1. Northern California (San Francisco and Silicon Valley)
  2. Southern California (Los Angeles and Orange County)
  3. Northwest (Seattle and Portland)
  4. Southwest (Las Vegas, Phoenix and Colorado)
  5. Midwest (Minnesota, Indiana, Ohio, Utah, Chicago, Wisconsin and Michigan)
  6. Northeast (Philadelphia, New York, Boston/New England and Washington D.C.)
  7. South (Texas, Louisiana, Missouri, Atlanta and Charlotte/North Carolina)
  8. Southeast (Florida)

State of the Market Report: San Francisco

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

Healthy Practice Areas:


The need for corporate associates in San Francisco has been stronger than for any other practice in 2015. Firms are seeking candidates at all levels of experience in a variety of sub specialties. The greatest need in third quarter hiring seems to be for capital markets attorneys and associates with securities experience. Debt finance and structured finance positions have been on the increase for the past two years as well as the positions requesting private equity experience. There will always been a need for candidates with venture capital and M&A experience. Life Sciences hiring also remains strong across several sectors, including corporate.


Litigation hiring trends in San Francisco can be somewhat deceiving. There are currently several lateral litigation associate vacancies in the city but many of them have been open for several months. This follows a national trend in hiring overall which shows that employers are taking longer and longer to fill positions. There are needs at all levels, although the majority of Big Law vacancies are at the junior and mid-level tiers. Mid-size and regional firms tend to dominate the market for more senior (non-partner) attorneys. Firms give a clear preference to candidates with stellar academic credentials who also have solid deposition and court room experience. Local candidates possessing the California bar tend to have the upper hand.

Real Estate (Transactions & Finance)

San Francisco Real Estate hiring was very strong early on in 2015. Finance candidates are occasionally needed, but mid-level transactional candidates are highly sought after. Transactional candidates need experience in joint ventures, leasing, and purchase & sales. Firms are also looking for partners that have at least $1 million in portable business.

Steady Practice Areas:

Patent Prosecution

Patent Prosecution will always be strong in San Francisco, even though it has declined somewhat in 2015. Life sciences degrees and hard science (Computer Science, Electrical Engineering) candidates remain in the driver's seat. Firms generally seek junior to mid-level associates with USPTO registration. Silicon Valley is always a very strong market for patent prosecutors and those interested in relocating to the Bay Area should consider areas such as Menlo Park, Mountain View, and Palo Alto.

Patent Litigation

Patent Litigation used to dominate Bay Area hiring but has slowed down in the past year. That said, there will always be a need for good candidates. Life Sciences attorneys are now almost in as much demand as Computer Science and Electrical Engineering associates. Firms have become more selective in hiring and are no longer willing to consider out of state candidates as readily. More and more firms appreciate admittance to the patent bar, even for patent litigators. ITC experience is always valued.

Labor and Employment

The San Francisco L&E market has been traditionally steady and this has remained true for most of 2015. Wage & hour experience is always valued in the junior and mid-level ranges, as is experience in discrimination and client counseling. More and more mid-level candidates are expected to have solid pre trial experience.

Slow Practice Areas:

Technology Transactions

Technology Transaction hiring in San Francisco was strong in much of 2014 into early 2015 but has leveled off. When there are vacancies, they are in the junior and mid-level ranges for candidates with life sciences and hard sciences degrees. Some firms will consider technology transactions candidates who have solid corporate transactions experience.

Dead Practice Areas

During most of the year, these practice areas have shown little to no activity: antitrust, bankruptcy, construction, energy, ERISA, healthcare, insurance defense, project finance, tax, trademark, trusts & estates, and white collar crime.
State of the Market Report: Silicon Valley
by Evan P. Anderson, Managing Director, BCG Attorney Search

Silicon Valley currently has one of the strongest job markets in the country. Positions here tend to be plentiful and far less competitive than those in San Francisco. Candidates with Corporate or Patent/IP experience are usually in the driver's seat, but law firm needs cut across all sectors in the Valley. The quality of life here is outstanding and the region is adjacent to wine country and the Russian River.

Hot Practice Areas:


Following on very heavy hiring trends in the first two quarters of 2015, Corporate vacancies continue to dominate the hiring market in Silicon Valley. As with the previous two quarters, Corporate candidates are in stronger demand than are Patent and IP Litigation attorneys, until recently, something completely unheard of in Silicon Valley. Firms are seeking associates at all levels with experience in venture capital/emerging companies, M&A, capital markets, and securities. Private equity hiring remains strong. Corporate associates with either a Life Sciences degree or experience with Life Sciences companies are in steady demand. Attorneys with tech backgrounds working in transactions will always secure interviews.

Patent Prosecution

Hard Science and Life Science patent prosecution jobs remain plentiful in Silicon Valley. Firms will always need candidates with Computer Science or Electrical Engineering degrees but Life Sciences hiring, especially in the areas of Biology, Chemistry, and Biotechnology, is very, very strong all over California. USPTO registration is a must, but candidates need not be admitted to the California bar.

Steady Practice Areas:

IP Litigation

2015 has been a line of demarcation for Intellectual Property litigation hiring. Following the Supreme Court ruling on patent eligibility subject matter, many firms have seen a decrease in IP litigation needs. While there will always be a need for patent litigators in Silicon Valley, we have certainly seen a steep and steady decrease in the number of IP litigation postings-and firms have become more selective in choosing candidates. Current vacancies are for associates with a hard science background in the junior to mid-level range. More and more firms are expecting USPTO admittance for their IP litigation candidates.

Litigation (General, Complex Commercial, Securities)

Silicon Valley law firms seeking litigation associates tend hire primarily in the areas of securities and complex commercial litigation. While this is still the case, third quarter litigation hiring showed a slight spike in the need for appellate attorneys. Firms are generally looking for junior to mid-level big firm candidates with stellar credentials. Hiring remains very, very slow, even when there is a clear need for help on a litigation team. As in the San Francisco market, hiring remains extremely competitive. Candidates must have membership to the California Bar or have recently taken the bar exam.

Technology Transactions

2015 has been a great year for the technology transactions sector. Hiring in this practice has been the strongest this year than it has been in several years. Firm needs are so strong in this area (state wide, but certainly in Silicon Valley) that the candidate pool continues to shrink. Firms may consider hiring associates coming from transactional or IP/Patent practices but the preference in Silicon Valley is for junior and mid-level attorneys with solid technology transaction experience.

Labor & Employment

Attorneys practicing Labor & Employment in Silicon Valley have seen a steady stream of opportunity in 2015. The larger AmLaw firms tend to dominate hiring in this sector. Vacancies continue to be steady for mid-levels with experience in the areas of wage and hour, discrimination, and employment counseling.


Tax hiring needs shot up in the third quarter of 2015 in Silicon Valley. Transactional tax attorneys in the junior to mid-level range are in the most demand and firms have begun hiring from top accounting firms again. Those with experience in international tax are also sought by the largest multi-national firms such as Baker & McKenzie, Dentons, and DLA. State and local tax (SALT) candidates are also needed on occasion.

Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation/ERISA

Mid-level attorneys with Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (EBEC) experience continue to see steady opportunities in Silicon Valley in 2015. This is another practice with a small candidate pool so firms are considering out of state candidates. Attorneys with transactions and benefit plans experience are highly sought.

Slow Practice Areas:

Real Estate (Transactions & Finance)

Real estate hiring in Silicon Valley is not typically as busy as it is in other parts of the state. That said, there are consistent needs for mid-level, real estate transactional associates at large firms. Attorneys with experience in acquisitions, joint ventures, and leasing are highly desirable.


Trademark hiring ebbs and flows in Silicon Valley. Presently, there are four vacancies for Trademark associates. Firms are generally seeking mid-levels with extensive prosecution and TTAB experience. Copyright experience is a plus.

Dead Practice Areas:

There is currently no activity in antitrust, bankruptcy, energy, environmental, healthcare, and insurance. 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

Summer is traditionally the quietest of hiring seasons. However, Los Angeles apparently didn't receive the "memo". Hiring has certainly increased in the past month and we are receiving new job orders from prominent national and regional law firms in a variety of practice areas.

HOT Practice Areas:

Real Estate

Given the indicators of the market, it should be no surprise that the strong hiring trend in real estate has continued and even intensified. Firms are actively growing their real estate practices to keep up with the demand of their clients. Both high profile national firms as well as regional firms are interested in attorneys with this expertise, particularly those that somehow survived the recession in this practice area (those with 3-5 year of experience are in the highest associate-level demand). Firms are particularly interested in attorneys with a real estate finance background, including secured finance.


We've seen a surprising uptick in litigation opportunities in the Los Angeles market. Many of the firms are seeking someone with specific expertise within litigation, primarily class actions, real estate, or health care law. Firms are primarily seeking associates with 2-4 years of experience. They prefer those with experience in conducting depositions. Given the market slowdown in litigation over the past two years, this area remains highly competitive. California Bar is a must.


There's been a bump in corporate positions in the past few weeks, primarily with an emphasis on mergers & acquisitions at the mid-to senior associate level. Many of these positions are for attorneys with at least 4 years of experience, some firms will consider 7th or 8th year attorneys. These opportunities are slanted toward the major, international law firms that are seeking someone with high academic achievement and solid law firm experience. However, depending on the emphasis, there are some firms that are willing to look at attorneys that are coming from in-house roles, particularly from health care and/or technology companies.

