Law firm corporate needs continue to dominate the San Francisco lateral hiring market. Firms are seeking candidates at all levels of experience in a variety of subspecialties. What is interesting (and unusual) is the number of finance (and in some cases regulatory) subspecialties that are now in demand in San Francisco. Firms are currently seeking associates with experience in the areas of commercial finance, leveraged finance, banking & finance, corporate finance, and bank regulatory. M&A, emerging growth, and private equity hiring remains strong but it will be interesting to see how these previously New York-based subspecialties will continue to expand on the West Coast.
Real estate hiring in San Francisco has remained steady in all of 2015 and this trend is expected to continue into 2016. Most firms are seeking transactional associates in the junior and mid-level range (3-5 years) although there is an occasional need for finance candidates as well. Transactional candidates need experience in leasing, joint ventures, and purchase & sales. Real estate finance candidates need experience in origination of mortgage loans and mezzanine lending. Experience in restructuring and workouts of commercial loans is appreciated. Firms are also seeking partners with at least $1 million in portables.
A 2014 Supreme Court ruling on the patentability of specific ideas and subject matters has certainly put a dent in patent litigation hiring nationwide, but the San Francisco market remains steady in this area. Mid-level Electrical Engineering and Computer Science litigators continue to dominate this practice although life sciences degrees are also valued. ITC experience is expected. Admittance to the Patent Bar, a requirement for patent prosecutors, has become more of a priority for firms for their patent litigators.
Patent prosecution is still strong in San Francisco, but has declined somewhat this year. Hard science and life science (Computer Science, Electrical Engineering) candidates are what law firms are looking for. Firms are looking for junior to mid-level associates with USPTO registration. Silicon Valley is a very strong market for patent prosecutors. Those interested in relocating to the Bay Area should consider the following cities: Menlo Park, Mountain View, and Palo Alto.
Litigation hiring in San Francisco reflects two noteworthy nationwide hiring trends. First, law firms tend to have litigation positions open for several months (a few in our records have been open since late 2014). This follows a national trend in hiring which shows that employers are taking longer and longer to fill positions. Secondly, several of the current advertised positions are for staff attorneys. This seems to fit another national trend that indicates law firms (particularly large AmLaw firms) are still trying to keep their litigation costs down. The current needs in San Francisco are for associates in the areas of complex commercial, data privacy, appellate and products liability litigation. 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.
Following other statewide trends, there has been a slight increase in the need for tax associates in San Francisco in 2015. Tax hiring in California is predominantly in the transactional tax sector. Firms are generally willing to consider candidates from both law firms and big four accounting practices, but prefer law firm experience. Needs currently are all at the junior level.
Technology transactions hiring is typically much stronger in Silicon Valley than in San Francisco. That said, hiring in this sector picked up considerably the first and second quarters of 2015 and has remained steady to slow throughout the year. Firms are seeking mid-level associates (3-6 years) with experience in licensing primarily. Candidates with tech and life sciences background are in demand, as most positions will focus on transactions in the tech or biotech sectors. Because the candidate pool in this practice is so small, firms may consider IP or corporate/M&A transactions candidates with stellar credentials who wish to transition to a technology transactions practice.
Hiring in this practice area increased statewide earlier in the year but has fallen off slightly since then. Currently, associates with executive compensation and transactions experience are in greater demand than attorneys who possess ERISA/employee benefits experience. Firms are seeking junior and mid-level attorneys.
Antitrust is a practice that is historically stronger on the East Coast, but there is an occasional need for antitrust associates in San Francisco. There are currently two vacancies for antitrust associates, one mid-level (3-5 years) and one senior (5-7 years) associate. Stellar grades and California bar admission are required.
Traditionally seen as an East Coast practice, securities litigation hiring in San Francisco has really only been consistently active here since 2008, although hiring in the last two years has certainly picked up. Vacancies tend to be with large, AmLaw firms that are seeking mid-level associates with experience in the areas of SEC investigations, criminal investigations, class actions, and knowledge of the financial services industry.
Trademark vacancies have been somewhat of a rarity in the Bay Area since 2011. Soft IP hiring in California has never really kept pace the demand for patent litigators and prosecutors. That said, there have been a few trademark vacancies in the city in 2015. Hiring tends to be by larger firms seeking junior to mid-level attorneys with experience in trademark enforcement and prosecution. TTAB experience is always valued.
The following practices have shown little to no activity during most of the year. The cities and regions listed after each practice area below indicate markets where hiring is stronger in that practice.
State of the Market Report: Silicon Valley by Evan P. Anderson, Managing Director, BCG Attorney Search
One of the strongest job markets in the United States is currently in Silicon Valley. Compared to positions in San Francisco, the positions in Silicon Valley tend be less competitive and more plentiful. Candidates with Corporate or Patent/IP experience are usually in the highest demand, but there are needs for different practice areas throughout Silicon Valley. To top it all off, the area has an excellent quality of life and the region is next to the Russian River and wine country.
Corporate hiring continues to be the #1 need in the lateral associate market in Silicon Valley. Like the San Francisco market, there has been an increased need for corporate finance attorneys, however, private equity associates are still in the greatest demand. Additionally, associates with experience in capital markets, M&A, and/or venture capital/emerging companies will always have their pick of positions. Those possessing a life sciences degree or experience remain in steady demand.
Following the previous Supreme Court ruling on patent eligibility subject matter, there has been a decrease in IP litigation needs at many firms. That said, Silicon Valley patent litigation hiring remained steady in 2015, particularly for associates in the 2-5 year range. Candidates that are out of state or that don't have solid credentials are less likely to be considered. On the other hand, attorneys that have electrical engineering or computer science degrees are still in demand. Most firms now expect admission to the US Patent Bar.
Labor & employment hiring in Silicon Valley has steadily increased over the last six months as it has all over California in the major markets. The difference is the nuance in experience required, as there is less a focus on wage & hour and other traditional aspects of L&E law. Large, AmLaw firms and mid-sized regional firms are consistently seeking junior and mid-level candidates with solid litigation, deposition, pre-trial, and trial experience. However, in Silicon Valley, there is a specific need for L&E attorneys who also have a mix of corporate experience and/or experience counseling start-up technology companies on employment mobility.
Silicon Valley law firms looking for litigation associates are primarily focused on the areas of securities and complex commercial litigation. These two specialties account for 50% of current litigation vacancies. The rest is a complex mix, including data privacy, pharmaceutical, appellate, and civil litigation. Most firms are looking for junior to mid-level big firm candidates with excellent credentials. The hiring remains protracted and in some cases, can take months. Hiring is very competitive in this practice area, similar to the San Francisco market. Candidates must be a member of the California Bar or have taken the bar exam recently.
Tax hiring needs went up in the latter part of 2015 in Silicon Valley. Those in the highest demand are transactional tax attorneys in the junior to mid-level range. Firms have also started to hire attorneys from top accounting firms again. Large multi-national firms such as Baker & McKenzie, Dentons
, and DLA are looking for attorneys with experience in international tax. On occasion, state and local tax (SALT) candidates are also sought after.
Hiring in this practice has maintained all throughout 2015 and the candidate pool statewide remains small. Firms are seeking associates with 2-6 years of experience and all want attorneys with licensing experience. M&A and transactions experience is also highly beneficial if not required. Technical or life sciences degrees are preferred.
Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation hiring has been consistent throughout 2015, although it has slowed in the last quarter. Junior and mid-level candidates are in the most demand. Attorneys with 2-5 years of experience that are currently practicing in a large firm will be able to choose who they work for, as the candidate pool for this practice is very small. There is a discernable shift in practice focus, as firms are seeking attorneys who have more experience in the areas of Executive Compensation, M&A, and transactions and less in the areas of ERISA and Employee Benefits.
Silicon Valley's Real Estate needs have dropped off since the initial resurgence in 2014. There are currently only two vacancies for mid-level, real estate transactional associates, but hiring in this practice is expected to remain steady and job seekers can expect more vacancies after the first of the year. When there are vacancies, attorneys that have experience in acquisitions, joint ventures, and leasing are highly desirable.
Trademark has been fairly steady in Silicon Valley this year. Presently, there are four openings for Trademark associates. Firms are generally looking for mid-levels with experience in trademark clearance, prosecution and portfolio management. TTAB experience is always valued and copyright experience is a plus.
Dead Practice Areas:
The following practices have shown little to no activity during most of the year. The cities and regions listed after each practice area below indicate markets where hiring is stronger in that practice.
State of the Market Report: Los Angeles by Allison Wottawa, Legal Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Los Angeles is an ever evolving market with diverse practice areas. Two hubs for law firms are Downtown or Century City on the Westside, though there are a growing number of firms in Santa Monica, which will likely continue with the development of "Silicon Beach." Since traffic in this town is notorious, law firms prefer that their attorneys live somewhere close to the firm, or at least not on the opposite side of the city. Candidates should definitely take location into account when choosing where to apply.
Real Estate continues to be a leading practice area in Los Angeles. Major international firms, regional law firms, and boutiques are all seeking real estate attorneys, particularly with a finance background. While attorneys with three to five years of experience are in most demand, there is plenty of need for junior attorneys as well as associates with up to ten years of experience with prominent firms. Partners with business are also highly sought after in this area, as many firms are seeking to expand or develop a real estate practice, even if they do not have an existing practice.
While corporate attorneys are in demand throughout California, there is a particular need in Los Angeles for corporate attorneys with a finance or banking background, including secured lending transactions. There is also a market for attorneys with a focus on M&A and private equity, which is typical of this area. There is a rise in a need for those with experience in capital markets and securities. A few firms specify that they value candidates with experience from New York.
While this is typically a warm area, we have seen a dramatic increase in employment openings over the last month with major, national law firms as well as smaller boutiques and labor firms. The range is pretty wide, from firms seeking attorneys with one to three years of experience as well as other firms searching for an associate as senior as eight years. Firms are primarily seeking employment litigators with wage and hour class action experience. However, there is some need for traditional labor lawyers with experience in NLRB hearings and labor union matters. For complex litigators that wish to transition into employment law, this is a great time! A few firms have indicated that they are willing to consider this type of transition for a solid candidate.
Litigation has had a rough two years. However, there are strong signs that the market for litigators is about to improve. We've seen multiple new litigation listings over the past few weeks. Major international firms as well as boutiques are seeking litigators with a variety of backgrounds ranging from medical device/pharma to professional liability. Complex litigators are highly sought after, particularly those with a background in finance and class action. Deposition experience is a definite plus. We've also witnessed an uptick in the need for staff or non-partnership track attorneys in litigation. Membership to the California Bar is a MUST.
As there are some major, international firms seeking patent attorneys, a majority of these openings in the Los Angeles market are with smaller IP boutiques. Attorneys with two to four years of experience hit the "sweet spot," though there are positions open for junior and more senior attorneys. Candidates with a degree in Electrical Engineering are in the highest demand. Firms will likely also accept attorneys with degrees in computer science and sometimes physics. There are a couple of opportunities for patent attorneys with a background in life science (chemistry, biotech), but this is certainly less common. Membership to the USPTO is necessary.
There are a couple of openings in technology transactions, which is not an area that is typical for the Los Angeles market. This is a great sign that this practice area is emerging in Southern California, particularly involving licensing for the entertainment field, including new media.
State of the Market Report: Orange County by Allison Wottawa, Legal Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Though sometimes seen as an off-shoot of Los Angeles, Orange County is certainly its own distinct market that caters largely to its wealthy residents and corporations. The area is a combination of satellite offices of major, national law firms along with strong regional firms and smaller boutiques.
Major, national firms are seeking corporate attorneys with at least three years of experience, particularly in the area of debt finance and banking. Those with experience in securities, M&A, and venture capital work are also in demand. Corporate partners with business are also highly sought after by smaller regional firms and top national firms alike.
Primarily smaller, regional firms are seeking mid to senior level litigators with a variety of backgrounds, including insurance and business litigation. National law firms also have a need for complex commercial litigators with deposition/law and motion experience.
The need for patent prosecution attorneys remains steady, though there has not been a strong increase in new openings. Firms are typically seeking junior to mid-level attorneys with an Electrical Engineering degree (or similar), ideally an advanced degree in this area. There is also a small need for those with a Chemistry background. USPTO is required.
Despite real estate being in strong demand across California, there is only a small need for real estate associates in Orange County currently. The firms are seeking someone with Big Law or real estate boutique experience in a variety of real estate transactions. There is, however, a high demand for partners with business in this area, indicating that firms are seeking to expand or develop strong real estate practices in Orange County.
Aside from partners with business, firms are not currently seeking attorneys with backgrounds in employment law, tax, construction, bankruptcy, ERISA/employee benefits, or trust & estates.
State of the Market Report: San Diego by Evan P. Anderson, Managing Director, BCG Attorney Search
San Diego is currently a very desirable employment market. Natural beauty, excellent weather, and an outstanding work-life balance make it stand out above most other markets in California. However, it is one of the hardest markets to get a position in since the hiring tends to be limited to just a few practice areas. In addition, firms are usually looking for attorneys that have ties to the area. Historically, the San Diego legal market has been dominated by corporate transactional and patentprosecution hiring. Throughout 2015, this continued to hold true. In addition, this market is strong for patentagents and technical specialists. In the past year, we've continued to see healthy real estate transactional hiring. If you want to work in San Diego firms, you need to have the California bar, even when working in transactional positions. Longevity at the firm you are currently with (2+ years) is also important.
As in other major US markets, corporate hiring in San Diego is the hottest practice area. Current hiring is predominantly for mid-level candidates with experience in M&A, capital markets, and/or securities. As with other major markets in California, experience in finance is becoming more and more valued. Private equity experience is always considered an asset.
Patent prosecution continues to very strong in this smaller market with an increased need for Life Sciences practitioners. Most of the positions are at the mid to senior level range. Associates possessing Computer Science and Electrical Engineering degrees are still in need. However, firms are clearly in need of attorneys with life sciences degrees, particularly Biology and Chemistry Ph.D. candidates. Attorneys currently practicing at a large AmLaw firm or a patent boutique are the most desirable. Patent agents practicing in the hard and life sciences are also highly sought after in the San Diego market.
Litigation hiring in San Diego is an interesting mix of subspecialties. Unlike other major markets in California where the focus is primarily on complex commercial and business litigation, firms here hire for a mix of practices. There are currently six litigation vacancies in San Diego which include jobs focusing on products liability, construction, and general litigation. AmLaw firms and native San Diego practices are seeking mid-level to senior attorneys to fill these vacancies.
