bay Area, the need for attorneys with computer science and electrical engineering backgrounds will certainly remain steady. Those holding degrees in the life sciences (particularly Ph.D.'s) will also continue to find jobs in this market. Registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office is required, but candidates do not need to be admitted to the California bar.
Patent litigation hiring declined slightly in 2014 but still remained steady. As with the San Francisco market, firms seemed less willing to consider out of state candidates or those who did not have completely solid credentials. Attorneys holding computer science or electrical engineering degrees are still in the driver's seat. Admittance to the US Patent Bar has become more and more expected.
2014 was the best year for technology transactions hiring since 2011. Because demand is high and the candidate pool is small, firms consistently are seeking candidates who possess any transactional experience in the life sciences or technology sectors. Licensing experience is highly sought after. Mid-level hiring remained the strongest although hiring is expected to be heavy across all levels in 2015. If candidates have engineering, computer science, or life sciences degrees, they are most assuredly guaranteed interviews.
Lateral associate hiring in the Tax sector was the strongest it's been in years in 2014.Transactional tax attorneys from top law firms and even big 4 accounting firms are getting interviews at all levels of seniority. An increasing number of state and local tax opportunities are also available.
Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation hiring has been consistently steady but it is one of those practice areas that is currently taking off and is expected to see a lot of movement and new hires in 2015. Candidates at all levels are sought but those with 2-5 years of experience who are currently practicing with a large firm will have their pick of employers, as the candidate pool for this practice is quite small. There is a need for associates who have qualified and/or non-qualified plan experience.
Silicon Valley firms continue to hire junior to mid-level complex commercial/business litigators with stellar credentials. Antitrust and Securities postings show up on occasion. Candidates need to be a member of the California Bar or have recently taken the bar exam.
Labor & Employment hiring fell off considerably in 2014. When there are vacancies, they tend to be large AmLaw firms seeking mid-level associates with wage and hour, employment counseling, and discrimination experience.
Silicon Valley seems somewhat removed from the uptick in transactional real estate hiring that is occurring in the rest of the state. When there are vacancies, they tend to be for associates in the mid-level range. Experience in acquisitions, leasing, joint ventures, and sales is valued.
Dead Practice Areas:
There is currently no activity in trusts & estates, insurance, energy, bankruptcy, environmental, healthcare, and antitrust. However, firms will also consider partners in any area who have portables totaling at least $1.5 million.
State of the Market Report: Los Angeles by Allison Wottawa, Legal Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
From Downtown to Century City (and a few in Santa Monica), Los Angeles continues to be a strong hub for major law firms, regional as well as international. More and more East Coast and Midwest based firms are opening their doors in Los Angeles, creating some terrific ground-floor opportunities for partners and associates alike.
This is a 2014 trend that has not stopped! The Los Angeles market has seen increased activity for corporate work and the demand does not seem to die down. Many prominent firms are searching for two or more junior to mid-level associates and numerous firms are also considering more senior attorneys with this background (6- 7+ years). Within corporate, those with experience in mergers and acquisitions as well as private equity are in high demand, which is typical in Los Angeles. However, we are seeing a new trend for a higher demand for attorneys with a background in capital markets and securities work. Traditionally, firms handle these matters in New York or on the East Coast, but many firms seem to be bulking up their presence in these areas on the West Coast now as well. Attorneys with a specific background to corporate/finance (secured and unsecured lending; credit facilities; debt finance) are also very popular with firms in the Los Angeles market.
Real Estate has certainly been a popular area in 2014. Though there was a bit of a drop during the summer months, Los Angeles firms seem to have a renewed sense of building this practice. Numerous prominent, national firms are seeking attorneys with this background, particularly at the junior level (1-4 years). Experience in leasing, purchase and sale, and development are all in demand. However, those attorneys that have a background in sophisticated real estate finance transactions are particularly popular.
While the litigation market remains lukewarm, the market for labor/employment attorneys is much more active. We are seeing a demand for associates with this experience from a combination of smaller regional firms as well as major, national firms. The regional firms are specifically seeking candidates with public agency-related employment experience. Within this practice, experience with wage-and-hour law is specifically valued as is a background in multi-plaintiff litigation. Many firms are also seeking candidates with exposure to traditional labor law (NLRB proceedings) on the Management side as well as solid employment litigation. Ideally, the mid-level (3-4 year candidate) should have experience conducting depositions.
Health care has remained steadily warm throughout the year and I believe this will continue well into 2105, particularly given the political climate. There are openings in health care transactional work with numerous firms in Los Angeles. Experience with hospitals, Medicare and Medicaid, and Stark laws are definitely a plus. Many firms will also consider a junior or mid-level associate with solid transactional skills that has an interest in health care law, but does not have immediate health care experience. This is a great opportunity for corporate attorneys that are seeking a niche area that will probably be in demand for years to come. Health care litigation work is also on the rise.
When considering California as a whole, Los Angeles is not exactly a hub for patent law. However, there is a steady stream of patent litigation and prosecution possibilities from well-regarded firms. While most of the patent litigation positions are with larger, prominent firms, most of the prosecution opportunities are with IP boutiques. A background in electrical engineering or computer science is generally preferred to other technical specialties. Membership to the USPTO is essential to be competitive in this area.
Litigation is gaining some steam. I am seeing more litigation openings than there have been over the last several months. However, litigators with a specific field still seem to be in higher demand. Current areas of popularity are real estate, health care, products liability, insurance, and complex litigation. To remain competitive, a mid-level (3rd year plus) should have some deposition experience. Membership to the California Bar is a must.
We are seeing some activity in environmental law, though these are primarily with regional law firms. Those with experience in CEQA and NEPA are in higher demand. A background in land use, zoning, and some of the transactional and regulatory issues involved in environmental law is also helpful.
Though typically a non-starter for the LA market, we actually have a few IP transactional positions in Los Angeles, particularly driven by the entertainment industry. These national firms are seeking at least a mid-level with licensing experience in the field of new media.
Dead Practice Areas:Bankruptcy, Tax, Estate Planning, ERISA, Trademark
State of the Market Report: San Diego by Evan P. Anderson, Managing Director, BCG Attorney Search
San Diego is a highly desirable employment market. It is a city with fantastic weather, natural beauty, and a work-life balance that trumps most other employment markets in the state. It is also one of the toughest markets in which to secure a position, both because the field of hiring tends to be almost exclusively limited to a few practice areas, and because firms seek candidates who have legitimate ties to the area. Historically, patent prosecution and corporate transactional hiring have dominated the San Diego legal market. This continued to be true in all of 2014. This is also a strong market for patent agents and technical specialists. Having the California bar is important, as is a history of steady employment.
Healthy Practice Areas:
Patent prosecution needs continue to dominate the legal hiring market in San Diego. The majority of the positions tend to be at the mid to senior level range. Associates possessing Computer Science and Electrical Engineering degrees will always do well; however, firms also seek attorneys with life sciences degrees, particularly Biology and Chemistry Ph.D. candidates. Attorneys currently practicing at a large AmLaw firm or patent boutique will surely get interviews.
Corporate hiring remained steady in San Diego in 2014. Public and private company experience is always valued. Firms are predominantly seeking junior to mid-level attorneys with M&A, venture capital, emerging company, venture capital, public & private company, and securities experience.
Real Estate hiring spiked in early 2014 but slowed after the third quarter. That said, this continues to be a hot market in all of California and real estate transactional hiring is expected to resume in full force in the first quarter of 2015. Large, AmLaw firms have been doing the bulk of the hiring. Firms are seeking associates with 2-6 years of experience. Smaller, local firms are in need of counsel and partner-level attorneys with portable business. Most firms are seeking associates with leasing and acquisition experience.
