Corporate associates in San Francisco with strong credentials remain in the driver's seat when it comes to Bay Area hiring. Corporate was once again the strongest hiring sector in the Bay Area market for the first quarter of 2015, once again outpacing hiring in the IP/Patent sector (something previously unheard of). Candidates with experience at all levels are getting interviews. Sub specialties of particular interest include private equity, structured and debt finance, emerging companies/venture capital, M&A, and securities. Candidates with hard science or life science degrees, particularly when they have experience with tech companies, are getting interviews across the board.
Real Estate hiring in San Francisco was very strong in early 2015. Mid-level candidates with transactional experience are highly sought, although there is an occasional need for finance candidates. Transactional candidates need experience in leasing, joint ventures, and purchase & sales. Firms are also seeking partners with at least $1 million in portables.
Litigation hiring in San Francisco is unusually strong for the state and the country. Needs are consistently at the senior and mid-level. Complex commercial litigators, general litigators and securities litigators are consistently in demand. Hiring remains extremely competitive-and slow-and candidates with superior credentials continue to dominate this practice. Associates currently residing and practicing with an AmLaw firm in the Bay Area are given a clear preference. Associates with clerkship experience are highly valued. 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 Litigation hiring remained fairly strong in early 2015 but was not nearly as in demand as in previous years. The most noticeable difference in patent hiring is that positions are evenly split between hard science and life science candidates. Firms have also become more particular and are less willing to consider out of state candidates. 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.
Steady Practice Areas:
Patent Prosecution hiring slowed considerably during the first quarter of 2015. When there were needs, they were evenly split between candidates with hard science degrees (computer science and electrical engineering) and life science degrees (biology, biochemistry, and chemistry). Firms of all sizes are seeking attorneys with 1-6 years of experience. Computer Science and Electrical Engineering candidates continue to dominate 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 looking for candidates that are solid.
Labor and Employment
Labor and employment hiring leveled off in the first quarter of 2015 after a strong increase in 2014. Hiring remained steady but not especially strong. Firm are seeking both junior and mid-level associates with wage and hour, discrimination, and client counseling experience. Class action, deposition, and trial experience are highly valued. Mid-level candidates are expected to take active roles in their matters.
As with patent hiring, technology transactions positions are in steady demand and firms are seeking both hard science and life science candidates, mostly in the junior to mid-level range. 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.
Hiring increased across the state in late 2014, and there were a few ERISA/Employee Benefits openings this year in San Francisco in the first quarter of 2015. The need for associates with qualified plan experience is consistent across the state. Junior to mid-level associates with employee benefits, executive compensation, and tax experience are very desirable.
Tax hiring tends to be slow in San Francisco, but when there are needs, they are predominantly in the transactional tax sector in the mid-level range. Firms are usually willing to consider candidates from both law firms and big 4 accounting practices, but prefer law firm experience.
State of the Market Report: 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.
Corporate vacancies in Silicon Valley have been plentiful the first quarter of 2015 and continue to outnumber IP/Patent postings, something previously unheard of in Silicon Valley hiring. Life Sciences hiring continues to be strong. Candidates with a combination of M&A and venture capital/emerging companies experience are always in demand. Associates who have experience with tech companies are also getting interviews, as are candidates with private equity and securities backgrounds.
Patent prosecution needs in Silicon Valley remain steady and strong. Candidates with degrees and experience in the Life Sciences are especially valued right now. Associates with hard sciences backgrounds (computer science and electrical engineering) will always be needed. Registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office is a must, but candidates need not be admitted to the California bar.
Patent litigation continued to decline the first quarter of 2015. As with the San Francisco market, firms were less willing to give consideration to candidates that were not in the state or those without solid credentials. Attorneys with computer science or electrical engineering degrees are still mainly what firms are looking for. US Patent Bar admittance has become expected by most firms.
The first quarter of 2015 was the most competitive period for technology transactions hiring in 4 years. The candidate pool for this practice (particularly in-state) is especially small, so candidates with any corporate transactional experience have been considered (more so if they possess technology or life sciences degrees/experience). Junior and mid-level needs continue to dominate hiring in this sector.
Attorneys with Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (EBEC) experience were in very high demand in early 2015. Candidates at all levels were getting interviews. The candidate pool for this subspecialty is very small, so firms began seeking out of state candidates. Firms are particularly interested in associates with transactions experience in the EBEC space.
Tax hiring remained steady in Silicon Valley in 2015. Candidates with transactional tax experience continue to see the most vacancies. Those with experience in international tax are also sought by the largest multi-national firms such as DLA and Baker & McKenzie. Candidates must have large firm experience.
Litigation hiring remained slow the first quarter of 2015. When there are vacancies, they tend to be for junior to mid-level complex commercial/business litigators with stellar credentials. This practice area remains extremely competitive and hiring is slow. Candidates should have membership to the California Bar or have recently taken the bar exam.
Slow Practice Areas:
Labor & Employment
Labor & Employment hiring remained slow the first quarter of 2015. When there are openings, they are usually big AmLaw firms seeking mid-level associates with employment counseling, discrimination, and wage and hour experience.
Silicon Valley is not a part of the transactional real estate hiring that is happening in the rest of the state. When openings occur, they tend to be for mid-level associates. Experience in acquisitions, leasing, joint ventures, and sales is valued.
Dead Practice Areas:
There is currently no activity in antitrust, bankruptcy, energy, environmental, healthcare, insurance, and trusts & estates. However, firms will also consider partners in any area who have at least $1.5 million in portable business.
State of the Market Report: San Diego by Evan P. Anderson, Managing Director, BCG Attorney Search
San Diego is a very desirable (if not extremely competitive) market. It features excellent weather, the beauty of nature, and an excellent work-life balance. It is also a very tough market to obtain a position in for a few reasons. One is due to the hiring being limited to a few select practice areas. Another is due to the fact that firms look for candidates with solid ties to the area. In the first quarter of 2015, need for hiring has gone down quite a bit. In the past, patent prosecution and corporate transactional hiring have controlled the San Diego legal market, and both remain fairly strong, but there is little activity in other practice areas. Having the California Bar is required in San Diego, even for transactional positions. Another important thing for you to have is longevity at your current firm (2+ years).
Healthy Practice Areas:
The need for patent prosecution attorneys continues to be at the forefront of the legal hiring market in San Diego in early 2015. The most noticeable difference in hiring in this subspecialty is that life sciences patent positions have outpaced hard sciences postings. Attorneys holding computer science and electrical engineering degrees will always be in need. However, candidates with advanced degrees in Biology and Chemistry are in greater demand.
Corporate hiring in San Diego has slowed in early 2015 compared to the previous two quarters but it is still strong. Junior to mid-level (2-5 years) corporate associates across all sub-specialties are needed, including attorneys with M&A, capital markets, securities, emerging company, venture capital, public & private company experience. Some portable business may be required for more senior corporate positions, particularly at smaller, native firms.
Real estate hiring in early 2015 was dramatically slower and there are very few postings currently. When there are vacancies, they tend to be with Top AmLaw firms for associates with 2-6 years of experience. More senior attorneys with business who have a combination of corporate and real estate work are being sought out by indigenous and smaller firms. Experienced real estate attorneys with traditional leasing and acquisition work from well-regarded law firms will also get interviews.
Lateral litigation hiring in San Diego tends to be a patchwork of various needs when jobs in this historically slow practice are posted. General litigators and business litigators practicing at the junior and mid-level range tend to be sought. Construction defect experience can also be helpful for mid-sized, indigenous firms. The hiring process for litigators remains slow-and candidates with superior credentials continue to dominate this practice. Associates currently residing and practicing with a top local firm are given a clear preference.
