State of the Market Report: San Francisco by Claudia Barnes, Manager, BCG Attorney Search
Healthy Practice Areas:
Corporate / Finance
We are going into 2017 with a tremendous need for Corporate and Finance attorneys in San Francisco – particularly at the mid and senior level. 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. Membership to the California Bar is not necessary in most cases, but it does help a lot.
Employment and Labor
The need for labor and employment attorneys at all levels remains steady and strong into 2017. The majority of openings indicate a need for Employment attorneys with experience with wage and hour, discrimination, and client counseling experience as well as class action, deposition, and trial experience. One interesting shift is the need for traditional labor attorneys with union experience and attorneys with OSHA experience. Firms typically want candidates who are located in California and/or have experience with California employment/labor laws.
Litigation continues to be a very strong practice area in San Francisco. The greatest need is at the mid-level (3-5 years), but we are seeing a need at all levels, including the senior level. Candidates with experience in complex commercial and general litigation, insurance coverage and securities/white collar litigation are in demand. In order to get multiple interviews, candidates must have strong academic and professional credentials as well as clerkship experience. Admission to the CA Bar is not always necessary, but most firms expect it.
Patent Agent/Technical Specialist
Much like in our Fall 2016 Report, firms are continuing to hire Patent Agents and Technical Specialists at an ever-growing rate. We have even seen firms lighten up with their academic requirements – PhD’s, while highly valued, are no longer an absolute necessity. There appears to be an even split in need between life sciences and hard science backgrounds. One of the reasons the need for Patent Agents is strong, we believe, is because they can do the same work as junior or mid-level prosecutors for a fraction of the cost to the firm and client.
Steady Practice Areas:
The need for attorneys with Data Privacy experience has been steady for the last few years. Firms will consider transitioning well-credentialed candidates in other transactional practices or with IP backgrounds. Ideal candidates will have experience working with technology clients on all matters of privacy and data security compliance. They will also have experience counseling on foreign data privacy laws, especially laws of the European Union.
Presently, there is not a tremendous need for Real Estate attorneys; however, we believe that will change as the year progresses. For the firms that are hiring, they seek mid to senior level candidates with experience in at least one of the following: purchase & sales, leasing, joint ventures, or finance (including CMBS).
Immigration continues to be a practice area that is strong and steady. Experienced business immigration attorneys with 7-10 years of experience should get several interviews.
The need for Patent Litigators is steady but not hot. The active openings are concentrated on hard sciences – electrical, computer science, computer engineering, mechanical (lesser extent, physics) and a few in pharmaceutical/medical devices.
The need for Patent Agents is significantly greater than the need for Patent attorneys. However, firms are hiring Patent Prosecutors – an improvement since our last report. The need is stronger for candidates with hard science backgrounds (electrical engineering, computer science, physics) and experience with software patents. That being said, attorneys with life science backgrounds are also being sought.
Several firms are seeking experienced Trademark attorneys. We anticipate that this need will grow as the year continues.
Slow Practice Areas:
The need for Energy attorneys has not picked up yet. There are a few firms seeking to hire. Candidates with experience in renewable energy, project finance, project development, and M&A involving electric utilities or independent power producers will surely get interviews.
The following practices have shown little to no activity: Bankruptcy, Construction, Project Finance, and Trusts & Estates.
State of the Market Report: Silicon Valley by Claudia Barnes, Manager, BCG Attorney Search
Hot Practice Areas:
Corporate and Corporate Finance
Going into 2017, the need for Corporate attorneys (and to a lesser extent Finance) is still strong. An ideal candidate should have experience in one of these areas: corporate finance, emerging companies, M&A, private equity, securities, or venture capital. Hiring of life sciences attorneys continues to be strong. Firms are especially looking for candidates with experience in tech companies.
The need for Patent Prosecutors has picked up a lot and should continue to grow as 2017 progresses. Candidates with strong professional and/or academic credentials who have backgrounds in Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Physics, and to a lesser extent Mechanical Engineering, will be interviewed by firms. The ideal candidate will have experience working with life science, energy and technology companies. Most firms seek candidates with 2-8 years of experience. Registration with the USPTO is required by firms, but having California bar admission is not required in this area.
Patent Agent/Technical Specialist
Patent attorneys are more highly sought out than patent agents in Silicon Valley, but there is still a significant need for patent agents. Firms are looking for candidates with either hard science or life science backgrounds. Some firms have lowered their academic requirements – PhD’s, while highly valued, are no longer required every time.
Experienced Patent Litigators are being sought by a number of firms in Silicon Valley. However, firms are still selective and will wait for the right candidate. In order to get interviews, candidates must have good academic or professional credentials. The ideal candidate will also have a scientific background, such as Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Physics, Chemistry or Biology. Firms also prefer in-state attorneys admitted to the USPTO and those with Hatch Waxman experience.
Technology Transactions attorneys are being soughtby firms much more in Silicon Valley than San Francisco. The pool of candidates in this practice area is very small, so if you have any corporate transactional experience firms will consider you (especially if you possess technology or life sciences degrees/experience). Those coming from in-house backgrounds at the junior to mid-levels will also be considered by firms.