Real Estate hiring in San Diego has remained steady in all of 2015 and this trend is expected to continue into 2016. Larger AmLaw firms tend to seek more junior to mid-level associates (1-5 years) with transactions experience. Smaller, native firms usually seek more senior attorneys (6-10 years). There is an occasional need for real estate finance candidates as well. Transactional candidates need experience in leasing, joint ventures, and purchase & sales. Real Estate Finance candidates need experience in origination of mortgage loans and mezzanine lending.
Hiring in this practice has remained steady since early 2015 and like other IP hiring in San Diego, there is a strong need for attorneys who possess a life sciences degree. Currently, large AmLaw firms are doing most of the hiring and are seeking mid-level life sciences associates. Licensing and M&A experience are always valued.
Throughout much of 2015, there has been a consistent need for senior energy attorneys and energy partners with business in smaller, native firms in San Diego. Those with experience in energy finance and the purchase and sale of energy projects as well as energy regulations such as FERC, CEC and CPUC will garner interviews.
Labor & employment hiring has picked up considerably statewide and has been fairly steady in San Diego for much of 2015. Junior- and mid-level associates with wage and hour experience are frequently in demand. Local firms, both AmLaw and native, are always looking for L&E partners with portable business. Admittance to the California Bar is required.
The following practices have shown little to no activity during most of the year. The cities and regions listed after each practice area below indicate markets where hiring is stronger in that practice.
State of the Market Report: Seattle by Paul Danielson, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
The Seattle of today is both the same and different than the Seattle of the early 2000s, when I went to college just south of the city proper. It has the same Pacific Northwest climate, expansive array of outdoor activities and opportunities, and a progressive political climate. In the intervening 15 years, however, there has been a massive shift in terms of additional population, new real estate development, and an explosive growth in the technology sector that is changing many parts of the city, from its demographic and cultural makeup, to the fundamental basis of the local economy. Opinions are mixed, depending on which of my Seattle-based friends I talk to, but there is no question that the city and region are changing, and booming, with a pace and force akin to a glacier – steady and seemingly unstoppable.
Along with this growth, including a very welcome general recovery from the recession-era years has come a boom in the demand for legal services, and an associated increase in legal hiring. As can always be predicted from general market cycles, real estate, corporate and litigation hiring has grown and continues to remain steady in the center of this current cycle, and the trailing associated services of tax, estate planning and employment litigation positions are now growing following the past couple years of overall business expansion.
If you are an attorney with solid credentials and marketable experience, it is a great time to be making a move within or to the Seattle area.
Litigation hiring continues to be very strong in the Seattle market, although the competition is stronger. Listings disappear almost as fast as they come online, and many recruiting coordinators at firms I talk to say they are overwhelmed with dozens, if not hundreds, of resumes for each open position. Thus, if you are looking to make a lateral move to or within Seattle as a litigator, you need to have top notch credentials, experience, and ideally even some portable business. Construction litigation, insurance coverage, and white collar and securities litigation encompass the practice areas in highest demand for litigators.
Corporate remains hot across the board in Seattle, and hiring demand covers the spectrum for attorneys with experience in venture capital and start-ups, M&A, public company, and securities experience. Finance is less hot, but there are still a number of opportunities. Firms continue to favor transactional candidates with large firm and large deal experience, and top credentials as well as ties to the Seattle area will help your candidacy as a corporate attorney.
After a pause in mid-2015 following a glut of real estate hires in 2014, firms are back to seeking solid real estate transactional attorneys, with some demand for land use experience thrown into the mix as well. If you live in Seattle, or have traveled there recently, this will not surprise you given the rapid pace of new development, and skyrocketing rents and housing prices as the economy continues its upward trend and Seattle remains ever popular as a destination for young professionals.
Hiring in tax, trusts & estates remains very steady, which is great to see. Hiring in these areas always picks up following a long positive trend in the economy, population growth, development, and other sustained business activity, as more companies and individuals seek to strategically adjust to newfound wealth and earnings. Seattle has been and is an increasingly international city, so there is demand on the tax side for both state & local tax expertise as well as international tax transactions. If you have solid experience in these areas, now is a great time to look at your lateral job opportunities.
Hiring in this area has slowed down somewhat, but given its strong connection to a major portion of the Seattle economy, we expect a steady stream of new openings to continue for some time. Licensing and joint venture experience is particularly valuable to Seattle firms.
Slow Practice Areas:
There have been a small handful of listings for patent litigation, patent prosecution, environmental, healthcare and employment attorneys, but not enough to constitute anything that could be called a hiring trend. Attorneys in these areas with very solid credentials and experience should still test the waters, and attorneys with a good book of portable business can always find some interested firms at any time.
State of the Market Report: Portland by Paul Danielson, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
I grew up in Portland, starting in the mid-1980s, and my family still lives there to this day. I visit two to four times a year on average, and it is absolutely remarkable to observe the scale and pace of change and development over the past decade. Things have only accelerated in the past four years, since the very depths of the recent recession, and the city is more populated and busier than ever, whether you are looking at real estate development, traffic, new small businesses, and of course the never ending stream of new restaurants, coffee shops, microbreweries, and other food-and-drink endeavors that have turned Portland into an international culinary destination for enthusiasts worldwide.
Combine the culture with the abundant outdoor opportunities, internationally lauded urban planning and development, and temperate (albeit generally cloudy and rainy) climate, and Portland perpetually remains at the top of local, national, and international lists of cities with the absolute best quality of life available in an urban environment.
Consequently, the competition for jobs, even in a booming and growing economy, remains fierce. Despite the general laid-back vibe of Portland and the Pacific Northwest as a whole, high-status and high-paying jobs, such as those at prominent local, regional, and national law firms with Portland presence, far outstrip the demand relative to the supply. Thus, to lateral within, and especially to break into, the Portland market, you will continue to be required to have stellar credentials, excellent experience, and strong personal ties to Portland and the Pacific Northwest region.
In other words, hiring in the legal industry has continued to increase to support the demand of the growth of business in the city, but given Portland's desirability and national (if not international) exposure, competition for each lateral opening continues to increase.
I hesitate to place litigation in the "hot" category, simply because there may be a steady stream of new listings, but firms are being extremely picky and tedious in their hiring for lateral litigators, with many positions remaining open for upwards of 4-6 months. And this certainly isn't due to lack of supply, since every new litigation opening in the Portland market gets flooded with attorney resumes. Firms seem to know they have the upper hand in the balance of supply-and-demand, and are holding out for truly rock star candidates. No matter your law school credentials, however, if you can bring portable business with you, you will find an open door at most any Portland firm.
Corporate hiring continues to remain strong in the Portland market, and has even picked up a little bit since the summer. M&A experience continues to be in demand, but we are also seeing some job listings looking for securities and finance experience, which is nice to see since it represents a broadening of opportunity for all types of transactional attorneys. Most Portland firms prefer candidates with prior large law firm experience and strong ties to the Portland area.
After a pause in real estate hiring in the middle of 2015, Portland firms are back at it again, seeking solid attorneys with good real estate and land use experience. Attorneys with good land use experience and familiarity with the associated Oregon and Washington laws will have a number of lateral options in the current market.