The need for Technology Transactions attorneys with licensing and commercial agreements experience continues to increase statewide and San Diego does have some needs in this area. Firms are generally seeking junior to mid-level associates who have transactional experience, preferably negotiating licensing transactions in the life sciences field. Given the small candidate pool, firms will consider attorneys currently working in-house.
In smaller, native firms in San Diego, there is a limited need for energy partners and senior energy attorneys with business. In addition, attorneys with energy finance experience and experience in the purchase and sale of energy projects, as well as energy regulations such as FERC, CEC, and CPUC will obtain interviews.
Not very much activity has been going on in bankruptcy, construction, environmental, healthcare, immigration, insurance coverage, securities litigation, tax, technology transactions, trademark, or trusts and estates. Those in any of these practice areas should consider taking a look at 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 a vast, complicated, complex and beautiful city built on a myriad of cultures that holds a diverse and interesting scope of law practices. Already known for sophisticated practices, more and more firms are opening their doors in Los Angeles to satisfy their growing West Coast clientele.
There is a tremendous need in Los Angeles for mid-level to senior real estate attorneys. Prestigious national law firms are seeking attorneys in this area with a particular background in leasing, purchase and sale, and development. Many firms are specifically in need of attorneys with strong finance (mezzanine financing), capital markets or joint ventures experience. There are a handful of these positions for junior attorneys as well (1-3 years). Though there is a heightened need, Los Angeles remains a very competitive market and firms are looking for top credentials as well as a sophisticated practice.
The most active area in the city remains corporate law. The bulk of the opportunities are for mid-level to senior attorneys, though the range is wide with many firms considering attorneys with one to six years of experience. Los Angeles is traditionally a strong market for attorneys with a background in M&A and private equity. This certainly remains true. However, we have seen a staunch uptick in capital markets and finance-related transactional openings with a multitude of firms. The positions specifically call for someone with experience in secured and unsecured financing, asset-based lending, and acquisition finance transactions. There is also an elevation of transactional positions within the health care and entertainment fields.
Labor/Employment law remains active in Los Angeles. A mixture of national, regional, and employment based firms are seeking attorneys with two to seven years of experience (sweet spot is 3-4 years). Class action and wage-and-hour experience are the most highly valued. However, we are seeing a need for those with a background in traditional labor (NLRB) along with employment litigation. Membership to the California Bar is a must.
We continue to see litigation openings from a mixture of small, regional firms as well as prominent, national firms. There has been an uptick for those with a background in product liability, insurance, toxic tort, and asbestos with a number of firms. A few high-end, prominent firms are seeking attorneys with experience in complex and commercial litigation, including white collar, securities, health care, and entertainment law. Firms are mostly interested in attorneys that can handle depositions. However, some larger firms may forego this if the candidate has top-tier credentials. Membership to the California Bar is a must.
Though there was an anticipated slow-down, patent litigation openings are holding steady in the Los Angeles. There is a mixture of prominent national firms along with IP boutiques that are seeking attorneys with a variety of technical backgrounds (though those with a degree in Electrical Engineering or Computer Science are mostly in demand). Though fewer, there are a handful of patent prosecution openings across technical fields with IP boutiques. Membership to the Patent Bar is clearly preferred.
We are witnessing new openings in environmental law and land use with a strong cross-section of firms in the Los Angeles market. Firms are primarily interested in those with California-specific experience like CEQA, making it difficult for out of state attorneys to compete. The practice involves a range of litigation, compliance, and transactional work.
There is as mattering of openings in this arena with prominent national firms. Though typically reserved for Northern California or San Diego, the technology transactional market is making its way to Los Angeles primarily due to entertainment related work. The positions involve work related to digital or new media and advertising. This is certainly an area to watch for growth!
State of the Market Report: Orange County by Allison Wottawa, Legal Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Though sometimes overshadowed by Los Angeles, Orange County certainly has its own identity as a hub for prestigious international law firm and regional firms alike. The OC is a terrific, laid back, luxurious place to live and so the market can be quite competitive. However, the region is on a path of steady growth.
Though initially behind in the latest boom, the real estate market is definitely taking stride in Orange County. Both major, international firm as well as prominent regional firms are seeking real estate attorneys for their OC offices. The bulk of these associate positions are for attorneys with 2-4 years of experience, though some firms are interested in more senior attorneys as well. While a finance background is helpful, these firms are particularly seeking attorneys with experience in secured loans, commercial leasing, development, as well as purchase and sale.
Corporate remains the hottest practice area in the greater Orange County region. Positions are open with major, international law firms alongside regional firms. Firms are primarily seeking attorneys with 3-5 years of experience. However, many will consider attorneys a year or two outside of this range, leaving the berth pretty wide for an attorney with the "right" credentials. Those with finance experience are in demand, particularly with a thrust toward debt financing and lending transactions. However, many firms are also looking for attorneys with a substantial background in M&A, private equity, corporate governance, and securities.
There has been an uptick in litigation openings since the beginning of the year. Orange County firms are seeking primarily more senior associates (4-7 years) with deposition and preferably prior trial experience. Firms are mostly interested in those with a background in complex business or construction litigation, though some smaller firms are also seeking insurance litigators.
Employment law is holding steady in the OC market with openings in labor/employment firms as well as smaller, regional firms. They are mostly interested in junior employment litigators with a background in wage-and-hour law.
Slow Practice Areas:
Though traditionally a somewhat active area for patent work, Orange County is been relatively quiet on this front. There are a handful of patent litigation openings with very select firms for someone with at least three years of experience and a degree in electrical engineering, computer science, or physics. Some IP firms have junior openings for prosecution attorneys with a similar technical background.
There is currently a limited need for tax attorneys in Orange County. Firms are primarily looking for transactional tax attorneys at the junior level (2-4 years) with an emphasis on partnership, real estate, and middle market corporate work. LL.M. is in Taxation is preferred. Though slow for associates, many firms in this area are seeking to bolster their tax practices and are seeking partners with at least $500k in business.
State of the Market Report: Seattle by Paul Danielson, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Seattle the city is booming. Wander anywhere in the greater downtown Seattle area, and you will see dozens of construction cranes and the skeletal rise of future business, condominium, and mixed-use buildings transforming the already crowded and bustling landscape. Recently named the fastest-growing city in the U.S., Seattle can't seem to build and grow quickly enough to expand to fit the mix of current and new residents, and as a result rents are fast on the rise as well. While legal hiring always trails these types of booms in population and business as firms cautiously ramp up to expand their rosters to meet new demand, we are definitely starting to see the signs of the market coming back in a big way. Firms are being very picky and slow with their hiring process, but there were more job listings in the first few months of 2015 than in all of 2012 during the bottom of the recession.
As always, partners with business will fare extremely well. Otherwise, expect stiff competition, even if you are a candidate with excellent credentials. Hard sciences still rule in the patent world, although we have seen a modest uptick from the previously nonexistent hiring market for life sciences side patent prosecution and litigation attorneys. Firms still like to see excellent credentials and personal ties to the Pacific Northwest region.
In a massive change from recent years, litigation practice is booming in Seattle, with the strongest demand being at the junior-to-mid level, and for attorneys with experience in areas of commercial, insurance coverage, construction, and liability litigation. Some appellate and white collar litigation experience is being sought by select firms as well. Even though we are seeing a near record number of listings, firms are still very slow to move given that litigation candidates are plentiful and thus it is still very much a buyers' market. Firms are being picky and interviewing candidates with top law school credentials, solid practice experience (deposition and trial experience being particularly valuable), and of course portable business will help any litigation candidate get a foot in the door.
Demand for transactional attorneys in the Seattle market has been steady for awhile now, but has increased in the first quarter of 2015.M&A experience is especially desired, and there will be many opportunities for transactional attorneys who have technical backgrounds and/or solid experience representing technology companies. There will also be work for attorneys with solid securities experience, venture capital experience, and public company experience. Demand is concentrated at the mid-level, but attorneys with modest to great portable business can generally write their own ticket. If you are a corporate attorney interested in the Seattle market, get in touch, because it is an excellent time to make a move.