The need for Data Privacy attorneys is steady but not hot. Experience working with technology clients in data security compliance and privacy is required. In addition, candidates need to have experience providing counsel on foreign data privacy laws, especially EU laws. If you are interested in this practice area and want to transition from another transactional practice area (such as technology transactions or corporate), it is possible since there are few attorneys with experience in this practice area. Those coming from in-house backgrounds will also be considered by firms.
The need for experienced Executive Compensation/Employee Benefits/ERISA attorneys is roughly the same in Silicon Valley as San Francisco. All levels of attorneys will be considered (those with 7-10 years of experience especially). Firms will absolutely think about hiring out-of-state candidates if they possess solid experience and are from a major market.
Silicon Valley has a steady need for Health Care attorneys. You will receive interviews and offers if you possess a minimum of 5 years of experience in this area. California bar membership is preferred but not required. Both government and in-house candidates will be considered.
As mentioned in our last market report, the need for Litigators has slowed down in Silicon Valley. While there are firms that are hiring candidates with antitrust, commercial, insurance coverage, securities, and white collar litigation experience; these firms are super selective. Top academic and professional credentials are a must.
Slow Practice Areas:
Real Estate (Transactions & Finance)
There are not very many openings in Silicon Valley for Real Estate attorneys. The openings we are working on require candidates with experience in acquisitions, leasing, joint ventures, and sales. Those with California experience are preferred by firms.
The need for experienced trademark attorneys increased and firms are seeking partners, and junior and mid-level associates with true trademark prosecution experience. There are only 2 associate and 3 partner openings.
Silicon Valley has openings in tax, although it is not as busy as Executive Compensation. If you have an LL.M. in Taxation and excellent professional and academic credentials, you will likely be considered by firms. Firms will also consider candidates from accounting firms.
Trusts & Estates
A few Silicon Valley firms are looking forTrusts and Estate attorneys with experience in estate planning and wealth transfer planning for high and ultra-high net worth individuals. An LL.M. in Taxation is preferred by most firms.
Dead Practice Areas:
There is not any activity currently in Bankruptcy, Energy, and Environmental.
State of the Market Report: Los Angeles by Claudia Barnes, Manager, BCG Attorney Search
Hot Practice Areas:
There is a tremendous need for experienced corporate and finance attorneys at all levels – particularly at the mid-level. For our Corporate openings, candidates should have experience in mergers and acquisitions, private equity, and capital markets. There are many openings for Finance attorneys with structured finance, banking and corporate finance experience. Candidates who have experience in working with entertainment clients are highly sought after.
Employment and Labor
There is a tremendous need for experienced Employment attorneys in Los Angeles. Candidates with employment litigation (including discrimination, harassment, and wrongful termination suits) and wage and hour litigation experience will get many interviews. There is a small need for attorneys with traditional labor and union experience. Firms typically want candidates who are located in California and/or have experience with California employment/labor laws.
There are a number of openings in Executive Compensation – particularly at the mid to senior level. The need is greater in Los Angeles than the Bay Area. Partners without portable business will get many interviews. Firms will seriously consider candidates at all levels (with a focus on those with 7-10 years of experience). Firms will absolutely consider out-of-state candidates with solid experience from a major market.
Health Care is a hot practice area throughout the country, including Los Angeles. Candidates with experience in corporate, transactional, and regulatory matters for health care clients are highly sought after. Those with 3-8 years of experience will get a number of interviews.
Litigation openings in Los Angeles are ubiquitous and competition is fierce. For most firms, a stellar academic pedigree (top schools, top grades) is a must, along with solid work history at a top firm with maybe one or two moves at most, and prior litigation experience. Laterals without the California Bar just won't be considered. Candidates with trial experience are highly desired.
Many firms in Los Angeles are seeking experienced Real Estate attorneys at all levels, and in particular at the mid to senior level. Many firms are also seeking Real Estate partners and portable business is not required. Candidates should have experience in any of the following: purchase & sales, leasing, joint ventures, or finance (including CMBS).
Electrical engineering remains the most desired, followed by biology, microbiology, or chemistry. We are also seeing a surge in demand for experience with wireless technologies. Patent prosecution attorneys with advanced technical degrees (M.S. or even PhD) from good schools will have an edge over their competition. There are a number of openings for patent agents with hard science and life science backgrounds as well.
A handful of openings have popped up for Patent Litigators in Los Angeles. Firms tend to look for mid-levels (3-6 years) and partners with portable books of business.
Trusts & Estates
Trusts and Estates is a practice area where senior attorneys are in steady demand. We have also seen a few openings for junior to mid-level candidates. An LL.M. in Tax is a big plus.
Technology Transactions/Entertainment Law
Attorneys with at least 2 years of experience (ideally, at least 5 years) in the following: licensing IP, Technology Transactions, contracts, mergers and acquisitions, corporate financing with the technology and entertainment worlds are sought after.
Dead Practice Areas:
There is little to no activity for attorneys with Bankruptcy and Trademark experience (except for partners with business). However, we believe this will change as the year progresses.