There was not a strong demand for technology transactions attorneys, although there was an occasional vacancy. Junior to mid-level life sciences candidates with transactional experience are in highest demand. M&A experience is also valued.
Labor & Employment
Labor & Employment hiring slowed considerably for associates at all levels, but firms continue to seek partner-level attorneys who have portable business.
Although this is not historically a strong practice in San Diego, hiring in this area increased state-wide in the last quarter of 2014. Per the statewide trend, there was one advertised local vacancy for a junior to mid-level associate with tax qualified plan experience.
There is no activity in the following sectors: bankruptcy, construction, environmental, healthcare, immigration, insurance coverage, securities litigation, tax, trademark, or trusts and estates.
State of the Market Report: Orange County by Allison Wottawa, Legal Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Although Orange County can be falsely viewed as a step-sister to the greater Los Angeles area, this region of Southern California absolutely has its own identity that is very separate from LA or San Diego. As a luxurious hub for wealthy clientele, business and individuals alike, Orange County attracts top talent to their major, international firms as well as their prominent regional firms.
Slower in the beginning the year, the market for real estate attorneys in Orange County has certainly picked up and all evidence points that the trend will continue. Though Partners with business are absolutely in demand as many firms are seeking to build out their real estate presence, junior and mid-level associates are also sought after. Firms are ideally seeking those with solid transactional experience in joint ventures, acquisitions and dispositions, and development.
Corporate continues to be an extremely active market in Orange County, particularly with prominent national firms. There is an emphasis on M&A, private equity, as well as some securities work. However, there has been a strong increase in demand for those with a background in finance (specifically lending and debt financing). Attorneys with 2-5 years of experience are most popular. However, those outside of this range with solid law firm experience and ties to Orange County would also be strong contenders.
Though there has not been a strong uptick in employment related positions, this area typically remains at least lukewarm. A handful of major firms are seeking junior attorneys in this area (2+ years), but the competition remains extremely high as these firms are looking for very strong academics (Law Review; Coif).
There is still a steady demand for patent attorneys in Orange County, in both prosecution and litigation from prominent national, regional, and IP boutiques. There is a particular trend in this area for attorneys that have foreign language abilities (Mandarin or Malaysian). A degree in electrical engineering is preferred, though those that have a different degree but a strong work background with electronics and computers should certainly be marketable as well. Membership to the USPTO is essential.
There are very few litigation opportunities with major, prominent firms in Orange County. While litigation is picking up somewhat in Los Angeles, this has not been the case for the OC. We are seeing some litigation positions with smaller, regional firms. These are primarily in the areas of construction, real estate, and insurance litigation.
There is a little movement in the Orange County market for environmental attorneys. Primarily in demand are junior or mid-level attorneys with a background in environmental or energy transactions, land use (including zoning) as well as litigation.
Dead Practice Areas: Tax, Technology Transactions, Trademark/Copyright, Estate Planning, ERISA
State of the Market Report: Seattle by Paul Danielson, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Winter in Seattle can be long, cold, dark, and most often very very wet. Nonetheless, the city itself more than makes up for the weather, according to most of its residents, who make it through the season with hot coffee, skiing and snowboarding in the nearby mountains, and bundling up in the latest winter clothing and apparel from many top local manufacturers and retailers. As 2014 comes to a close and we head into 2015, it is no surprise to see patent law continue to absolutely dominate the local legal market in terms of demand and hiring, with most other practice areas lagging far behind in the number of open opportunities, if any exist at all.
In general, if you are an attorney or patent agent interested in the Seattle market, firms will expect you to have top notch credentials, and ideally existing personal and/or professional ties to the area.
Hot Practice Areas:
Patent prosecution continues to dominate the Seattle legal market, as it has for the past couple years running now, with over three times as many job listings as the next most popular sector. Given Seattle's well-known status as a technology hub (Silicon Valley mainstay Apple has even bought office space up there recently as they continue to build out their cloud service sector), we do not anticipate a significant slowdown in this area for quite some time. Encouraging on this front is that we are starting to see a couple openings pop up on the life sciences side of things, where Computer Science and Electrical Engineering backgrounds had been almost exclusively required to be considered by firms this past year or so. That being said, if you are a life sciences patent attorney, an advanced degree will give you much better odds on landing an interview with a Seattle firm.
Steady Practice Areas:
As we stated in the last report, patent litigation tends to fluctuate from quarter to quarter, and listings picked back up somewhat in the Seattle market with at least one opening per month at the major Seattle-area firms. If you are seeking a patent litigation position, you should bring academic and/or industry experience background in electrical engineering, computer science, computer engineering, or physics, as we have not seen any life-science side patent litigation openings in Seattle in quite some time.
Litigation remains steady in the Seattle market, although opportunities pass quickly with intense competition for each opening. In our experience, litigation is easily the most competitive practice area in the lateral job market in almost every major city, and Seattle is no exception. What will help if you are a would-be job seeker with a litigation background is to develop some sort of niche experience. Particular to Seattle, we frequently see demand for insurance-related litigation experience, construction litigation experience, and occasionally healthcare litigation experience. Simply being a litigation generalist will not get you many looks unless you have exceptional credentials and/or a portable book of business.
Slow to Dead:
The Seattle market has been depressingly slow for lateral demand in the following areas: Taxation, Corporate, Healthcare, Labor & Employment, ERISA/Employee Benefits, Environmental, Real Estate, and Trademark work. That being said, the top firms in Seattle are generally open to taking a look at resumes of attorneys with exceptional credentials, and of course firms are always willing to talk to lateral attorney candidates who have a solid portable book of business, ideally in the $200k+ range. Any attorney with a $500k+ book of business can write their own ticket to Seattle at pretty much every firm. The Pacific Northwest as a whole has slowed down significantly this past quarter, but we are optimistic there will be an uptick in demand heading into 2015 as the overall economy continues to improve and firms refresh their hiring and HR budgets for the new year, looking to expand strategically post year-end partner meetings.
State of the Market Report: Portland by Paul Danielson, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Portland continues its gains in terms of national visibility, overall urban development, and desirability as a place to live. However, the Portland legal job market seems to have lagged behind the rest of the big picture, with "slow" being the operable word to describe hiring trends over the past quarter.
Slowness aside, the encouraging aspect of the Portland legal market continues to be the fact that for what little demand is there, it is spread out across a wide variety of practice areas, meaning that if you are a junior or mid-level attorney with excellent credentials, you should see at least one or two new lateral opportunities open up every couple of months, and if you are aggressive in applying you will have a good shot at an interview.
Portland firms continue to be extremely picky given that demand is low and the supply of attorneys seeking to relocate to Portland remains high as always. Partners with portable business, however, can write their own ticket, especially with a book of $250k or more.
In our last report, we anticipated demand for litigation to remain steady in the Portland market, but it is still slightly surprising to see that litigation has been the hottest practice area in the past quarter in Portland, with more new job listings than any other category (although the number is still low compared to when the market is normal or busy).That being said, there is intense competition for each opening, and they either fill within the first couple of weeks, or firms who are not in such a rush will leave the openings up for a long period of time and pick only the most exceptional candidates to interview. Experience in construction litigation is attractive to Portland firms, as is experience with personal injury and general liability. This is not surprising, as the solid trend of home and business construction and development is one of the key drivers of the Portland economy right now.
Corporate hiring has picked up in Portland, although not as much as we would like to see. In terms of prior experience, finance is in particular demand, as is experience with real estate transactions, business formation, and M&A work. Most Portland firms prefer transactional candidates with large deal/sophisticated law firm experience, and typically will not look at attorneys who have a mix of corporate and litigation experience - if you are a would-be lateral candidate for transactional positions in the Portland market, you need to have a very solid and focused transactional background.