After dying out for much of 2014, we are seeing patent litigation opportunities come back online with greater frequency, although not booming relative to general litigation or corporate work. In even better news, patent litigation opportunities will be available to attorneys with both hard science and life science backgrounds, however for the latter, firms are definitely seeking attorneys who already have strong substantive experience in ANDA/Hatch-Waxman litigation.
There has been a pleasantly surprising uptick in tax, trust & estates work in the greater Seattle market. I say pleasantly surprising because the uptick is earlier in the overall market cycle than we typically observe - usually this type of work lags behind general demand and only comes into effect once the economy is fully back online, but whatever the reasons, it is nice to see at this stage. LL.M.s in taxation are nearly a must, and firms are looking for experience at the mid-level and higher in these areas.
Slow Practice Areas:
Contrary to a lot of slower market cycles, all of the following practice areas have had at least one opening in the early months of 2015, although none are strong enough to warrant inclusion in the categories above: IP/Technology Transactions (we think this is just a temporary lull and will continue to generate demand in the rest of 2015), Real Estate (same - development is booming in Seattle, but firms are generally sufficiently staffed right now after a real estate hiring binge in 2014), Labor & Employment, Environmental, and Bankruptcy. All practices not included in the former list or the above categories have been pretty much dead thus far in 2015, although we are hopeful the entire market will continue to grow over the course of 2015, including legal hiring.
State of the Market Report: Portland by Paul Danielson, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Portland just had its warmest winter in recent memory. I grew up there, my family is still there, and I got weekly, if not daily, reports about how amazingly warm (relatively, of course) and often sunny (!) it was throughout most of January, February, and March. As popular a destination as Portland has been in the last decade for young professionals, the weather is one thing that can still deter people, so if this trend of milder winters continues, especially considering what happened on the East Coast in the winter of 2014/15, it could mean an even greater population boom in Portland in the coming years.
That being said, even more so than nearby Seattle, legal hiring has lagged behind the overall trend of new development, the growing economy, rising population and rising rents. Job listings continue to trickle in on a relatively steady basis, but opportunities are still quite limited and competition is fierce. As with most markets, however, if you can bring a portable book of business with you, even a modest one in the lower six figures, you can still nearly almost write your own ticket into the PDX market. Attorneys without portables will still need exceptional credentials as well as strong personal ties to the Pacific Northwest.
"Hot" is probably not the best term, given that there have only been a handful of listings in the first quarter of 2015 in litigation, but it has been the practice area with the strongest demand. That being said, firms are very picky, and very slow to move, even for solid top tier candidates, indicating that even though formal job openings are being posted, it is more that firms are looking opportunistically for top talent and keeping candidates on the hook for when there is a true need for additional hands on deck for the client litigation work in the pipeline. Listings are largely looking for insurance defense experience, with construction experience a close second, followed by general commercial litigation experience. Candidates will need top credentials and very strong ties to the Portland area to be considered, and candidates should expect to be patient with their job search at this time.
Corporate demand remains steady in Portland, and unlike litigation above, when there are active openings, firms will look to interview and hire solid candidates. Demand is concentrated at the mid-level, so attorneys with 3-5 years of solid transactional experience will fare well, especially attorneys with prior experience on large deals at top Am Law firms. M&A is most heavily in demand, but there are also opportunities for more senior attorneys with very solid securities experience, and more junior attorneys with energy transactions experience.
Though definitely not hot, labor and employment continues to be one of the most steady practice areas in the Portland market in 2015, following a relatively solid 2014.Demand is at the junior and mid-level, so more senior labor & employment attorney candidates should still expect to bring at least a modest book of portable business in order to have significant opportunities in the Portland market at this time.
Slow to Dead Practice Areas:
The following areas had at least one active listing in Portland in the early part of 2015, although none can be considered strong at the moment: Patent Prosecution (hard sciences only right now), Real Estate (this should pick back up over the rest of 2015), Tax, and Trusts & Estates. Totally dormant right now are Patent Litigation, Environmental, IP/Technology Transactions, and Bankruptcy. Given that the general Portland economy remains fairly strong, we are optimistic there will be at least some opportunity in all practice areas in Portland in the coming second half of 2015.
State of the Market Report: Phoenix by Allison Wottawa, Legal Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Phoenix is a robust mid-sized, regional market that is ready and looking to grow. With a population influx and new business entering the territory, national firms are expanding their presence in the Phoenix market, while regional and indigenous Arizona firms continue to stand.
Since the beginning of 2015, we have seen an uptick in litigation openings in the Phoenix market. The need is primarily for attorneys with at least three years of practice (preferably at a firm) and experience in conducting depositions. Within litigation, those with a background in employment, health care, and construction law are highly valued. Arizona Bar is a must.
Transactional work continues to be popular in Arizona, predominantly with regional and national law firms. The need is primarily for mid-level attorneys (at least three years) with a practice in M&A, private equity, joint ventures, and corporate governance. Smaller Arizona-based firms are actively looking for corporate partners with a book of business. Arizona Bar is preferred. Though some firms are willing to look at candidates without the Bar, the attorney must be willing to sit for the Bar.
Steady Practice Areas:
Patent Litigation / Prosecution
A handful of well-known regional law firms are seeking patent attorneys with backgrounds in electrical or mechanical engineering and computer science, both in litigation and prosecution. Membership to the Patent Bar is preferred. There is not currently a strong market for those with a background in life sciences.
Though slowing down a bit from its heightened need at the turn of the year, there is still a steady market for real estate associates. The firms are expanding in areas of real estate finance, particularly in commercial lending and leasing. Partners with portable business in this area are highly sought after in anticipation of a further bump in real estate work in this region. We foresee this need growing through the summer and into the fall.
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 at 312-321-9411.
Junior public finance associates with 1-3 years of experience handling corporate and real estate transactions and working with state and local governments, underwriters and banks on general obligation bonds, revenue bonds, conduit financings, tax anticipation notes, tax-exempt lease financing, certificates of participation and private activity bonds. Colorado bar admission or ability to waive into or take the CO bar is required.
Junior to mid-level associates with 1-4 years of experience in private equity-backed mergers and acquisitions.
Junior transactional associates with 2-5 years of experience with real estate-secured financing transactions. (Nevada bar admission is required.)
Mid-level associates with 2-5 years of experience in public company securities work, including experience representing public companies on SEC compliance and disclosures, public offerings and corporate governance matters.
Mid-level banking associates with 3+ years of experience with acquisition financings, leveraged buyouts, asset-based loans and other financings. Working knowledge of credit agreements, security agreements and commitment papers is a plus.
Commercial finance attorneys with 5+ years of experience in commercial finance transactions, including secured loans. Candidates should also have experience in banking and agricultural lending. Colorado Bar admission is required.
Litigation practices in Denver are very busy. Most firms require the Colorado bar and judicial clerkships are definitely a plus. The following candidates should get in touch with our Chicago office to discuss Denver opportunities.
Junior to mid-level commercial litigation associates with 1-4 years of experience in complex commercial litigation.
Consumer finance litigation associates with 3-5 years of experience in state and federal court. Candidates should have federal and state court experience. Financial institutions litigation experience is preferred.
Mid-level health care attorney with 3-6 years of experience in healthcare transactions, involving physician-hospital alignment, physician organization and/or networks. Experience with healthcare fraud and abuse laws, Medicare Part B enrollment, billing and reimbursement, physician organization and alignment issues, and emerging care delivery and payment models is required.
Healthcare attorneys with 10+ years of experience in healthcare regulatory and transactional matters.
