The most active area in San Francisco is corporate. Associates at all levels (though primarily 3-6 years) are in demand in this hot market! While the need for M&A remains strong, there is also a particular demand for those with emerging companies, venture capital, securities, and finance. It should be noted that the positions that are specific to finance related corporate work (secured and unsecured transactions, lending, and banking) have seen a specific uptick. Since firms seem to be no longer holding this area to their East Coast (namely New York) offices due to clients’ demands, this trend will likely continue well into 2016. Corporate is so popular that firms are willing to accommodate relocations with decent credentials, even if the candidate does not yet have the California Bar.
Real estate continues to be in tremendous demand in the Bay Area. Firms are primarily searching for attorneys with at least three years of law firm experience, though there is also a desire for senior attorneys (7+ years) in this market, demonstrating the popularity of this area. Those with a background in sophisticated financial transactions have an advantage here (real estate secured loans, acquisitions and dispositions, and leases). This is another area where firms will likely consider relocations, even if the candidate does not yet have the California Bar.
The market witnessed an increase in labor/employment positions in the Bay Area in the last quarter of 2015. Top law firms (AM LAW 100) as well as regional and California firms are seeking employment attorneys with at least two years of experience. There is a more prominent need for more senior associates, however (4-6 years seems to be the sweet spot). Firms are prioritizing a wage and hour class action background as well as deposition experience. We are also seeing an increase in firms seeking experience in employment compliance and counseling.
Both major AM LAW 100 firms as well as regional firms are seeking tax attorneys at the junior, mid-level, and senior level. This is the most active tax market that we’ve seen in some time. Experience in general transactional tax matters is most desirable, though we are seeing a small demand for controversy. An LL.M. in Tax and/or a background in accounting is preferable to firms.
Steady Practice Areas
Though not as popular as prosecution, the need for IP litigators is relatively steady. Major, international firms are seeking mid-level IP litigators (most openings for 2-4 years) with a technical background. The majority of the positions call for someone with an undergraduate or advanced degree in Electrical Engineering or Computer Science. There is a limited need for those with experience in life science matters, including Hatch-Waxman/ANDA litigation. Membership to the USPTO is preferred.
While we’ve witnessed a slow down in this area recently, IP/Technology Transactions was one of the most active areas of 2015 in Northern California. I believe this need will continue into 2016 with an emphasis on software/hardware licensing in the entertainment and social media space as well as in life science, including biopharmaceutical and medical devices. A technical background is preferred, but not always necessary. Attorneys with a strong background in either M&A or licensing are in demand. Data privacy, a designation often included in IP transactions, is certainly a specialty on the rise. Candidates coming from a position in-house will also be considered for these roles.
There is a demand for ERISA/Executive Compensation attorneys with a couple of major, national law firms in San Francisco. Though there are not usually an immense amount of openings, this area is specialized, so an attorney with the right experience should do well in this market. Firms are generally seeking attorneys with at least two years of experience in advising private and public companies on sophisticated employee benefits and executive compensation matters.
Though we are seeing more activity in litigation recently, the area is still relatively slow. Firms that are seeking litigators are primarily seeking those with a specialty. Firms are currently seeking litigators with experience in internet/privacy, complex litigation (securities/white collar crime), health care, and construction. Those seeking positions in litigation should have deposition experience to be competitive. Membership to the California Bar is necessary.
State of the Market Report: Silicon Valley by Harrison Barnes, Managing Director, BCG Attorney Search
Silicon Valley is the technology hub of the country. Firms in this area are at the forefront of trends and often dictate how the market will look across the U.S. in the coming months. Technology related matters, including emerging companies/venture capital work, patent law, and IP transactions are the leading specialties for firms in this locale. While there are a plethora of opportunities in these areas, Silicon Valley is also one of the most competitive markets in the country for other practice areas.
While corporate law is arguably the most popular area throughout the country, this is especially true for Silicon Valley. AM LAW 100 firms are seeking primarily mid-level corporate attorneys with experience in emerging companies, venture capital, M&A, securities, and finance. While some of these positions are focused on one particular area (particularly emerging companies or securities), several firms are seeking attorneys with experience in all or most of the listed specialties. This market is so strong that most firms will consider relocations, even if the attorney does not have the California Bar. Firms will likely move quickly to snag attorneys with good credentials in this area.
This specialty has been among the strongest areas of 2015, and this is especially true for Silicon Valley. Unless there is a “bubble,” this trend will definitely continue well into 2016. A technical or scientific background is beneficial and attractive to firms, but not required. Firms prefer attorneys with strong experience in technology related M&A matters and/or software/hardware licensing. There is a need for candidates with a background in electrical/computer as well as life science matters.
Patent attorneys are in high demand across Silicon Valley with AM LAW 200 firms, regional firms and IP boutiques. This practice is certainly a stronghold for this location and the first quarter of 2016 will not differ from this. Firms are primarily seeking mid-level attorneys (highest demand is for those with 2-4 years of experience). Those with a technical advanced degree in Electrical Engineering or Computer Science are the most sought after. There are a few openings for patent attorneys with a degree in life sciences. USPTO membership is essential.
Top law firms as well as regional entities are seeking patent litigators with a technical background across year levels. Attorneys with a degree in Electrical Engineering or Computer Science are highly valuable. Firms also appreciate those with practice work experience in the field of their technical expertise. There is a limited need for attorneys with a life science background.
Top-tier law firms as well as labor boutiques are seeking mid-level employment attorneys throughout Silicon Valley. Most of the opportunities are for attorneys with 4-6 years of experience, though there are some junior openings as well. This area is so hot that some firms will likely consider more senior attorneys that are willing to be viewed as mid-level. Firms are prioritizing experience in management-side employment litigation and counseling (termination, leave of absence, and trade secrets). Many of these opportunities involve working with early stage technology companies. California Bar membership is highly preferred. Competitive attorneys should have deposition experience.
Primarily major, international (AM LAW 100) firms are seeking tax attorneys. The emphasis is on transactional tax (M&A, specifically), though there is some demand for controversy as well. Multiple firms are seeking attorneys with international tax experience, including cross-border transactions. An LL.M. in Taxation is a definite plus.
There is a steady, if not strong need for ERISA/Executive Compensation attorneys with top-tier firms in Silicon Valley. Firms are primarily interested in mid-level attorneys (3-5 years is the sweet spot) with experience in equity compensation for public and private companies, M&A transactions, and associated tax and securities law matters.
There is a limited need for litigators in Silicon Valley. Those firms that are seeking litigators prefer those with experience in securities litigation or internet/privacy litigation. Candidates must be a member of the California Bar.
Dead Practice Areas
Environmental, Bankruptcy, Energy, Insurance, Project Finance, and Trust & Estates
State of the Market Report: Los Angeles by Paul Danielson, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Los Angeles is one of the West Coast’s major legal markets, and as such has an incredibly diverse selection of firm sizes and practice areas for lateral attorneys of all levels. Many top European and traditionally East Coast AM LAW firms have been making an aggressive push to expand their West Coast presence, and Los Angeles is a major target for lateral partner hiring and the accompanying associate expansion in multiple practice areas, particularly transactional practices such as real estate, M&A, and corporate finance. Though there is still a long way to go to catch up to San Francisco and Silicon Valley in the technology sector, Los Angeles is rapidly expanding on both the business and legal side in technology transactions, patentprosecution, venture capital, and emerging companies. Transplants from the busy New York and Chicago corporate markets will fare especially well in the current hiring climate.