Labor & Employment/Employee Benefits
Demand remains steady for candidates with experience in both employment litigation, as well as experience with employee benefits, retirement plans, and associated matters. On the litigation side, candidates seeking interviews at top Portland firms will need to demonstrate sophisticated experience, including deposition, motion practice, and ideally trial and/or arbitration experience in state and federal courts.
Slow to Dead Practice Areas:
As mentioned above, the overall Portland market has been very slow, with a paucity of openings in Environmental, Patent Litigation, Patent Prosecution (surprisingly), Tax, Trusts & Estates, and Real Estate. Similar to the Seattle market, we are cautiously optimistic that we will see an uptick in demand in at least a couple legal sectors, particularly Real Estate and Patent Prosecution, as these have been relatively cyclical for the past 6-8 quarters in a row.
State of the Market Report: Phoenix by Allison Wottawa, Legal Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Phoenix has been one of the strongest "smaller" markets during the second half of this year. A little slow to come back after the recession, this city is making up for it with robust hiring demands. Typically, Phoenix consists of a combination of national, regional, and local firms. However, there is a trend toward national firms as more prominent firms move in to the area.
Both major national firms and prominent regional law firms are on the market for corporate associates with at least two years of experience (the sweet spot is 2-5 years). There is particular demand for those with a background in M&A/private equity as well as corporate finance. If from out of state, most firms will consider candidates without the Arizona Bar. However, the individual must be amenable to taking the Bar. Close ties to the Phoenix area are very important.
Mid-level real estate associates (like corporate, those with at least two years of experience) are in high demand. Firms are seeking those with a range of real estate related experience, including leasing, purchase and sale, joint ventures, and sophisticated financial transactions. With enough interest, firms are willing to consider strong corporate candidates for a real estate position. Much of the work in this area is related to the hospitality industry, which is an area that is growing exponentially in Arizona, and a terrific niche for transactional attorneys to grow a practice.
After a bump in the litigation market over the past few months, it has declined in recent weeks. Typically, litigation openings can be found in prominent local firms as well as some national offices. However, it is has almost slowed to a stop. There seems to be a bit more interest at the local level, particularly in the fields of insurance and construction litigation.
While Partners with a book of business (150K +) are sought after, it is a pretty sluggish market for employment law associates. There is some activity for more senior level employment litigators with labor firms in the city. Employment is, however, a traditionally strong practice area for this region, so this may turn around in the coming months. Membership to the Arizona Bar is essential.
There is very little movement in the market for IP attorneys in Phoenix, with a small exception for patent prosecutors. Firms are seeking attorneys with a very strong technical background, particularly in the field of mechanical engineering relating to automotive technologies.
Dead Practice Areas: Patent Litigation, Technology Transactions, Trademark/Copyright, Bankruptcy, Environmental, Health Care, Tax, Estate Planning, ERISA
State of the Market Report: Las Vegas by Paul Danielson, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
As we had predicted and hoped in the last State of the Market report for Las Vegas, litigation hiring has not only remained steady, but continued to accelerate, with litigation dominating the job listings over the past quarter in both Las Vegas and nearby Reno. Real Estate has been a pleasant surprise, and has come back from the dead in the wake of the slow economic recovery, and corporate transactional attorneys continue to see somewhat steady demand, although with few overall opportunities by the numbers. Unfortunately, hiring in nearly every other sector in the Las Vegas market remains slow, and we do not anticipate a significant upturn in the next quarter - attorneys looking to make a lateral move to Las Vegas should keep an eagle eye on the market and be ready to pounce on any available opportunity.
Would you believe me if I told you that Las Vegas has seen nearly as many new litigation openings in the past quarter as Portland and Seattle combined? Litigation was solid over the summer and then accelerated into the fall and through the winter. Attorneys with consumer finance litigation experience will fare exceptionally well, and we are also seeing solid demand for attorneys with personal liability experience. Las Vegas firms will expect that litigation candidates, even at the junior level, will have top credentials and have garnered experience across the spectrum of litigation skills, including motion practice in state and federal court, deposition experience, and ideally trial experience.
Real estate has come back nicely within the Las Vegas market, as the economy has finally recovered to the point where new development is now occurring on a steady basis, and attorneys with solid experience in real estate transactions, including acquisitions and sales, development, and especially finance, will find traction in the current market. Leasing experience is also desired.
Slow to Dead Practice Areas:
We have seen a couple corporate transactional listings, but only a single patent prosecution listing, and no activity in nearly all other legal sectors in the Las Vegas market this past quarter, reflecting the generally slow economic recovery in Las Vegas and the overall Southwest. Non-litigators looking to make a lateral move to or within the Las Vegas market must exercise patience, and be aggressive with every new job opening. Anecdotally, we are also seeing a number of attorneys making lateral moves in the Las Vegas market where firms have not listed a formal job opening, so be sure to maximize your networking opportunities, as that can be one of the most reliable routes to a new position in this and every market.
State of the Market Report: Colorado by Jamie Bailey, Partner, BCG Attorney Search - Chicago
Partners with Portable Business
We are interested in speaking with partners with portable business who are seeking to lateral to new firms in Colorado. 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 in Colorado, please call our Chicago office.
Corporate Transactional - Securities; M&A; Capital Markets; Venture Capital; Banking and Finance; Project Finance; Private Equity
Corporate transactional practices are booming in Colorado! We would be interested in speaking with corporate associates with 2-5 years of experience handling general corporate, M&A, private equity, securities, venture capital, banking and finance and project finance matters. Colorado bar admission is in most cases required.
Litigation - General Commercial; Construction; Oil and Gas
Litigation practices in Colorado are busy and associates with 2-5 years of experience, strong research and writing skills and who are already licensed to practice in Colorado should get in touch with us immediately. Associates with experience in construction and/or oil and gas matters should definitely reach out to us. In most cases, large law firm experience is preferred. Federal clerkships and law review are a plus.
Intellectual Property - Patent Prosecution and Litigation; Technology; Trademark, Copyright and Licensing
Intellectual property practices in Denver are prospering. We are interested in speaking with patent prosecution associates with 1-5 years of experience handling patent prosecution matters and having one of the following backgrounds: electrical engineering, physics, computer science, chemistry, chemical engineering. Admission to the patent bar is in most cases required and candidates with advanced degrees in any of the above areas are highly sought after.
We have seen a slight increase in tax openings, largely the result of the corresponding uptick in corporate transactional work. Tax associates with 2-5 years of experience in the tax aspects of partnership and M&A transactions and also foreign tax matters should get in touch with us regarding opportunities in Denver. LL.M.'s in tax are always viewed favorably.
State of the Market Report: Chicago by Jamie Bailey, Partner, BCG Attorney Search - Chicago
We wish everyone a happy and healthy holiday season, and we look forward to the typical upswing in new openings as we head into the first quarter of the New Year!
Corporate -Finance; Private Equity; Venture Capital; M&A; Capital Markets/Securities; Banking
Corporate practices in Chicago are continuing to thrive and we are receiving new positions daily. Associates with 2-6 years of experience in general corporate, capital markets/securities, M&A, finance and private equity transactions should call our office immediately to discuss great opportunities in top corporate practices across the City. We are continuing to receive requests for debt finance associates with 2-5 years of experience. Associates who have been involved in private fund work and the management of private funds, real estate funds and/or other similar investment vehicles should contact our Chicago office. Associates with investment service experience and extensive experience with 40 Act transactions should also get in touch with us.