Last quarter we reported a need for IP litigators in Denver. We have seen somewhat of a decline in that need, but the need for patent prosecutors continues, as well as IP attorneys with strong technology experience. For patent prosecutors, most Denver firms require USPTO and admission to the Colorado bar. Advanced degrees and large law firm experience are definitely preferred. We would like to speak with the following attorneys regarding Denver opportunities:
Mid to senior associate level technology transactions associates with privacy experience and 3+ years handling complex technology transactions, licensing transactions and/or related intellectual property matters. Large law firm experience is required.
Technology associates with 4+ years of experience with technology transactions, particularly those associates with exposure to software, online services, cloud computing, mobile devices, data, content and new media, and other areas of the information economy, as well as compliance matters involving data privacy and security.
Junior to mid-level patent prosecution associates with 1-4 years of experience and senior level associates with 5+ years of experience and backgrounds in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, physics or computer science.
Junior patent prosecution associates with 1-4 years of experience and a degree in electrical engineering or computer science and experience with wireless communications.
Patent prosecution associates with 3-4 years of pharmaceutical experience and backgrounds in chemistry, chemical engineering or biology.
There has been significant need in Denver firms for talented real estate associates with a wide breadth of commercial real estate transactional experience. Real estate candidates interested in Denver opportunities with the following skills should contact us:
Junior real estate associates with 1-2 years of experience with acquisitions, dispositions, financing, leasing, and land use transactions.
Junior to mid-level commercial real estate associates with 2-5 years of experience with secured financing transactions and admission to the Nevada Bar.
Commercial real estate associates with 3-6 years of experience in corporate, real estate, lending and commercial matters, and real estate leasing and commercial loan documents.
As reported, corporate practices have picked up significantly across the nation, and not unlike firms in other states, Denver's tax practices have experienced a significant increase in work. Most of these tax practices demand top academics, large law firm experience and in some cases, LL.M.'s in tax. We would like to speak with the following tax candidates:
Tax associates with 2-3 years of experience in corporate and partnerships. Foreign tax experience is a plus.
Tax associates with 2-4 years of federal income tax experience in M&A, real estate and capital markets transactions.
State of the Market Report: Las Vegas by Paul Danielson, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
The Las Vegas market continues to be pleasantly steady, though not across the board. Similar to our last report, litigation is absolutely dominant in the current market in Las Vegas in terms of attorney demand, and firms are eager to hire highly qualified attorneys who have ties to the area. Many firms are even looking to expand their Las Vegas offices in 2015, and partners with portable books as low as $250k+ will get very serious consideration from a number of top Am Law firms with offices in Las Vegas. With its lower cost of living than many other markets, especially in terms of housing, Las Vegas can be an attractive opportunity for attorneys seeking the practice support of a large firm in the confines of a relatively smaller market.
While not quite as strong as last quarter, demand for litigation attorneys in Las Vegas remains extremely high, especially relative to other practice areas in the market. From commercial to banking, insurance coverage to construction and natural resources, every sector within litigation is showing demand right now. Most in-demand are mid-level attorneys with 3-6 years of experience, and actual trial experience is highly sought after. The Nevada Bar continues to be a must, however, and even strong attorneys who are not already licensed may see their applications or interviews delayed by firms until closer to the time when they can become licensed. As always, litigation partners with solid portable books of business will have lots of options.
While we expect demand to pick up over the course of 2015, the following practice areas are currently very dormant for lateral attorneys who do not have portable business: Real Estate, Corporate, Tax, Trusts & Estates, Environmental, and Bankruptcy.
State of the Market Report: Chicago by Jamie Bailey, Partner, BCG Attorney Search - Chicago
We have witnessed some exciting lateral hiring activity in the Midwest over the past quarter. Commercial real estate and corporate transactional practices are booming and the corresponding need for top tier laterals has spread a level of much needed optimism about the future strength of the legal market. With the increase in transactional work, both domestically and internationally, law firms have had a corresponding uptick in tax work and have had to beef up their tax and employee benefits practices. We have also seen some increased need for litigators. Firms are continuing to expand via mergers, including the recent partnering of Nixon Peabody with Ungaretti & Harris and Locke Lord with Edwards Wildman. Jones Day also just announced that it will launch a new office in Detroit in early July. All signs point toward a great second quarter, and we look forward to continuing to assist our clients in expanding their offices at the associate and partner levels here in Chicago and across the Midwest region.
Partners with Portable Business
We would be interested in speaking with partners with portable business. Generally speaking, firms in this market are seeking a minimum of $750K in portable business. Partners seeking to make a move in this market should contact our Chicago office at 312-321-9411.
Corporate - Securities; Finance; Investment Funds/Investment Advisers; Capital Markets; Private Equity; M&A and Joint Venture; Public Finance
We are continuing to see an increased need for talented corporate transactional laterals at some of the best firms in the city. We would like to speak with associates with the following transactional experience:
Associates with anywhere between 1-6 years of securities experience.
Junior commercial finance associates with 2-3 years of experience.
Investment Funds/Investment Advisers
Mid-level attorneys with 3-5 years of experience representing commodity pool operators and commodity trading advisors, as well as private investment funds, fund sponsors and investment advisers.
Associates with 4-6 years of investment services experience (preferably 40 Act experience.)
Capital markets associates with 3-5 years of experience with acquisition finance leveraged buyouts, recapitalizations and refinancing.
Associates with 3-7 years of private equity experience in advising funds and portfolio companies regarding public or private mergers and acquisitions, growth investments and other similar transactions, as well as general corporate matters.
M&A and Joint Venture
Attorney with anywhere from 3-12 years of experience in M&A, joint venture or other complex commercial transactions.
Senior corporate attorneys with 5-7 years of transactional experience in public finance transactions and familiarity with municipal finance, banking, corporate finance and securities underwriting, including bond issuance, municipal general obligation and revenue bonds, tax and revenue anticipation notes and municipal lease obligations is preferred.
With corporate transactional practices booming in Chicago, the corresponding need in tax and employee benefits has been very significant. We would be interested in speaking with the following candidates who have strong tax and/or employee benefits experience. Since most of these firms seeking tax associates have the best tax practices in the city, top academics, large law firm experience and advance degrees in tax are in most cases required, as well as admission to the IL bar. The following attorneys should get in touch with us regarding opportunities in Chicago:
Associates with anywhere from 2-6 years of federal income tax experience in M&A and real estate capital markets transactions.
Associates with 2-6 years of relevant experience in tax controversy, transfer pricing and/or planning and resolving tax disputes with the Internal Revenue Service.
IP continues to be one of the strongest areas of need, both in prosecution and litigation. We are interested in speaking with candidates with strong backgrounds in particular areas outlined below. Most firms require or prefer USPTO for patent prosecutors and lean toward candidates with advanced degrees in their technology/science backgrounds.
Transactional associates with 1-3 years of technology experience handling a diverse range of matters, including outsourcing, strategic alliances, joint ventures, software and systems, R&D and technology transfer, licensing, biotechnology, mergers and acquisitions, financings and restructurings.
Associates with 2-4 years of experience in general corporate finance, and/or information technology transactions
Mid-level associates with 3+ years of technology transactions and privacy experience handling complex technology transactions, licensing transactions and/or related intellectual property matters.
IP Litigation - EE, ME, CS, Physics, Chemistry, Biochemistry
Intellectual property litigation attorneys with 0-5 years of experience. Candidates should have one or more of the following technical backgrounds: electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, computer science, physics, chemistry or biochemistry.
Associates with 0-5 years of patent prosecution with backgrounds in chemical, mechanical, or electrical engineering. We are particularly interested in candidates with experience with prior art and clearance searches; drafting applications and responses to office actions; examiner interviews; pre-appeal reviews; appeal briefs; after final consideration requests; and post-grant procedures.
Patent prosecution associates with 1-2 years of experience and backgrounds in ME, EE, or electronics. Experience in the areas of combustion and/or engine design or electrical technology patent applications in the areas of system controls or computer-aided device functionality would be a plus.