Litigation is generally a steady practice area – when something goes wrong in any transactional practice area, the result is usually some sort of litigation. However, during the past 3-6 months, we have seen litigation come back stronger than it has since at least 4-5 years ago, at least in terms of the number of job listings. That being said, hiring is still extremely competitive, as the supply of litigators on the general market continues to remain in excess of demand, and thus firms still have the luxury of interviewing a very large number of candidates and taking their pick of candidates with excellent credentials, local ties, and solid experience. Particularly in a major market like Los Angeles, candidates will need to have standout credentials and/or highly sophisticated experience, particularly deposition and trial experience, if they seek to garner multiple interviews. Having expertise in a litigation sub-practice can also help, with the strongest demand in construction, insurance coverage, product liability, and personal injury litigation experience. Mid to small size firms especially seek to hire candidates with solid niche practice area experience. The CA Bar is a must for litigation candidates.
Real estate continues to be an extremely in-demand practice area in Los Angeles, which is no surprise considering the market is booming with significant domestic and foreign investment in major office and residential projects in most every neighborhood in the city. If you are an attorney with solid real estate, real estate finance, or land use experience, and have ever considered moving to or switching firms within Los Angeles, you should make a go at it now while your opportunities will be at their most plentiful.
It will slow down at some point, but right now, the demand for corporate attorneys in Los Angeles remains heavy, particularly for mid-level corporate associates with solid large firm experience in M&A and finance, and to a slightly lesser extent in securities and capital markets.
If you are looking to move to the Southern California region and you are an attorney with solid labor & employment experience, Los Angeles should be your focus. There are numerous opportunities here at all levels of experience for attorneys with solid credentials and experience in wage & hour matters, class actions, and single-plaintiff employment litigation.
Steady Practice Areas
Though not typically considered a strong patent market, Los Angeles has been expanding rapidly in this area over the past couple years, notably in the “Silicon Beach” area in and around the Venice neighborhood. The vast majorityof opportunities will be available only to patent agents and attorneys with backgrounds in computer science and electrical engineering, but there are occasionallife science openings to solid candidates with Ph.Ds.
There is a lot of money in Los Angeles, and a good deal of it is in private hands. As a major international city, there is no shortage of wealthy individuals, families, and business owners in the city. They frequently seek the services of top-level tax and trusts & estate attorneys. An LL.M. always helps, and law firms strongly prefer candidates lateraling from another law firm rather than an accounting firm, although we have seen a few exceptions to this general rule.
State of the Market Report: Orange County by Paul Danielson, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
While not a huge market by any means, Orange County has a very respectable representation of offices from top Am Law firms, as well as a good number of regional mid-size and solid boutique firms, primarily working for clients on corporate, real estate, and intellectualpropertymatters. With a reputation for quality schools and a safe residential environment, Orange County can be particularly appealing to attorneys with families.
Following the trend we are seeing across the broader legal market, there has been a significant uptick in demand for litigation attorneys, with the caveat that it is generally the smaller local and regional firms who are seeking litigation candidates, and most often seeking a particular type of experience such as products liability, construction, healthcare, and insurance coverage. Deposition experience is key, and trial experience is highly desired. A number of firms have also been seeking bilingual litigators, particularly attorneys fluent in Spanish or Korean.
Patent prosecution has been very much in demand in Orange County for quite some time. As is the case with most every other market around the country, demand is heavily focused on attorneys and patent agents with degrees in the hard sciences (Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, etc.), and experience with computer software and hardware technologies, as well as wireless technologies. Life sciences candidates should have an advanced degree, preferably a Ph.D., and portable business always helps. Across the board, firms will require USPTO registration, and at least 2-3 years of solid patent experience, preferably with a law firm.
Transactional work remains steady in Orange County, and attorneys at all levels with solid experience in M&A, finance, capital markets, and securities from large law firms will fare well in terms of lateral opportunities.
Real estate is not quite as red hot as it has been the past 1-2 years, however demand remains solid, and any good mid-level real estate attorney with large deal experience will still find multiple opportunities in the Orange County market, even when there are no active job listings.
Labor & Employment
Labor and employment attorneys will see a good number of opportunities in Orange County, especially those with experience in wage and hour matters, and class action experience is particularly in demand. There is less of a demand for counseling and traditional labor matters.
There have been a good number of listings for tax, trusts & estates attorneys, which is a fairly normal trend following on the heels of a couple years of solid economic growth for large companies and at the top-end of the earnings spectrum. Given that Orange County has a wealthier demographic relative to many areas of the country, it is no surprise that firms are busy in this practice area.
Slow to Dead Practice Areas
There were a smattering of openings in the areas of trademarks, patent litigation, ERISA, Executive Compensation and Employee Benefits, and no openings in other areas, including bankruptcy (which has been slow for some time now), environmental law, technology transactions, and healthcare. Orange County has traditionally not been a hotbed for these practice areas, so attorneys seeking a lateral move should look north to Los Angeles or south to San Diego in the Southern California region.
State of the Market Report: San Diego by Paul Danielson, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
San Diego is one of the most sought-after destinations for attorneys seeking a lateral move to the West Coast. With nearly perfect weather, abundant outdoor opportunities, and a generally relaxed, laid-back lifestyle, San Diego is attractive as a place to live for obvious reasons. It naturally follows that the job market in San Diego is intensely competitive, given its relatively smaller size when compared with the other major California markets (LA, San Francisco, Silicon Valley), and the fact that salaries typically match or come very close to matching the major market salaries, especially at top law firms. Any attorney seeking to make a move to or within the San Diego market must have stellar credentials, the California Bar, and ideally substantial local connections.
The San Diego market always requires the caveat that a “hot” practice area still means that candidates seeking to lateral to or within San Diego must possess exceptional credentials and/or solid credentials and experience with very strong ties to the local area. San Diego is a highly desirable market due to the combination of lifestyle and major-market salaries, and the resulting competition for available jobs makes this market as competitive as any in the nation. Litigation openings are as numerous as they have been within the last 4-5 years, yet even very strong litigation candidates will face strong competition for available interviews. Portable business, federal clerkships, and top Am Law experience will help, as well as significant expertise in niche litigation practice areas such as construction, products liability, and insurance coverage litigation.
San Diego is a significant market for patent prosecution practice. Even though the San Diego area is quite well known for having a significant concentration of research and business in life sciences, the current patent prosecution market is still heavily dominated by demand for practitioners with technical backgrounds and experience in electrical engineering and computer science, which tracks with the nationwide trend in patent prosecution over the past couple years. Candidates with EE or CS degrees, and especially advanced degrees, can expect to see solid interest, although firms have become much more demanding in terms of the level of prior experience required for lateral hires. Life sciences candidates should at least possess a master’s degree in their field if they are expecting to see interest from firms, with the highest trending demand being for advanced degrees in chemistry-related fields.
Corporate demand remains strong in the San Diego market, with the caveat that the smaller size of the market means relatively fewer opportunities by the numbers for would-be lateral candidates. Demand remains highest for mid-level candidates and partners with portable business, with an emphasis on experience in M&A and finance, with demand also remaining relatively steady for capital markets, securities, private equity, and emerging companies experience. Corporate candidates with top law firm experience from other major markets typically see a lot of interest from San Diego firms.
Demand for real estate attorneys has slowed down based on the number of new job listings in the past quarter, yet solid real estate attorneys, especially those at the mid-level, will still see significant interest from firms, even prospective interest from firms who do not have a formal real estate opening listed. If you are a real estate attorney with solid experience from a major firm, it is still an excellent time to make a move to San Diego.