We are interested in speaking with tax associates with 2-5 years of experience handling the tax aspects of corporate, M&A and commercial real estate transactions.
We would also like to talk with trusts and estates associates with 3-5 years of experience in probate and trust administration. Experience working with high net-worth clients on estate planning matters and with family limited partnerships, limited liability companies, shareholder agreements and other related transactions is preferred.
Healthcare - Transactional and Regulatory
Associates who have 2-5 years of experience in health care regulatory matters and are looking in Chicago should contact us for great opportunities at Chicago firms. We would also be interested in speaking with health care finance associates with 3-5 years of experience.
Like last quarter, Chicago firms have continued to significantly expand their intellectual property practices. Patent prosecution associates with 2-5 years of experience and technical backgrounds in electrical or mechanical engineering are still in demand. We would also be interested in speaking with patent prosecution associates with 2-7 years of experience in the biological, chemical, physical, life, medical or pharmaceutical sciences, as well as those with a chemistry or chemical engineering background. Admission to the IL bar and USPTO is typically required.
Similar to last quarter, commercial real estate practices are continuing to thrive in Chicago. Firms are requesting that we send them excellent commercial real estate associates with 2-6 years of experience in purchase and sale, leasing, joint ventures and lender side secured financing transactions.
Project Finance, Development and Energy
We have unique opportunities for associates with 3+ years of experience in project development, finance and energy transactions. Qualified associates will have experience working in energy, real estate and general corporate transactional matters, including energy and utility-related transactional matters. Admission to the Illinois bar or the ability to otherwise waive into the IL bar is required.
Litigation continues to be an area that is extremely competitive in Chicago because firms are oversubscribed and there are a number of top lateral candidates seeking positions. Litigation associates with 2-5 years of large law firm experience, excellent academics and who have handled general commercial, employment, motor vehicle, toxic tort, and white collar and internal investigations litigation matters should contact our Chicago office.
State of the Market Report: Indiana by Jamie Bailey, Partner, BCG Attorney Search - Chicago
Although corporate work has picked up considerably across the nation, we have not seen a huge surge in lateral corporate associate needs in Indiana. We would, however, be interested in speaking with associates who have 3+ years of experience in corporate transactions and who are licensed to practice in Indiana.
We are seeking employee benefits associates with 2+ years of experience handling pension/retirement plans, as well as health and welfare plans.
We have not seen much of a shift in need in the need for real estate associates in Indianapolis. Firms in Indianapolis continue to seek real estate associates with 2-6 years of experience in commercial real estate transactions, including leasing and finance transactions. Admission to the Indiana bar or ability to otherwise waive into the bar is required.
State of the Market Report: Wisconsin by Jamie Bailey, Partner, BCG Attorney Search - Chicago
Milwaukee and Madison
Intellectual Property - Patent Prosecution
Wisconsin firms are continuing to expand their intellectual property practices. We are consistently receiving requests for patent prosecution associates with 1-5 years of experience and backgrounds in one of the following areas: electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, computer science, life sciences, biology, biochemistry, molecular biology, or genetics. We would like to speak with associates with experience with Internet technologies, wireless systems, optical systems, and semiconductors. Admission to the USPTO and advanced degrees are preferred.
Transactional - Corporate, Finance and Public Finance
We would be interested in speaking with corporate transactional associates with 3-7 years of experience in M&A and finance matters. Public finance associates with 2-3 years of experience handling tax exempt bond or debt transactions should get in touch with our Chicago office.
State of the Market Report: Minnesota by Julie Lehrman, Senior Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Minnesota/Saint Paul remains a busy legal market. We are always interested in speaking with Attorneys in the IP prosecution field who have backgrounds in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering, Biology, and Chemistry/ChemE. We are also interested in speaking with attorneys in corporate law, including finance, and real estate, who come from large firms. Partners with solid business are encouraged to talk to us about applying to top law firms. In general, attorneys who either already live in Minnesota or have strong connections there are more successful in searching for positions than those with no ties to the market. All relocating candidates should have a solid reason for relocation. Please get in touch with the BCG Chicago office for more information.
Intellectual Property - Patent Prosecution
Minneapolis and Saint Paul continually generate steady needs for patent prosecutors. General practice firms and boutiques alike need associates from junior to senior levels and solid law firm experience. The greatest demand is for IP associates with electrical engineering, computer engineering, or computer science back grounds. We are seeing an increase in demand since summer for Mechanical Engineers, as well as those with Biomedical Science and Biology. Some firms request a Ph.D. or Master's degree, while some may require technical exams to determine technical aptitude. Firms prefer pre-law experience as a scientist or engineer, and some ask for experience with a large firm. Attorneys at all levels should have patent prosecution experience, as an attorney or patent agent.
This season has brought a moderate increase in the need for transactional and finance associates. Law firms prefer associates with distinguished academics, demonstrated increased responsibility with a large law firm, and demonstrated increasing responsibility within that firm, including supervision of junior associates. We continue to see demand for attorneys at all class levels with general M & A and transactional work, securities and corporate finance.
We have witnessed a slight increase in demand for litigators this year. The demands tend to be in specialty areas such as insurance coverage, consumer class actions, white collar, anti-fraud, professional liability litigation, and construction. Firms generally interview associates who can demonstrate solid knowledge of the specified litigation field, as well as with the very strongest academics, top law firm experience, and demonstrated success at the law firm. At the more junior level, we have seen requirements for Law Review or a federal clerkship.
We continue to see increased demand in the Twin Cities' need for Tax attorneys. Activity has increased in both large and mid-sized firms. The trend for firms requiring tax attorneys to have an LLM, a CPA, or both, as well as solid, large firm experience and top academic credentials continues. Firms also require solid experience in a respected law firm setting as a tax attorney.
Partners with Portable Business
Minnesota firms usually want to speak to partners with substantial portable business. Mid-sized firms may talk to partners with less than a $750k in portables, and large firms tend to require at least a million dollars. Partners with a solid business plan who can demonstrate true potential and concrete connections may also be considered. Please get in touch with the BCG Chicago office for details.
State of the Market Report: Michigan by Julie Lehrman, Senior Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Partners with Business
BCG welcomes inquiries from Michigan partners seeking opportunities in Detroit and the surrounding markets, including Lansing, Southfield, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Novi or Troy. Law firms tend to require a minimum of $300,000 in business. Ties to the area are a definite plus.
Detroit, Bloomfield Hills, Southfield, Novi, Troy, Royal Oak, Lansing
Corporate Securities and Commercial Finance
We are interested in speaking with corporate transactional associates from junior to senior. Mid-level and senior attorneys with transactional, securities and commercial finance experience continue to generate the most interest from our law firm clients.
Intellectual Property - Patent Prosecution
The Detroit area continues to support a robust intellectual property prosecution practice. There is a steady demand for intellectual property prosecution attorneys with electrical engineering or computer science backgrounds. Attorneys should be admitted at the USPTO, and should have one year minimum of solid patent prosecution experience. There are firms that will relocate excellent candidates, so ability to waive in to the Michigan bar is a plus.
We have seen a moderate but steady need for commercial real estate associates since summer. Needs are strongest for associates at mid-level, with finance as well as traditional acquisition/disposition work.
We are cautiously optimistic about the small demand for commercial litigation attorneys with excellent academics and experience in top-tier firms. We continue to monitor this trend.
Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Traverse City
Intellectual Property- Patent Prosecution
As in the Detroit area, we are happy to hear from Michigan patent prosecution associates and patent agents who have one or more years patent prosecution experience. Admission at the USPTO is almost always required. Solid experience in drafting patents is essential, and firms may require demonstrations of technical aptitude. The most sought-after degree is still electrical engineering.