Patent prosecution associates with 2+ years of experience and backgrounds in EE, software or the mechanical arts.
Junior to mid-level patent prosecution associates with 3+ years of experience in the area of electronic circuits and an EE degree.
Patent prosecution associates with 4+ years of experience. Qualified candidates should have an advanced degree in the biological, chemical, physical, life, medical, and/or pharmaceutical sciences.
Commercial real estate continues to be an area in which Chicago firms have had high demand. Most firms would like to see transactional candidates who have attended top tier law schools and have prior experience in a large or mid-sized law firm. However, given the significant demand in real estate, we have been getting interviews for candidates with small law firm experience who also have excellent academic records. The following attorneys should get in touch with us regarding real estate opportunities in Chicago:
Real estate associates with 2-5 years of experience within multiple areas of commercial real estate law, including acquisitions and dispositions, leasing, development, financing and joint ventures, secured lending transactions, office/retail leasing, and fund formation.
Commercial real estate associates with 2-5 years of experience with cross-border and international transactions, and with an interest in handling both real estate and corporate transactions.
We have seen a slight uptick in litigation in Chicago. Most firms require IL bar admission and like to see prior clerkship experience.
Litigation associates with 1-3 years of experience as well as more senior associates with 4+ years of experience in class action and individual borrower litigation and federal litigation experience. Class action or consumer financial services experience is preferred.
Mid to senior level associates with 4-6 years of products liability experience and senior counsel level litigators with 10+ years of products liability litigation experience.
State of the Market Report: Indiana by Jamie Bailey, Partner, BCG Attorney Search - Chicago
Partners with Portable Business
We would be interested in speaking with partners with portable business. 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 at 312-321-9411.
We have not seen any movement up or down in the need for real estate associates in Indianapolis and would still be interested in speaking with commercial real estate associates with the following skills:
2-6 years of experience in broad based real estate development transactions.
Junior labor and employment associates with 1-3 years of experience in employment litigation and counseling.
Associates with 3-4 years of experience in employment litigation matters.
Senior attorneys with 6+ years of experience in employment law, including wage and hour, FMLA and handling employment cases before state and federal agencies.
State of the Market Report: Minneapolis/Saint Paul by Julie Lehrman, Senior Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
The Twin Cities
Since the New Year, the Twin Cities have seen a significant increase in several significant areas. Notably, IP prosecutors who have backgrounds in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Electro-Mechanical, Mechanical Engineering, Life Sciences, and Chemical Engineering. Other growing fields include corporate law, including finance, Litigation, Tax, IP transactions, and real estate. Partners who have portable books of business of over $500k are encouraged to call our Chicago office at 312-321-9411 to discuss opportunities. Please get in touch with the BCG Chicago office for information.
Partners with Portables
In the Minneapolis/Saint Paul Area, firms will often speak with partners who have at least $500k in portable, well-documented business, especially if that partner presents a solid plan for business growth. Larger firms will require more business and a client base of large clients. If you meet this description, feel free to call the BCG Chicago office at 312-321-9411 for a discussion of your options.
Intellectual Property - Patent Prosecution
The Twin cities market has become much more active since the New Year, and the largest increase has been for patent prosecutors. Those with solid law firm experience and significant prosecution work under their belts are the most marketable. IP attorneys with USPTO admission who are electrical engineers, computer engineers, computer scientists, mechanical engineers, and those with life science backgrounds are encouraged to explore the market. For those in the life sciences, attorneys may be asked for a Ph.D or M.A. Industry experience as a scientist or engineer is strongly preferred. Attorneys who have not prosecuted patents as an attorney may be helped by patent agent experience.
Corporate candidates remain highly marketable; especially those with strong law firm backgrounds. Some firms prefer specialized fields of practice such as securities or M & A; some firms prefer a more diverse and broad-reaching background. Excellent academics are always important, but the more significant factor is solid experience at a large firm or respected boutique.
Litigation has been quiet all over the country since about 2008, and while it has not exploded as some other areas have done, we have noticed several new openings in the Twin Cities Area since the New Year. This is encouraging, to say the least. Specific litigation demands have been in insurance coverage, and business and commercial litigation.
Like litigation, tax is not exactly going gangbusters, but we are seeing an increase in what was a very quiet practice area. Twin Cities activity has increased since the New Year in firms of all sizes. Many firms require an LLM and / or CPA, and almost universally solid law firm experience. This means that those coming out of accounting firms are less marketable than tax attorneys who have gained experience in a firm.
State of the Market Report: Saint Paul by Julie Lehrman, Senior Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Partners with $500,000 in portable business should generate interest from firms in Saint Louis. Larger firms may require $1M in portables. A convincing plan for growing your business will increase your marketability. Partners who would like to discuss opportunities in the Saint Louis area, and would like help in developing a business plan, should reach out to BCG's Chicago office at 312-321-9411 for assistance.
Activity has definitely increased for Intellectual property attorneys. The most marketable technical backgrounds are electrical engineering, biology and life sciences, computer science, and mechanical engineering. Attorneys should be able to show independent patent application drafting and prosecution with a firm or reputable boutique, although in-house experience can also help if the attorney can demonstrate the requisite hands-on patent prosecution background. For smaller firms, Trademark and Copyright work can also be helpful. Interested candidates should contact the BCG Chicago office.
We have not seen much of an increase this quarter in real estate law, but it remains steady and strong. Finance and leasing as well as general transactional real estate remain the most sought-after sectors within this practice area.
Tax, Estate Planning, Employee Benefits
This quarter is showing is a significant increase in tax-driven legal fields in Saint Louis. For tax law positions, firms prefer a CPA or LLM, as well as practice experience in a reputable law firm rather than ab accounting firm. This distinction is less significant in Estate planning and Employee Benefits, where firms are willing to be a little more flexible with candidates coming out of accounting firms.
Like real estate, corporate law in Saint Louis remains strong and steady, without constituting an explosion. Transactional M & A, Corporate Finance, Corporate Governance, and Securities law are all high-demand areas.
State of the Market Report: Michigan by Julie Lehrman, Senior Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search - Chicago
Partners seeking to learn about opportunities in Detroit, Lansing, South field, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Novi or Troy should feel free to call BCG's Chicago office at 312-321-9411 for information and help creating a business plan. Partners who have at least $300k of portable business tend to be the most marketable. In the Detroit area and other areas of Michigan, firms prefer candidates who have ties to the region.
Detroit, Bloomfield Hills, South field, Novi, Troy, Royal Oak, Lansing
Intellectual Property - Patent Prosecution
As is the case in most markets since the New Year, IP Prosecution remains strong in the Detroit Metro area. The most in-demand technical backgrounds include Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Detroit patent attorneys should contact BCG's Chicago office to learn more about opportunities.
A need for real estate attorneys remains modest and steady in and around Detroit. Firms tend to want attorneys in commercial, rather than residential, real estate, and finance and leasing work in addition to acquisitions and dispositions can also be helpful.
Transactional corporate work remains steady throughout the Detroit metro area. Background with securities laws and regs can also be helpful. General M & A, commercial finance and securities are the most sought-after areas in corporate law in this region.
As was the case last quarter, we remain optimistic as we see small increases in demand for litigation attorneys. Firms remain extremely selective in choosing attorneys for the few emerging positions, so those with excellent academics and hands-on experience in top-tier firms are the most marketable.
State of the Market Report: Ohio by L. Roger Boord, Senior Attorney Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Partners with Portable Business
Attorneys with substantial portable business are in heavy demand in Ohio and elsewhere. Examples of areas where law firms in Ohio have been particularly interested in such attorneys include real estate, labor & employment, commercial litigation, corporate M & A, healthcare and trusts & estates. Of course, firms will normally be interested in attorneys with business in virtually any area that the firm practices in or would like to practice in. Partners with substantial business (at least $300K for the smaller Ohio firms, and up to $1M+ for the larger firms) should contact our Chicago office to learn about specific opportunities.