Energy Transactions/Project Finance

This is an extremely niche area. There are a variety of major, international law firms looking for attorneys with this experience and so someone with this exact expertise has a terrific chance at securing a position. Renewable energy experience, specifically, is highly desired, though exposure to a broad variety of energy matters is certainly helpful. A background in finance and related M&A transactions is preferable. Many of these opportunities involve a global scale.

Steady Practice Areas:


There remains a number of openings in employment litigation from firms that have been looking since late winter/early spring. The range of experience being sought is pretty wide (2-8 years). Most firms prefer someone with wage and hour experience. Though not as popular, there is some demand for attorneys with traditional labor experience (NLRB specifically).

Environmental/Land Use

There has been a recent uptick in environmental/land use positions with both regional and national law firms. Firms prefer a mixture of regulatory and litigation work with an emphasis on CEQA/NEPA. The firms often prefer someone with California experience, versus someone transferring from out of state.

Slow Practice Areas:

IP Litigation

While there are a handful of firms seeking IP litigators (particularly with ITC experience), Los Angeles is generally not a hot market for this. Firms prefer a technical background, and are specifically interested in those with a degree in electrical engineering, computer science, or physics.

Technology Transactions

Traditionally a non-starter in the Los Angeles market, opportunities in technology transactions are popping up around Los Angeles. Firms are seeking attorneys with solid law firm experience and an emphasis on new media.

ERISA/Employee Benefits

There are a couple of openings with major, national law firms in employee benefits.

Trust & Estates

There has been a small uptick in trust & estates positions. The firms seeking someone with this expertise prefer candidates with an LL.M. and law firm experience.


A couple of high-end, international law firms are seeking transactional tax attorneys. Law firm experience preferred.

Dead Practice Areas:

Bankruptcy, Copyright/Trademark, Patent Prosecution
State of the Market Report: Orange County
by Allison Wottawa, Legal Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search

Though often overshadowed by Los Angeles, Orange County certainly has its own market identity. The field is a strong mixture of well-regarded regional firms, major international firms with satellite offices, and a number of "smaller shops." Orange County is certainly a highly desirable place to live. It's a step outside Los Angeles, though it still maintains a high-end client base.

HOT Practice Areas:


Multiple major, national law firms are seeking corporate attorneys. Though this is a similar trend to Los Angeles, there is a greater emphasis on finance and securities related work rather than M&A. These opportunities are primarily for attorneys with 3+ years of experience (primarily in the 4-5 year range).


There has been a solid uptick in litigation opportunity in Orange County. Multiple national and regional firms are seeking attorneys with 2+ years of experience. Many of these firms are seeking someone with particular experience in a niche area, including real estate, construction, antitrust, or insurance law.

Steady Practice Areas:

Patent Prosecution

A mixture of national law firms and IP boutiques are seeking patent prosecutors. While the year ranges vary, all of these firms are seeking someone with a technical degree in electrical engineering, computer science, or physics. USPTO highly desired.


Insurance coverage is practiced by multiple regional and smaller firms in Orange County. There are a few openings for mid-level attorneys with this experience. Deposition and courtroom experience is a plus. While these opportunities tend to pay less, this is a great area for a litigator seeking front-line experience.

Slow Practice Areas:

Real Estate

Though this market is traditionally hyper for real estate candidates, there has been a distinct slowdown in this area.

IP Litigation/Trademark & Copyright

There are a couple of openings with law firms of a national scope in IP or patent litigation for mid-level associates with a technical background. The demand for this has certainly slowed. There are limited openings for junior attorneys with a background in trademark and copyright law.

Dead Practice Areas:

Labor/Employment, Bankruptcy, Environmental, Tax, Energy/Project Finance, Technology Transactions, Trust & Estates, ERISA


State of the Market Report: Seattle
by Paul Danielson, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search

The Seattle economy continues to grow at a rapid clip in 2015 in nearly every sector, cementing its status as one of the current fastest-growing cities in the United States. Rents are skyrocketing, and threatening to join Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Silicon Valley as among the highest in the Western U.S., if not the country.

As predicted in our prior state-of-the-market report, hiring in the legal sector has ramped up considerably as firms play catch-up to the booming economy, with many firms seeing greater opportunities for growth and expansion of their business than at any time within the last decade.

Some firms still remain cautious in their expansion, however, as a number of new job listings are for staff or non-partner-track attorneys, meaning firms are not yet willing to commit to long-term additions to their practice groups in the event business declines.

Partners with portable business can typically write their own ticket at the moment, although the portables threshold to join the larger national firms remains high. While we saw a brief uptick in life sciences hiring on the patent side, that has regressed and the norm of hard-science dominated hiring is very much the case heading into the second half of the year.

Most Seattle firms are willing to consider candidates relocating from other areas of the country, especially those with top law school and law firm credentials. However, significant weight is given to demonstrated interest in and personal ties to the greater Seattle region.

Hot Practice Areas:


Following on the heels of our previous Seattle market update, litigation continues to be the hottest practice area in Seattle right now, with small, medium, and larger firms all looking to add solid litigators to their ranks. Insurance coverage and construction litigation experience are the most in-demand practice areas within the litigation universe, but attorneys with solid general commercial experience and securities or white collar experience will find a few opportunities as well. As with the last update, firms are still taking their time and being picky in hiring despite the demand, and are willing to prolong their search for just the right lateral candidates with top law school credentials and top law firm experience. Additionally, be warned that a number of firms are starting their expansion cautiously by hiring new litigators into staff attorney or non-partner-track roles, so be sure to evaluate any potential opportunity very thoroughly if this is a long-term move for you.


Corporate also remains hot, with M&A experience in highest demand, followed by venture capital experience, public company experience, and securities to a lesser degree. Due to the high concentration of technology company clients in the greater Seattle area, it is no surprise that most law firms will look very favorably on transactional candidates who have experience representing technology companies in any transactional capacity. If you are a corporate attorney seeking to move to Seattle, or to "upgrade" your law firm opportunities within the Seattle market, 2015 is likely the best opportunity you have seen in years, and you should jump on it fast.

Patent Prosecution

Patent prosecution listings have picked up since early 2015, when they were already steady. While we saw a couple life-science side listings earlier in the year, things have shifted back to firms looking almost exclusively for patent attorneys and agents with hard sciences backgrounds, and especially Computer Science or Electrical Engineering. A patent agent or attorney with at least 2 years of patent drafting experience and an Electrical Engineering degree (advanced is better) will get interviews from a number of firms. Technology industry experience, especially as a hardware or software engineer, is particularly valuable. If you are a patent prosecutor looking to relocate to or within Seattle, you will not see a better market than this.

Steady Practice Areas:

IP/Technology Transactions, Trademark, and Copyright

As predicted in our prior Seattle market report, we have seen listings for IP/Technology Transactions as well as Copyright & Trademark attorneys come back online following the lull in this market earlier in the year. While not busy enough to be categorized as "hot," attorneys with solid credentials and experience in this practice area should start to test the waters and look to take advantage of the uptick in demand. If you have been thinking about making a move or plan to do so within the next couple years, now is a good time to start looking.

Patent Litigation

There has been a small yet noticeable slowdown in the patent litigation market since our last market report, but we do continue to see regular listings, especially at the larger national law firms with a Seattle presence, for solid patent litigators with backgrounds in either the life sciences or hard sciences. ANDA/Hatch-Waxman litigation experience is particularly valued. Patent litigation is a practice area where we have seen longer-term declines in demand in otherwise steady markets (e.g., New York and Silicon Valley particularly), so attorneys looking within the Seattle market would be advised to explore the lateral market now, since it is difficult to say how long the demand will exist in the current cycle.

Tax, Trusts & Estates

Demand for tax and trusts & estate planning attorneys continues to hold steady in the Seattle market, especially for candidates with Tax LL.M.s and at least a year or two of solid experience. Firms are typically looking for junior-level attorneys to assist their existing practitioners, or to add to their roster of more senior and seasoned practitioners who have portable business and/or can service the firm's spillover tax and estate planning work for wealthy individual and business clients. We do see demand in this area remaining steady in the long-term, although hiring typically happens in waves, so make sure to take advantage of the current uptick in demand if you are an attorney in this practice area, or you may be waiting awhile for the next surge in demand.

Slow Practice Areas:

There have been few to no openings in Seattle for the following practice areas: Real Estate (firms hired heavily in the real estate practice sector in 2014, and seem to be sufficiently staffed to handle client demands at the moment, although there is always the possibility of another uptick in this market); Labor & Employment (this is fairly cyclical, so we anticipate demand coming back within the next 8-12 months); Bankruptcy (very slow on the West Coast generally); Healthcare (little to no demand recently); and Environmental and/or Energy attorneys.
State of the Market Report: Portland
by Paul Danielson, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search

Portland continues to boom in terms of both population and economy, and with summer bringing nearly ideal temperatures and a wealth of outdoor activities, the number of people visiting and moving to Portland is almost sure to increase. Competition for housing is fierce, for both renters and buyers, and prices are rising accordingly.