Opportunities for corporate attorneys in Seattle outpaced those for litigators this quarter, with numerous openings for attorneys having 3-7 years of M&A, finance and securities experience. Licensing in Washington is highly preferred but not necessarily required, though in some instances membership in both Washington and Oregon will advance your candidacy, along with experience in a sophisticated firm and specialized practice such as real estate, the hotel industry, and intellectual property.
Although litigation fell slightly behind corporate in hiring since our last report, opportunities for Seattle litigators remain very strong. Because competition among litigators is fierce and firms are exceptionally selective in this area, candidates with the best odds of making lateral moves are those with 2-5 years’ experience and clerkship experience, law review, outstanding academic credentials, deposition and trial experience. Commercial litigators, those with white collar experience and a US Attorney or other federal agency background, employment and insurance litigators are most frequently sought by firms. Membership with the Washington bar is virtually a must for litigators, though candidates may be eligible for admission by motion if they meet state requirements.
Just slightly behind the demand for litigators is that for attorneys with transactional real estate backgrounds. Attorneys having 2-5 years experience in commercial leasing, purchase and sales and financing found and continue to have numerous opportunities this quarter, while there is some interest in candidates having joint venture and development experience. Membership in the state bar is frequently though not always required, and there is often preference for candidates with a California bar membership.
Steady Practice Areas
After a sluggish period, there has been a sharp uptick in hiring for patent attorneys (and agents), most frequently those having electrical engineering, computer science or physics degrees. Candidates with substantial experience preparing patent applications, responding to Office Actions and client counseling are in high demand in Seattle at this time. USPTO registration is generally required, while Washington bar membership is less essential but strongly preferred.
Hiring remains consistently strong for tax candidates, while demand for trusts and estates has dropped somewhat since our last report on Seattle. Tax attorneys with LLMs are in high demand as are those with federal and state experience and candidates having AM LAW 100 firm experience. Trusts and Estates candidates with experience ranging from 1-10+ years are sought, while candidates who are CPAs, have LLMs, and offer portable business definitely have the edge in the market.
Slow Practice Areas
There have been a handful of opportunities in IP/tech transactions, patent litigation, environmental, employment and healthcare, though the latter are steadily picking up momentum with the start of the new year. Attorneys with outstanding credentials and experience who wish to transition should find opportunities, and those with solid portable business will always find firm interest at virtually any time.
State of the Market Report: Portland by Christina Brown, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
With its robust growth over the past decade, particularly in the last several years, Portland’s legal market has grown to service the acceleration of business and overall economic development. With all that Oregon offers in terms of culture, outdoor activities, and climate, there is ever increasing competition to break into the Portland market or make a lateral transition. Firms continue to be highly selective, seek candidates also barred in Washington and other states, and to favor those having strong local ties.
Candidates with outstanding academic credentials, significant practical experience, and portable business are the most desirable candidates.
Litigation continues to lead in listings, but Portland firms remain leisurely in hiring candidates, with positions remaining open for six months and more.
Firms are most often seeking attorneys with 2-5 years experience in matters running the gamut from commercial, employment and insurance, to antitrust and internal investigations.
Aside from outstanding academics, candidates with judicial clerkships, trial experience, and membership with the Washington bar will often have an edge. Membership in the Oregon bar is almost always required.
Corporate listings continue at a steady pace in the Portland market since the fall. M&A and finance are most in demand for candidates with 3-5 years’ experience, with slight demand for those having formation and corporate governance, venture capital, securities and franchising backgrounds. While Oregon bar membership isn’t necessarily essential, firms frequently seek candidates with large law firm experience.
Hiring in real estate has slowed somewhat since the fall, but firms are seeking real estate candidates with land use, commercial leasing and development experience. Candidates with prior large law firm, law review, and complex document drafting experience are preferred, as well as any candidate offering portable business. Firms favor candidates having membership not only to the Oregon bar, but also in Washington and in some instances California.
State of the Market Report: Las Vegas by Christina Brown, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
In our last State of the Market Report,litigators dominated the Nevada market. We noted that firms sought litigation candidates at a fevered pace over the summer, with hiring cooling slightly heading into the fall as firms opened hiring into other practice areas.
Breaking with the tradition of slowing their hiring over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, firms this season have instead steadily continued to hire highly-qualified candidates, with litigators leading the field far ahead of any other practice area. As we close out 2015, we have also seen firms on the lookout for patent prosecution attorneys irrespective of whether candidates have the Nevada bar.
While Nevada firms have historically been unbending in requiring that candidates be state licensed (Nevada not sharing reciprocity with other states), certain practice areas are now in such demand that Nevada bar licensure has been omitted or is simply “preferred,” incredibly, in a few job postings, even for Las Vegas litigators. In place of the Nevada bar, in certain instances firms require USPTO registration and/or advanced scientific degrees.
Lateral candidates seeking to transition to Nevada should be aware that firms focus less heavily on academics than practical experience, including law review, moot court, judicial or other clerkships and internships, and courtroom experience. Needless to say, any candidate bringing portable business or a well-crafted business plan to introduce business to the firm will have a considerable edge over other candidates.
Once again, litigation leads the pack as by far the hottest practice area in the Las Vegas and Reno markets. Apart from any potential partner candidate who offers significant portable business (minimum $200,000), the most sought after candidates are those having 2-5 years of experience in business and commercial litigation, with construction also being popular. By and large, litigators must have the Nevada bar, practical courtroom and deposition experience, and the strongest candidates (particularly junior candidates) will have federal clerkships, law review, and trial advocacy experience. Big law experience is also likely to give any candidate an added advantage.
The fall brought an increase in corporate hiring, particularly in niche areas including construction, gaming, franchise law, and natural resources. This trend has largely continued, with firms seeking mid to more senior candidates whose expertise includes these areas along with licensing and health care experience. Portable business is valued along with large law firm experience in some instances over Nevada bar membership, as several firms indicate mere “preference” for Nevada state bar members.
The Las Vegas economy has steadily been on the upswing, with the third quarter of 2015 seeing office vacancy at its lowest, completion of new commercial and residential space, and a spike in the asking rate. Although Vegas lagged behind its market counterparts in filling real estate attorney positions to service this expansion, real estate attorneys with four or more years of transactional commercial real estate experience are most in demand, with some firms also seeking real estate litigators.
December brought an uptick in the number of positions available to patent prosecutors irrespective of their Nevada state bar membership. Firms sought patent prosecutors with electrical engineering, mechanical, computer and life science degrees, particularly those with Ph.D.’s. Although Nevada firms for the most part do not require Nevada state bar membership, USPTO registration is frequently a “must have” along with significant practical experience.
The market for tax, trusts & estates attorney hiring remains steady but hardly booming, since gaining speed in the late summer and fall. Candidates with more than three years experience in estate, tax and business planning saw a rise in opportunities, in some instances even without Nevada bar licensure.
Slow and Dead Practice Areas
There is little to no law firm demand for lateral attorneys in Las Vegas and Nevada in most other practice areas apart from than those mentioned above, including employment, white collar crime, environmental, or bankruptcy law.
State of the Market Report: Phoenix by Christina Brown, Legal Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Phoenix is a diverse and expanding market, with an array of national, regional, and local indigenous firms. Candidates from large cities fare well in Phoenix, particularly those with a strong connection to Arizona. Although most firms require membership in the Arizona bar, this is less burdensome given the potential of admission by motion. Firms also favor experience from AM LAW 100 firms and candidates having judicial clerkships, law review, and appellate experience.
Litigation has picked up considerably since the fall, with firms of all sizes seeking litigators primarily in the 3-5 year practice range. Insurance defense and construction defect along with business and commercial litigation were particularly active, with firms valuing trial experience, depositions, and appellate work.