State of the Market Report: Orange County by Paul Danielson, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Orange County tends to fly under the radar for a lot of attorneys seeking lateral opportunities in Southern California, but with its sophisticated legal market, variety of practice opportunities, excellent quality of life, and proximity to both Los Angeles and San Diego, Orange County can be an attractive destination and rewarding place to work, particularly for attorneys with school-aged children. Corporate work tends to dominate the marketplace except in recession times, and attorneys also find a wide variety of options in litigation, real estate, IP, patent, and technology transactions.
Hot Practice Areas:
Just like the rest of the West Coast, and most of the country as a whole, litigation is the hottest practice area in Orange County right now, with the greatest number of new job listings by far. That being said, the vast majority of litigation openings are at small, mid-sized, and regional firms as opposed to large Am Law firms. These firms are particularly looking for litigators with experience in construction, insurance coverage, and to some extent family law litigation.
Labor & Employment
Demand in Orange County for lateral labor & employment attorneys is particularly strong right now, reflecting one of the trends we have seen generally on the West Coast in the last half of 2016 and heading into early 2017. Firms are seeking attorneys with strong experience in employment litigation, particularly wage & hour disputes and class actions.
Tax, Trusts & Estates
Though a bit surprising, there has been quite an uptick in demand for taxation and trusts & estates attorneys among law firms in Orange County. The majority of the demand is coming from mid-sized and boutique firms, and for more senior attorneys with significant experience in tax and wealth planning matters for high net worth individuals. There is some demand for tax transactional attorneys as well.
Steady Practice Areas:
Despite the overall slowdown in patent prosecution work on the West Coast, demand remains fairly steady for patent prosecution attorneys and agents who have degrees (preferably advanced degrees) in the hard sciences, and at least 2-3 years of experience in technologies such as electronics, software, optics, circuitry, and medical devices. Any patent prosecutor who has at least a modest book of portable business also will see strong consideration from firms, even firms that do not have current openings.
Slow to Dead Practice Areas:
There have been only a handful of listings in Orange County for bankruptcy, corporate, and real estate positions, which represents a significant slowdown in those practice areas from the past couple quarters, and represents a trend we are seeing broadly across the West Coast right now. However, this could change as deal work and the economy as a whole appears to be picking up again in the early weeks of 2017. Any practice areas not listed above can currently be considered dormant in Orange County, though attorneys with large books of portable business will find an open door at most any firm.
State of the Market Report: San Diego by Paul Danielson, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
San Diego remains a steadily popular city with a steady legal market that has not seen the major ups and downs of other large West Coast markets. San Diego’s popularity as a living destination is pretty self-explanatory, given the temperate weather, easy access to beaches, and relatively lighter traffic and density than Los Angeles to the north. Being adjacent to the famous research triangle, as well as home to a reasonable number of larger companies, San Diego sees fairly consistent demand in practice areas across the board, with an emphasis on corporate transactional and intellectual property work. Real estate has been hot in the past few years, but shows signs of slowing down, as is typical in this stage of the long-term market cycle. Competition for jobs in San Diego is strong, so candidates will need to bring top credentials and experience from major firms to be considered.
Like the rest of the West Coast market, there has been a big uptick in litigation hiring this year, and that remains true of the San Diego market for the last quarter of 2016 and heading into the first part of 2017. Firms look generally for attorneys with solid credentials (i.e., top law schools, law review, and federal clerkships), and large firm experience and/or extensive experience with litigation skills such as depositions and trial work. Getting deeper into the sub-practices within litigation, attorneys who have special experience in insurance defense and coverage, education, and health care litigation will tend to garner more interest than just general litigators.
Steady Practice Areas:
While the real estate market for attorneys has started to slow on the West Coast in the last part of 2016, considerably so in some locations, it still remains steady in San Diego, though much less so than earlier in the year. We anticipate this may continue to decline as a practice area after the rampant hiring for real estate attorneys over the past two years. If you are a real estate attorney with solid credentials and experience and interest in the lateral San Diego market, you should strongly consider accelerating your job search while opportunities are still available.
While patent prosecution has slowed in much of the overall market, including the West Coast, it has still remained steady in the San Diego area, driven by the large amount of research and number of established technology companies in the area. Demand is good for both hard science and life science practitioners, although the latter should bring an advanced life sciences degree if they want to be seriously considered by the major firms who are hiring in this area.
Taxation, Trusts & Estates
There is demand in San Diego for tax attorneys, especially attorneys with LL.M. credentials and strong federal and international tax transactional experience, and also for mid-to-senior level trusts & estate planning attorneys with wealthy client and large firm experience. Portable business in this area is extremely helpful, but not always necessary.
Slow to Dead Practice Areas:
There have been a handful of listings in San Diego for immigration, health care, and public agency law experience. Any other practice area not listed above should be considered fairly dormant heading into the first part of 2017.
State of the Market Report: Seattle by Paul Danielson, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
The Pacific Northwest remains exceptionally popular with (upwardly) mobile 20- and 30-somethings, and Seattle barely trails Portland in terms of growth rate for both population and its overall economy. Continuing to be driven by the technology sector, as well as significant health care and life science research and development represented in large part by the renowned University of Washington campus and hospital clusters (and associated companies), the Seattle market remains on a steady growth trajectory that appears sustainable for at least another couple years in the current market cycle. Legal hiring has been dominated by litigation, corporate, and technology transactions, which is expected given the needs of the major companies and business sectors in the area. Salaries also are rising somewhat in response to both national salary trends as well as a significantly increased cost of living within the last decade.
