State of the Law Firm Hiring Market - Fall 2016 |

State of the Law Firm Hiring Market - Fall 2016


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State of the Market Report: San Francisco

by Claudia Barnes, Manager of BCG Attorney Search

Healthy Practice Areas:


Corporate associates in San Francisco with solid academic and professional credentials continue to be in high demand in San Francisco, and the Bay Area in general. Candidates with experience at all levels are getting interviews. Firms tend to like candidates coming from the New York market. Those with experience in any of the following will likely get interviews: 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.


The need for environmental attorneys has turned around and many firms are actively seeking candidates with land use litigation, CEQA and NEPA experience. This pick up is likely the result of the real estate market boom.

Labor and Employment

Labor and employment hiring in San Francisco has remained busy throughout 2016. We continue to place employment attorneys at all levels (junior, mid and senior level) in a variety of law firms (small, mid-sized and large). In particular, firms seek associates with wage and hour, discrimination, and client counseling experience. Class action, deposition, and trial experience are highly valued. Firms typically require California experience and admission to CA bar.


Litigation hiring in San Francisco has slowed down a little since the first of of the year, but remains strong and steady. 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 - particularly attorneys with securities litigation and/or white collar experience. Firms continue to have very high standards for litigation candidates. Those who have strong academic and professional credentials as well as clerkship experience will get interviews. Admission to the CA Bar is not always necessary, but most firms expect it. We expect the need for litigators to pick up in 2017.

Steady Practice Areas:

Data Privacy

For the last year we have a seen a consistent need for attorneys with privacy and data security experience - particularly at the junior and mid-levels. Ideal candidates will have experience working with technology clients on all matters of privacy and data security compliance. Counseling on foreign data privacy laws,

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