Law firms in Portland continue to lag behind the general population and economy, with firms continuing to remain cautious in their hiring, and salaries remaining significantly lower across the board relative to major markets like Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, and D.C. That being said, Portland remains an eminently popular target for lateral movers in the legal market, so firms can still afford to be fairly picky, and will require top law school and law firm credentials, solid practice experience, and portable business for attorneys at the senior associate level and higher. Personal ties to Portland or the greater Pacific Northwest continue to be a requirement in many instances, as Portland firms place a premium on talent retention whenever possible.

Hot Practice Areas:


Similar to the Seattle market, litigation has the highest number of new job listings by far in the Portland market relative to other practice areas, and demand continues to be strong from the boutique to large firm level. That being said, in another similarity to Seattle, many firms are remaining extremely picky in terms of the candidates they are willing to interview, and are hesitant to make longer-term commitments to expanding in this area, with a number of litigation listings advertising "staff attorney" or otherwise non-partner track positions, which are not ideal for most lateral attorneys. Thus, even top litigation candidates will need to exercise diligence and patience in their Portland job search, especially those looking to relocate from elsewhere in the country. Portland firms tend to be more budget conscious, and are rarely willing to foot the bill for candidate travel expenses. Your one sure ticket to success in the lateral Portland market as a litigator is bringing a solid book of portable business to the table.

Steady Practice Areas:

Tax, Trusts & Estates

With the general population boom in Portland, one would expect this to include wealthy individuals and families, particularly as rising rents and home prices are pricing out many would-be residents. Along with this influx of wealth to Portland (and thus Oregon State) comes a corresponding demand for legal services in the tax and trusts & estates sectors. Firms are typically looking for junior-level attorneys to assist their existing practitioners, or to add to their roster of more senior and seasoned practitioners who have portable business and/or can service the firm's spillover tax and estate planning work for wealthy individual and business clients. While there is demand in this practice area currently, turnover is infrequent and hiring in this sector tends to go dormant for long periods of time, so we would advise any attorneys with experience in this area to look seriously at a lateral move at this time.


Corporate remains steady, although at much lower levels of demand relative to litigation, and with only a few formal opportunities on the market. That being said, many firms are willing to look prospectively at top corporate candidates who have excellent academic credentials and a large deal of experience from top firms. Demand is mixed in terms of sub-practice area, but candidates with solid M&A experience will always fare well, and any candidates with portable business will find themselves with a number of solid lateral options.

Slow to Dead Practice Areas:

There have been few to no openings in Portland for the following practice areas: Patent Prosecution and Litigation (there is always less of a demand for both practice areas in Portland relative to Seattle, and due to heavy hiring in this sector in 2014, firms remain very well staffed to handle current work demands); Real Estate (firms hired heavily in the real estate practice sector in 2014, and seem to be sufficiently staffed to handle client demands at the moment, although there is always the possibility of another uptick in this market); Labor & Employment (this is fairly cyclical, so we anticipate demand coming back within the next 8-12 months); Bankruptcy (very slow on the West Coast generally); Healthcare (little to no demand recently); and Environmental and/or Energy attorneys (we did see one or two environmental and energy listings, but they were filled within a week so we consider that an outlier with the supply of attorneys far outpacing firm hiring needs at the moment).


State of the Market Report: Phoenix
by Allison Wottawa, Legal Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search

Traditionally a sub-market, Phoenix is bursting for advancement. Major international law firms have entered the territory over the past few years and have given regional firms a good sense of competition. With an ever increasing population, firms and offices in Phoenix are growing in size and attracting more sophisticated clients.

HOT Practice Areas:


Multiple national firms along with their regional counterparts are seeking strong corporate attorneys, primarily at the mid to senior level (ideally 3-5 years). There is a heavy tilt toward someone with experience in M&A, private equity, and securities, though there is a new demand for attorneys with venture capital experience. These firms generally prefer someone with the Arizona Bar, but are acceptable of these candidates sitting for the next Arizona Bar, especially if they come from a larger market.

Steady Practice Areas:

Real Estate

Both regional and national law firms continue to seek real estate attorneys, though there have not been many "new" openings in the past month or so. Hotel and Leisure practices in the Phoenix market tend to be extremely active. Firms are currently seeking junior to mid-level associates. They will, however, often consider corporate attorneys that are looking to transition into real estate law.


Employment law tends to hold steady in the Phoenix market. We are seeing an interest in both junior and senior level associates (as well as Partners with business, of course) with firms in this region. There are opportunities for employment litigators as well as those with a traditional labor law background.

Patent Prosecution

Primarily prominent regional firms are seeking patent prosecution attorneys with 3+ years of experience. A strong technical background is a plus, particularly in the realm of Mechanical or Electrical Engineering.

Slow Practice Areas:


Though this area was doing better in the spring, hiring in litigation has hit a slowdown. There are still opportunities with regional law firms, particularly in the areas of general liability and insurance. Firms are generally seeking someone with 3+ years of experience. Arizona Bar is required.

Trust & Estates

There is some need for estate planning attorneys with 3+ years of experience with high-end regional firms. The positions involve analyzing, structuring and documenting estate plans, along with handling the administrative aspects of trusts.

Technology Transactions

Traditionally a "dead" practice area in Phoenix, we are seeing the emergence of technology transactions opportunities in the Phoenix market. Though there are not many opportunities currently, there is a demand for attorneys with 2-3 years of law firm experience in this area. Firms are willing to consider candidates without the Arizona Bar, if they are willing to sit for the next available bar examination.

Dead Practice Areas:

Tax, ERISA, Environmental, Patent Litigation, Bankruptcy, Energy/Project Finance
State of the Market Report: Las Vegas
by Paul Danielson, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search

The Vegas legal market is hot right now – if you are a litigator, that is. For any other sector and practice area, attorneys will need to bring at least a modest book of portable business to be considered by firms unless they jump on the infrequent and quickly-filled openings in other practice areas. But for litigation, we are seeing a boom in hiring that is bigger than at any time in the past decade. Lateraling into the Vegas market from other states is difficult, as Nevada remains stubbornly insistent on offering "no reciprocity or admission on motion of any kind" (the Nevada Bar website emphasizes this point in ALL CAPS for maximum clarity), so would-be lateral litigators may still want to time their move to coincide with the opportunity to get licensed as quickly as possible, and/or take the Nevada Bar in advance of their job search. But for those who have such credentials, and otherwise strong experience, opportunities will be plentiful.

Hot Practice Areas:


Re-read the introduction section above. That tells you pretty much everything to know about the Nevada market for litigators. If you have solid credentials, good experience (and particularly trial and deposition experience), and the Nevada Bar under your belt, there has never been a better time to explore the lateral market as a litigator in Las Vegas, and to some extent Reno. It is great to see the Nevada litigation market back in full force!

Steady Practice Areas:

There is a giant drop-off in demand outside of litigation for attorneys in pretty much every other practice area in Nevada. Listings are sparse, but have been spotted on occasion in Trademark, Real Estate, and Corporate/Finance. Beyond that, there is little to no lateral movement in terms of formal openings or serious hiring by Nevada firms right now unless you are an attorney with portable business. If you have over $500k in portables, even coming from out of state, you can just about write your own ticket to any firm in the market.

Slow to Dead Practice Areas:

As mentioned above, once you get past the litigation sector, there is little to nothing in terms of demand. Completely dead practice areas include: Patent Litigation and Prosecution; Trusts & Estates; Labor & Employment; Environmental Law & Energy; Taxation; Bankruptcy; and Healthcare. Ideally we would like to anticipate that hiring demand will increase in the overall Nevada legal market, but since hiring tends to lag behind the overall economy, and firms are still very cautious about becoming top-heavy and overstaffed, it still may be some time yet before Nevada firms are willing to commit to expanding in other practice areas besides litigation.
State of the Market Report: Colorado
by Jamie Bailey, Partner, BCG Attorney Search - Chicago


Partners with Portable Business

If you are a partner with portable business and are looking to lateral to a new firm in Colorado, we would like to speak with you. The minimum requirement for most law firms is $500,000 in portable business. Please contact our Chicago office if you are a partner with business that wants to make a move to Colorado.