We continue to see a small demand for litigation attorneys with hands-on experience in a variety of areas as well as courtroom experience. We will continue to monitor this trend to see how it develops.
State of the Market Report: Ohio by L. Roger Boord, Senior Attorney Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
There continues to be many employment opportunities for both associates and partners in Ohio. These opportunities also cover a wide variety of practice areas. The most popular practices sought by firms in Ohio include commercial litigation, general corporate, healthcare, real estate, trusts & estates, labor & employment and IP (especially electrical engineering and computer engineering/science). We are pleased to report that we have seen a substantial uptick in demand for litigation in Ohio, especially in the areas of commercial litigation and insurance defense litigation. In addition, we have seen increasing demand for labor & employment litigation in recent months as well. Corporate demand, which has been demonstrating solid growth in general, continues to show strength in Ohio. Similarly, Ohio's demand for intellectual property has also remained strong. We believe that these positive trends will continue through the beginning of next year. Other major transactional areas, such as real estate and healthcare, appear to be holding steady. We have not seen much recent growth in the smaller practice areas, such as trusts & estates, tax and ERISA, but they appear to be remaining fairly steady.
Ohio firms generally prefer associate candidates with strong academics (such as good grades at a top 25 law school), strong writing skills and 2-4 years of solid experience at a major firm. With respect to partner level candidates, Ohio firms (like all firms) will typically look primarily at the amount of portable business possessed by the candidate (see discussion on portable business below).Finally, there are also opportunities for patent agents with significant patent prosecution experience, particularly in electrical engineering and computer science/engineering. Patent agents should be registered with the USPTO and have strong educational and technical backgrounds in order to maximize their chances of success.
Ohio's legal market can be divided into four primary geographic regions. The first region is Columbus, which is both the largest city in Ohio and the state capital. Consequently, the city generates substantial legal work. The second region encompasses the state's second largest city, Cleveland. Although Cleveland has had hard times in the distant past, it has long since recovered. In fact, Cleveland boasts most of the largest national law firms based in Ohio, including Jones Day and Baker Hostetler. The third region is Cincinnati, the third largest city. It is located in the southern part of the state and enjoys milder weather. The final region covers all of the remaining cities in Ohio of significant population, including Toledo, Akron and Dayton. Hereinafter, this region will be referred to as the "Other Cities."Provided below is a summary of the demand for specific practice areas in each of these four regions. Interested candidates should get in touch with our Chicago office for additional information.
As noted above, litigation appears to finally be making something of a comeback after several years in the doldrums. Demand for litigation is strongest in Cleveland and Cincinnati, with more lukewarm demand in Columbus and the Other Cities.
Corporate and Related Transactional Practices
Corporate and related transactional practices continue to remain in strong demand, especially in general corporate, mergers & acquisitions and securities.
Real estate is an area that has also appeared to be picking up generally, and Ohio is not an exception. Solid demand exists in all four regions.
Labor & Employment and ERISA
As also noted above, there has also been apparent growth in labor & employment litigation, especially in Cleveland and Cincinnati. Demand for ERISA does exist, but it has not shown significant growth in Ohio.
IP associates with degrees in electrical engineering or computer engineering/science are in demand. Other areas such as chemistry and life sciences are in less demand. Firms are primarily seeking prosecution associates, but some seek associates who do IP litigation. In addition, as noted above, there are some opportunities for patent agents.
Trusts & Estates and Tax have shown a typical level of demand, with strongest demand in Cincinnati.
There has also been some limited demand in several other narrow practice areas, including commercial finance, elder law, workers' compensation, energy and government contracts.
Partners with Portable Business
Such individuals are always of interest to firms. Areas in which Ohio firms have indicated that they are most interested in attorneys with substantial portable business include commercial litigation, real estate, labor & employment, corporate, trusts & estates and health care, although firms will usually consider attorneys with business in any practice area as long as the area fits in their firm's platform.
State of the Market Report: Utah by L. Roger Boord, Senior Attorney Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Because the area around Salt Lake City is a popular growth area (especially for those who like the open West and skiing), there are quite a few candidates attracted to the city. As a result, the local law firms tend to be even more suspicious of "outsider" attorney candidates who profess that they want to practice in Salt Lake City than most other firms in smaller cities. These firms will give strong preference to candidates who are currently living in Utah or are originally from the area, or those with significant ties to the state. At a minimum, outside candidates should have a very good explanation as to why they want to now move to (for most people in the U.S.) a very distant state with a unique culture. In addition, Utah firms typically require admission to the Utah Bar.
As has been typical for Salt Lake City and the rest of Utah, the strongest demand continues to be in intellectual property. In particular, Utah firms have been most interested in associates with technical backgrounds in computer engineering/science and electrical engineering. There also continues to be firms looking for merger and acquisitions, securities or venture capital experience. Although there does not appear to be much growth in demand for litigation in recent months, there is still some significant demand in this area, especially for commercial litigators. As usual, lawyers who have substantial portable business are of interest.
State of the Market Report: Boston/New England by Margaret Gilleran, Senior Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Boston is the epicenter of the legal market in New England, and the practice areas that are very active in Boston tend to be reflected in other New England markets. The Boston market has always been very strong in Intellectual Property (and it remains so); however, for the first time in recent memory, Corporate has overtaken Intellectual Property as the busiest practice area in Boston. An interesting offshoot of Boston's twin strengths - Intellectual Property and Corporate - is an upsurge in Technology Transactional opportunities that require a Life Sciences or Engineering background. Other practice areas have not experienced significant change over the last quarter: Tax and Real Estate remain steady, and General Litigation, Labor and Employment, and Bankruptcy remain slow. Certain niche areas - e.g. ERISA and Healthcare - are not busy, but if a candidate has strong experience in these areas, then he can generally find firms that are willing to discuss his qualifications.
Corporate is by far the busiest practice area in Boston, and the range of opportunities under the Corporate umbrella are varied. Many of the opportunities are "general" and the vast majority requires two to six years of experience. The term "general" means that the firms are interested in candidates with Capital Markets, M&A, and/or Private Equity experience. A candidate with two to six years of experience in any one or all of these areas who is interested in exploring the market would find a warm reception from Boston firms. In addition to these "general" Corporate openings, Boston is rich in other more specialized Corporate openings as well. Both Finance and Investment Management are active. The opportunities in Finance include Project Finance and Structured Finance, as well as the more straightforward Bank Finance. Likewise, the Investment Management opportunities encompass candidates who have experience with both registered and unregistered funds. In short, if you are a Corporate Candidate who is interested in exploring the Boston market, then it is an excellent time to commence a search.
If Corporate has overtaken Intellectual Property as the busiest practice area in Boston, then it is equally true that Patent Prosecution greatly overshadows Patent Litigation within the Intellectual Property arena. Both Patent Agents and Patent Prosecution Candidates with two to six years of experience are in demand in Boston. In terms of the pecking order of science backgrounds, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science lead the pack with Chemistry following as a close second, and Biology bringing up the rear. It is important to note; however, that all disciplines, including any type of engineering degree (e.g. Chemical or Mechanical), are in demand. It is simply that there are more openings for Patent Agents and Patent Associates with Electrical Engineering and/or Computer Science backgrounds. Advanced degrees are preferred, and USPTO membership is usually required. The lack of Patent Litigation opportunities may simply be a further reflection of the sluggish General Litigation market.
The robust health of Corporate and Intellectual Property are reflected in the increase in Technology Transactional opportunities. These positions often require an advanced technical degree, usually in some type of Life Science. The penchant for advanced Life Science degrees in connection with these Technology Transactional opportunities may be due to Boston's position as the hub of the biotechnology industry.