Hot Practice Areas:
Litigation continues to dominate in terms of practice area demand in the Seattle market. In addition to the construction litigation experience that is also in demand in Portland, firms in the Seattle market have been seeking litigators with financial, white collar, and insurance litigation experience. Positions are open from the junior through mid and senior level, but competition at all levels is fierce and firms are being highly selective in their hiring. Candidates should bring stellar credentials, and an existing Washington Bar membership or the ability to waive in on motion. Portable business will significantly increase your chances of getting a look by top Seattle firms.
There has been a very strong demand for health care attorneys in the last part of 2016, and we are seeing interview requests for attorneys with solid health care transactions backgrounds even when firms do not have a formal opening. Driven by the extensive University of Washington and other hospital systems and life science research companies and facilities in the Seattle area, this looks to be one of the hotter practice areas heading into early 2017.
ERISA & Employee Benefits
This is a niche practice, but well worth a mention in the current market. Seattle firms have been rapidly hiring in this area due to massive demand from existing and newly formed technology and other fast-growth sector companies as they try to attract and retain top talent, or make acquisitions of smaller start-up companies. If you have significant experience in this area, even at the junior level, you will find a number of opportunities in the Seattle market this quarter and in the coming year.
Steady Practice Areas:
Despite patent prosecution generally slowing down on the West Coast in the second half of 2016, demand remains steady in the Seattle market for prosecution attorneys with hard science backgrounds, very much due to the thriving technology sector in the area. In a pleasant surprise, we have also seen demand for life science prosecutors come online again towards the end of 2016. Note that would-be applicants will typically need to have a graduate life science degree to attract the attention of Seattle area firms.
Although there have been a handful of openings in the areas of land use and environmental law, taxation, trusts & estates, family law, and patent litigation, there has not been enough demand to call any of these areas steady. Any practices not listed above can be considered dormant heading into the early stages of 2017.
State of the Market Report: Portland by Paul Danielson, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
If you follow the local news in Portland, three interrelated stories dominate the headlines in a big way – the massive influx of new residents, the burgeoning growth of Portland’s tech sector economy, and the skyrocketing prices of housing and rents. What this means, simply, is that Portland is one of the hottest cities in the country for younger, mobile, and affluent people, and despite lots of local grumbling and the growing pains associated with significant growth and popularity, it is an exciting time to become a part of Portland’s economy. Legal hiring has not quite kept pace with the overall market growth, but we are seeing regular job listings and hiring, as well as encouraging signs that the relatively low salaries in the Portland legal market (compared with major West Coast cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle) might be seeing a bump to keep pace with Portland’s cost of living and make Portland competitive for top legal talent. The popularity of the city, of course, also means that competition is extremely fierce for every new lateral opening.
Hot Practice Areas:
Litigation remains hot in the Portland market, as it has up and down the entire West Coast. While regular openings for litigators are coming online, the vast majority are for associates at the mid-level, and the large number of qualified applicants for any given opening means candidates will have to bring stellar credentials and impress partners during the interview process to have a shot at an offer. Applicants should already be a member of the Oregon Bar, or have the ability to waive in on motion having been licensed in good standing in a reciprocal state for the required number of years. Construction litigation experience is in particular demand, which is not surprising given the recent building boom in Portland.
Corporate remains strong in Portland, with firms particularly seeking candidates with banking, financial institutions, and lending experience – again, driven by both the building boom as well as the burgeoning technology sector. Candidates with solid M&A and other transactional experience will almost always be considered by firms as well, even if there is not a current formal opening. The majority of current openings have been at the junior and mid-level, suggesting that firms are already well staffed for more senior positions. This means that more senior attorneys should expect to bring a portable book of business or be flexible on lateral class year, compensation, and title.
Steady Practice Areas:
Taxation, Trusts & Estates
While there have been only a handful of openings for straightforward taxation attorneys, the market has been showing a steady number of opportunities for attorneys with solid trust and estate planning experience. As mentioned in our last report, this is fairly typical for the late stage of the long-term market cycle, when wealthy individuals or those who have seen their investments gain in value with the rise of the tech sector seek to plan for and protect their wealth in the long term. As long as a candidate has good credentials (a tax LL.M. is always helpful), and a number of years of high-level experience, portable business is typically not required.
Labor & Employment
With a fast growing job market, particularly in the technology sector, it is no surprise that the demand for labor & employment legal expertise remains steady in Portland. Firms are primarily looking at the mid-level and up, and for attorneys who have significant employment litigation experience, including class action experience, as well as sophisticated employment counseling experience.
Slow to Dead Practice Areas:
There were only a handful of listings for patent prosecution, patent litigation, real estate, environmental and land use, and technology transactions attorneys. All other practice areas not listed above were dormant this period.