Corporate - M&A; Securities; Private Equity; Banking; Commercial Finance

Transactional practices in Denver continue to expand and we would like to speak with the following transactional attorneys:
  • 1-4 years of experience in strategic and private equity-backed mergers and acquisitions.
  • 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.
  • 3+ years in banking and finance transactions representing borrowers and lenders, including corporations, private equity funds, banks and other institutions, in connection with acquisition financings, leveraged buyouts, asset-based loans and other financings.
  • 3-5 years of experience in securities and mergers and acquisitions. Large law firm experience required.
  • 5-7 years of experience in M&A, commercial lending, as well as other corporate finance experience.
Intellectual Property – Technology; Patent Prosecution

Patent prosecutors are in high demand in Denver, as well as strong technology transactional attorneys. USPTO and admission to the Colorado Bar are typically required and advanced degrees and large law firm experience are preferred. We would like to speak with the following attorneys regarding Denver opportunities:

  • 1+ years of experience with IP and technology contracting matters. Computer science degree and/or experience in the computer industry a plus.
  • 3+ years of experience handling complex technology transactions, licensing transactions and/or related intellectual property matters. AmLaw 100 law firm experience preferred.
Patent Prosecution
  • 1-3 years of patent prosecution experience and a degree in mechanical, aerospace or biomedical engineering. Advanced engineering degree and/or industry experience is preferable. USPTO preferred.
  • 2-5 years of experience in prosecution of patent applications, patentability and clearance opinions, patent estate management, licensing and enforcement of patents and a background in software, electrical, or mechanical engineering. Colorado Bar admission and USPTO preferred.
  • 3-10 years of patent preparation and prosecution experience and a background in electrical or mechanical engineering, computer science, or software.
Real Estate

There continues to be high demand in Denver for talented real estate associates with broad commercial real estate skills. Real estate candidates interested in Denver opportunities with these skills should contact us:
  • 2-4 years of real estate transactional experience in real estate finance, LLC operating agreements, and purchase/sale transactions. Admission to Colorado Bar or ability to waive into the Colorado Bar required.
  • 2-5 years of experience in real estate-secured financing transactions. Admission to Nevada Bar required.
  • 2-5 years of transactional experience in drafting and negotiation of purchase and sale agreements, financing documents, joint venture arrangements, real estate fund documentation, leases and subleases, and transactional real estate work for domestic and international transactions. Law firm experience preferred and Colorado Bar admission required.

Denver's tax practices mirror their corporate practices and continue to experience a heavy flow of work. Top academics, large law firm experience and LL.M.'s in tax are most often preferred. We would like to speak with the following tax candidates:
  • 2-3 years of tax experience and a LL.M. degree in tax from a top school. Qualified candidate will have significant tax and transactional experience in corporate and partnerships. Large national firm transactional and foreign tax experience is a plus.
  • 2-4 years of federal income tax experience in mergers and acquisitions and real estate capital markets transactions.

State of the Market Report: Minneapolis/Saint Paul
by Julie Lehrman, Senior Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search

The Twin Cities

The Twin Cities continue to enjoy a surge in activity since the New Year. Such diverse practice areas as health law, banking, IP Transactions, Corporate, Litigation, Real Estate and Patent Prosecution have shown a significant increased need.

We are always happy to speak with partners with business of $500k or greater. In the Minneapolis/Saint Paul Area, while larger firms may request $1M or above in business, some firms will be interested in partners with around $500k in business. Partners should be prepared to present a solid business plan, and your BCG Recruiter will be happy to help you prepare one. We encourage you to contact the BCG Attorney Search Chicago office for further information.


We continue to see very strong activity in the Twin Cities since the New Year for Patent Prosecutors. Firms are seeking demonstrated, hands-on patent prosecution work in house or with a law firm. The most marketable patent attorneys remain those with Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering or Computer Science backgrounds, although we are also seeing a strong market for mechanical engineers, and there are encouraging signs for life scientists as well. Life Science Patent Attorneys should hold at least a Master's Degree to be most marketable, and firms prefer prior work as a scientist or engineer.

Significantly, we have also seen a marked increase in activity for technology transactions attorneys.

Corporate and Transactional

If you are a corporate attorney who practices at a large or medium-sized firm, we encourage you to contact our Chicago office to learn about opportunities in the Midwest. We have seen a significant uptick in corporate law openings since the New Year, and we fully expect that to continue. Particularly marketable areas in Minneapolis/Saint Paul include M & A, corporate governance, and securities law.


Litigation continues to grow as a practice area nationwide, and the Twin Cities is no exception. We have seen increases in both specialty litigation needs, such as construction, class actions, and insurance, and general commercial litigation.


Across the board nationwide, there is an increased need for experienced tax attorneys. While those coming out of accounting firms may still find it challenging to transition to a law firm, the likelihood of such an attorney finding a firm position are increasing rapidly. Those with law firm experience will find a robust market and high marketability. Many firms continue to prefer an LLM and/or CPA, especially for those coming out of accounting firms, but for those with solid firm experience this may not be necessary.
State of the Market Report: Saint Louis
by Julie Lehrman, Senior Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search

After several quiet seasons, Saint Louis was abuzz with activity after the New Year, and the activity continues. There is increased activity in such diverse areas as employee benefits, tax, healthcare, corporate, IP prosecution, real estate, banking, and litigation. We have also seen firms become somewhat more open to interviewing attorneys who are moving from other jurisdictions, but the attorney should still have a strong tie to the area, as well as Missouri bar admission.

Partners with Portable Business

Saint Louis firms tend to hire conservatively, but may be willing to speak to partners who have $500,000 in portable business. The large firms may require more in portables, and any firm will want to see a business plan documenting the partner's business and growth potential. If you are a partner with business, you are encouraged to reach out to our Chicago office for more information.

IP Prosecution

The early part of the year saw an increase in demand for intellectual property prosecutors. As always, there is a continued need for electrical engineering, computer science, and mechanical engineering. Firms seek a solid patent prosecution background with a reputable firm or in-house, and demonstrable drafting experience. Some firms may also ask for Trademark and Copyright prosecution work, or the ability to litigate patents as well as prosecute.

Real Estate

The Saint Louis area continues to generate a moderate and steady need for commercial real estate attorneys. Firms favor traditional acquisitions and dispositions work, and some seek real estate finance, or a combination of the two. Still others may ask for leasing. We are optimistic that commercial real estate will continue to grow in the Saint Louis metro area.

Tax, Estate Planning, Employee Benefits

As with last season, we are continuing see a growing need for experienced tax attorneys with strong law firm backgrounds. Those who are in accounting firms but have no law firm experience may find placement more challenging, but as the market continues to improve, it may prove easier. Tax attorneys with superior academics, a strong law firm background, and an LLM or CPA are always at an advantage.

Employee benefits law is picking up as well, in Saint Louis and elsewhere.

Corporate and Finance

We always welcome inquiries from corporate law attorneys seeking employment in the Saint Louis area. Those with backgrounds in large law firms, transactional work, M & A, and Securities are especially marketable.
State of the Market Report: Michigan
by Julie Lehrman, Senior Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search

Michigan-Detroit and Surrounding Areas

The Detroit area has seen an increase in demand for attorneys in the following areas: tax, corporate, employee benefits, labor and employment, patent prosecution, real estate, and litigation.

Partners with Business

Detroit-area Partners who have at least $300k in solid portable business are invited to call BCG's Chicago office to learn about opportunities. Detroit firms certainly prefer partners with ties to their region, although it is not always a requirement.

Detroit, Bloomfield Hills, Southfield, Novi, Troy, Royal Oak, Lansing

Corporate Securities and Commercial Finance

Detroit-area firms have increased their demand for corporate attorneys. Those most favored have a generalized, well-rounded background including M & A, securities, and commercial finance. Strong academics and a solid law firm background are usually required for associates, and those relocating to the area should have a solid reason for doing so.

Tax, Employee Benefits, and Estate Planning

We have noticed a steady increase in demand for attorneys with tax, employee benefits and estate planning backgrounds. Firms often require a CPA, LLM or both, and attorneys who have solid law firm experience are very marketable. Those who have only worked in accounting firms may find their search more challenging.

Intellectual Property – Patent Prosecution

Intellectual property prosecutors with electrical engineering, computer engineering, and computer science backgrounds remain in extremely high demand in the Detroit area. Especially marketable are those with solid law firm or in-house experience prosecuting patents. Attorneys with these backgrounds are encouraged to contact BCG's Chicago office.

Commercial Real Estate

Detroit continues to generate a moderate need for commercial real estate attorneys. Acquisitions, dispositions, and finance, as well as leasing (to a lesser degree) are the areas where we have seen the greatest demand.


We remain optimistic as the state of the litigation market seems to be picking up around the country, and Detroit and its suburbs are no exception. The demand is in commercial litigation. However, specialty areas such as class actions, construction, insurance, and healthcare are seeing some activity as well.
State of the Market Report: Chicago
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 $750K in portable business. Partners seeking to make a move in this market should contact our Chicago office.

Corporate - Securities; Finance; Banking; Investment Funds/Investment Advisers; Capital Markets; Private Equity; M&A and Joint Venture; Public Finance

Similar to our report last quarter, transactional practices in Chicago continue to thrive. We would like to speak with attorneys that have the following skills:
  • 1-4 years of bank regulatory and general corporate matters experience, including advising bank clients on regulatory matters and/or experience with mergers and acquisitions involving financial institutions.
  • 2-5 years of private equity, M&A and securities experience. Qualified candidates should have experience working with private equity groups, private companies, and public companies. Admission to the Illinois Bar required.
  • 2-6 years of experience in finance and banking transactions.
  • 2-5 years of experience structuring, forming and managing private equity funds, real estate funds, alternative investment vehicles and their management companies.
  • 2-5 years of debt finance experience structuring, documenting and negotiating secured and unsecured financing transactions for borrowers and lenders. Leveraged finance experience preferred.
  • 3-5 years of experience representing commodity pool operators and commodity trading advisors, as well as private investment funds, fund sponsors and investment advisers.
  • 3-6 years of private fund and U.S. financial market regulatory experience.
  • 3-5 years of experience representing investment companies and investment advisers. Qualified candidates will have substantial experience advising investment companies and investment advisers regarding entity formation and structure; operations; regulatory matters, including federal securities law filings; fund mergers and other restructurings; and compliance issues.
  • 3+ years of capital markets attorney experience. Experience representing public companies in public and private securities offerings, Exchange Act reporting and SEC compliance and corporate governance compliance required.
  • 3-4 years of experience in acquisition financing, agented syndicated secured financings and Article 9 of the UCC. Qualified candidate will have experience with inter creditor and subordination agreements. Illinois Bar admission preferred and large law firm or commercial finance boutique experience preferred.
  • 3-6 years of experience in leveraged finance and syndicated finance transactions.
  • 3-5 years of experience in commercial finance matters, including acquisition debt financing and lender and borrower-side representation in leveraged buyouts, recapitalizations and re-financings. Illinois Bar required.
  • 5-7 years of experience handling reimbursement agreements, letters of credit and liquidity facilities utilized in connection with public finance transactions. Illinois Bar required.