It was not entirely surprising that hiring would pick up in this practice area following a number of years of strong overall economic growth. This practice area has always been a lagging indicator that things are going well for large companies and/or wealthy families, so it is just a question of when the demand comes to fruition following a boom period. That time appears to be now, so if you have solid tax, trusts & estates experience and have been seeking to lateral within or move to the Portland market, you would be wise to seek out current opportunities quickly.
Slow Practice Areas:
While we have seen a smattering of listings for employment attorneys and patent prosecution attorneys in the Portland market the past few months, this represents the only real activity outside of the practice areas listed above. If you are an attorney in another practice area, including environmental, patent litigation, technology transactions, healthcare, etc., you will need to have patience for those practice areas to pick up again. Unless, that is, you have a portable book of business, and then you should be knocking on the door of any Portland firm. Firms in Portland tend to welcome self-sufficient attorneys with open arms.
State of the Market Report: Las Vegas by Paul Danielson, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Lateral candidates looking to move to the Las Vegas or greater Nevada region should know that Las Vegas firms focus less on credentials, but extremely heavily on practice experience, and you will always have an exponentially stronger candidacy if you can bring portable business with you in a lateral move.
Job listings at Las Vegas firms tend to be very specific in terms of the experience sought, which makes sense relative to the business clientele they are serving. For instance, within the new wave of transactional hiring, general corporate candidates will be somewhat in demand, but attorneys with specific experience in the areas of gaming, construction transactions, franchise, and natural resources law are in particular demand, given that these niche practice areas are over-represented in the Las Vegas market relative to the national legal market.
Las Vegas and Nevada firms generally are also quite insistent on candidates being already licensed in Nevada, or will time their hiring to focus on candidates who are able to take a Nevada Bar exam within one or two months of their lateral move, as Nevada offers no reciprocity with any other state. This is a more lax requirement for transactional candidates, but can be make-or-break for lateral litigation candidates seeking to relocate to Nevada from out of state.
Litigation hiring has slowed somewhat from the blistering pace of this past summer, but continues to be the hottest practice area for hiring and new work in the Las Vegas and general Nevada region. Even though new job listings are frequent, firms are still being quite picky in terms of their hiring, especially when it comes to bar qualifications. With no reciprocity offered, Nevada firms will rarely give a second look to a litigator who is not already licensed in Nevada, or at least awaiting bar results, given the significant decrease in utility of a non-licensed litigator.
There has been a welcome uptick in corporate and transactional hiring in Las Vegas, although somewhat peculiar in that nearly every new job listing is seeking a transactional attorney with expertise in one or another niche practice area. For instance, we have seen mid-level openings for transactional attorneys requiring experience in construction-related transactions, gaming transactions and regulation, franchise law, and natural resources transactions. This makes sense, given the relation between these practice areas to the major sectors driving the Las Vegas and Nevada economies. Solid general corporate candidates should still go for these positions (assuming an interest in performing this type of work), but attorneys with niche experience will likely fare better in the lateral market at present.
With the economy continuing to strengthen in the wake of the recession, Las Vegas is now finally seeing an increase in major real estate sales, leases, and new development that is currently driving demand for related legal services. It was a little surprising how far behind Vegas seemed to lag in this trend relative to the national market, where real estate attorneys have been in high demand for going on two years now, but it is welcome nonetheless.
As with many other smaller legal markets around the country, tax, trusts & estates attorney hiring has finally picked up following the general economic recovery. While hiring in this area is certainly not skyrocketing, if you are a tax, trusts & estates attorney who has been looking to move within or to the Las Vegas market, you may finally start to see some real opportunity.
Slow Practice Areas:
There is little to no demand at present for lateral attorneys in Las Vegas and Nevada in most all other practice areas not listed above, including patent prosecution and litigation, environmental law, IP and technology transactions. There has been the occasional listing for employment and healthcare attorneys, but not enough to consider those practice areas much in demand.
State of the Market Report: Phoenix by Allison Wottawa, Legal Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Phoenix is certainly an ever evolving and growing market. It's comprised with a mixture of major, international firms along with indigenous Arizona and regional firms. There is a strong cross-section of practice areas in this market. Candidates from larger cities tend to do well here, especially if they have a particular nexus or connection to Arizona.
Several major international law firms are seeking strong mid-level to senior corporate attorneys for their Phoenix offices. There is a particular emphasis for those with a background in securities law, though M&A, private equity and joint venture experience is also highly valued. While membership to the Arizona Bar is strongly preferred, well-qualified candidates will likely be considered with the willingness to take the bar.
Both major, national firms and regional firms seek attorneys in the real estate arena, particularly with finance expertise. Mid-level attorneys with three to six years of experience are primarily needed, though firms are also seeking senior attorneys with portable books in this area.
Steady Practice Areas:
Regional law firms are seeking patent prosecution attorneys with at least two years of experience and ideally a background in electrical engineering, though mechanical and chemical engineering will also be considered. There is not currently a demand for patent attorneys with a life science or biology background. Membership to the USPTO is highly preferred.
Regional law firms have a slight need for IP transactional attorneys. This is an interesting development, since this is not typical in the Phoenix market. The ideal candidates have two to three years of experience with a major law firm as well as a background in technology, business, or finance.
Dead Practice Areas:
IP litigation, environmental law, ERISA/employee benefits, construction, bankruptcy, and securities litigation.
State of the Market Report: Colorado by Jamie Bailey, Partner, BCG Attorney Search - Chicago
Partners with Portable Business
We are interested in speaking with law firm partners that have portable business and are looking to move to new firms in Colorado. Firms are generally seeking a minimum of $500,000 in portable business. If you are a partner with business interested in transitioning to a new firm in Colorado, please call our Chicago office.
1-8 years of experience handling tax aspects of commercial real estate transactions, including renewable energy tax credit and low-income housing tax credit transactions. Candidates with real estate lending and federal income tax experience preferred.
2-5 years of experience handling general commercial real estate and finance transactions.
4-8 years of experience in banking and finance and strong commercial real estate background.
With the uptick in commercial real estate transactional deals, we have seen a slight increase in the need for talented environmental and energy associates. We would be interested in speaking with environmental litigators who have excellent experience working with environmental laws, including the Recovery Act, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act. Colorado bar admission is required. Associates with the following skills and experience should contact our Chicago office.
3+ years of environmental litigation experience with federal environmental laws, federal courts and administrative tribunals.
3+ years of experience advising clients regarding the regulatory issues involved in developing new facilities and representing them in the public land use and environmental permitting process.
2-4 years of federal income tax experience in connection with M&A and real estate transactions.
3-8 years of experience handling low income housing tax credits, renewable energy credits, new markets tax credits and historic tax credits.
State of the Market Report: Chicago by Jamie Bailey, Partner, BCG Attorney Search - Chicago
We share the optimism expressed in the National Law Journal's (NLJ's) recent report entitled: The 2015 Midwest Report: Optimism in the Heartland. During this past quarter, corporate transactional practices have been booming and, like the NLJ, we also believe it is stemming from increased M&A, structured finance and real estate deals flowing from the city's strongest business sectors and long-standing public companies. This, coupled with notable mergers between well-known and established law firms, has resulted in some very busy practices in the largest Am Law 100/200, middle market and prestigious boutique firms. With transactional practices flourishing and expanding, there has been a corresponding increase in the need for top tier tax and employee benefits laterals. Intellectual property practices remain the reliable constant, with increased demand for laterals with patent prosecution and technology transactional skills. Although we are still receiving some litigation openings, this is an area in which firms have been largely oversubscribed.