State of the Market Report: Las Vegas by Christina Brown, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Healthy Practice Area:
Although not nearly at the same pace as when we last reported in the fall, firms in Las Vegas continue to seek litigators more than any other practice area. Boutiques and larger firms are actively seeking attorneys with experience in consumer finance, construction defects and premises liability, general business and commercial, family, and criminal defense. Trial and deposition experience, federal clerkships, law review and moot court experience are highly favored and licensure in Nevada is absolutely essential for litigators.
Steady Practice Areas:
Firms have continued to seek associates with traditional M&A, finance, securities, joint venture, consumer finance, and capital markets experience. The need for candidates has ranged from junior to partner level, and in a few instances firms are indicating a mere “preference” for Nevada state bar members.
Picking up from last quarter is the need for family law attorneys with experience ranging from 1-5 years. The ability to manage a high volume of motion practice, discovery responses, take and defend depositions, and engage in trial work is required.
Still steady is the need for insurance defense candidates. Attorneys with 1-10 years’ experience or interest in insurance defense work will find a number of opportunities in Las Vegas, giving them the chance to gain or build on their hands-on litigation experience. The strongest candidates will have experience in depositions, arguing motions, and handling a voluminous motion practice.
Slower Practice Areas:
Although there has been some call for labor and employment candidates, the need has dropped sharply from last quarter. We are presently seeking a partner with portable business for a prominent national firm in its Las Vegas office, and we are always happy to speak with exceptional labor and employment associates seeking to make lateral moves.
Slow to Dead Practice Areas:
There has been a significant decrease in demand for attorneys in Nevada in most other practice areas aside from than those mentioned above, including gaming, trusts and estates, and bankruptcy law.
State of the Market Report: Phoenix by Christina Brown, Legal Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Healthy Practice Areas:
Litigation in Phoenix rarely fails to lead every other practice area. In this final quarter of the year, firms seeking litigators include a number of boutiques as well as regional and national firms. We notice that firms are highly selective in their process, with positions being reposted as firms await the ideal candidate. Most sought are associates with 2-5 years of experience in business and commercial litigation, insurance and construction defects, and collections. Membership in the state bar is generally required, although attorneys may be eligible for admission by motion.
Corporate continues to be strong in Phoenix and neighboring areas for candidates having finance, commercial lending, securities, M&A and VC experience in the 2-6 year range. Firms generally (though not always) require Arizona licensure.
Labor and Employment
The demand for employment attorneys has remained steady, with firms filling these positions fairly quickly. Candidates with 2 or more years in litigation and counseling, specifically EEOC, Wage and Hour, FMLA, FLSA, discrimination and harassment, and wrongful termination are the most coveted. Firms are also quite interested in partners having at least some (more than $150K) portable business in this practice area, and all strong labor and employment candidates are encouraged to contact us to discuss opportunities in Phoenix and across the Western region.
Family Law continues to enjoy solid demand in Phoenix and surrounding areas, with firms seeking associates with 2 or more years of experience in handling settlement conferences, mediation, Protection hearings, and all divorce-related litigation. Candidates should be licensed in Arizona and have solid knowledge of state and local practice.
Down slightly from our last report, but still holding strong, is demand for experienced bankruptcy and restructuring attorneys. Attorneys with 3-5 years of experience in reorganization, creditors’ rights, and collections have had and continue to see opportunity with firms of a variety of sizes in the Phoenix area.
The market is strong for real estate attorneys with sophisticated commercial real estate experience, particularly for those with sales and acquisition, finance, construction industry, and commercial leasing (including loan and lease modification and workouts) experience.
Candidates with more than 2 years’ experience are encouraged to contact us regarding these opportunities.
Other Practice Areas:
Although Phoenix has remained fairly steady in the areas described above, other practices have been markedly slower. There continues to be some demand in trusts and estates, health care, immigration, and IP prosecution, but these are nowhere near as active as in previous quarters.
State of the Market Report: Chicago by Jamie Bailey, Partner, BCG Attorney Search - Chicago
Fourth quarter has brought a surge in lateral hiring in some of the most prestigious firms in Chicago, as well as medium to smaller firms. Most of the lateral activity we have witnessed this past quarter has been in the transactional areas - including corporate, finance, and real estate - and these continue to be the areas of significant need as we head into first quarter 2017. We are continuing to receive requests for tax practitioners, as well as ERISA and Employee Benefits attorneys with sophisticated transactional skills and large law firm training. Litigation has slowed significantly at the associate level in many of the most prestigious firms, but has picked up considerably in smaller firms. Health Care practices remain steady in terms of expansion since our last report. The need for lateral Intellectual Property Litigation associates has sharply declined, but patent prosecution remains very strong, with continued need for strong patent prosecutors with hard science backgrounds. Trademark and Copyright Litigation is also an area of significant need, as is technology and data privacy, an area in which we suspect in 2017 we will see an ever-increasing need for laterals.
As we head into first quarter 2017, we expect transactional practices will continue to outperform litigation practices in terms of adding to their ranks. We look forward to a busy and prosperous New Year.
Partners with Portable Business
If you are a partner with portable business, we are interested in speaking with you. Generally speaking, large firms in this market are looking for a minimum of $1M in portable business. Partners seeking to make a move should contact our Chicago office at 312-321-9411.
The transactional practices in large and medium size firms in Chicago are very busy and we are seeing a need for lateral associates at all levels with a diverse range of transactional skills.