Chicago firms with prestigious tax practices are seeking strong tax and employee benefits laterals to service their thriving corporate practices. Most of these firms would like to see top academics, large law firm experience and advanced degrees in tax. We would like to speak with lateral associates with the following qualifications:
  • 1-3 years of tax experience handling corporate and partnership tax transactions. M&A experience is a plus. Illinois Bar admission required.
  • 1-4 years of real estate capital markets experience. Significant experience in tax, real estate joint ventures, real estate funds and general corporate, real estate venture documentation, limited liability company agreements, and limited partnership agreements required. LL.M. in tax, CPA or other tax background required.
  • 2-4 years of transactional tax experience. Law firm experience required.
  • 4-6 years of relevant experience in tax controversy, transfer pricing and/or planning. Top academics required. LL.M. in taxation preferred. Illinois Bar admission required.
  • 5+ years of experience in business taxation, including corporate, real estate and partnership tax matters. LL.M. in Taxation or CPA is preferred.
  • 6+ years of tax experience focusing on private equity and M&A deals, as well as experience in partnership tax, focusing on private equity funds, limited partnerships and LLCs.
  • 6+ years of tax experience in the structuring of sophisticated transactions and investments.
ERISA/Employee Benefits

Concurrent with busy tax practices, employee benefits practices in Chicago firms are equally busy. Candidates with the following experience should contact our Chicago office:
  • 2-4 years of ERISA litigation experience.
  • 3-6 years of experience handling qualified retirement plans and welfare plans. Qualified candidate will have experience with non-qualified retirement, deferred and incentive compensation programs.
  • 3-6 years of experience in executive compensation matters, including designing, drafting, reviewing and counseling clients regarding executive compensation and incentive arrangements, retirement plans and health and welfare plans, as well as merger and acquisition transactions. Large law firm experience preferred.
Trusts & Estates

Associates with the following trusts and estates experience should contact us to discuss opportunities at top firms in Chicago:
  • 6+ years of estate planning experience. Ideal candidate will have LL.M. degree in Tax.
  • 3-5 years of probate and trust administration experience. Experience with contested trust and tax matters, estate and gift tax returns and assisting clients in the establishment of private foundations and other charitable vehicles preferred. Qualified candidates will have experience working with high net-worth individuals on their estate plans, including wills, revocable and irrevocable trusts, powers of attorney, premarital agreements, and other estate planning documents. Must also have experience with family limited partnerships and limited liability companies, shareholder agreements, installment sales, and other related transactions. Illinois Bar admission required.
Intellectual Property – IP Litigation; Patent Prosecution

Intellectual property continues to be an area in which Chicago firms are expanding and we are seeing significant need in both patent prosecution and patent litigation. We are interested in speaking with candidates with strong backgrounds in the areas outlined below. It should be noted that most firms require or prefer USPTO for patent prosecutors and like candidates with advanced degrees in their preferred technologies.

IP Litigation
  • 1-6 years of pharmaceutical patent litigation experience and undergraduate and/or graduate training in molecular biology, immunology, biochemistry, structural biology, virology or a related field. Should have experience with Hatch-Waxman, biologics, or biotechnology patent litigation.
  • 0-5 years of patent litigation experience and a background in electrical engineering. Qualified candidate will also have experience with legal research, brief writing, witness preparation, depositions, expert reports, dispositive motions and motions in limine.
  • 2-3 years of patent litigation experience in the pharmaceutical field. Qualified candidate will have a degree in chemistry or biochemistry and experience with depositions, expert reports, and discovery management. Illinois Bar admission required.
  • 3-5 years of intellectual property litigation experience. Electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, computer science and/or physics degree preferred.

Patent Prosecution
  • 0-5 years of chemical, mechanical, or electrical engineering prosecution experience. Qualified candidate will have experience handling inventor interviews, 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.
  • 1-2 years of experience in patent preparation and prosecution and technical background in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering or electronics. Qualified candidate will have experience with preparation and prosecution of mechanical technology patent applications in the areas of combustion and/or engine design, or of electrical technology patent applications in the areas of system controls or computer-aided device functionality. USPTO required.
  • 2+ years of prosecution experience in electrical, software or mechanical arts. Qualified candidate will have experience drafting patent applications, preparing responses to official actions for domestic applications, instructing foreign attorneys regarding responses to official actions in foreign applications, and preparing invalidity and non-infringement opinions.
  • 2-5 years of patent experience and an electrical engineering degree with computer software experience and admission to the USPTO. Admission to the Illinois Bar is required. Large or mid-size law firm experience is preferred.

Real Estate

Commercial real estate continues to be an area of demand in Chicago firms. The following attorneys should get in touch with us regarding real estate opportunities in Chicago:
  • 2-4 years of real estate experience, including sales and acquisitions, joint ventures, financing, leasing and development.
  • 2-5 years of experience in real estate transactions, including acquisitions and dispositions, joint ventures, hotel and resort transactions, real estate financing, and property management. Cross-border and international exposure a plus.
  • 3-4 years of experience in real estate transactional matters including drafting and negotiation of documents regarding the disposition, acquisition and financing of commercial and residential property, as well as experience negotiating and drafting office, industrial and/or retail space leases. Illinois Bar admission is required.
  • 3-6 years of experience in purchases and sales, leasing, joint ventures and fund formation, and/or lender side secured financing.
  • 10+ years of experience representing buyers/sellers/borrowers of commercial properties including negotiating purchase and sale agreements, complex non-recourse mortgage loan documents, and sophisticated title documents. Borrower-side CMBS loan documents experience preferred. Experience with mezzanine financing and joint venture agreements also preferred.


Although not an area of high demand in Chicago, litigation is steady and we have seen a particular uptick in the need for class action litigators in Chicago. Associates with the following experience should call our Chicago office:
  • 2-5 years of general litigation experience. Class action, antitrust, and/or IP litigation preferred. Illinois Bar admission required.
  • 5+ years of class action ligation experience. Experience in all aspects of consumer advertising class action litigation including pleadings practice, motions, briefs, depositions, and final pretrial practice. Trial experience required. Illinois Bar admission required.

Health Care

Associates with the following experience in health care should call our Chicago office:
  • 3-5 years of health care finance experience.
  • 3-5 years of experience with Stark Law, Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement, health care regulatory compliance, and significant transactional experience involving health care organizations.
  • 4-6 years of health care regulatory experience applicable to the life science industry, including FDA regulatory matters, fraud and abuse, advertising and promotion, and clinical research. Experience negotiating commercial agreements is preferred.
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.


Firms are looking for senior corporate and securities partners or of counsel with extensive experience handling general corporate matters, including mergers and acquisitions, debt and equity financings, recapitalizations, and private placements of senior and mezzanine debt and equity securities. Indiana Bar admission or ability to waive into the Indiana Bar is required.

Real Estate

Real estate practices are very busy in Indianapolis and real estate associates possessing the following skills should contact us for excellent opportunities in Indianapolis:
  • 2-6 years of real estate experience, including substantive experience in real estate development. Qualified candidate will have extensive experience with preparation and negotiation of purchase and sale agreements for commercial real estate transactions and leasing. Additional experience in real estate finance documentation is a plus. Indiana Bar admission or eligibility to waive into the Indiana Bar required.
  • 2-6 years of experience in drafting and negotiating purchase, lease and loan agreements for the sale and acquisition of commercial real estate property.

Intellectual Property Patent Prosecution

We are looking for patent prosecution associates with the following experience:
  • 2+ years of patent drafting and prosecution experience. Qualified candidate will have a background in electrical engineering and USPTO.
  • 5-12 years of patent prosecution experience and an electrical or mechanical engineering background. Qualified candidate must have extensive experience drafting and prosecuting patent applications. USPTO a plus.


