State of the Market Report: San Francisco

by Evan P. Anderson, Managing Director, BCG Attorney Search

Healthy Practice Areas:


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 (Transactions & Finance)

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.