2-4 years of experience in private equity-backed acquisition finance transactions, leveraged buyouts, equity investments, restructurings and workouts. Illinois Bar required.
2-5 years of experience in secured and unsecured financing transactions for both borrowers and lenders. Leveraged finance experience preferred.
2-6 years of experience in transactional finance law.
4-6 years of lending experience working with bank and non-bank financial institutions on syndicated and club transactions.
6-10 years of experience in acquisition financing and syndicated secured financings. Experience with intercreditor and subordination agreements required. Large law firm or commercial finance boutique experience preferred. Illinois Bar admission preferred.
1-6 years of general corporate and M&A experience.
2-4 years of experience in investment fund transactions. Qualified candidate must be familiar with the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. Private equity and hedge fund formation experience preferred.
2-5 years of experience in mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, debt and equity offerings, restructurings, entity selection and general corporate matters. Experience with tax matters a plus.
3-6 years of mergers and acquisitions and corporate finance experience.
4-7 years of corporate and securities experience. Experience with working on multijurisdictional transactions is preferred. Foreign legal training is a plus. Admission to Illinois Bar required.
4-7 and 8+ years of corporate transactional and franchise experience. Knowledge of franchise disclosure documents and franchise agreements required.
5-7 years of significant corporate transactional and mergers and acquisitions experience. Experience drafting and negotiating transaction documents and overseeing and managing due diligence in mergers and acquisitions transactions is required.
Bankruptcy activity has picked up considerably in some of the most prestigious practices in Chicago law firms. We are receiving requests for junior and mid-level candidates with the following skills and experience:
1-6 years of experience in restructuring matters.
3-5 years of experience handling corporate bankruptcy matters.
Since our last report, we have seen no significant change in the need for tax attorneys. Tax attorneys with the following experience should contact our Chicago office:
2-4 years of transactional tax experience.
2-6 years of tax compliance experience. CPA, MBA, or LL.M. and Law Review or Business Law Journal experience are preferred. We would also like to speak with more senior level candidates with anywhere between 5-10 years of experience.
Litigation – General Commercial; Financial Institutions (IL bar required in most cases)
Last quarter, we reported a considerable uptick in the need for strong litigation associates in larger and medium size firms in Chicago. Since that report, we have witnessed a downturn in the need for litigation associates in these firms. We are, however, seeing quite a heavy need for litigation associates at all levels in smaller firms in a broad range of litigation areas, including but not limited to mass tort, product liability, labor and employment, and consumer class action. Despite the downturn we have seen in medium to large firms, we would still like to speak to litigation associates with the following skills and experience:
2-4 years of experience in general commercial litigation. Financial institutions litigation experience preferred. Illinois bar admission required.
3-5 years of experience in general commercial litigation experience.
Employee benefits practices at large firms in Chicago continue to be busy, reflecting the uptick in the corporate transactional and tax practices over the past quarter. We are interested in speaking with associates who have the following qualifications:
Junior ERISA associate with experience in handling investment funds and products.
1-2 years of ERISA experience. Qualified candidates should have experience in handling executive compensation matters, including welfare benefit programs, Title I, and mergers and acquisitions.
2-5 years of employee benefits experience.
2-6 years of ERISA experience handling welfare plan, executive compensation and qualified retirement plans.
Health Care – Stark; Medicare/Medicaid; Regulatory Compliance
There has been a steady need for health care associates in firms in Chicago. Health Care associates with the following skills and experience should reach out to our Chicago office.
Mid-level health care associate with 3-5 years of experience.
3-6 years of health care experience, including Stark Law, Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement, and health care regulatory compliance, and significant transactional experience involving health care organizations.
Mid- to senior level healthcare attorney/counsel with 3-10 years of experience.
There has been a sharp decline in the need for patent litigation associates in Chicago. However, we would still be interested in speaking with patent litigation associates with the following experience:
2-4 years of experience in patent litigation, including supporting a trial practice and litigation-related tasks. Must have experience in patent disputes, including those involving medical devices, life sciences and emerging technologies.
2-5 years of experience in patent litigation and a background in biology, biochemistry, chemistry, immunology, or genetics. Representation of branded clients required.
1-4 years of experience in patent prosecution matters and a degree in Mechanical Engineering or Electronics. Experience with mechanical and electromechanical technologies required. USPTO required.
2-7 years of experience in patent prosecution. Experience with preparation and prosecution of patent applications, opinion work and litigation preferred. Background in electrical engineering, computer engineering or computer science required. Illinois bar admission and USPTO required.
3-5 years of litigation and client counseling experience. Degree in cellular biology, immunology, molecular biology, pharmaceutical sciences, genomics, chemistry, biochemistry, or a related area required. USPTO required.
3-5 years of experience in trademark litigation. Qualified candidates should have prior experience handling trademark litigation, oppositions, cancellation proceedings, opinion work, client counseling, clearance, domain name disputes and trademark application prosecution.
3-5 years of trademark experience. The candidate should have experience in U.S. and international trademark prosecution and portfolio management.
Senior level trademark attorney with 5-10 years of experience in domestic and international trademark prosecution and enforcement and litigation. Illinois bar admission required.