Tax attorneys with the following experience should contact our Chicago office to discuss opportunities in Indianapolis:
  • 5+ years of experience in business taxation, including corporate, real estate and partnership tax matters. Qualified candidate will have an LL.M. in Taxation or CPA licensure.
State of the Market Report: Wisconsin
by Jamie Bailey, Partner, BCG Attorney Search - Chicago

Milwaukee and Madison

Intellectual Property Patent Litigation; Patent Prosecution

As we have reported in the past, intellectual property practices in Wisconsin are very busy. The following candidates should contact our Chicago office to discuss opportunities in Wisconsin:

Patent Litigation
  • 1-3 years of patent litigation experience in pharmaceutical and other life sciences litigation.
Patent Prosecution
  • 1-4 years of experience in patent prosecution matters and an undergraduate or graduate degree in engineering or other hard science, preferably electrical or mechanical engineering. Former work experience as an engineer is a plus. USPTO admission required.
  • 1-4 years of experience in patent counseling and prosecution and a background in computer science, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering or biomedical or similar field. USPTO and excellent academic record required.
  • 2-3 years of prosecution experience and a background in electrical engineering or computer science. Qualified candidate will have experience with Internet technologies, communications systems and networks, wireless systems, or optical systems. Wisconsin Bar admission required.

Corporate M&A; Private Equity

Transactional attorneys with the following skills should get in touch with our Chicago office regarding opportunities at excellent Wisconsin firms:
  • 2-6 years of corporate transactional experience in drafting, reviewing and negotiating transactional documents.
  • 2+ years of experience handling mergers and acquisitions, private equity transactions and general business counseling.
State of the Market Report: Ohio
by L. Roger Boord, Senior Attorney Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search

Outstanding law firm opportunities are available for both associates and partners in Ohio pertaining to a wide variety of practice areas. In general, Ohio firms are looking for attorneys who practice in real estate, healthcare, general corporate, commercial litigation, trusts & estates, labor & employment and intellectual property (primarily in electrical engineering and computer engineering/science). The slight increase in demand for litigation that we have recently witnessed in Ohio firms has been continuing. This is good news for those who practice in litigation, which has experienced slow demand in recent years. Labor & employment litigation and commercial insurance defense are the litigation practices that appear to have the most growth in Ohio. Demand for healthcare and corporate practices has also been solid, while real estate continues to gain greater interest in the firms. Intellectual property also continues to be in growth mode. We believe that this broad improvement in the market will continue into 2016. There has been less demand, however, in several other areas, including tax, trusts & estates and ERISA, but they appear to be stable for the time being.

Associate candidates in Ohio who came from prestigious law schools and possess impressive academic records will generally find themselves more greatly sought after than candidates who do not have such strong credentials. In particular, the law firms will be interested in the rank of the associate candidate's law school, as well as their GPA and class rank. The ability to write especially well will also be seen as a major plus by Ohio law firms. In addition, the firms will primarily be interested in associates with 2-4 years' experience at a major firm. More senior associates and associates who practice at smaller, less prestigious firms will be in less demand. Another major factor is how "hot", or how much in demand, the associate's practice area is at the present time. See below for an evaluation of the general level of demand in the major practice areas in Ohio.

For partner level candidates in Ohio, as well as in every other state, their desirability in the market will be primarily governed by the amount of portable business the candidate has to offer the prospective firm. (See the discussion regarding partners with portable business below.) Although not required of associates, candidates who actually possess some portable business will have an advantage, depending in large part on the size and type of the candidate's "book." Partner level candidates who lack sufficient portable business will generally not be in much demand, although there are occasionally exceptions for especially strong candidates who are in high demand practice areas (such as intellectual property – electrical engineering patent prosecution).

Finally, patent agents who have substantial patent agent experience – especially patent prosecution experience – are also obtaining great jobs in Ohio firms. Ohio firms typically look for a minimum of 2 years of such experience before they will interview a patent agent candidate. In addition, Ohio firms typically require patent agent candidates to be registered with the USPTO. Opportunities for prospective patent agents who lack such experience and USPTO registration are very limited, and even then only for candidates who have backgrounds in the areas that are in the highest demand. Examples of areas which are in the highest demand for patent agent candidates include primarily electrical engineering and computer science/engineering. Patent agents with other types of backgrounds, including biotech, mechanical and chemistry are not finding much interest in Ohio firms. As with associates, patent agents who went to outstanding schools and had superior academics will have an advantage.

Partners with Portable Business

As always, we are interested in speaking with partner level attorneys with substantial portable business. Some of the practice areas where Ohio firms have had particular interest in attorneys with portable business include commercial litigation, real estate, healthcare, labor & employment, trusts & estates and corporate M & A. Opportunities are not limited to these areas, however. Firms will generally have interest in attorneys with business in nearly any practice area that fits with the firm's platform. Partner level attorneys with substantial portable business (defined as a minimum of $300K for the smaller Ohio firms and $1 M+ for the bigger firms) should contact our Chicago office to learn more about available opportunities.

Ohio's legal market is divided into four distinct geographic regions. The first region contains Columbus, which is ideally located in the middle of the state. In addition, Columbus is both the state capital and the largest city in Ohio. Consequently, the city has the largest legal market in the state. Cleveland, the state's second largest city, makes up the second region. Although the city has dealt with various challenges decades ago, it is now much more livable and prosperous. Several large national law firms are based in Cleveland, including Jones Day and Baker Hostetler. The third region contains Cincinnati, the third largest city, located in the southwestern part of the state on the Ohio River across from Kentucky. The fourth region essentially includes everywhere else in Ohio outside those three major cities. The most significant cities in the fourth region include Akron, Toledo and Dayton. The general level of demand for each major practice area in these four regions is summarized below. For more information, candidates should contact our Chicago office.

Corporate and Related Transactional Practices

Corporate and related transactional practices continue to be in strong demand in all four Ohio market regions. General corporate, mergers & acquisitions and securities have generated particular interest.

Real Estate

Real estate has experienced substantial growth in Ohio in all four regions.


After years of low interest, demand for litigation practices has been growing slowly. Most demand for litigation is in Cleveland and Cincinnati, with less demand in Columbus and the other cities.

Labor & Employment and ERISA

Substantial demand for labor & employment litigation has been observed, especially in Cleveland and Cincinnati. Demand for ERISA is not as strong, but there is some in Ohio.

Health Care

Demand for Health Care continues to be solid. This has been seen in all four geographic regions in Ohio.

Trusts & Estates and Tax

Trusts & Estates and Tax have shown a moderate level of demand. Cincinnati appears to have the strongest demand in these two areas.

Intellectual Property

As noted above, IP associates who possess degrees in electrical engineering or computer engineering/science are in high demand. Other areas are generally not in high demand. Firms are primarily looking for IP patent prosecution associates, but some are also seeking IP litigation associates. As explained above, there is also some demand for patent agents, provided that they have backgrounds in electrical engineering or computer engineering/science, as well as sufficient patent agent experience and registration with the USPTO.

Other Practices

More limited demand has been seen in all four regions for several other practice areas, such as energy, elder law, commercial finance, workers' compensation and government contracts.
State of the Market Report: Utah
by L. Roger Boord, Senior Attorney Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search

Salt Lake City is perceived by many people as more of a vacation destination than a place to live (especially by those who are into large mountains and top notch skiing). This explains why firms in Utah tend to be highly skeptical of legal candidates from other states who claim to be interested in moving to Utah. Accordingly, these firms are much more receptive to candidates who are presently living in Utah or are from there, or at a minimum have very significant connections to Utah (like close family, for example). In addition, the firms in Utah often require that the candidate already be admitted to the Utah Bar. This means that out of state candidates seeking to join Utah firms should have a compelling reason as to why they want to now move to that state. The reason better be more substantive than it is a great place to ski and experience the American West.

Intellectual property continues to be the area of greatest interest to Utah law firms. In highest demand are associates (and patent agents) with technical backgrounds in computer engineering/science and/or electrical engineering. Again, patent agent candidates are normally required to have patent agent experience and registration with the USPTO. Some of the other areas that have significantly less demand in Utah include mergers and acquisitions, venture capital and securities. Demand for litigation is not strong, but it does exist, primarily for commercial litigators. Of course, attorneys who have substantial portable business are always of major interest to Utah firms.

State of the Market Report: Washington, DC
by Katy Anderman, Managing Director – East Coast, BCG Attorney Search

We haven't seen much of a change in the market since the first quarter of 2015 and overall, the market is pretty much holding steady. There is still a high demand for corporate mid-levels and IP associates with patent prosecution experience. Litigation needs continue to grow (the number of open positions actually exceed the corporate openings) and new positions are consistently opening up. A snapshot of the number of open positions by practice area in the DC area is below.

State of the Market Report: Washington, DC

Below, the practice areas in highest demand are discussed in more detail.


We are finally seeing a strong need for general litigation associates at law firms in the DC area. Antitrust, general litigation, appellate, financial services and consumer finance litigation practices are particularly busy. Competition for these openings is still high and candidates with clerkship experience and top grades/law firm experience will get the most traction.


The corporate market is holding steady in DC. Firms are looking for associates with finance (secured lending, public and project finance), M&A and private equity, investment management and/or securities experience. Mid-level investment management and fund candidates are in the highest demand.

Intellectual Property – Patent Prosecution and Technology Transactions

There is still high demand for candidates with advertising, e-commerce, media and life science licensing experience on the transactional side. Patent candidates with an engineering or life sciences background will discover a large amount of opportunity in DC.


There have been a couple of bankruptcy, government related, tax and international trade positions open up recently. Candidates with a strong background in any of these areas will fare well in DC and I predict that these practices will hold steady in the coming months.