During the fourth quarter, we anticipate a high volume of deal activity and the continued need for talented lateral corporate transactional and finance attorneys. Coupled with this increased volume of transactional deals, we know we will also see the customary movement of partners seeking new homes at year-end into first quarter 2016. We look forward to continuing to service our law firm clients throughout what we hope will be an exciting and profitable fourth quarter for everyone!
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.
1-4 years of experience handling banking/regulatory matters advising bank clients on regulatory and M&A matters.
2-6 years of M&A, private equity, venture capital and securities experience.
3-4 years of banking experience preparing reimbursement agreements, letters of credit, and other financial institutions documents. Familiarity with public finance, municipal finance and securities underwriting is required.
3-5 years of transportation finance experience. (We will consider candidates with transferrable corporate finance skills.)
3-5 years of asset securitization experience representing large financial institutions.
3-6 years of leveraged or syndicated finance.
4-6 years of experience in the investment services area, including 40 Act, Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
5-7 years of experience handling derivative matters.
Tax is an area in which we continue to see significant need, largely a result of the very busy corporate practices. Am Law 100 firms in Chicago with top tax practices are seeking strong tax associates. Top academic records, large law firm experience and LL.M.'s are typically required. We would like to speak with lateral tax associates with the following qualifications:
1-3 years of state and local tax experience.
1-4 years of tax experience in real estate, joint venture and corporate transactions.
2-4 years of federal income tax experience handling M&A and real estate capital markets transactions.
4+ years of international tax, including tax planning for inbound and outbound cross-border structures.
6+ years of estate planning experience. Ideal candidate will have LL.M. degree in tax.
8+ years of experience in estate, income and gift tax planning.
Intellectual Property - IP Litigation; Patent Prosecution; Technology
Like last quarter, Chicago firms are consistently reaching out to us requesting intellectual property attorneys with training in both patent prosecution and patent litigation. We are interested in speaking with candidates who have the following skills and experience. USPTO and advanced degrees in the relevant technologies are most often required.
0-5 years of patent litigation experience and a background in electrical engineering.
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. Hatch-Waxman, biologics, or biotechnology patent litigation required.
2-3 years of patent litigation experience in the pharmaceutical field. Background in chemistry or biochemistry required. Illinois Bar admission required.
3-5 years of intellectual property litigation experience. Electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, computer science and/or physics degree preferred.
0-5 years of experience in patent prosecution matters and a background in mechanical, chemical or electrical engineering.
2-6 years of prosecution experience in the electrical, software or mechanical arts.
4+ years of experience in patent prosecution in the life sciences area and an advanced degree in the biological, chemical or pharmaceutical sciences.
5+ years of experience in patent prosecution and a background in chemistry or chemical engineering.
2-4 years of experience in technology, advertising, social media and privacy matters.
2-4 years of experience handling technology, licensing and outsourcing matters.
Although an area of extremely high demand during the second quarter, the demand for commercial real estate associates has somewhat steadied during the third quarter. We would be interested in speaking with real estate associates who have the following background/skills:
2-4 years of experience in commercial real estate and construction contracts.
3-6 years of experience handling acquisition, disposition, leasing and development transactions.
10-15 years of experience handling purchase and sale, non-recourse mortgage loan documents, title documents and CMBS loans.
1-2 years of experience handling white collar and securities litigation matters.
2-4 years of experience handling insurance/reinsurance matters. Large law firm experience and Illinois bar required.
2-5 years of experience in antitrust litigation.
2-5 years of environmental litigation experience. We would be particularly interested in speaking with associates that have had exposure to environmental regulatory matters, including air, water and waste matters, as well as corporate compliance programs.
3-5 years of experience handling traditional labor matters. Experience with management-side union organizing campaigns, labor arbitrations and NLRB matters is required.
4-6 years of experience in complex discrimination litigation.
State of the Market Report: Indiana by Jamie Bailey, Partner, BCG Attorney Search - Chicago
Partners with Portable Business
Any partners that have portable business we are definitely interested in speaking with. Generally speaking, firms in this market are seeking a minimum of $500,000 in portable business. Partners looking to make a move in this market should contact our Chicago office.
Corporate - M&A; Debt and Equity Finance; Securities; Banking
We would like to speak with corporate and securities partners at the senior or of counsel level who have handled general corporate matters, including M&A, debt and equity financings, recapitalizations, and private placements of senior and mezzanine debt and equity securities. Indiana Bar admission required. We are also looking for a candidate that has this experience:
4-6 years of banking and/or securities transactions.
Firms in the Twin Cities are generally interested in partners with $500k in portables and a solid business plan. Larger firms will require more business and a client base of large clients. Partners who have portable books of business of over $500k in any area of law should call BCG's Chicago office.
We have seen a steady and significant need for Intellectual Property prosecutors. Prosecutors coming from large law firms and demonstrable prosecution skills are the most easily marketed. Attorneys should be admitted at the USPTO. Attorneys with life sciences degrees may find that a Ph.D. or M.A is requested. Firms tend to prefer experience working as a scientist or engineer prior to law school. Those who have worked as patent agents may also have an edge, especially if they have just recently obtained a JD.
Corporate attorneys have been in demand for several cycles, and we continue to see steady demand. Attorneys coming from reputable law firms and with strong academics should find several opportunities upon contacting BCG. There is a need currently for M & A, Securities, and Finance. We have also seen a significant uptick in demand for banking attorneys since spring and summer of 2015.
Commercial Litigation continues to creep up in demand. We are noticing a few new litigation openings since spring and summer of 2015, and remain optimistic that litigation needs will continue to grow. Generally firms are looking for outstanding academics, a solid law firm background, experience handling all phases of discovery, and some ask for hands-on experience in a courtroom setting.
Tax continues to see a slow and steady increase nationwide, including in the Twin Cities. Firms may ask for an LLM, CPA, or both. Outstanding academics are usually required, and firms especially value a law firm background over an accounting firm background.
State of the Market Report: Saint Louis by Julie Lehrman, Senior Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Saint Louis firms continue to see increased activity in several areas, with large and medium-sized firms leading the charge in hiring. We have seen a significant uptick in activity in Saint Louis and its suburbs since this spring and summer. Active practice areas include estate planning, banking, healthcare, corporate, and intellectual propertyprosecution. Attorneys who are not already in the Saint Louis market will be greatly helped if they have a solid reason for wanting to relocate there. The Missouri bar will also help.
Partners with Portable Business
Saint Louis firms generally require $500,000 in portable business at a minimum, and $1M for larger firms. Candidates should also have a solid business plan outlining plans for growth and detailing connections to existing clients. Partners who are interested in opportunities with Saint Louis metro area firms are encouraged to reach out to BCG's Chicago office.
Corporate and Finance
This quarter has seen a slightly increased need for corporate attorneys, including transactional, banking and finance, and securities. Attorneys should have solid law firm training and show increased responsibility with increased seniority. Stellar academics are also important but not absolutely necessary as long as the attorney can demonstrate a sophisticated skill level.
