State of the Market Report: San Francisco

by Claudia Barnes, Manager of BCG Attorney Search

Healthy Practice Areas:


Litigation hiring in San Francisco is the strongest it has been in at least 5 years. The greatest need is at the mid-level (3-5 years), but we are seeing a need at all levels. Complex commercial, general and securities/white collar litigators are consistently in demand. There is even a small need for Antitrust attorneys. Despite the active need in litigation, candidates must have strong academic and professional credentials. Associates with clerkship experience are highly valued. Admittance to the California bar is - for the first time - NOT necessarily a must. But candidates must quickly become a member of the bar once they are hired.


Corporate associates in San Francisco with solid academic and professional credentials are still in high demand in San Francisco, and the Bay Area in general. This has been consistently the case over the last 3 years. Attorneys with all levels of experience are getting interviews. Sub-specialties of particular interest include private equity, structured and debt finance, corporate finance, emerging company/venture capital, M & A, and securities. Candidates with hard science or life science degrees continue to get interviews. Firms generally do not require the CA Bar for corporate candidates.