Associates and partners can both find excellent opportunities in Ohio relating to a broad array of practice areas. Of particular interest to Ohio firms are attorneys with practices in general corporate, commercial litigation, labor & employment, real estate, healthcare, trusts & estates and IP (primarily in electrical engineering and computer engineering/science). Ohio firms have witnessed a significant increase in the demand for litigation, which has been slow in recent years. Commercial, insurance defense and labor & employment litigation in particular are in growth mode. Demand for corporate and health care continues to be strong, while real estate has also shown improvement over prior years. Intellectual property also continues to be hot. We are optimistic that this general improvement in the market will continue through the next year. Less demand has been shown in several other areas, including ERISA, trusts & estates and tax, but they seem to be remaining stable.
With respect to associate candidates, Ohio firms want to see candidates with impressive academic records. This includes the relative rank of the candidate's law school, as well as class rank and GPA. Exceptional writing ability and 2-4 years of major law firm experience at a major firm are also seen with strong favor. As for partner level candidates, firms in Ohio - like firms elsewhere - are primarily concerned about the amount of portable business the candidate has (see the above discussion on portable business). Finally, patent agents with significant patent prosecution experience (usually at least 1-2 years), are also finding excellent opportunities in Ohio firms. This is especially true for candidates with backgrounds in electrical engineering and computer science/engineering. Patent agents are generally required to be registered with the USPTO. As with associates, patent agents who have superior educational backgrounds will have an advantage.
There are four distinct geographic regions that make up Ohio's legal market. The centrally located city of Columbus makes up the first region. As Columbus is both the state capital and the biggest city in Ohio, the city offers candidates a lot of legal opportunities. The second region is made up of Cleveland, which is the state's second biggest city. Despite the difficulties that the city famously weathered nearly half a century ago, it has long since returned to prosperity. In fact, some of the biggest national law firms based in Ohio, including Jones Day and Baker Hostetler, are based in Cleveland. Cincinnati, the third biggest city, constitutes the third region. The fourth region encompasses all of the remaining other cities in Ohio of significant population, including Toledo, Akron and Dayton. Below is a summary of each specific practice area in Ohio in these four regions. Interested candidates should contact our Chicago office for more information.
Corporate and related transactional practices have been in strong demand recently, and this continues to be the case in all four Ohio market regions. Of particular interest is general corporate, mergers & acquisitions and securities.
We are pleased to report that demand for litigation practices has been growing, after several years of low demand. Demand for this practice area is most strong in Cleveland and Cincinnati, with less strong demand in Columbus and the Other Cities.
IP associates with backgrounds in electrical engineering or computer engineering/science are in high demand. Other areas such life sciences and chemistry are in less demand. Firms are mostly seeking prosecution associates, but some are also interested in IP litigation associates. In addition, as noted above, there is also some demand for patent agents, particularly those with degrees in electrical engineering or computer engineering/science.
Demand has been more limited in several other narrow practice areas, such as elder law, workers' compensation, commercial finance, government contracts and energy.
State of the Market Report: Utah by L. Roger Boord, Senior Attorney Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Salt Lake City is known to be a popular place to be in general (especially for those who like mountains and skiing).It is also a popular place for legal candidates outside the state looking to move to somewhere new. The local law firms are well aware of this trend, of course, and as a result they are usually even more skeptical with respect to out of state candidates than law firms in most other states. Consequently, these firms are much more open to candidates who are presently living in the state or are originally from there, or at least have substantial connections to Utah. Moreover, Utah firms usually expect that the candidate has already been admitted to the Utah Bar. This means that outside candidates seeking to join Utah firms should have a convincing reason as to why they want to now move to a place that is (for most people in the country) very far and quite different from their home states.
As has been the usual case for firms in Utah, the practice area with the strongest demand is intellectual property. Of greatest interest to Utah firms are associates (and patent agents) with technical backgrounds in computer engineering/science and/or electrical engineering. Some of the other areas that have lesser demand in Utah include mergers and acquisitions, securities and venture capital. There is also some demand for litigation, primarily for commercial litigators. As always, attorneys who have substantial portable business are in high demand in Utah firms.
State of the Market Report: Boston/New England by Margaret Gilleran, Senior Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Boston has always been and remains the focal point of the legal market in New England. Generally, the "climate" in Boston is reflected in other New England markets. For a long time, Boston has been a hub for the biotechnology industry, and the proximity of these types of clients has created, and continues to create a strong Intellectual Property market. As noted last quarter, Corporate was even busier than Intellectual Property; and the same remains true this quarter. There has been a very slight uptick in Litigation. Real Estate remains steady; Tax has slowed; and there has been no change over the last quarter in Labor and Employment, and Bankruptcy. ERISA and Health Care opportunities are not plentiful, but if a candidate has very good experience in these areas, then it is possible to make a lateral move.
Corporate is very busy across the nation, and Boston is no exception to this trend. The opportunities are not restricted to any particular type of Corporate practice, and the vast majority of opportunities require two to six years of experience. Candidates with Capital Markets, M&A, and/or Private Equity experience are all in demand; and if you are an attorney with this type of experience, it is an excellent time to explore the market. The foregoing practice areas are often categorized as "general"; however, more niche practices are busy as well. For example, Finance is particularly busy with openings ranging from Project Finance to Structured Finance to Bank Finance. There are also openings in Investment Management, and these opportunities are seeking candidates who have experience with either registered or unregistered funds. If you are a Corporate attorney who is dissatisfied with your current situation, or wish to relocate, then now is a terrific time to explore the Boston market.
Intellectual Property continues to be a significant part of the legal market in Boston and, much like last quarter, Patent Prosecution is much more active than Patent Litigation. What is most interesting with respect to the Intellectual Property market in Boston is the increase in the demand for candidates with Electrical Engineering and/or Computer Science backgrounds. Boston has long been the epicenter of the biotechnology industry, so the Intellectual Property openings tended to be for candidates with Chemistry and/or Biology backgrounds. However, presently the demand has shifted. Candidates with Electrical Engineering and/or Computer Science backgrounds are in equal and possibly even greater demand than candidates with Chemistry and/or Biology backgrounds. Other disciplines, including any type of engineering degree (e.g. Chemical or Mechanical), are in demand too. This increased demand in the Intellectual Property market extends to Patent Agents and Technical Advisors as well. Advanced degrees - M.S. or Ph.D. - are preferred; USPTO membership is usually required; and most opportunities seek candidates with 2 to 6 years of experience. If you are an Intellectual Property Attorney, Patent Agent, or Technical Advisor who is less than happy with your current position, or wish to make a geographic move, then you should know that it is a phenomenal time to seek new opportunities in Boston.
Litigation is showing signs of recovery, albeit slow, barely perceptible, and in its nascent stage. Nearly all practice areas were negatively affected by the recession of 2008; however, no practice area was hit as hard or has taken longer to recover than Litigation. The good news is that Litigation is beginning to recover. Across the nation, there is a slight increase in Litigation opportunities, and Boston is part of this trend. It would be premature to say that dissatisfied litigators should commence a search. However, signs of life are present, and there is reason to believe that this trend may continue. There has been increased activity in the market for the last several years, and presumably all the activity has created more occasions for dispute and disagreement, which invariably leads to increased litigation. Stay tuned.
Real Estate remains steady with most opportunities favoring 2 to 6 years of general Real Estate experience, which includes Acquisitions/Dispositions, Finance, Leasing, and/or Development / Zoning / Land Use. Real Estate was much busier at this time last year; however, it is still a good time to explore the market if you are a Real Estate attorney.