The DC market is still very receptive to mid-level transactional candidates with corporate experience, IP candidates with prosecution experience and very highly credentialed litigation candidates. Candidates with antitrust, international trade and energy experience will be sought out as well.
State of the Market Report: Boston/New England
by Margaret Gilleran, Senior Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search


Boston is the bellwether of the legal market in New England. In most cases, you can gauge what is happening in the New England market by determining what is happening in the Boston legal market. Boston has been the center of the biotechnology industry for many years, and it is no surprise that Boston law firms have always clamored, and continue to clamor for strong intellectual property candidates. Corporate – particularly capital markets and M&A – has remained busy during the last quarter, which is no surprise because as the economy improves, there is increased activity in the market. Like corporate, real estate remains very strong in Boston. Perhaps the biggest development this quarter has been the resurgence in litigation which is a very exciting development. Another surprise is a very slight – almost imperceptible – uptick in bankruptcy in Boston. Other areas, like tax and ERISA, are slow in Boston, which is a little surprising as those areas are busier in other parts of the country. In addition, the "health" of those areas are usually directly related to corporate activity which, as noted, is very strong.

Intellectual Property

Intellectual property has always been and remains a mainstay in the Boston legal market. Patent prosecution continues to be busier than patent litigation, but patent litigation has picked up slightly since last quarter. As noted in the last State of Market Report for Boston, there is an increased demand in Boston for candidates who have electrical engineering and computer science backgrounds, and this trend continues. This need for technology candidates is a departure from the norm in Boston where the demand for intellectual property associates has always focused on candidates with chemistry and biology backgrounds. There is some demand for other disciplines – like mechanical and chemical engineering – but those needs are more sporadic. Membership in the USPTO is de rigueur, and advanced degrees – e.g. M.S. and Ph.D. – are definitely preferred. In fact, it is unusual for a firm to meet with candidates who only have a B.S., unless the candidate graduated with honors from a highly respected college or university. The demand in Boston for intellectual property professionals extends to Patent Agents and Scientific Advisors as well. In short, if you are an experienced and talented intellectual property professional – attorney, patent agent, or scientific advisor – in Boston, and you are less than satisfied with your current position, then it is an excellent time to commence a search.


Corporate remains strong, which is phenomenal because when corporate is busy, other areas – like tax, ERISA, and even intellectual property – eventually experience the positive effects. The candidates that are the most in demand generally have between two and six years of experience. However, candidates with only one year of experience are getting interviews too because the corporate market is that hot! Moreover, there is no one particular area that is dominating over the others. M&A, capital markets, private equity, finance, and investment management are all busy. It is an excellent time for corporate candidates who are not happy with their current positions to find new positions. It is also an excellent time for corporate candidates to "trade up" to more prestigious firms or make those much desired geographic moves to Boston.

Real Estate

Real estate in Boston had seemingly slowed last quarter (although there were still plenty of opportunities for strong candidates); however, real estate is once again very busy. The candidates who are the most in demand have between two to six years of experience in one or more of the following areas: acquisitions/dispositions, finance, leasing, and development. Probably the greatest demand is for candidates who have real estate finance experience. If you are a real estate candidate who is curious about the opportunities offered in the current market, it is an outstanding time to speak with a recruiter.


Litigation is back? It has been so long since I had anything really positive to say about the litigation market that I hesitate to claim a recovery but ... it appears that litigation is making a comeback! As noted in the last State of the Market Report, litigation was very hard hit in the recession of 2008, and while other areas began to show signs of life as early as 2011, litigation remained in the doldrums. However, litigation is beginning to show signs of life! Litigation is stronger in other markets such as D.C. and New York presently, but there is more activity in Boston and I suspect that by next quarter, we will be seeing the same levels of activity in the Boston litigation market that we are seeing in other East Coast cities.

Tax, ERISA, and Bankruptcy

Tax and ERISA are slow in Boston, which is surprising because corporate is very busy. These two practice areas (which must service the corporate practices a great deal of the time) are not yet seeing the positive effects of Boston's active corporate market. However, given that tax and ERISA have definitely picked up in other regions of the country, I have to believe that it is only a matter of time before we see resurgences in these practice areas in Boston as well.

Bankruptcy has been very slow for a long time; however, a number of Boston area firms are trolling for strong senior bankruptcy candidates. I am not sure what this development means yet, but stay tuned!

New England

The New England legal market tends to take its lead from Boston. Intellectual property, corporate, and real estate are busy in Boston, and these areas are busy in other New England cities as well. Litigation does not appear to be experiencing any sort of resurgence in other parts of New England, and it may be because the resurgence is still in its nascent stages in Boston. Other practice areas – like tax and ERISA – remain slow in New England, but these areas are likely going to be positively affected (and soon) by the thriving corporate market.
State of the Market Report: New York
by Nadeen Weybrecht, Esq., Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search

The New York lateral hiring market is quite active this quarter, especially on the transactional side. Corporate, real estate, tax, and ERISA attorneys are in high demand, while the need for IP attorneys remains steady. Additionally, we've seen some new litigation positions come open. As has always been the case with firms in New York, the demand is for attorneys with stellar academic and firm credentials.


Within corporate, there is an extremely strong demand for attorneys who do traditional corporate work (M&A, securities), as well as for attorneys who do banking and finance work, private equity, and investment fund management. Experience-level wise, the highest number of needs is for mid-level associates (3-5) as well as for more senior folks in the 6-7 year range. The area in which firms are open to more junior (2+ years) candidates is in investment funds. There are also a number of openings on the more senior end (7 years) for investment funds associates.


As has been the case since last quarter, coinciding with the high demand for transactional associates, tax attorneys are in great demand in New York, with openings at the junior-to-more-experienced levels (2-6). In most cases, firms prefer an LLM from one of the top programs in addition to the JD, as well as law firm experience (over, or in addition to, accounting firms).

Commercial Real Estate

Commercial real estate is still very hot, and firms are seeking experience in a broad range of sophisticated commercial real estate transactions, including acquisitions, dispositions, financings, fund formation, joint ventures, and leasing. In particular, we are seeing the CMBS loan origination market making a comeback and associates with this kind of financing experience are being sought. Firms are seeking associates ranging from junior level (2+), midlevel, and more senior candidates with 8-10 years of experience.

Intellectual Property

The need for IP candidates with strong technical backgrounds (particularly those with advanced degrees in specific fields) remains stable. As with last quarter, the need for patent litigators over patent prosecutors continues. Within both litigation and prosecution, candidates with electrical engineering and computer science backgrounds are the most highly sought after, while about 30% of open positions are asking for life sciences backgrounds in New York.

Three areas in which there is still a lower demand for laterals are technology transfer and licensing, trademark, and copyright. Positions in these practice areas remain few, with only a few firms looking for laterals. When demand arises for "softer" IP attorneys, it is for mid-level associates that have TTAB experience.


As with last quarter, we are witnessing some new demand for junior to mid-level litigation associates with complex commercial litigation experience. There is specific demand for candidates with appellate financial services, government enforcement, white collar crime, and securities regulation experience.

Employment and Labor Law

There has been a significant increase in the number of junior to mid-level executive compensation/ERISA openings, with firms looking for attorneys with more in-depth experience, particularly with the benefits and executive compensation aspects of M & A and taxation issues.

On the other hand, there continues to be only a handful or so of traditional employment/labor law openings, with the few openings seeking mid-level candidates with experience in several areas, including employee benefits, discrimination, and wage and hour.

Health Care

There is still a very low need for health care laterals in New York, with only one new firm seeking laterals in this quarter. The position is for junior to mid-level associate with experience in compliance and regulatory issues, abuse and fraud, and reimbursement, including licensing, the Stark Law, the Anti-Kickback Statute, HIPAA/HITECH and Medicare/Medicaid.
State of the Market Report: Philadelphia
by Robyn Ginsberg, Senior Managing Director – East Coast, BCG Attorney Search

Overall, law firm hiring in Philadelphia remains noticeably stagnant as we head into the second half of 2015. This trend strongly contrasts both with the robust hiring taking place in other major East Coast cities (such as New York City and Washington, D.C.), and with previous local hiring trends. 2014 was a far busier year for hiring in the Philadelphia law firm sector. Where firms are hiring, the focus is largely on commercial and general litigation, with some additional hiring in real estate and corporate law.


We are continuing to see substantial demand for litigators in Philadelphia among mid-sized and larger regional and national firms. The "sweet spot" for hiring is consistently at the 3-6 year level, with many firms seeking candidates with niche/specialized expertise in such things as insurance coverage, professional liability, construction law and financial services litigation. As always in the Philadelphia market, there is also consistent demand for litigators with specialized experience in health care and/or product liability disputes. Firms continue to seek candidates with a well-developed litigation skill set and the ability to handle trial level matters from start to finish.

Real Estate Law

Although we haven't seen an increase in hiring activity, demand for real estate attorneys has remained steady throughout 2015. The demand is largely at the associate level, with firms seeking candidates with broad-ranging transactional and commercial real estate experience. As always, there is also some consistent demand for candidates with real estate finance experience, most often at the larger national law firms. Such firms are typically seeking candidates who have experience representing lenders in large scale real estate financing transactions.