As last quarter, Saint Louis continues to generate demand for attorneys in tax and tax-related fields like employee benefits and estate planning. A CPA or LLM is often requested, and a strong preference is shown for attorneys who have practiced law in these fields in reputable law firms, where they have received practical, immediately transferable skills.
State of the Market Report: Michigan by Julie Lehrman, Senior Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Michigan-Detroit and Surrounding Areas
Summary of Market Trends
Summer has been a very busy time in the Detroit area. We have seen vastly increased demands for attorneys in litigation, labor and employment, corporate, IP prosecution, banking, and tax. Having the Michigan bar always helps in this market, and ties to the area will give you a significant edge over attorneys with no connection.
Partners with Business
Detroit firms tend to prefer a minimum of $300k in portable business, and larger firms may require more. Partners should also have a detailed business plan. Partners with portable business should ask a BCG recruiter in our Chicago office about creating or revising your business plan.
Detroit, Bloomfield Hills, Southfield, Novi, Troy, Royal Oak, Lansing
Litigation has been growing slowly and steadily nationwide. Commercial litigation, antitrust/white collar, construction litigation, and bankruptcy litigation are the areas that we have seen growing in the Detroit area. Because there are still more qualified litigators than jobs, most large firms will only look at attorneys with some combination of absolutely top academics, top law firm, top tier school, federal clerkship, and Law Review. Non-partner candidates should be prepared for several interviews, in-depth reference checks, and multiple discussions of your skills and background.
The Detroit area continues to be a stronghold for Labor and Employment work on both sides of the equation. Both EEO-based employment litigation and traditional labor law are marketable skill sets in this part of the country. A reputable law firm and excellent academics are usually required.
We continue to see cautious growth in this area. The most significant increases have been in tax law, with firms showing a preference for strong law firm backgrounds, LLMs, and CPAs. Federal tax experience generates more interest than state tax law experience. Demand for attorneys with employee benefits and estate planning experience is maintaining steady interest from large and medium-sized law firms as well.
State of the Market Report: Ohio by L. Roger Boord, Senior Attorney Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Ohio offers a number of excellent job opportunities in many common practice areas for both associate and partner candidates. Law firms in Ohio seek lawyers in general corporate, commercial litigation, labor & employment, real estate, health care, trusts & estates and intellectual property (mostly with respect to backgrounds in either electrical engineering or computer engineering/science). We are pleased to report that the uptick in demand for litigation that we have seen in recent months appears to be continuing in Ohio. In particular, commercial insurance defense and labor & employment litigation have shown relatively strong demand within the general litigation category. Litigation practices still tend to draw less interest than certain transactional practices, however, such as corporate and real estate. Corporate, in particular, remains in strong demand. Also showing strong demand are real estate, intellectual property and health care. Some areas, such as ERISA, tax and trusts & estates, appear to be showing less demand, but they still seem to be stable. Overall, the good news is that it looks like this generally strengthening market will continue into next year.
Associate Candidates Factors
Associate candidates from top law schools and with excellent grades will normally find themselves to be in more demand in Ohio (and elsewhere) than candidates who lack these credentials. Ohio law firms will thus carefully review each associate candidate's law school, GPA and class rank. Also of interest to Ohio firms will be the candidate's ability to write. Further, the firms will focus most of their searches on associates with 2-4 years' experience, preferably at a major firm. This means that more senior associates and associates who practice at smaller, less prestigious firms will have fewer options. Of course, a critical factor is how much in demand – or how "hot" – the associate's practice area happens to be. (See evaluation below of relative degree of demand in the major practice areas in Ohio).
Patent Agent Candidates Factors
Patent agents can also find good opportunities in Ohio firms, provided that they have sufficient patent agent experience. At a minimum, a patent agent candidate usually needs 2 years of experience prosecuting patents as a patent agent, preferably in another prestigious law firm, before they will be able to obtain interviews. Also, many Ohio firms require patent agent candidates to be registered with the USPTO. Opportunities for prospective patent agents who lack such experience and USPTO registration will be few and far between. Another major factor is the degree of demand for the candidate's particular technical background. For example, candidates with electrical engineering and computer science/engineering backgrounds will find more opportunities available than candidates with backgrounds that are in considerably less demand, such as mechanical engineering, biotech and chemistry. Finally, like associates, patent agents who graduated from top schools with stellar grades will be favored, as will those who have Ph.D. degrees rather than lesser degrees.
Partner Level Candidates and the Portable Business Factor
Partner level candidates in Ohio (and elsewhere) will find that the most critical factor affecting their marketability is the amount of portable business the candidate can bring to the prospective firm. In general, partner level candidates who do not have substantial portable business will not generate much interest from the law firms. There may be a few exceptions that can be found in the market, particularly for candidates with exceptional credentials in high demand practice areas, such as intellectual property/electrical engineering.
BCG recruiters are very interested in talking with partner level attorneys with substantial portable business. 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. Unlike associates, partner level attorneys with business are not limited to the practice areas and specific opportunities listed by the law firms. Such attorneys can generate interest from Ohio firms in almost any common practice area, even when there is no advertised position available at their level and in their practice area in a particular firm. Experienced recruiters, like those at BCG, are invaluable to candidates who are engaging in the much more complicated searches done by partner level attorneys with business.
Continued strong demand has been seen for corporate and related transactional practices in all four Ohio market regions. General corporate, mergers & acquisitions and securities in particular have generated interest.
As explained above, IP associates and patent agents who possess backgrounds in electrical engineering or computer engineering/science are in high demand. Other technical backgrounds are in significantly less demand. While firms are mostly seeking IP patent prosecution associates, some are also seeking IP litigation associates. As also explained above, there are other important factors that influence the demand for associates and patent agents.
With respect to all four regions, demand has generally been slower for several other practice areas. These include workers' compensation, energy, commercial finance, government contracts and elder law. There is at least some demand in these areas, however.
State of the Market Report: Utah by L. Roger Boord, Senior Attorney Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Many individuals see Salt Lake City as a vacation spot rather than a place to live (especially those who enjoy big mountains and skiing). For this reason, many Utah firms are rather skeptical of candidates from outside Utah who claim they want to get a legal job and settle in the state. Candidates who are presently living in Utah or are from there, or at a minimum have significant family contacts in the state, are more likely to receive a warmer reception from Utah firms. Moreover, Utah firms normally require that candidates already be admitted to the Utah Bar. Accordingly, candidates who are not from Utah should have a very good reason to provide to law firms as to why they want to go there.
As has typically been the case, the intellectual property practice area produces the most demandfrom Utah law firms. As with Ohio (and elsewhere), the technical backgrounds that are in most demand for both associate and patent agent candidates are electrical engineering and computer engineering/science. Again, patent agent candidates usually need to have at least two years of patent agent experience and be registered with the USPTO. Other areas that generate at least some demand in Utah include mergers and acquisitions, venture capital and securities. While the demand for specialized litigation is not strong, there is some for more general commercial litigators. Also, like firms in Ohio and elsewhere, law firms in Utah will have a strong interest in partner level attorneys who have substantial portable business.
State of the Market Report: Philadelphia by Margaret Gilleran, Senior Recruiter - East Coast, BCG Attorney Search
Philadelphia's legal market continues to lag behind other markets on the East Coast in terms of hiring activity among firms. While Boston and New York continue to boom, especially for corporate transactional attorneys, Philadelphia is not demonstrating anywhere near the same levels of hiring activity as those other cities. The reason may be because Philadelphia had a very strong year for hiring in 2014, and firms may simply be sated at the present time. However, there is some activity in Philadelphia and the openings tend to be in litigation, real estate, and of course – like its sister East Coast cities – corporate.