Both Tax and Real Estate remain steady. Tax opportunities tend to be fairly general favoring candidates with two to six years of state, local, and/or international experience, and LL.M. candidates are often given preference. Real Estate opportunities are general in nature as well; candidates should have two to six years of experience in one or more of the following four areas: Acquisitions/Dispositions, Finance, Leasing, and/or Development/Zoning/Land Use.
Litigation, Labor and Employment, and Bankruptcy are very slow. Absent exceptional credentials (e.g. editor of law review at top law school), a niche practice area (e.g. product liability, experience with unions, etc.), or a book of business, it is difficult to make a move within these areas at the present time. However, it is not impossible. Recruiters at BCG have had candidates in all of these practice areas obtain interviews within the last quarter. The rule of thumb is if you are an attorney in one of these practice areas and you are very eager to move within, or relocate to, Boston, then it is possible that you may be able to secure a position. However, if you practice in one of these areas and are not highly motivated to make a move, then it may be better to wait until your practice area becomes more active.
Other cities in New England tend to mirror what is happening in the Boston market with one exception. Corporate and Patent Prosecution are active with Corporate leading in terms of numbers of opportunities. Like Boston, Patent Prosecution Agents and Associates with Electrical Engineering and/or Computer Science backgrounds are the most in demand followed by the Life Sciences: Chemistry and Biology. The Tax and Real Estate markets in other New England cities tend to follow Boston's lead. Neither Tax nor Real Estate is busy, but Tax and Real Estate Associates with two to six year of experience will find that they do have options. The exception is General Litigation which seems to be very steady in areas of New England, other than Boston. The one caveat is that Litigation Candidates in these smaller markets should have substantive experience (e.g. have taken depositions, made oral arguments, had significant client contact, etc.) Search for positions in other cities in New England in these practice areas here.
State of the Market Report: New York by Nicole Callahan, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Firms are not slowing down their recruiting efforts as they come to the close of 2014. Corporate remains very hot right now, with most other practice groups having significantly fewer openings. As always, firms are demanding top-level academic credentials and work experience.
Typically, IP remains steady and hot, but it is surprisingly slow in New York these days. Another unusual trend is that there are more patent prosecution openings than patent litigation openings. What has not changed is that firms still want candidates with strong technical backgrounds and preferably advanced degrees in the desired field, especially for prosecution positions.
For quite a while electrical engineering/computer science candidates were greatly sought after. Now, firms looking for patent litigators desire mid-level life sciences and EE/CS associates equally.
The trend toward life sciences has followed suit in the patent prosecution arena as well, with firms looking almost exclusively for candidates with backgrounds that lend to pharmaceutical and biotech work (biochemistry, molecular biology), as well as candidates with strong chemistry backgrounds, particularly organic chemistry.
While there are a spattering of technology transfer/licensing openings, we have seen a significant decrease in activity in this area of transactional IP.
Trademark and copyright has picked up a bit, with firms seeking mid-level associates with TTAB experience.
Similar to corporate openings, firms are seeking mid-level litigation associates. The highest demand is in the area of complex commercial litigation, with a particular interest in candidates with government enforcement, white collar crime, and securities regulation experience. As is often the case, firms are looking for general litigation candidates to have motion practice and deposition experience.
It is important to note that firms will hire opportunistically for niche practices, such as environmental regulatory work or marijuana law.
There has been a high demand for mid-level corporate associates since the end of 2013, and the demand is still not slowing as we reach the end of 2014. Traditional corporate experience is wanted, including mergers and acquisitions (public and private companies) and capital markets work. Finance/banking candidates are also in demand, but firms are leaning more toward junior (2-3 years) or senior (6-8 years) candidates for these openings.
Tax attorneys are in less demand than this time last year, with only a few openings for junior level attorneys, preferably with an LLM.
Commercial real estate remains steady, with firms looking for junior to mid-level associates with experience across a broad range of sophisticated commercial real estate transactions, including acquisitions, dispositions, financings, joint ventures, fund formation, and leasing.
Employment and Labor Law
Employment/labor law is slower than this time last year, with a small number of openings for candidates with experience across a broad range of areas, including wage and hour, discrimination, and employee benefits. There has been a small increase in the number of junior to mid-level executive compensation/ERISA openings, with firms seeking candidates that have sophisticated experience, including executive compensation and benefits aspects of mergers and acquisitions and taxation issues,
The need for health law candidates remains low, with the few openings seeking junior to mid-level associates with experience in regulatory and compliance issues, fraud and abuse, and reimbursement, including licensing, the Stark Law, the Anti-Kickback Statute, HIPAA/HITECH and Medicare/Medicaid.
Firms are virtually always looking for partners with significant portable business (between $1 and $2 million, depending upon seniority) across a wide variety of practice areas. Smaller firms will generally consider partner candidates with a book of business between $250 and $600 thousand. However, partner candidates with a specialized background, such as extensive Hatch-Waxman trial experience, are also in demand.
Philadelphia's corporate market continues to grow, as existing businesses expand their presence in the area and new businesses move in. This means that both larger and middle market/smaller firms are seeking to hire corporate attorneys to handle transactional workflow. Much of the industry sector demand centers on pharmaceutical/health care clients, as well as financial institutions, since these entities have traditionally had a strong foothold in the Philadelphia market. As usual, we have been seeing a lot of demand for candidates with strong finance, securities and M&A experience. To a lesser degree, we are seeing some notable demand for candidates with investment fund or private equity experience.
Intellectual Property Law
The Intellectual Property market in Philadelphia has largely been focused on patent prosecution and preparation during the last quarter of the year. In terms of technical expertise, demand has been focused on candidates with strong life science or chemistry backgrounds. There is also some demand for candidates with backgrounds in computer science or electrical engineering, but these technical backgrounds are not nearly as hot as they usually are in other East Coast markets, such as New York or DC.
Real estate is always a strong practice area in the Philadelphia market. There are a number of firms, including Dechert and Ballard Spahr, with very strong real estate practices based in DC. There is also a lot of competition for talented real estate associates among mid-sized and smaller law firms, which also do a lot of real estate work. Typically firms are seeking candidates with strong commercial real estate and real estate finance experience, generally with between 3-6 years of experience, however there is some flexibility on class level with this practice area.
Health care is consistently one of the hottest practice areas in the Philadelphia market, largely because of the prevalence of life science and pharmaceutical companies in the greater Philadelphia/Southern New Jersey area. There are a number of top firms currently looking for health care attorneys, including associates with strong health care regulatory expertise with Stark, Anti-Kickback, False Claims, HIPAA, and reimbursement matters, as well as health care compliance. Additionally, Philadelphia is also one of the strongest markets on the East Coast for pure health care transactional work (primarily M&A). Demand is primarily for associates with 2-6 years of experience.
The Litigation market remains relatively inactive, which has been the pattern across the East Coast for some time now. This past quarter, almost all of the demand for litigation associates has been from small to mid-sized law firms. In such cases, while academics are important, what matters most is whether a candidate has actual hands on litigation experience, including trial, courtroom and deposition experience. This is because smaller to mid-sized firms don't have the same resources to train associates and really need new hires to hit the ground running. Finally, where we have seen litigation demand from larger firms, it's typically been demand for candidates with pharmaceutical and health care litigation, as these industry sectors currently dominate the market.