Corporate Law

Corporate hiring has remained consistent, with most of the hiring occurring at larger law firms. The focus has largely been on associate attorneys at the 3-5 year range with diverse transactional experience, including securities, capital markets and mergers and acquisitions. Additionally, there continues to be demand for corporate finance attorneys, as well as those with private investment management experience (particularly with private equity and/or hedge funds). Lastly, there are also a few firms looking for mid-level associates with outsourcing and licensing experience, particularly in the life science sector.

Intellectual Property Law

There has been a stark decline in demand for IP attorneys in Philadelphia throughout 2015. Whereas other cities continue to seek IP litigation and (to a lesser extent) prosecution attorneys with diverse technical backgrounds, the demand in Philadelphia is almost non-existent, even in the typically active life science space. We expect IP hiring will pick up by the last quarter of 2015 if not beforehand, as we typically don't see long-term hiring droughts in this practice area.

Employee Benefits

Finally, we have seen an increased interest in mid- to senior- level associates with executive compensation and employee benefit experience from larger national firms. These are typically "deal support" roles where the associate is expected to work in conjunction with the firm's corporate practice group on a range of high-level deals.

State of the Market Report: Kansas City, Missouri
by Julie Lehrman, Senior Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search

Although Kansas City is a small legal market, we have definitely noticed an increase since Spring 2015. Particularly, corporate, IP prosecution, banking, and healthcare are noted growth areas in Kansas City. Firms in the area definitely prefer attorneys with a demonstrated tie to the area: family, school, or significant time having been spent in Kansas City before an interview will be granted. Admission to the Missouri bar is also helpful.

Partners with Portable Business

We are very happy to receive inquiries from partners with at least $500k in demonstrated portable business who would like to discuss opportunities in Kansas City. Partners will also want to have a tie to the area, or some significant reason for wanting to move to Kansas City.
State of the Market Report: Texas
by Suzanne Dupree Howe, Managing Director for Texas and the Southeast

The Texas market is strong and competitive for the summer of 2015, despite some dips in the energy market during the latter half of 2014 and first half of 2015 due to the price of oil falling. The corporate market has remained strong throughout Texas and is certainly the hottest practice area in the state. We've also seen a slight rise in litigation openings, which has historically been a very flat area for many years. Patent prosecution and employment have also been two very strong areas in Texas so far this year.


What a great few years this has been for corporate in Texas throughout the state. M&A has remained the hottest practice area, but we've seen quite a few needs for Private Equity and Securities as well. The activity has been strong even at the senior level, with strong activity for senior associates and of counsel. We've also seen a strong need for Finance candidates in Texas. Candidates relocating from out of state with strong credentials should have no problem penetrating the market.

Transactional Energy

Despite a dip in the oil market in 2014, this area continues to burn bright throughout the state. Candidates with transactional energy experience are highly marketable, especially in Houston. This includes candidates with Energy M&A Experience and those with upstream, midstream, and downstream experience. Candidates with project finance experience continue to be highly in demand.

Real Estate

This area has been remarkably flat in Houston, but strong in Dallas. We've seen needs in Dallas so far this year at the junior and senior level. Candidates with Real Estate Finance Experience are extremely marketable throughout Texas.


This practice area has been hotter than in 2014. We've seen needs at a number of different levels throughout the state.


We've had more needs in Litigation this year than we've seen previously. These positions are highly competitive and the candidate needs to be an almost exact fit for the need. Firms are much less likely to overlook class year or lack of judicial clerkship if they mention that the candidate needs to have these attributes. Grades have also been much more important for litigation openings than what we see in corporate roles.

Employee Benefits/ERISA

We have not seen a lot needs in this area unlike many other areas of the country, where it has been a very hot area. However, we have found that strong Employee Benefits groups will often consider a good resume if they are busy and have a lot of work.

Patent Prosecution

This area has been really hot for Electrical Engineers, Computer Scientists, Mechanical Engineers and Chemical Engineers throughout the state of Texas. Candidates with specific energy-related experience like Oilfield Tools are also highly sought. Candidates should have the USPTO.

IP Litigation

This area has been less in demand for the last year, due to some recent changes in patent law. Candidates with strong academic credentials and a background in Electrical Engineering or Computer Science are always in demand.


Tax needs are medium right now in Texas. We have several needs, but firms can afford to be picky about credentials. Our highest needs have been Corporate Tax, Tax Controversy, and International Tax. Candidates with an LL.M. from the "Big Three" (Georgetown, NYU, Florida) will have the highest rates of success.


Bankruptcy picked up ever so slightly for 2015 in Texas, probably due to the price of oil dropping and the shuttering of many small energy companies. But this area overall remains soft.
State of the Market Report: Tennessee
by Suzanne Dupree Howe, Managing Director for Texas and the Southeast

The needs in Tennessee so far this year have been strongest in corporate, healthcare, and Employee Benefits. Candidates with ties to Tennessee will have the strongest competitive advantage.
State of the Market Report: Louisiana
by Suzanne Dupree Howe, Managing Director for Texas and the Southeast

Our needs in Louisiana have been more litigation-focused, but we have also seen needs in Employment and Employee Benefits. Candidates with Environmental experience are always marketable in Louisiana.
State of the Market Report: North Carolina
by Suzanne Dupree Howe, Managing Director for Texas and the Southeast

The market in North Carolina has been very strong with needs in a number of different practice areas. Finance candidates are always our strongest need for Charlotte. Intellectual Property is our highest need for Raleigh/Durham. Corporate needs abound throughout the state. The North Carolina market is thriving, and this is an excellent time to contemplate moving to the state.
State of the Market Report: Atlanta
by Nadeen Weybrecht, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search

As is the case with the other major legal hubs in the nation, transactional attorneys with top academic and law firm credentials are in high demand in Atlanta. By far, the hottest practice areas are Corporate and Real Estate/Real Estate Finance. For traditional Corporate work involving M&A, securities offerings and capital markets, the greatest demand is for mid-level associates with 3-5 years of experience. There are also a number of openings for junior-to-mid-level Banking and Finance associates. The demand for Real Estate and Real Estate Finance attorneys has been quite high for some time now, and the need remains strong for traditional real estate associates at the mid-level. For real estate finance, firms are looking for more junior to mid-level associates.

As the transactional hiring market is strong, so, too, are two support areas – ERISA/Employee Benefits and Tax, and firms are seeking associates at the mid-level in both practices, and those candidates holding LLMs in Tax from the top programs are highly sought after.

Within IP, prosecution needs remain strong, while litigation has slowed considerably. Within both patent prosecution and patent litigation, candidates with technical backgrounds (advanced degrees preferred) in the areas of Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Computer Engineering and Chemical Engineering backgrounds are sought.

State of the Market Report: Florida
by Margaret Gilleran, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search

It is not often that trends begin in Florida! However, litigation has been busy in Florida for quite some time, and now the rest of the U.S. seems to be taking Florida's cue. Meanwhile, the litigation market in Florida is busier than ever with many new jobs coming onto the market in the last quarter. The litigation market is particularly hot for candidates who have experience with foreclosure, insurance defense, and/or consumer finance litigation. A candidate's experience is very important in Florida, as Florida firms place a premium on actual experience. Candidates who have strong interpersonal skills with clients and "real" litigation experience like taking and defending depositions and/or trial experience are in demand in the Florida market. Another advantage in Florida – and this is true in litigation as well as in other practice areas – is if a candidate speaks more than one language. The languages that are the most in demand in Florida are Spanish and Portuguese.

Intellectual property remains busy in Florida, and much like the rest of the U.S., patent prosecution is much busier than patent litigation. Advanced degrees are preferred, although candidates who only possess a B.S. in electrical engineering or computer science are able to secure interviews, whereas their counterparts in the life sciences definitely need advanced degrees. It is interesting because in other major markets – like New York City – where technology has always trumped life sciences, candidates with life science degrees are presently more in demand. Florida remains true to the "norm" where candidates who have technology degrees – either electrical engineering or computer science – are the most coveted intellectual property candidates. Significantly – and this is a departure from other parts of the U.S. – the need for intellectual property professionals does not extend to scientific advisors and patent agents in Florida.

Like elsewhere in the U.S., corporate remains busy. However, the vast majority of the corporate opportunities are in Miami, the hub of most market activity in Florida, and no one particular area dominates. Firms are primarily interested in candidates who have M&A, Capital Markets, and/or Finance experience, and between three to five years of fairly substantive experience. As noted above for Litigation, candidates who are bilingual – either Spanish/English or Portuguese/English – are definitely preferred in many instances.

Florida has remained steady in most other practice areas. There are opportunities in trusts and estates, labor and employment, and healthcare, but candidates who hope to secure interviews in these practice areas must have very strong academic credentials and excellent experience. Unlike the rest of the U.S., real estate is slow in Florida. However, much like the previously mentioned practice areas, a real estate candidate with very strong credentials and experience will be able to get interview requests. Florida has always been, and remains a stickler for admission to its bar. Very few firms are willing to meet with candidates (or in some cases even accept resumes) from candidates who are not licensed in Florida. If you are a candidate who wishes to relocate to Florida, then it is critical that you obtain membership to the Florida bar.