Tax, Labor and Employment, and Bankruptcy remain slow. Unless a candidate has exceptional credentials (e.g. outstanding academics at top ten law school), a niche practice area (e.g. experience with unions), or a substantial book of business, then it is not easy to make a move at the present time within these practice areas. However, if you are an attorney who practices Tax, Labor and Employment or Bankruptcy, and you absolutely must make a move, then it is not impossible. However, if you are fairly satisfied with your situation, then it may be better to wait until next quarter to commence a search when these practice areas may have become more active.
Other New England markets tend to echo the Boston market. Thus, Corporate and Intellectual Property Attorneys, as well as Patent Agents and Technical Advisors, are in demand throughout New England, albeit not to the same extent that they are in Boston. Litigation candidates with substantive experience may actually do better in smaller markets than in Boston because there is less competition. Real estate remains steady in other New England markets, and Tax, Labor and Employment, and Bankruptcy remain slow. Search for positions in other cities in New England in these practice areas here.
State of the Market Report: New York by Nadeen Weybrecht, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Lateral hiring activity level - as was expected - is high for firms in New York in this first quarter. Corporate, finance and real estate remain very strong. As has been the case historically, firms are seeking candidates from top law schools and substantive work experience from peer firms.
Since the end of 2013, there has been a high demand for corporate associates, and 2015 opens with that continued high demand for mid-level associates, as well as an increased demand for more senior (6-8 years) candidates. Traditional corporate experience is sought, including mergers and acquisitions (public and private companies) as well as capital markets work. Finance/banking candidates are also in great demand, but firms are leaning more toward junior (2-3 years) or senior (6-8 years) candidates for these openings. Additionally, there is an increased need for both junior and mid-level investment funds attorneys.
As compared with last quarter, tax attorneys are in much greater demand, with openings at every level - junior, mid, and senior. Most positions still prefer an LLM to accompany the JD, as well as experience gained at law firms.
Commercial real estate remains extremely hot, with firms looking for associates at all levels of experience - from junior to mid-level to even more senior (7-9 years)candidates who have experience across a broad range of sophisticated commercial real estate transactions, including acquisitions, dispositions, financings, joint ventures, fund formation, and leasing.
Typically, the need for IP candidates with solid technical backgrounds remains steady. Often, advanced degrees in the technical fields are required. A new development, however, is the see-saw like reversal in need trending towards patent litigation over patent prosecution.
We are seeing some long-awaited new demand for junior to mid-level litigation associates. The greatest demand is for niche specialties in the areas of government enforcement, white collar crime, and securities regulation experience. In terms of general commercial litigation openings, firms seek candidates with motion practice and deposition experience.
Employment and Labor Law
We have seen a slight increase in executive compensation / ERISA openings, with firms seeking junior to mid-level candidates with experience in executive compensation, and the benefits aspects of mergers and acquisitions and taxation issues. On the other hand, traditional employment/labor law openings continue to be small in number, with the few openings seeking mid-level candidates with experience across a broad range of areas, including wage and hour, discrimination, and employee benefits.
The need for health care laterals is still very low. Only a few firms are seeking laterals in this area, and the openings are for junior to mid-level associates with experience in the Stark Law, the Anti-Kickback Statute, fraud and abuse, and reimbursement, licensing HIPAA / HITECH and Medicare/Medicaid, and regulatory and compliance issues.
State of the Market Report: Philadelphia by Robyn Ginsberg, Senior Managing Director - East Coast, BCG Attorney Search
Thus far in 2015 hiring in Philadelphia has been relatively flat. This trend generally contrasts with hiring statistics elsewhere on the East Coast where hiring has thus far been consistently quite busy across practice areas. In Philadelphia, law firm hiring has largely focused on corporate (especially M&A) and commercial litigation, with some additional activity in the intellectual property, tax, real estate and employment law sectors.
The vast majority of corporate demand in Philadelphia is in the mergers & acquisitions space. We are seeing a good deal of demand at national and regional firms for candidates with 3-5 years of M&A experience. Most firms are seeking candidates with specialized expertise in M&A but also with the ability to service a wider range of matters such as securities, general corporate or finance matters. We are also seeing some limited demand for candidates with investment management experience, largely seeking candidates with fund formation or '40 Act experience. Note that the latter demand pales in comparison to what we are seeing elsewhere on the East Coast (e.g., NY, DC and Boston are showing more activity on the investment management front).
Intellectual Property Law
The Intellectual Property market in Philadelphia has slowed down considerably in 2015. We've seeing a significant drop off in demand across all IP practice areas in the Philadelphia market. Interestingly, the large most major East Coast cities are very active in patent litigation but are rather flat in terms of patent prosecution hiring. In contrast, in Philadelphia, the limited demand we are seeing is in the patent prosecution space (this is notable because in most other East Coast markets current trends favor patent litigation). The technical expertise being sought by the few firms looking for IP candidates is largely in the electrical engineering and computer science sectors.
Real estate is generally a consistently strong practice area in the Philadelphia market. That being said, demand is not that high so far in early 2015, however this will likely change in the second quarter of the year. Right now, there are about 3 or 4 firms seeking real estate candidates, largely at the mid-to-senior associate level, and the focus is largely on commercial real estate and real estate finance.
Somewhat surprisingly, we are seeing a significant amount of demand for litigators in Philadelphia, largely among the small to mid-sized regional firms. These firms are seeking candidates at all levels, including junior to mid-level associates and also partner level candidates. While most firms are seeking candidates with general litigation experience, others are seeking more specialized experience in health care, insurance or mass tort/product liability. Because many of these smaller and mid-sized firms staff their matters more leanly, the focus is on candidates with a strong substantive litigation skill set (i.e., candidates with trial experience, as well as experience taking and defending depositions, arguing motions, and negotiating settlements).
The demand for tax attorneys has been fairly consistent so far in 2015. We've seen a few firms looking for associates with federal tax or state and local tax experience. We are also seeing consistent interest from firms of all sizes in partner level candidates with minimal amounts of portable business and expertise in tax and/or estate planning. I expect tax to be one of the focal growth areas in Philadelphia throughout 2015 at the counsel and partner level.
State of the Market Report: Washington, D.C. by Katy Anderman, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
The DC area legal job market started off very strong in the first quarter of 2015.In late 2014, I predicted that demand would remain high for corporate mid-levels and IP associates with patent prosecution experience, and we are definitely seeing a continued demand in that area. Surprisingly, litigation has picked up a bit and there have been several new mid-level positions on the market early this year. However, the litigation market remains super competitive, and candidates with federal clerkships and big law experience are getting the most traction on the interview circuit. A current snapshot of the open law firm positions for the DC area is below.
The practice areas with the highest demands are described in more detail below.
The corporate market is thriving in DC and the demand is definitely higher than the number of candidates on the market. Firms are looking for associates with finance (secured lending, public and project finance), M&A and private equity, investment management and/or securities experience. Candidates with solid experience who are relocating from other cities will be recruited hard as the candidate pool for transactional candidates in DC is smaller than in surrounding cities like New York or Boston.
We have seen some growth (although still limited) for general litigation associates at law firms in the DC area. It is promising to see that firms are starting to open up general litigation positions as this practice area has seen little growth over the last couple of years. Financial services and consumer finance litigation practices are hot right now and candidates with mortgage and/or consumer finance regulatory experience will do well in this market.
Recently, I have seen a couple of new positions open up for environmental attorneys, ERISA attorneys and energy attorneys in DC. Candidates with a strong background in any of these areas will fare well in DC. I predict that these practices will hold steady in the coming months.
The DC market remains incredibly friendly to mid-level transactional candidates with corporate experience, IP candidates with prosecution experience and very highly credentialed litigation candidates. Although we aren't currently seeing a large number of open positions in real estate or healthcare, there are always at least a couple of firms looking for candidates with this type of experience.