There is some demand in Philadelphia for litigators. The demand is particularly acute for litigators with 3 to 5 years of experience who have specialized in one of the following areas: product liability, insurance coverage, healthcare, construction law, and professional liability. It is imperative for litigators to have highly developed skill sets; experience with taking and defending depositions, arguing motions, and significant drafting experience are key. If you are a litigator who has 3 to 5 years of substantial experience in a niche practice area, then you may want to consider commencing a search.
The demand for real estate attorneys has remained steady in Philadelphia throughout 2015. Generally, firms are seeking real estate attorneys who have 2 to 5 years of experience. Real estate attorneys who have finance experience are the most coveted by firms. The next most sought after group of real estate attorneys are those who have very strong real estate transactional experience (e.g. purchase and sale transactions.) Real estate attorneys who have development and/or land use experience are probably the least in demand. The demand is steady (and has been steady since late 2013) so if you are a real estate attorney who is less than thrilled with your current position, you may want to explore the market.
Corporate law is experiencing a resurgence nationwide that has not been seen since pre-2008. Unfortunately, while there are corporate openings in Philadelphia, it is not experiencing the hiring frenzy we are seeing in other major U.S. cities. Corporate attorneys with 3 to 5 years of experience are the most in demand; and the type of experience sought varies. Attorneys who have experience with capital markets and M&A are probably the most in demand; however, attorneys with finance and private equity experience are also being sought by the firms. Very senior corporate attorneys (e.g. attorneys with 7+ years of experience) are not generally in demand by the firms in the sense that firms do post positions for these attorneys; however, a senior candidate – especially one with very good experience – can have success in this market because corporate practices are busy and are therefore willing to consider less "traditional" candidates.
Intellectual Property Law
The demand for IP attorneys in Philadelphia remains flat. Patent litigation – especially in New York – is booming; and it is especially strong for patent litigators with life science backgrounds. It is odd that Philadelphia, which is in such close proximity to New York, is not yet experiencing an uptick in this area, particularly when you consider that the life science sector is usually fairly strong in Philadelphia. Patentprosecutors are not faring any better than patent litigators in Philadelphia, and the demand there is equally flat. Given the activity in other East Coast cities, like Boston and New York, for IP attorneys, we believe that the Philadelphia IP market will come to life for the last quarter of 2015.
It is worth noting that last quarter in Philadelphia there was an increase in demand for mid and senior level associates with executive compensation/employee benefit experience; and now the need is beginning to trickle down to more junior ERISA associates with 1 to 3 years of experience. Typically, these ERISA openings are to support M&A practices; they are not "stand alone" ERISA practices. In fact, we are probably seeing an increase in ERISA positions due to the increase in M&A activity.
State of the Market Report: Washington, D.C. by Robyn Ginsberg, Senior Managing Director - East Coast, BCG Attorney Search
We continue to see the same high demand for litigation associates in DC as we began to see at the start of 2015. The strongest demand is for candidates with commercial litigation, general litigation and/or antitrust experience. We are seeing less demand for candidates with specialized experience in product liability, consumer finance litigation and financial services litigation than we've seen in recent months. However, it is still unclear how demand will shift as we enter the last quarter of the year. As always, when it comes to litigation hiring, the focus is still on top law firm experience, excellent academics, and ideally candidates with federal clerkship and/or law review experience.
The corporate market continues to be busy in DC. The majority of demand is at the mid-level, with firms primarily seeking candidates with M&A, private equity, securities and / or capital markets experience. We are also seeing some requests for candidates with finance experience (structured finance, leveraged finance, acquisition finance, etc.), as well as candidates with investment management expertise. Because demand for corporate associates is consistently high and supply is consistently low, some firms are willing to be a bit more flexible when it comes to seniority and/or law school credentials, but top law firm experience and a solid skill set are still priorities for firms.
DC lateral hiring is holding steady in key practice areas such as corporate law and patent prosecution. Thus far the litigation hiring trend remains in effect, making this an optimal time for litigation associates to contemplate a lateral move. We expect to see some shifting trends as we enter into the last quarter of the year and fully expect that some of the DC stronghold practices – such as energy, international trade and project finance – will show more lateral activity.
As is the case across the country, the demand for corporate and real estate attorneys is quite strong in Boston. And because Boston has traditionally been the center of the biotechnology industry, firms are alwaysseekingstrongintellectualproperty attorneys. Showing signs of life for the first time in a long time last quarter is litigation, and the need for white collar and securities litigation associates is a humbly healthy one. There is not as much of a demand for tax. This is surprising because this is a support for transactional work, which is doing very well. Other areas that remain slow are ERISA (also surprising given the strength of the M&A market), employment and bankruptcy.
It is a very good time to be a corporate associate in Boston, and if you are looking to make the move here from another market, or to "upgrade" your firm, now is a good time to apply because the need for transactional associates with strong credentials and meaningful experience is so strong. Corporate associates who are at the 3-5 year level are in high demand (as is usually the case) but, so, too, are more senior folks with 5-7 years' experience. Firms are also taking interest in even more junior candidates with 1-2 years of experience because they simply have so much work to be done. Practice-wise, Boston's finance work is quite strong, as is M&A. A whole slew of other areas are almost equally as strong-private equity, capital markets and investment management.
Boston's being home to so many biotechnology companies keeps the firms here busy and intellectual property candidates typically fare well. Patent prosecutors are in much greater demand than patent litigators, as was the case last quarter. The demand for those with a life sciences background – particularly Organic Chemistry, Biotechnology and Biochemistry is always very strong, and the greatest demand is for those with 2-5 years of experience. As was also the case last quarter, though, the demand for associates with Electrical Engineering and Computer Science backgrounds has increased dramatically. This is a relatively new and welcome trend with the needs here beginning to rival those in Northern California. Boston has expanded beyond its biotechnology and pharmaceutical roots and is now home to a number of technology companies as well. There are openings for other backgrounds such as Mechanical, Physics, and Chemical Engineering, but these needs are fewer.
USPTO registration is a requirement and firms across the board prefer advanced degrees. In fact, it is atypical for firms to interview candidates who hold only a B.S. unless the Bachelor's Degree was earned with high honors from a top-ranked school.
The real estate market is very strong in Boston. The associates in highest demand are those with between 2-6 years of experience, but there are also openings for more senior folks with 7-8 years of experience. The specific areas in demand are: real estate investment funds and capital markets; and acquisitions/dispositions, leasing and development, with the need for associates with real estate finance experience being slightly greater.
It has been a long time coming, but I am happy to report there are some really vital signs that litigation – if not fully back – is on its way! Litigation was hit especially hard in 2008's credit crisis, and the lateral hiring market has remained virtually nonexistent since then and until very recently. In Boston, there is a healthy demand for junior-to-mid-level corporate associates with white collar, government investigations, and securities litigation experience.
There are a handful or so of tax openings, and the practice area remains surprisingly slow (we would expect this transactional support practice to be stronger since the corporate market is so very strong now). The demand in this area is for associates with 2-5 years of transactional experience, especially in federal tax aspects. We are seeing strength in numbers around the country in this area, and with corporate doing so well in Boston, we believe it is just a matter of time before tax will pick up strongly in Boston as well.