The corporate transactional market remains strong, with major firms seeking primarily 3-6 year candidates for their greater Phoenix area offices. Candidates with strong experience in M&A, securities and finance are most highly sought, though experience in corporate governance and formation, joint venture and private equity, and IPO experience is also highly valued. Although membership to the Arizona Bar is not as essential as with litigators, the most preferred candidates have or are qualified to become members of the bar, whether by admission by motion or sitting for the bar exam.
Toward the end of 2015, multiple firms began seeking mid to high level health care practitioners, specifically those with 5-15 years of experience in transactions and litigation, including Stark, Anti-Kickback, HIPAA, Medicare and Medicaid, compliance and regulatory law. Portable business is a plus (if not essential) for senior attorneys, as well as experience representing sophisticated clientele such as physicians, practice groups, hospitals, and long-term care facilities. Litigation skills should include strong drafting abilities, taking and defending depositions, and arguing dispositive motions in health-care related litigation.
National and regional firms continue to seek experienced real estate attorneys, particularly those with leasing and finance experience. The experience level sought ranges from 0-6 years, though firms are always seeking potential partners with portable business.
Another area that remains very steady is patent prosecution for attorneys with a minimum of 2 years experience with a degree in electrical engineering, physics, or computer science (though chemical and mechanical engineering degrees are also considered). USPTO registration is nearly always required, while membership in the Arizona bar is less essential.
There is some need for employment attorneys in national, regional and local firms both in counseling and litigation. Firms are seeking attorneys with a minimum of 3 years of experience to partner level attorneys having portable business of at least $150,000.
Dead Practice Areas
Environmental law, ERISA/employee benefits, 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 partners with portable business who are seeking to lateral to new firms in Colorado. Generally speaking, firms are seeking a minimum of $500,000 in portable business. If you are a partner with business interested in transitioning to a new firm in Colorado, please call our Chicago office.
Law firms in Denver are reaching out to us on a daily basis with associate needs in the following areas:
1-5 years of experience in technology, licensing, outsourcing, internet and e-commerce transactions. Large law firm experience required and Colorado bar preferred.
3-6 years of experience in data protection and privacy transactions.
1-3 years of experience in patent prosecution and a background in chemical engineering. Pharmaceutical experience required. Masters in organic or medicinal chemistry required. USPTO and CO bar are required.
1-5 years of patent prosecution experience and a background in mechanical engineering or physics. USPTO is required.
2-5 years of experience in patent prosecution and a background in biology or chemistry. USPTO is required.
2-6 years of patent prosecution experience and a background in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, computer science, or computer engineering. USPTO is required.
3-6 years of experience in labor and employment litigation. CO bar is required.
State of the Market Report: Chicago by Jamie Bailey, Partner, BCG Attorney Search - Chicago
As we mark the end of 2015, we are encouraged by the surge in transactional work in corporate and real estate practices across the Midwest this past quarter across the Midwest, and the corresponding need we have witnessed in employee benefits and tax. Law firms are busy and projecting heavy need as we head into first quarter 2016.
We wish everyone a healthy and happy new year!
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.
Law firms in Chicago are reaching out to us on a daily basis with associate needs in the following areas:
Corporate – Finance; Banking; Investment Management; Private Equity; M&A and Joint Venture; Securities; Venture Capital
1-3 years of experience handling general corporate transactions.
1-4 years of corporate finance experience in leveraged leasing, mezzanine finance, project finance, private equity and equipment finance matters.
2-6 years in banking and finance matters. Experience with structured and/or leveraged finance transactions representing lenders, borrowers, issuer and/or underwriters is required.
2-7 years of general corporate, M&A and securities experience.
3-4 years of experience representing issuers in ’33 Act and ’34 Act matters. Experience with REITs is a plus.
3-5 years of transportation finance experience. Candidates with corporate finance skills in the areas of commercial lending, project finance, structured finance, equipment finance or secured finance will be given consideration.
3-5 years of experience handling private funds transactions, including private equity funds, real estate funds and alternative investment vehicles.
3-6 years of M&A, private equity, and venture capital experience.
4-6 years of experience handling lending transactions.
4-6 years of investment services experience. 40 Act experience is preferred.
4-6 years of experience handling cross-border transactions.
4-6 years of experience with mezzanine debt investment transactions and private placement transactions. Experience with LBO and acquisition financing is preferred.
1-4 years in patent litigation experience and a computer science, electrical engineering or physics background. Advance degrees are preferred. IL bar admission or ability to sit for the IL bar is required.
2+ years of patent litigation and a background in biology, chemistry, pharmaceutical or biomedical matters. IL bar and USPTO are required.
2-3 years of experience in biotechnology patent litigation matters. USPTO is required.
3+ years of patent litigation experience and background in cellular biology, immunology, molecular biology, pharmaceutical sciences, genomic, or biochemistry. USPTO is required.
3-5 years of patent litigation experience handling ANDA and BPCIA litigation. Background in molecular biology or organic chemistry and IL bar are required.
4-7 years in pharmaceutical litigation. Hatch-Waxman experience is preferred. IL bar is required.
5+ years of patent litigation experience and a background in chemistry or chemical engineering. USPTO is required.
1+ years of experience in patent prosecution matters and a background in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering or chemical engineering.
4-6 years of experience in patent prosecution and a background in electrical engineering, computer engineering, mathematics, computer science, or physics. USPTO and IL bar are required.
1-3 years of experience in technology and licensing.
2-5 years of experience handling technology, licensing, outsourcing, internet and e-commerce matters. Large law firm experience and IL bar are preferred.
2-4 years of experience handling global employment aspects of cross-border transactions. Large law firm experience and IL bar are required.
3-5 years of experience handling traditional labor and NLRB matters.
6+ years of experience handling EEOC charges. Single-plaintiff employment litigation experience and IL bar are required.
7+ years of experience in complex discrimination or class action discrimination litigation.
State of the Market Report: Indiana by Jamie Bailey, Partner, BCG Attorney Search - Chicago
Partners with Portable Business
If you are a partner with portable business we are interested in speaking with you. Generally speaking, firms in this market are seeking a minimum of $500,000 in portable business. If you are a partner that has portable business and you want to make a move, please contact our Chicago office.
Senior corporate and securities associates 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.
3-5 years of experience handling transactional employee benefits matters.
4+ years of experience in executive compensation matters.
6+ years of experience handling ESOPs.
State of the Market Report: Wisconsin by Jamie Bailey, Partner, BCG Attorney Search - Chicago
Milwaukee and Madison
Partners with Portable Business
If you are a partner with portable business we are interested in speaking with you. Generally speaking, firms in this market are seeking a minimum of $500,000 in portable business. If you are a partner that has portable business and you want to make a move, please contact our Chicago office.
Law firms in Milwaukee and Madison are reaching out to us on a daily basis with associate needs in the following areas:
Generally speaking, Minneapolis/Saint Paul law firms will want to talk to partners who have at least $500k in portable business. AM LAW firms may require $1M or even more. Partners with any amount of portable business are strongly encouraged to contact the BCG office in Chicago to learn about opportunities in the Twin Cities.
Corporate attorneys remain a hot commodity in the Twin Cities. Those with strong law firm backgrounds are especially sought after. The most common practice areas being requested are M & A, securities, corporate finance, and private equity. We expect that these demands for highly qualified corporate attorneys will continue into the New Year.
Patent Prosecution continues to generatesteady demand in the Twin Cities since summer. Experience independently prosecuting patents in a reputable law firm or corporation is almost always a must. Also, a candidate must already be admitted to the USPTO. Firms especially seeks those attorneys with Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering or Computer Science backgrounds, but we have also seen Mechanical Engineers getting more interest. We’ve also seen a slight increase in demand for life scientists, especially those with pharma and biotech backgrounds.