1-5 years of experience in patent and technology licensing agreements. Experience negotiating and drafting complex intellectual property transactions and representing for-profit corporations, not-for-profit research institutions and hospitals. USPTO required.
2-6 years of technology experience. Must have industry knowledge in technology, advertising, social and digital media, mobile and connected devices, and privacy. Illinois bar admission required.
Mid-level associate with 3-6 years of experience in technology transactions and privacy matters, including US and international privacy and data security. Experience advising Internet platforms, retailers, social media companies, mobile app providers, social media companies, cloud storage providers and telecommunication companies required.
Real Estate – Acquisition and Dispositions; Joint Venture; Hotels; Leasing; Finance; Construction; Land Use; Zoning; Retail; Industrial
In our last report, we noted the increased need for laterals with strong commercial real estate experience. During the fourth quarter, we have seen a significant surge in this area and we believe this is an area that will continue to be busy during the first quarter of 2017. We would be interested in speaking with highly qualified laterals with the following commercial real estate skills.
2-4 years of commercial real estate experience in handling acquisitions and dispositions, leasing, development, financing and joint venture transactions.
Mid-level real estate attorney with 3-5 years of transactional experience. Should have experience in handling acquisitions and dispositions, infrastructure, joint ventures, construction, hotel and resort transactions, and real estate financing transactions, and also have exposure to property management transactions. Admission to Illinois bar is required.
3-5 years of experience in commercial real estate transactions. Large law firm experience and excellent academics required. Finance experience preferred.
3-5 years of experience in commercial real estate transactions, including acquisitions and dispositions of real property, title and survey review, financing and leasing. Illinois bar admission or ability to sit for the bar exam required.
Mid-level commercial real estate associate with 4-5 years of experience.
Mid- to senior level commercial real estate attorney with 5+ years of experience in handling leasing matters.
5-7 years of commercial real estate experience, including sales and acquisitions, joint ventures, financing, leasing and development.
5-7 years of commercial real estate experience, including drafting leases, purchase and sale contracts, title and survey review, clearance work, and preparing closing documents for acquisitions and sales. Additional experience working with hotels, real estate finance, economic incentives, construction and land use and zoning preferred.
5-8 years of experience in representing clients in the purchase, financing and sale of retail, industrial, commercial, multi-residential and vacant commercial property. Extensive experience with section 1031 deferred exchanges and structuring the ownership of those properties. Experience representing private and institutional lenders in commercial loan transactions also required.
State of the Market Report: Colorado by Jamie Bailey, Partner, BCG Attorney Search - Chicago
Partners with Portable Business
Are you a partner with portable business looking to lateral to a new firm in Colorado? Generally speaking, firms are looking for a minimum of $1M in portable business. If you are a partner with business interested in transitioning to a new firm in Colorado, please call our Chicago office.
Since our last report on Denver, we continue to see healthy lateral hiring in Denver firms in the transactional and litigation areas, as well as in intellectual property. Areas of significant need are noted below.
2-3 years of finance experience and an interest in public finance. Experience with finance transactions and securities laws is preferred.
2-4 years of general business and tax experience. Experience with tax credit financing transactions required. LL.M. degree or a Master’s degree in Taxation required. Admission to Colorado bar required.
2-5 years of corporate experience in securities and mergers and acquisitions.
2-5 years of experience in business law. Significant experience in mergers and acquisition and private equity work as well as debt financing and securities offering experience.
3+ years of finance experience in complex lending transactions, including private equity acquisition financing transactions.
3-6 years of corporate transactional experience in securities, mergers and acquisitions and private equity matters.
4+ years of experience handling private equity transactions.
4-7 years of experience in finance, specifically serving as bond counsel, disclosure counsel, underwriter’s counsel, bank counsel and issuer’s counsel in connection with the issuance of tax exempt and taxable bonds. Public finance experience required. Colorado bar admission required.
Litigation – Commercial; Trusts and Estates; Consumer Financial Services (CO bar most often required)
1-5 years of experience in commercial litigation. Large law firm experience required. Prior clerkship a plus.
3-5 years of consumer financial services litigation experience. Colorado bar admission required.
4-6 years of litigation experience in trusts and estates matters. Significant knowledge of probate and trust law is required.
Junior IP media and technology transactional attorney with at least 1+ year of experience.
Mid-level technology transactions and privacy attorney with 3-6 years of experience in US and international privacy and data security transactions. Qualified candidate will have experience in advising Internet platforms, retailers, social media companies, mobile apps providers, social media companies, cloud storage providers and telecommunication companies.
2-4 years of experience in trademark and copyright matters, including brand management, portfolio management, and trademark clearance, counseling, and prosecution. USPTO prosecution, strategy, and day-to-day management of trademark portfolios experience is required, as well as a familiarity with advertising, marketing and promotions matters.
3-6 years of trademark and copyright experience in U.S. and international trademark clearance, counseling, prosecution and enforcement.
6+ years of trademark experience in U.S. and international trademark clearance, counseling, prosecution and enforcement. Large law firm experience preferred.
3-6 years of experience in transactional leasing, title review, land use and real estate financing. Colorado bar admission required.