Equally surprising in its slowness, given the strength of the transactional market, is ERISA. Not surprisingly, with corporate going so strong, bankruptcy is very quiet.
What is happening in the Boston market is often reflected in New England as a whole. The areas that are busiest in New England are the same as the ones going strong in Boston – corporate, intellectual property, and real estate. There are a healthy number of business litigation openings, while tax and ERISA are still a bit quiet.
State of the Market Report: Kansas City, Missouri by Julie Lehrman, Senior Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
General Market Trends
We have seen a bit more activity in the Kansas City area since spring and summer of 2015 in such diverse areas as real estate, IP prosecution, and financial services/banking. We will continue to monitor these upturns for the next cycle. Kansas City firms strongly prefer attorneys with significant ties to their geographic area, MO and/or KS bar admission, and experience with a reputable firm.
Partners with Portable Business
Many Kansas City firms prefer at least $500k in portable business, although some will look at partners with smaller books if there is a business plan that demonstrates a specific plan for growth. Partners who would like assistance in creating a business plan or would like to discuss opportunities in the Kansas City area should call the BCG Chicago office for more information.
State of the Market Report: Texas by Suzanne Dupree Howe, Managing Director for Texas and the Southeast, BCG Attorney Search
Texas remains one of the hottest transactional markets in the country. Mergers & acquisitions remains a terrific area for lateral candidates looking to make a move. Firms have even shown interest in top-flight junior candidates with strong academics looking to make a practice area switch. Specifically, private equity positions are abundant and we have a number of transactional energy positions, as well. We've also seen a minoruptick in litigationpositions this summer, especially in Houston.
Candidates coming from out of state usually enjoy the high associate salaries that Texas firms pay coupled with a low cost of living and temperate climate. Texas firms are very open to out-of-state laterals, as well. Many Texas firms like to see candidates who have received training at a DC or NYC firm.
Corporate remains the golden child here in Texas with opportunitiesthroughoutthestate. The vast majority of our needs are for corporate candidates right now. As I mentioned, our greatest need is in M&A, with a number of specific private equity requests. We do have securities needs and general corporate positions as well.
We have been a bit light in tax positions, but given how hot the corporate transactional market is here in Texas, manyfirmsare willing to look at strong tax candidates at any time. Candidates with LL.M's in Taxation from NYU, Florida, and Georgetown usually get the most traction.
Litigation has not been a blockbuster practice area in Texas for the entire time I've been Managing Director in Texas (now nine years). However, strong candidates canalwaysgettractionprovided they have great credentials and a healthy amount of patience. Candidates with a judicial clerkship tend to fare the best.
There has been a dramatic fall-off in IP litigation opportunities in the last two years in Texas, due the diminishment in patent filings in the Eastern District of Texas. However, we do regularly getstrongopportunities. Patent prosecution has remainedverystrong in Texas, with many firms needing candidates with a wide variety of technical backgrounds. Electrical Engineering remains our strongest need, but we see a wide variety of technical needs on an ongoing basis.
This has been a consistentlystrongpractice area in Texas, with needs across the state in every major city. Employment litigation candidates are consistently in demand, and firms will tend to look at senior candidates in this practice area, which makes it a little unique.
Transactional attorneys with stellar academic and firm credentials remain in high demand in Atlanta. The need for corporate and real estate transactions associates is highest at the 2-6 year level of experience but, because firms have so much work, some are willing to look at even more junior candidates with only a year under their belt. Within corporate, the areas in which there is strong demand are: finance (and specifically debt finance); M&A; capital markets; and securities disclosures and offerings. Junior-to-mid-level financial services and banking & finance associates are also in healthy demand. The lateral market for real estate and real estate finance attorneys continues to be quite strong for those with 2-6 years of experience with real estate finance and in the areas of acquisitions/dispositions and development.
As transactional remains strong, so does the demand for associates in the support practice of tax. Those with 2-4 years of experience with M&A and real estate capital markets transactions, and who hold an LLM in tax from a top program are the ones in greatest demand. Surprisingly, the deal support practice of ERISA/employee benefits has slowed greatly, and here again, those mid-level associates holding an LLM in tax/employee benefits from a highly ranked program will fare best.
A welcome new trend is that litigation is showing signs of life (it's been a long time coming!) and there are actually a number of firms seeking associates with 2-4 years of business litigation experience from top firms and schools.
State of the Market Report: North Carolina by Suzanne Dupree Howe, Managing Director for Texas and the Southeast, BCG Attorney Search
We have had a myriadofneeds in North Carolina recently that have really run the gamut. Litigation has been one of the hotterpractice areas recently, especially in Charlotte. Finance is ALWAYS a hot area in Charlotte, with very consistent needs. In this regard, Charlotte firms really like to see Finance experience working in New York City.
State of the Market Report: Florida by Margaret Gilleran, Senior Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Litigation remains strong in Florida, and the rest of the nation is taking Florida's lead on this front, which is wonderful news for litigators nationwide. The practice areas within litigation that are the most in demand in Florida are as follows: foreclosure, insurance coverage, and consumer finance litigation. Florida firms tend to be very concerned with an attorney's experience, and are oftenseeking attorneyswho havesubstantial experience taking and defending depositions, arguing motions, and even participating in trials. Florida firms place a premium on litigators' interpersonal skills too, and this focus may be because so much of the litigation in Florida is "hands on", and attorneys must be effective communicators. Litigators who are bilingual, speaking fluent English as well as either Spanish or Portuguese, have a distinct advantage in the Florida market.
Intellectual property does not comprise a significant portion of the Florida legal market, and whereas litigation generally is very busy in Florida, patent prosecution is busier than patentlitigation in Florida. It is a little odd because nationwide patent litigation is busier than patent prosecution. Within Florida's overall patent market, both litigation and prosecution, attorneys with technology degrees, like Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, are more in demand than attorneys with life science backgrounds. Again, Florida is a little bit out of step with some other major markets, most notably New York, where the demand for attorneys with life science degrees has been greater than the demand for attorneys with technology degrees throughout 2015. Lawyers with 2 to 5 years of experience are the most coveted group, and attorneys who have advanced degrees have a definite advantage.
Corporate is booming nationwide and, relatively speaking, it is booming in Florida as well. The majority of corporate positions are in Miami; however, there has been more corporate activity across all of Florida during the last quarter. Corporate demand in Florida is centering on attorneys with M&A, securities and finance experience; and there are a number of opportunities for more senior attorneys, i.e., attorneys with 7+ years of experience. Attorneys who are bilingual with either Spanish or Portuguese as their second language have a definite advantage.
Other practice areas such as tax, labor and employment and trusts and estates have remained steady during the last quarter; and real estate remains slow. However, attorneys who practice within these areas who have excellent credentials and experience will be able to find new positions because the market in these areas is not entirely flat. Likewise, if an attorney within these practice areas has excellent credentials and experience and a book of business, then it is certainly worth commencing a search because firms everywhere are always trawling for talent and a portable book of business. It is imperative to note that Florida firms, unlike firms in other parts of the country, usually require membership to the Florida bar before they will even look at a resume. Thus, if you are thinking about commencing a search in Florida, you must obtain membership to the Florida bar.
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