Since the spring of 2015, we have been closely watching markets for increases in litigation needs. This quarter made it clear that the growing demand we have been observing, though small, is not a fluke. For the third quarter in a row, we are seeing commercial litigationmaking a comeback. Litigators should have top credentials, plus hands-on experience in a top law firm, operating as independently as possible for their class year. Trial work, depositions, and discovery are especially sought after skill sets.
Needs in these practice areas continue to grow. Title VII litigation and counseling are more in demand in these cities than traditional labor, and the attorney should have as much experience in both for the class year as is possible. Employee benefits attorneys are also seeing a small increase in demand. Experience with a reputable law firm is almost essential for employee benefits attorneys.
The Twin cities continue to generate some moderate need in healthcare and real estate. We expect the trend to continue.
State of the Market Report: Saint Louis by Julie Lehrman, Senior Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Like other smaller cities, we have seen a slow but steady rise in demand in Saint Louis in corporate law, tax, commercial litigation and IPprosecution. Traditionally a conservative market, Saint Louis firms are selective when hiring, and are willing to wait for the right fit. Any attorneys coming from another city should have a strong connection to Saint Louis, as firms in the city are sometimes reluctant to relocate someone who may leave after a few years.
Partners with Portable Business
Partners with any amount of portable business are encouraged to speak with the Chicago office of BCG to learn about opportunities in Saint Louis. For those partners in need of a business plan for marketing purposes, we will be happy to assist in helping you draft your plan. Those with at least $500k in portables should be marketable to mid-sized and larger firms, while the largest firms may require $1M or more in well-documented portable business.
Corporate and Finance
This market continues to generate a strong demand for excellent corporate lawyers. The most robust areas are M&A, securities and corporate finance. A background in an excellent law firm handling sophisticated transactions can create an opportunity for an ambitious attorney to move to a more prominent firm.
Saint Louis has historically been, and continues to be, a steady draw for excellent IP lawyers, with several excellent law firms servicing prominent clients. As everywhere, Electrical Engineers and Computer Scientists are the most in demand, but life sciences appear to be slowly picking up as well. Attorneys with solid experience in a reputable law firm (this includes IP boutiques) with patent prosecution experience are the most marketable. USPTO admission is always required.
Attorneys with solid law firm experience are very in demand at the moment. Attorneys who are practicing at accounting firms will find it harder, but those with some law firm experience should contact BCG’s Chicago office. Federal tax is the most sought-after, and senior attorneys in this practice area are just as marketable as mid-level attorneys, as there seems to be plenty of senior-level tax work. Firms, especially larger ones, prefer an LLM or CPA.
This area has most certainly picked up somewhat during 2015, and continues to do so. The area is not our hottest area, but after years of next to nothing in the way of activity, we welcome the amount we are seeing. We are very hopeful that 2016 will be a great year for commercial litigators. MO bar admission or eligibility for waiver is required.
State of the Market Report: Michigan by Julie Lehrman, Senior Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Law firms in the Detroit area will sometimes talk to partners with a little as $300K in portable business. Larger firms will often require a larger book. Partners who have $300K+ in documented portable business are invited to contact BCG’s Chicago office for further information.
Detroit, Bloomfield Hills, Southfield, Novi, Troy, Royal Oak, Lansing
The Detroit area has a continued and steady demand for patent prosecutors with technical backgrounds in electrical engineering, computer engineering, and computer science, as well as a smaller demand for mechanical engineers and life scientists. Attorneys should be practicing with an excellent law firm where they get hands-on experience. USPTO admission is required for patent prosecutors, and industry experience as a scientist or engineer is also considered valuable by law firms.
Corporate, Including Finance and Banking
While this quarter has not generated an increased need for corporate lawyers, the demand remains steady and solid. Those with experience in banking, corporate transactions, and securities are the most marketable in the Detroit area.
Commercial Real Estate
Commercial real estate, like corporate law, while not necessarily experiencing an upswing, is on a solid trajectory. Commercial real estate attorneys who have demonstrated transactional experience should find a receptive legal market in Detroit.
State of the Market Report: Ohio by L. Roger Boord, Senior Attorney Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Very good job opportunities can be found in Ohio for both associates and partners in a wide variety of practice areas. These areas include general and commercial litigation, intellectual property, corporate, real estate, health care, trust & estates and ERISA. While the recent slight increase in demand for litigation appears to be continuing, that practice area remains in the slump that has plagued it for years. Nevertheless, there are opportunities in litigation to be found in Ohio, particularly in general commercial litigation, insurance defense and labor & employment litigation. Transactional practices continue to garner greater demand than litigation, especially in areas such as corporate and real estate. Also demonstrating solid demand are intellectual property (including for patentagents) and health care. Other areas, such as ERISA, trusts & estates and tax, are not as hot as corporate and real estate. But they still are drawing fairly decent demand.
Associate Candidates Factors
There are several important factors that affect the chances that individual associate candidates will be able to successfully find good jobs in Ohio firms. Among these factors are the associate’s core credentials, such as prestige of law school and grades/class rank. As elsewhere, associate candidates from highly rated law schools and with stellar grades and class ranks will be of greater interest to Ohio firms than associates who have less impressive credentials on their resumes. Also of importance to Ohio firms is the strength of the associate’s legal writing ability. Associates who come from prestigious firms and/or have judicial clerkships will typically be favored over those who do not. Of further critical importance is the level of experience of the associate. Most firms seek associates with approximately 2-4 years' experience, preferably at a major firm. Consequently, more senior associates and associates who work at smaller, less prestigious firms will have fewer opportunities.
In addition, how "hot" the demand happens to be for the particular associate’s practice area in the current market will also be a major factor. Thus, as noted above, corporate associates will generally have more interest in their skills than litigation associates because of the relevant degree of demand in those two major practice areas. The market also tends to favor more specialized experience in one particular practice area, rather than associates who appear to be more of a “generalist” or “jack of all trades.” Associates who seek to change their primary practice area while moving to another firm will find that firms normally will not hire attorneys who lack sufficient experience in the particular area that they are searching for, although associates with stellar credentials are sometimes able to become exceptions. But in general, the rule remains that Ohio firms want associates who are thoroughly familiar with the relevant practice area and can “hit the ground running” at a new firm.
Patent Agent Candidates Factors
There are also excellent opportunities for patent agents in Ohio firms. But there are several factors that will affect their success as well. For example, they will normally need substantial patent agent experience in order to secure an interview. Typically, Ohio law firms require at least 2 years of patent agent experience. Such experience is usually defined as preparing and prosecuting patents, preferably in another law firm. The more prestigious the law firm, the better. Another important factor is registration as a patent agent with USPTO, which is also required by many Ohio law firms. Patent agent candidates who lack patent agent experience and/or USPTO registration will have major difficulties finding “entry level” opportunities in the law firms. Another key factor is the current amount of demand for the candidate's particular technical background or specialty. For example, candidates with backgrounds in either electrical engineering (“EE”) or computer engineering/science (“CE/S”) will generally be in much greater demand than most other types of technical backgrounds, including mechanical engineering, biotech and chemistry. Lastly, patent agents who graduated from prestigious schools with impressive grades will also be of greater interest to Ohio law firms, all else being equal. The same will generally be true of candidates who have obtained Ph.D. degrees rather than lesser degrees.