State of the Market Report: Kansas City, Missouri by Julie Lehrman, Senior Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
General Market Trends
While the Kansas City market has not seen the dramatic increases that some other markets have, it remains a solid market with opportunities for associates and partners alike. Notably, needs have been expressed in patent prosecution, IP litigation, corporate and tax. Superior academics as well as a reputable national or local law firm are almost universally required, and the MO and KS bars are extremely helpful. Firms in Kansas City strongly prefer attorneys with strong ties to the market, these being family, school, or frequent visits demonstrating a significant understanding of this tightly-knit community.
Partners with Portable Business
Partners with at least $500k in solid portable business are invited to contact the BCG Chicago office to discuss creating a business plan and learn about opportunities in Kansas City. As with associates, partners should have a compelling reason for moving to the area, and also should demonstrate an understanding of the community.
State of the Market Report: Atlanta by Nadeen Weybrecht, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Home to the headquarters of a number of AmLaw 100 firms, Atlanta is a key player in the Southern market and one of the best lateral associate markets in the nation. As it has been for a while, the hottest practice area in Atlanta by far remains Corporate. There is high demand for junior to mid-level associates with M&A, securities offerings and capital markets experience. Firms are looking for top credentials and peer firm experience. On the heels of Corporate, there is a very strong need for both traditional Real Estate and Real Estate Finance attorneys at both the mid-level, and the more senior level (6-8 years). Almost equally as strong is area of Employee Benefits / ERISA at both the mid-level and more senior level (5-7 years). Typically, IP needs in both litigation and prosecution also remain very healthy. On the patent prosecution side, there is a high demand for those with Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Computer Engineering and Chemical Engineering backgrounds.
State of the Market Report: North Carolina by Suzanne Dupree Howe, Managing Director for Texas and the Southeast, BCG Attorney Search
North Carolina has been a great thriving market recently. Corporate needs are hot throughout the state, with Charlotte firms having significant finance needs at every level. General corporate needs are hot throughout every market in the state. Firms are very open to candidates looking to relocate for quality of life and cost of living reasons, as long as they have strong credentials.
State of the Market Report: Texas by Suzanne Dupree Howe, Managing Director for Texas and the Southeast, BCG Attorney Search
It's been an interesting recruiting season in Texas so far, with the price of oil coming down. We've seen energy companies conducting lay-offs and transactional hiring has been slightly more cautious recently. We've also seen a correlating uptick in litigation, which has been a quiet market for some time. Corporate remains the hottest market in Texas and out-of state candidates will find that Texas firms are generally open to relocating attorneys with solid resumes.
The Texas Legal Market is highly appealing to attorneys relocating from California, New York and D.C. for the reasons that its BigLaw salary structure is on par with these markets but with a significantly lower cost of living. Our sunnier, warmer climate has been a big draw for candidates looking to relocate out of the very cold East Coast (especially this year). Texas firms often like to see junior attorneys with large firm training from DC, and especially New York.
We continue to see that Corporate is the strongest market in Texas, a trend that has persisted for several years now. M&A is the hottest area, followed by private equity, and then securities and finance. Candidates can often move back and forth between practice areas with little problem if they are on the junior end and have very strong credentials. M&A tends to be hotter in Houston with Private Equity and Securities needs being stronger in Dallas.
We continue to have significant Energy and Project Finance needs in Houston despite the price of oil. Candidates with experience from out-of-state will often find this market easy to permeate if they have good well-rounded sophisticated energy experience. Energy groups will also often look at strong M&A candidates with no direct energy experience.
Intellectual Property Litigation
This practice area has cooled somewhat in Texas and it's become a more challenging market. We tend to see the most demand for candidates with EE and Computer Science degrees. Mechanical Engineers are often marketable as are candidates with Physics backgrounds.
This has remained a hot area while IP Litigation has cooled somewhat. We've seen the most demand from smaller and mid-sized firms in this area.
Litigation has been slow for some time in Texas. In fact, it has not been a hot market since tort reform swept through the state in the mid-2000's.However, we have actually seen more litigation needs in Houston or Dallas than we've seen in some time. This may be a better time to look if you are considering a move. Out of state candidates will usually need the Texas Bar on their resume to be seriously considered, unless the resumes is absolutely stellar or the candidate brings portable business. The exception is if a candidate is eligible for waiver into the Texas Bar. Firms will usually not be too concerned about licensure if they know a candidate can easily waive in.
This has been one of the hotter areas of practice in Dallas and Austin for the last year or so. Real Estate in Houston has been slower. Other areas vary. Firms generally look for strong acquisition and leasing experience. Real Estate Finance is a strong asset to any real estate resume.
This area ebbs and flows with corporate and since corporate has been a hot area, we have seen consistent tax openings in Houston and Dallas. Corporate tax has been our hottest area this year. Firms like to see Candidates with LL.M.'s in Taxation from the top three programs: Florida, NYU, and Georgetown.
Labor and Employment
I would describe this area as soft but consistent. We never have a lot of openings in this area, but we almost always have a few. On the other hand, we have seen a lot of partner movement in this area and firms are often looking for candidates with books of business in this practice area.
This area is extremely soft right now. But we do expect an uptick in filings due to oil and gas operations failing due to the falling oil market.
State of the Market Report: Louisiana
New Orleans law firms have had consistent needs in Employment and Litigation thus far in 2015.Candidates with significant ties to the area will be seriously considered.
State of the Market Report: Tennessee
Nashville is a good market right now, with consistent corporate needs as well as Real Estate needs. We have also seen a good mix of litigation positions so far this year. Healthcare candidates tend to be marketable in Nashville as the city is one of the best hubs for Healthcare law in the nation. Firms like to see candidates with ties to the area, but candidates with strong reasons for relocating will also be considered.
State of the Market Report: Florida by Margaret Gilleran, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Litigation continues to be busy in Florida. It is unusual because Litigation is not busy throughout the rest of the United States, although it is slightly busier throughout the country than it was last quarter. Ideally, candidates with several years of experience, especially experience in foreclosure, insurance defense, and / or consumer finance experience are particularly coveted areas of practice in Florida. Candidates with the foregoing experience who are also fluent in either Spanish or Portuguese are viewed with particular favor. Florida firms generally require candidates to have very strong substantive experience; candidates should be comfortable with clients, have excellent drafting skills, have taken and defended depositions, and possibly even argued motions in court. If a candidate has this type of experience, especially in foreclosure, insurance defense, or consumer finance litigation, and is bilingual, then it is highly likely that he will get a very warm reception in the Florida litigation market!
Intellectual Property is busy; and the Florida market does mirror other parts of the country in many respects. Patent Prosecution is much busier than Patent Litigation. Advanced degrees are particularly coveted with one distinction. A candidate with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering or Computer Science will generally get interviews, and the numbers of interviews only increase with more advanced degrees in these two areas. However, the same does not appear to be true for Life Science candidates who generally need advanced degrees in order to secure interviews. The foregoing distinction may merely reflect the greater need for candidates with EE or CS backgrounds; the need is not as dire in the Life Science arena, so firms may be opting to be more selective.
Corporate is busy, but the market is limited to some extent to the Miami area. Generally, firms are interested in candidates who have three to five years of experience in Finance, Mergers & Acquisitions, and/or Securities. Investment Management is very slow in Florida. Candidates who speak either Spanish or Portuguese have an advantage, although the advantage is not as significant as in Litigation.
Other practice areas in Florida remain very similar to last quarter. Health Care, Labor & Employment, and Trusts and Estates are steady. If a candidate has a strong background in any one of these areas, then he will likely be able to secure a new position. Real estate is fairly slow in Florida at least in comparison to other parts of the country; however, if a Candidate has a strong real estate background, and wishes to commence a search, then there are opportunities. As a general proposition, it is imperative that candidates who wish to commence a search in Florida be licensed in Florida. Some states are more flexible, but Florida tends to be fairly draconian on this point.
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