State of the Market Report: Washington, D.C. by Katy Anderman., Managing Director - East Coast, BCG Attorney Search
Although the DC market was off to a slow start in early 2014, we have seen moderate growth and an increase in job opportunities as the year comes to an end.Demand is the highest for corporate mid-levels and IP associates with patent prosecution experience.We are predicting a growing demand for associates with real estate, health care and IP-transactional experience in the coming months.Needs in traditional DC practices areas such as litigation, government, energy, tax, international arbitration, international trade and antitrust have held steady throughout the year. Overall, the DC market continues to thrive, plenty of big law firms are hiring and several prestigious boutique firms are in the market for associates as well.It remains a highly competitive job market for litigation associates and a more favorable market for transactional associates.
We continue to see a huge demand for mid-level corporate associates with at least 2 - 6 years of corporate law experience.Firms are looking for candidates with large law firm experience in the following areas:M &A, finance, securities, joint venture and private equity experience, regulatory/financial services, securities and capital markets, investment management and fund formation.Candidates with some experience working on large, international transactions seem to be getting the most traction at law firms.Needs are high and firms are willing consider candidates with great experience who may have less competitive credentials (grades and/or law school).Some firms are even considering offering candidates signing bonuses to get them to join their firms as soon as possible.
Intellectual Property - Patent Prosecution, Technology Transactions and Privacy/Data Security
IP patent prosecution associates have several opportunities to consider in DC (assuming they have an Electrical Engineering or Computer Science, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Pharma and/or Physics degrees). In the last couple of months, we have seen a higher demand for associates with Technology Transactions and Licensing experience.Associates with e-commerce, advertising, media and life science licensing experience are highly sought after.Firms have also been on the hunt for associates with strong data security and privacy skills.This is a rather new and booming practice area and there are not enough associates with the required experience to fill firm needs.
The real estate market is growing on a national level and we have seen demand increasing along the East Coast.There are a handful of available real estate opportunities in DC and we expect that demand to increase in 2015.
The regulatory health care market is thriving in DC and we have continued to see new positions hit the market on a weekly basis on the transactional and litigation sides (although there is a higher demand for transactional associates). Candidates with at least 2-6 years of health care experience in Medicare/Medicaid, health care fraud and abuse laws including Anti-Kickback Statute, Stark and False Claims Act will have an easy time getting interviews and job offers.
Practice Areas that are Holding Steady:
Although we haven't seen an increase in need for general litigation associates (see below), the litigation market has been growing in more specific sub-areas.Mid-level associate candidates with 2-6 years of experience in the following practice areas will fare well if pursuing new opportunities in 2015:
- International Trade, Export and Customs
- International Arbitration (language skills needed - Spanish and Chinese)
- Antitrust litigation (as well as Hart-Scott Rodino experience)
- Labor & Employment
- Government Contracts and Government Relations (including lobbying experience)
- Financial Services Regulatory (including consumer finance experience)
Candidates who have at least two years of specialized experience in one of the above areas will have a couple of opportunities to choose from.The market remains competitive but firms have been eager to meet with associate candidates who have a unique and specific skill set and are not considered litigation generalists.
Practice Areas with Little Growth:
Intellectual Property - Litigation
We are just not seeing an urgent need for associates with IP-litigation experience. In the past, candidates with electrical engineering/computer science degrees were highly sought after however, in the last 6-9 months, fewer positions have opened up on the market.Candidates with strong electrical experience are still highly marketable to firms with larger IP-litigation practices but candidates need to be patient and should anticipate a longer than average job search.
The D.C. market for general litigators is stable, but not growing.We see a few positions open up every couple of weeks but the competition for these general litigation positions remain fierce (candidate must have judicial clerkship experience, a JD from a top 20 law school, law review experience, strong grades, etc.).
State of the Market Report: Saint Louis by Julie Lehrman, Senior Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Saint Louis continues to hire steadily in several practice areas. There are opportunities for associates and partners in Tax, Real Estate, Corporate, Banking and Finance, and Intellectual Property, with the most in-demand undergraduate and graduate degrees being Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, and Mechanical Engineering. Saint Louis remains a tightly-knit market. Many firms require candidates to be admitted to the Missouri Bar, and out of state candidates are greatly encouraged to demonstrate strong connections to this community.
Intellectual property has remained largely steady, with firms mostly seeking patent associates with technical backgrounds in electrical engineering, computer science, and mechanical engineering. Firms are focused on targeting prosecutors rather than litigators. Top firms generally prefer to see two years of experience from an excellent firm or reputable boutique. If you meet these requirements, please contact our Chicago Office for more information.
This past season has witnessed a significant revival of the Real Estate market, and a corresponding need for Real Estate associates at all levels. Firms are requesting transactional work, as leasing, and finance. Mid-level and senior positions require solid law firm backgrounds, but we have also had several requests for junior and entry-level Real Estate associates in this region.
There has been a small but steady demand for tax associates in Saint Louis. Firms generally require a strong background practicing tax law in a law firm setting, and oftentimes an LLM in Taxation or a CPA. Pre-law experience in a "Big Four" firm may also be helpful.
Banking and Finance
We have seen a moderate demand for banking and finance associates. Firms sometimes request some level of tax background.
Partners with Portable Business
Demand is steady for highly-qualified partners with portable business. We are seeing a particular demand for corporate, labor and employment, and intellectual property attorneys with established and/or growing books of business. Some smaller and mid-sized firms will interview partners with $500,000 or more in portable business. Even so, partners with less than $500,000 and a concrete business plan are encouraged to reach out to BCG's Chicago office for assistance.
State of the Market Report: Kansas City, Missouri by Julie Lehrman, Senior Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Since summer, we have seen a variety of new opportunities in Kansas City. Due to Kansas City's strong community, firms strongly prefer candidates who reside in the area, are originally from the area, or those with significant ties. Admission to the Missouri bar is almost always required.
The strongest market sector continues to be patent prosecution. We are seeing demand for IP associates with electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and computer science backgrounds. We have also seen a slight uptick in demand for IP Litigation.
In Kansas City, firms tend to speak with partners who can demonstrate significant portable business, and it helps if they are currently practicing in Kansas City or have strong ties to the area. There is no set amount of required portable business, so please contact the Chicago office for more information.
With the eighth-largest economy in the country, and the headquarters site for a number of Fortune 500 companies, including Home Depot, Coca-Cola, UPS, and Delta Airlines, Atlanta is a major player in the Southern market as well as nationally. Atlanta has also become one of the best lateral associate markets as a number of AmLaw 100 firms are headquartered in Atlanta. Additionally, a number of other national and international firms have sizeable offices in Atlanta. Increasingly, many professionals in Atlanta are transplants who are attracted to the city by its low cost of living, mild climate, and business opportunities.
Atlanta law firms currently have very strong needs in the areas of Patent Prosecution (with Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Computer Engineering and Chem. Eng. backgrounds), Corporate (M&A, securities offerings, capital markets), Real Estate (both finance and traditional) and Corporate Finance. Additionally, there are a number of active searches in the areas of Employment Litigation and Employee Benefits.
State of the Market Report: Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina by Nadeen Weybrecht, Esq., Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Like Atlanta, Charlotte and Raleigh can offer transplants lower costs of living than other major legal markets and temperate climates. As the home site for many large banks, Charlotte is a primary center for finance work. The city's law firms continue to have consistent needs for junior to mid-level Banking and Finance candidates. Candidates with Mortgage experience are also in need, as well as general mid-level corporate (M&A, capital markets, securities offerings) attorney candidates. Real estate is also a very hot practice in Charlotte as well, as is investment management.