Partner Level Candidates Factors
The most important factor affecting partner level candidates in Ohio (and elsewhere) is portable business. Specifically, firms generally require more senior attorneys to bring with them a “book” of loyal clients that will generate a sufficient amount of legal work to keep the senior attorney fully busy, and preferably to provide work to junior attorneys as well. Put another way, associates are generally hired to do preexisting work that needs to get done. Partner-level candidates are typically expected to bring their work (and more) with them. What this means in general is that law firms will have virtually no interest in more senior or partner level candidates who do not have substantial portable business. There are occasionally exceptional opportunities for more senior attorneys that do not require portable business. One example is an “of counsel” position, which is typically used for senior attorneys in a high demand specialty who lack the business to become a partner. Nevertheless, the great majority of law firm opportunities for partner level attorneys will be reserved for those who can make rain. While there may be other relevant factors for this group, including prestige of law school and current firm, they are generally subservient to the dominant portable business factor.
For these reasons, partner level attorneys in Ohio who do have substantial portable business should contact BCG’s Chicago office to learn about the options available to them. “Substantial portable business” is defined as a minimum of $300K in estimated fees generated in the first year for the smaller Ohio firms and $1M+ for the bigger firms. Unlike associates and patent agents, attorneys with business are not limited to openings and needs advertised by the law firms. Highly experienced recruiters, like those at BCG, are of great value in assisting candidates with business in finding these “hidden” opportunities, as well as in generally conducting their more complex job searches.
The Four Major Regions of Ohio's Legal Market
Ohio’s legal market is divided into four geographic regions. The first is Columbus, which is both the state capital and Ohio's biggest city. Consequently, Columbus is also Ohio's single largest legal market. The second region covers Cleveland, which is the second largest city in the state. The third largest city, Cincinnati, is the third region. The fourth and last region covers every city in Ohio outside the three largest cities. These smaller Ohio cities include Toledo, Dayton and Akron. Below is a summary of the general level of demand for each major practice area in each of these four regions. For more information, please contact our office in Chicago.
Corporate and Related Transactional Practices
As noted above, demand continues to be strong for corporate and related transactional practices in all four regions. Of particular interest have been attorneys with practices in general corporate, mergers & acquisitions and securities.
As noted above, Ohio law firms are especially interested in IP associates and patent agents who have specialties in EE or CE/S. Other technical backgrounds are in substantially less demand. These include biotech, chemistry and mechanical engineering.
As noted above, litigation appears to be making a slow comeback after a long slump. Particular interest in general commercial litigation and insurance defense litigation has been seen inallfourregions.
Labor & employment litigation has been garnering significant interest acrossthestate. There is also some decent interest in ERISA.
With regard to all four regions, demand has appeared to be less vigorous in several other practice areas, but it is there. These areas include commercial finance, elder law, workers' compensation, government contracts and energy.
State of the Market Report: Utah by L. Roger Boord, Senior Attorney Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Salt Lake City has long been a favorite destination for lovers of outdoor activities such as camping, skiing and mountain climbing. Utah firms, however, are not welcoming to attorneys who are interested in Utah for this or similar reasons. Utah firms thus tend to be very skeptical of attorney candidates who come from outside of Utah seeking to find a job and move to the state. In addition, they expect that all candidates be already admitted to the Utah bar. Of course, these obstacles do not exist for candidates who are currently living and working in Utah. Similarly, outside candidates who are from Utah, or at least have significant family contacts there, may receive a better response from Utah firms. Having a spouse that just received in a major job in Utah may also be an acceptable excuse. In short, outside candidates will normally need to provide a very good reason as to why they want to move there if they want to get an interview from a Utah law firm.
Of course, Salt Lake City is a much smaller legal market than most. In general, however, intellectual property generates more demand than any other practice area in Utah. As with Ohio (and elsewhere), EE and CE/S are the technical backgrounds that are in the highest demand for both associate and patent agent candidates. Also as in Ohio and elsewhere, patent agent candidates usually need to have at least two years of patent agent experience and be registered with the USPTO before they will be considered by Utah firms. Other areas that produce at least some demand in Utah include corporate and litigation. For corporate, most interest appears to be in mergers and acquisitions, venture capital and securities. For litigation, general commercial litigation appears to generate the most interest, although litigation as a whole is still fairly slow in Utah, as it is elsewhere. As for partner level candidates, Utah firms are essentially the same as firms in Ohio and the rest of the country in showing a very strong preference for candidates who possess substantial portable business.
State of the Market Report: Philadelphia by Margaret Gilleran, Senior Recruiter - East Coast, BCG Attorney Search
The legal market in Philadelphia is not as busy as other East Coast legal markets. Boston and New York continue to outpace hiring in Philadelphia, especially in corporate, real estate, and patent litigation. As noted previously in the Fall State of the Market Report, the Philadelphia market was very busy in 2014 and so there may be a natural lag occurring in 2015. However, it is important to note that some practice areas are active in Philadelphia, and the openings tend to mirror – albeit to a lesser degree – what is happening in other East Coast cities. Litigation is experiencing a tentative resurgence, and corporate and real estate attorneys are probably the most in demand in Philadelphia.
Litigation was hit very hard in 2008, and it is only in 2015 that firms really began to hire again in litigation. Philadelphia – like other East Coast cities – is benefiting from this trend, although the demand in Philadelphia tends to be in specific niche areas of litigation like professional liability, insurance coverage, product liability, and construction law. Generally, firms are interested in meeting with litigators who have 3 to 5 years of experience, and there is a growing demand among firms throughout the East Coast to prefer candidates who have significant drafting experience. It is almost as if firms still feel uncertain about hiring in litigation so that if they are going to make a hire, they want to make it count, i.e., hire an attorney who will add value immediately. If you are litigator who is considering making a move, then it is imperative to demonstrate via your resume that you have a lot of deep and substantive experience.
Real estate is busy throughout the East Coast. It is odd because, while real estate was the hardest hit in 2008, it was the first practice area to really make a comeback, and it has remained busy. Generally, real estate attorneys who have between 2 to 5 years of experience are the most in demand. However, even much more senior real estate attorneys are finding positions. It may be because firms virtually stopped hiring in real estate for several years after 2008, and now with the significant increase in the number of real estate transactions, firms need to revitalize their real estate ranks. Attorneys with real estate finance experience are the most coveted by firms, followed by attorneys who have significant real estate transactional experience. Development and land use attorneys are a distant third, but even in this area, there are opportunities. The moral of the story is that if you are a real estate attorney in any East Coast city and you are considering making a move, it is an excellent time to commence a search.
Corporate law is booming across the country, and hiring is particularly frenetic in New York and, to a lesser extent, D.C. Philadelphia is not experiencing this type of activity; however, there are corporate openings in Philadelphia. Generally, firms are interested in attorneys with between 2 to 5 years of experience, although firms are interested in more senior attorneys, i.e. attorneys with 7+ years of experience, too. The corporate areas that are probably the busiest are capital markets and M&A followed by finance and private equity. Despite the fact that Philadelphia is not as busy as New York or D.C., there is still ample opportunity if you are a corporate attorney who is considering your options.
Intellectual Property Law
Unfortunately, the demand for patent attorneys in Philadelphia did not get busier in the last quarter. It is an anomaly because intellectual property is very busy across the nation; and it is particularly busy in New York which is – at least geographically – very close to Philadelphia. Moreover, both patent litigation and prosecution are slow in Philadelphia. If you are a patent attorney who is not satisfied with your current situation, then you might consider relocating to New York, where patent litigation – especially for life science candidates – and prosecution are booming.
State of the Market Report: New York City by Katy Anderman, Managing Director, BCG Attorney Search
The New York City market continues to hold its position as the busiest and most active attorney job market in the nation. With over 200 AM LAW 200 job openings open this month, we continue to see lateral opportunities in the areas of corporate, real estate, bankruptcy and intellectual property. Lately, we are seeing a significant uptick in real estate, corporate and finance positions. Unfortunately, the litigation market in New York remains stagnant in terms of growth and opportunities for general litigation positions at the associate level are extremely competitive. Overall, BCG's statistics confirm that law firm hiring is holding steady in early 2016 with the majority of the jobs centering on corporate/transactional work.
Mid-level candidates with strong M&A, debt finance, securities, securitization and investment management skills are in high demand by big law firms in New York City. Highly sought out candidates are those with two years of corporate law firm experience. Candidates with 3-6 years of experience will fare even better. Investment management candidates with in-house experience at funds or asset management firms will be able to secure interviews at law firms, if they are looking to make the transition.
We have seen a slight increase in real estate positions in NYC in the last six months. Law firms are focusing on those with real estate finance and lending and/or investment fund experience. Traditional real estate candidates are also in demand and all real estate candidates must have a few years of experience. The more senior associates will see a greater number of opportunities available.
We have noticed an uptick in the need for tax associates and counsel attorneys at both big law firms and boutique firms. Senior tax associates/counsel candidates with significant corporate tax experience (but without business) have been in demand. Candidates with tax backgrounds have also been able to make the move to corporate fund formation, ERISA and T&E positions.
The job market in NYC is very stable, robust and growing in some areas. However, the market continues to be one of the most competitive markets in the nation. If you are considering a move, consult a recruiter to put your best foot forward and act quickly, as these jobs are not staying on the market for very long.
State of the Market Report: Washington, D.C. by Nadeen Weybrecht, Esq., Recruiter - East Coast, BCG Attorney Search
As the year closes out, the DC market remains as it was for much of 2015, with its hottest practice areas being corporate, litigation, and patentprosecution. This final quarter of 2015 finds hiring trends to still have been a bit slower in DC than in New York. However, the DC market is still more active than other East Coast cities and we expect for 2016 to bring with it an even greater increase in hiring in DC.
Corporate associates remain in extremely high demand in DC. The majority of demand is at the 2-5 year range, with firms seeking candidates with traditional corporate experience in the areas of M&A, private equity, securities and/or capital markets experience. What is trending is a high demand for associates with more specialized in the areas of investment management; fund formation; and banking. Along similar lines, we are continuing to receive requests for historically “New York practices” such as structured finance, leveraged finance, and acquisition finance. And while the greatest demand is for junior-to-mid-level associates, because the demand for corporate associates is so high, some firms are willing to be a bit more flexible when it comes to seniority where one has strong firm and academic credentials.
The hiring trend that we welcomed last quarter is continuing in full effect and we have a fairly healthy demand for litigation associates in the 2-5 year range. About half of the positions are for commercial litigators and half are for those with specializations in the following areas: white collar and government investigations; international arbitration (foreign languages being a plus here); financial services; health care; and, in the growing hot area of privacy and data protection. As has always been the case in D.C., firms are interested in top tier law firm experience and stellar academics. Additionally, many firms place a great deal of importance on federal clerkship and/or law review experience.
The demand for patent litigators in DC continues to be lesser than for their prosecuting counterparts. Where there are openings, they are primarily for mid-level associates with life sciences backgrounds, particularly in the areas of biotechnology/biology and chemistry, and preference for advanced degrees – usually at the PhD level – remains.
State of the Market Report: Boston/North East by Becca Levine, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Corporate work in Boston remains strong, but there appears to be less demand for corporate associates than this time last year. The most in demand area in Boston is in the intellectual property practice area, and in particular patent prosecution attorneys with a science background, from chemical and biological to electrical and mechanical engineering backgrounds. While there is some growing demand for litigation work, this demand is less than in other areas, and in most cases is for junior to mid-level associates with white collar or intellectual property experience. There are very little openings in the last quarter in the restructuring market, but some life in ERISA and employment work. Trust & Estates and tax work is more in demand in the mid-size firm market, and less in demand at the larger law firms.
The trends described below relating to Boston also appear to be true in the North East as a whole, with similar demands in areas such as Rhode Island and Maine, but certainly due to the differing size of the markets, there would naturally be fewer openings in a pure numbers comparison.
There are some openings in Boston for litigators, and the market remains steady in this area. However, the majority of the openings are for junior to mid-level (no more than 5 years’ experience) to specialize in the areas of intellectual property litigation, business litigation, or white collar litigation, among other areas. Most firms are looking for attorneys at this level who have already developed a strong litigation skill set, including deposition and drafting experience. Recently, we have been seeing more demand at the larger law firms for general commercial litigators, so this is an area to look out for in the near future if you are looking for some traction in this area. For more senior attorneys, however, the demand continues to be low, but certainly a candidate can break through for the right position.
A large majority of the large law firms in the Boston area are looking for corporate associates in a wide range of specialties, from M&A to fund formation/investment management, to capital markets work to leveraged finance and banking issues. While the market continues to be healthy in this area, there appears to be less demand than the similar time period last year when there was a strong wave of demand for corporate work across the country.
Real estate continues to be strong throughout the country, and the market in Boston in this area is no exception. As a general matter, firms are looking for attorneys with between 2 to 6 years of experience with significant real estate transactional experience, including financing, lending and leasing issues. If you fit into this niche, now is a really great time to consider starting your search. Certainly, a strong real estate senior associate looking to transition from a smaller or mid-sized firm might get some interest at the larger law firms with the right background and experience.
This area remains the most in demand in the Boston area, which is not surprising given the strength in this area for many years, especially biotechnology work. However, we are also seeing significant demand for the hard sciences, from electrical engineering and computer science backgrounds to mechanical work. The demand ranges from smaller to mid-sized firms all the way to the larger Boston law firms. If you are interested in this area and are thinking about Boston, now is a very good time to apply to these positions.
These areas remain stagnant like they were last year, with a handful of tax openings as well as some interest in ERISA and employment experience, with most of the demand on the ERISA side coming from the larger law firms, and less from smaller to mid-sized firms. In tax, we are seeing more traction at more mid-sized firms, but certainly not a huge demand on either end. With a specialty in trust and estates in Boston, there are a good amount of firms looking for this experience, both in the Boston area and in surrounding areas in Massachusetts.
State of the Market Report: Kansas City, Missouri by Julie Lehrman, Senior Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
In Kansas City, this quarter has brought growth in corporate, litigation, healthcare law, IP prosecution, and IP litigation. Like Saint Louis, attorneys applying from other cities should have a solid reason for moving to Kansas City, since firms there are reluctant to hire someone with no ties to the area.
Partners with Portable Business
The Chicago office of BCG is happy to answer questions about Kansas City firms from partners with significant portable business. In many cases, mid-size and even some larger firms will speak to attorneys with $500k in business. If you need help formulating a business plan or future marketing strategy, we are also happy to help in that process.
State of the Market Report: Texas by Suzanne Dupree Howe, Managing Director for Texas and the Southeast, BCG Attorney Search
The second half of 2015 was strong in Texas, despite some slight indicators that the economy might be changing. Corporate remains the strongest practice area in the major markets of Texas, despite a slight reduction in deal work due to lowered energy prices. We also saw an incredible surge in Finance positions. The increase occurred first in the Dallas market and then surged in Houston at the very end of the year.
M&A and Securities remained strong throughout 2015, but it wasn’t what we saw in 2014 and 2013. We noticed firms being more selective about candidates towards the end of the year, but it was still a very active market. Private Equity candidates were in high demand, especially in Dallas.
As I mentioned above, Finance positions spiked dramatically in the latter part of 2015. We have many positions currently available. It might be a good time for candidates with related practice areas to market themselves into a Finance role.