As Raleigh is in close proximity to the Research Triangle Park - the largest research park in the nation and home to 190 companies, among them IBM and Cisco Systems - it is not surprising that Raleigh law firms have a consistent need for Patent Prosecution attorneys (with EE and ME backgrounds) and Health Care (regulatory and transactional) attorneys. Additionally, lateral real estate (both traditional and finance) and corporate (M&A, capital markets) laterals are doing very well here and increasingly, financial services attorneys are in demand.
State of the Market Report: Texas by Suzanne Dupree Howe, Esq., Managing Director of BCG -Texas & the Southeast, BCG Attorney Search
Houston remains the major headline for law in Texas as many out of state firms have entered that market. Most recently, Willkie Farr opened a Houston office just on the heels of Kirkland & Ellis and Quinn Emanuel. This follows the introduction of many out of-state firms and international firms looking to find their piece of the energy and corporate pie.
Houston and Dallas remain some of the hottest transactional markets in the country fueled by a booming oil market. With the cost of oil dropping this quarter, the needs in Texas may be reduced somewhat into 2015. While we hope this is not the case, it would follow that any transactional candidates looking to enter the corporate or energy market may want to achieve this move during the first quarter of 2015, given that we might be on the brink of a shift.
The latter half of 2014 has remained active with a number of Corporate, Energy and IP needs. Here in Texas, we are seeing a great deal of needs for M&A, Private Equity, and Securities needs. Real Estate has tapered off somewhat and litigation needs remain minimal. We have also seen new tax needs appearing throughout 2014 which is consistent with our heavy transactional market.
Texas is extremely attractive to out-of-state residents for the fact that its large firm salary structure is similar to that of New York and D.C. Further, with its comfortable warm climate, friendly culture, and lost cost of living, Texas sees many candidates relocating. Transactional and Corporate candidates relocating from out-of-state usually do not find that Texas licensure is an issue with firms as long as their credentials are solid. In fact, many Texas firms often prefer to see corporate candidates who have received their junior associate training in New York. On the other hand, litigation candidates will need the Texas Bar. Registering for the next bar exam, or gaining waiver through the Texas Bar shows dedication to a potential move to Texas.
Here is a breakdown of practice areas and the particular strength of each as we end 2014:
Partner movement remains extremely high as many new firms have entered the Texas market. There is a lot of flux amongst firms and needs are constantly changing and evolving. We at BCG are always working on a great deal of partner needs and are continuously taking meetings with firms that have many needs.BCG is one of the top search firms in the country for partner placements. We are recognized for steering partner candidates confidentially through the process and assuring this is a smooth transition for your lateral move. If you would like to have a confidential discussion about your interests in a possible lateral move and what we are working on with firms, please contact us at 713-270-1199.
This practice area remains extremely weak in Texas, as with most markets across the U.S., with only scatteredneeds appearing throughout the state in 2014. We do predict increased needs in this area as the price of oil is dropping and affecting investors in the Texas oil market.
Litigation needs increased in 2013, but 2014 has been somewhat slower. Candidates with federal clerkships and demonstrated writing skills have the edge here. My litigation candidates have had to exercise patience in finding a position in Texas as the needs are very scattered. The best way to get Texas firms take you seriously as a litigation candidate is to get licensed at your next possible opportunity.
Labor and Employment
Employment needs have been steady throughout the state, as with many geographical areas right now. Our needs are generally low to medium, but there are often several firms looking for Employment associates. We regularly have Employment partner needs however, and this tends to be an area where we see a lot of partner movement.
Corporate is our very highest need in Texas. A very high concentration of our firms are seeking corporate resumes right now. Candidates with Private Equity and M&A Experience are most highly sought. We also have Securities needs as well. Houston, Dallas, and Austin all have active needs right now, as this area has simply been exploding in Texas for the last two years.
Tax needs have remained constant throughout the state due to the strong transactional market. Candidates with an LL.M in Taxation from the top three programs such as Georgetown, NYU, and Florida tend to get the most traction.
IP Litigation needs have been a bit slower in the latter half of 2014. However, there is still a great deal of need for candidates with a background in Electrical Engineering or Computer Science.
Patent Prosecution remains a very high need for us here at BCG both in Texas and across the country. The candidates most in demand are those with degrees in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science or Engineering, or Physics. In Houston, candidates with patent experience in the oil industry or with a Mechanical Engineering degree are also very marketable. Austin has more "Bio" work than other cities in the state and candidates with Life Science degrees do well here.
Patent Agents/Technical Advisors
We often get patent agents and technical advisors reach out to us asking if we can assist them. The answer is a categorical YES! Patent Agents and Technical Advisors are one of our very highest needs. We help lateral candidates and those at the junior level who are thinking of beginning a career in Intellectual Property.
Across BCG nationwide, we are seeing very consistent needs for Patent Agents. Firms generally like to hire candidates with a Ph.D. or a degree in Electrical Engineering. And if a candidate has successfully passed the USPTO Exam, they are that much more marketable.
Energy and Project Finance
This area is very hot right now in Houston. Transactional Energy associates are highly sought with the influx of new firms and shifting groups. Our needs are in Development, Cross-Border, M&A, and Project Finance. Candidates with strong transactional experience looking to shift into energy are also marketable.
This area has been strong this year, both in Texas and across the country. We have had consistent Employee Benefits needs in almost every market in Texas and nationwide. It's a good time to consider a move.
Real Estate has been weaker in 2014 than in 2013, but remains one of our stronger areas. We have had needs from junior level to mid-level. We have also seen a lot of needs at the senior associate level, especially in Dallas, which tends to be the hottest Real Estate market in the state. That said, we have also had needs throughout 2014 in Austin. Real Estate Finance candidates have been the most valued this year.
State of the Market Report: Louisiana by Suzanne Dupree Howe, Esq., Managing Director of BCG -Texas & the Southeast, BCG Attorney Search
Currently we are working with New Orleans firms on litigation and tax positions. New Orleans firms like to see candidates with personal ties to the area and a demonstrated commitment to Louisiana.
State of the Market Report: Tennessee by Suzanne Dupree Howe, Esq., Managing Director of BCG -Texas & the Southeast, BCG Attorney Search
Nashville remains a strong market for corporate and healthcare work. We have seen very consistent needs from great firms looking for corporate talent this year. It's also one of the best healthcare markets in the country and we have constant needs in this area. Employment has also been one of the hotter areas for this market.
Intellectual Property has gotten busier in Florida; and firms are interested in Candidates with both Technology and Life Science degrees, especially advanced graduate degrees (e.g. M.S. or Ph.D.)There is a particularly strong need for candidates with Electrical Engineering and Computer Science degrees; however, Candidates with Life Science backgrounds are in demand as well. Ideally, Candidates should have between three to five years of experience. The demand for Patent Prosecutors is far greater than the demand for Patent Litigators.
Litigation remains one of the busiest practice areas in Florida, which is interesting, because while Litigation has gotten busier over the last quarter, it remains fairly slow in many other regions of the U.S. The majority of the Litigation opportunities in Florida are for experienced litigators with 4+ years of experience. Florida firms tend not to overstaff their cases, so Candidates should have solid experience, i.e., experience taking and defending depositions, drafting briefs, and arguing motions in court. Candidates who have experience with insurance defense or foreclosure cases are particularly in demand. The ability to speak Spanish and/or Portuguese makes Candidates even more competitive in the Florida market.
Miami is the epicenter of the corporate world in Florida, although there are transactional opportunities throughout the state. There is no one transactional area that is particularly "hot" in Florida. Rather, Florida firms are interested in a wide variety of Corporate Candidates whose experience includes Capital Markets, Mergers & Acquisitions, Finance, and General Corporate Transactions. Here again, Candidates who have the ability to speak Spanish and/or Portuguese have a slight advantage.