This practice area has remained very slow, though we did have a handful of opportunities throughout the year for mid-level associates. We expect this area to increase, because with the low price of oil, many of the smaller energy companies have become distressed, leading to strong creditor work.
Patent Litigation hasn’t seen hot levels in the last few years. But it’s still a strong practice area, given Texas’s permanent status as a significant technology hub. Most of our needs have been for candidates with Electrical or Software backgrounds. We have worked on several partner searches for patent litigators this year, and there seems to be quite a few firms looking for depth in the partner ranks.
We’ve noticed a demonstrable increase in Trademark positions across the country and that has included Texas. This would be a great time for a lateral Trademark candidate to make the move they are seeking.
Transactional Energy candidates were less in demand this year than last year likely due to falling energy prices, but it was still a healthy practice area. We also worked on quite a few energy litigation searches this year. The energy litigation side is a hot area due to the price of oil dropping and immense upheaval in the upstream sector with attendant defaults and failed contracts.
This was one of the strongest years for Commercial Litigation that I’ve seen in some time. Though I still would not call this area hot, it has been a good market. Firms generally like to see strong academics and judicial clerkships, as well as the Texas Bar. Out of state candidates should generally start creating movement on gaining Texas licensure.
2015 saw Nashville maintaining strength as a market with a good number of openings in several different practice areas including health care, corporate, employee benefits/ERISA, IP and IT transactions, and real estate. Nashville firms are appealing to those seeking to take advantage of a Southern platform – and lower billing rates – from which to service their clients. Even as a major Southern city and tourist destination, Nashville still boasts a low cost of living, an exciting music scene, good food, and a terrific culture. Firms here like to see candidates with ties to the area.
State of the Market Report: Louisiana by Suzanne Dupree Howe, Managing Director for Texas and the Southeast, BCG Attorney Search
The hottest practice area, by far, in Louisiana is Litigation. Litigation has consistently been one of the safer bets for practicing attorneys in the state, as there always seems to be an abundance of work. For law firm consideration, the Louisiana bar is almost always a must, as Louisiana allows no reciprocity with other states. For truly stellar out-of-state candidates, firms may hire them and allow them to sit for the next available bar exam. However, as a candidate, already having the Louisiana Bar is a major advantage.
Generally we have seen needs for civil litigation at many firms, but one niche that is constantly in demand is environmental or toxic tort litigation. We have also seen employment needs consistently this year. For candidates with these practice areas, it is a good time to explore a move.
Finally, it’s important to remember that Louisiana firms really like to see out-of-state candidates with demonstrable ties to the area, and preferably previous residence in the state.
State of the Market Report: Atlanta by Becca Levine, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Real estate in Atlanta is the hottest area, with multiple firms looking for top talent with this experience. Interestingly, unlike other markets across the country, Atlanta has had steady openings in a variety of areas, from litigation to corporate finance and M&A work to ERISA/executive benefit matters. Litigation remains the weakest of that group, but we are seeing more openings in Atlanta in this area than other parts of the country. On the other hand, the market for Trust & Estates as well as tax generally is slow, with very few firms looking for this type of background. We believe we will see continued interest on the litigation front and a steady interest in real estate, with corporate potentially taking a bit of a hit soon.
There are interesting openings in Atlanta for litigators, typically in niche areas such as environmental law, energy, or bankruptcy/creditor’s rights. There are fewer openings for general commercial litigators, and most of the openings tend to be looking for junior to mid-level candidates.
There are corporate openings in the Atlanta area, but it is not as active as in other parts of the country. Certainly, someone with an M&A and corporate finance background could garner significant interest in firms, especially if coming from a large law firm background. We expect to see a continuous stream of openings in this area, but with less of a demand than in other parts of the country due to the nature of the large law firm market in Atlanta.
Real estate is the practice area to be in in the Atlanta area. By far and away, most of the openings over the last two quarters have been in this area, with significant focus on real estate transactional work (as opposed to real estate litigation). If you were considering a move to the area and you have a strong real estate background, now would be a great time to look. As with other areas, attorneys with between 2 to 6 years of experience with significant real estate transactional experience are the most marketable.
ERISA in Atlanta is doing well right now, with firms over the last year continuing to look for talented associates in this area. On the other hand, openings in the Trust & Estates market and other tax-specific areas remain very slow, with almost no openings at all in the market for a long time in this specialty.
State of the Market Report: North Carolina by Suzanne Dupree Howe, Managing Director for Texas and the Southeast, BCG Attorney Search
Finance is consistently the hottest area in Charlotte, year after year. Finance groups love to see candidates with experience working in Finance with a New York firm. Candidates working in a sophisticated finance practice will find little barrier to entry despite a geographic relocation. Further candidates with an interest in finance as well as a strong corporate background will often find success in transitioning into a finance role.
Real Estate was also a hot area in North Carolina, especially for those candidates who also possess real estate finance experience. We have several partner needs in real estate, even at the junior level with low portable business thresholds. For real estate candidates, it’s a great time to consider that long desired move to North Carolina.
We saw a significantneed for Patent Candidates, especially those with Patent Prosecution experience. Most in demand were candidates with Electrical Engineering, Mechanical, and Computer Science degrees. We also saw a need for Patent Litigation candidates.
State of the Market Report: Florida by Becca Levine, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
The Florida market is strong in many areas, with the greatest strength in real estate. Litigation in Florida has remained stagnant. Where there are new openings, the vast majority have been related to insurance or financial services work. Demand in Florida for patent and intellectual property associates also remains low, but with more interest in patent prosecution attorneys. Like other markets, there are very few openings in ERISA or tax work, but trust & estates has a strong presence in Florida, especially on the smaller to mid-sized firm level.
The litigation market in Florida is seeing the most growth in the insurance defense and financial services area, with some openings also in employment and construction/liability work. In the last two quarters, there have only been a handful of openings throughout the entire state looking for general litigation experience and a dearth of openings at the large national law firms. Where we do see litigation openings, it tends to be at small to mid-sized offices or solo-practitioners and as noted, in the areas/subjects discussed above.
Similar to the trend in other markets, Florida has a strong corporate market, but with the vast majority of the interest in Miami and to a lesser extent, Orlando. The Tampa area bucks the trend and does not have a large corporate need at this time. The firms in Miami are looking for a wide-range of corporate specialties including M&A, securities and fund formation. In addition, there is some need for health care regulatory expertise. Thus, although the market is steady here, it is not as strong as we are seeing in other parts of the country.
Real estate in Florida appears to be the strongest market at this time. A large number of firms are looking for real estate transactional associates with experience in leasing, community association issues, and lending and financing issues. The openings are also throughout the State, including in Miami and Tampa. The “sweet” spot seems to be for junior or mid-level associates who have prior firm experience. Although the vast majority of openings are in transactional work, there are some firms interested in litigation with a real estate focus as well. If someone has a strong real estate background and is thinking of looking in Florida, now is an excellent time to do so.
The Intellectual Property market in Florida remains stagnant this quarter, with a handful of openings mostly related to patent prosecution work requiring a science background, typically in electric engineering or life sciences. Trademark and copyright work at Florida law firms is extremely slow, with few firms hiring for this particular specialty over the last year. Litigation in this area is also no exception and remains slow.
Most of the demand in this category relates to trust & estates. While certainly a candidate might break out in the ERISA or tax market, with firms looking for very talented attorneys in this area, the vast majority of openings are in T&E and typically at smaller to mid-sized firms. We expect to see this trend continuing into 2016, with a strong need for T&E work especially at this smaller to mid-sized firm level.
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