3-6 years of experience preparing and negotiating construction industry documents.
State of the Market Report: Kansas City, Missouri by Julie Lehrman, Senior Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Kansas City has not seen very much activity this quarter. Here, we have seen continued moderate needs in Real Estate, Litigation, and Patent Prosecution. Like Saint Louis, Kanas City firms greatly prefer local candidates, or those who are relocating but have a strong tie to the city or a good reason for relocation.
Partners with Portable Business
Smaller Kansas City firms are usually happy to speak with partners who have at least $250k in portable business, while medium and larger firms prefer a book of at least $500k. The largest firms like to see at least $1M in portables. BCG’s Chicago office is ready to assist partners in preparing a business plan.
This quarter, Kansas City has generated only mild needs for Commercial Real Estate attorneys. Firms generally like to see a mix of lending/finance, and acquisitions and dispositions. Leasing can also be helpful.
While Litigation is not nearly as robust in Kansas City as it was last quarter, it has remained moderate. Litigators with at least three years of experience are the most marketable. Smaller firms tend to value hands-on courtroom experience, while larger firms emphasize stellar academic credentials, clerkships, and large firm experience.
While Patent Prosecution was relatively strong last quarter in Kansas City, we have seen far less of a demand this quarter. Computer Engineering, Computer Science, and Electrical Engineering remain the most sought-after technical backgrounds for patent prosecutors, and USPTO admission is always required.
State of the Market Report: Indiana by Liz Leach, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search - Chicago
Although the lateral numbers above show hiring on the rise, it does not appear to be the case in Indianapolis, where hiring activity continues to move slowly. The largest firms in Indianapolis continue to do most of the hiring.
Partners with portable business are always sought after, and Indianapolis is no different. Generally, a minimum of $500,000 in portable business is necessary in this market. Please contact our Chicago office if you are such a partner.
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 would be interested in speaking with you. Firms in these markets are generally looking for a minimum of $500,000 in portable business. Partners seeking to make a move in this market should contact our Chicago office.
Milwaukee and Madison law firm offices are hiring lateral associates in the following practice areas:
Intellectual Property - Patent Prosecution (USPTO and WI bar most often required)
Similar to last quarter’s report, we continue to receive a high volume of requests from the Milwaukee and Madison offices of Wisconsin firms for skilled patent prosecutors with a diverse range of skills and experience. Associates with the following qualifications should contact our Chicago office to discuss opportunities in Wisconsin.
1-4 years of experience in patent prosecution and a degree in Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Computer Science or a related field. Wisconsin bar admission and USPTO required.
1-4 years of experience in patent prosecution matters and an undergraduate or graduate degree in engineering or other hard science preferably with electrical or mechanical engineering. Ability to assist in litigation and draft and negotiate technology agreements is a plus. USPTO required.
3-5 years of patent prosecution experience and an advanced degree in Organic Chemistry. Admission to USPTO preferred.
3+ years of patent prosecution experience and a mechanical or electrical engineering background. Experience with patent application drafting and prosecuting, licensing, client counseling, and opinion work required.
4+ years of experience in patent counseling and prosecution and a technical background in electrical, computer science or computer engineering. USPTO required.
7+ years of patent prosecution and clearance experience and a background in Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering, or Computer Science. USPTO required.
Our general practice firms in Wisconsin continue to expand in key areas, including litigation, corporate, real estate, trusts and estates and labor and employment. The following are the skills and experience we are seeking in these key areas:
3+ years of commercial real estate experience, including title and survey, purchase and sale agreements, construction and architect agreements, loan agreements, assumptions and modifications, easements and license agreements, leases, ground leases, and build to suit leases, and site development agreements. Wisconsin Bar admission required.
2+ years of labor and employment experience, including traditional labor law.
3-5 years of labor and employment litigation experience. Admission to Wisconsin bar required.
State of the Market Report: Minneapolis/Saint Paul by Julie Lehrman, Senior Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
The market has remained strong throughout 2016, and the Twin Cities are an example of its soundness. Since this fall, the main areas of focus have been in IP, and increasingly, litigation.
Partners with Portable Business
The Chicago office of BCG Attorney Search is always happy to talk to partners with business who are interested in the Twin Cities. Ideally, partners with portable books of business exceeding $500k may interest mid-sized and smaller firms, while those with books in excess of $1M may be of interest in the largest firms. We can help you formulate a business and marketing plan, and we can also help you organize and strategize your search.
After a prolonged recessionary slump of several long years, litigation has picked up nationwide, but we have really seen it surge in 2016 in the Twin Cities. Firms large and small are generating needs for both specialized and generalized commercial litigators. We have seen such diverse litigation needs as antitrust, complex medical malpractice and mass torts, and products liability, as well as business litigation and general commercial litigation.
State of the Market Report: Saint Louis by Julie Lehrman, Senior Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
This quarter we have seen a notable increase in demand across a variety of practice areas in the Saint Louis market. We have seen a small increase in needs for banking/finance, corporate/transactional, health care, patent law, litigation, employee benefits, and employment law. Saint Louis is one of our steadier markets – generally it has moderate activity, but this quarter has seen more activity than usual. As a market that values local connections, both partners and associates who are relocating to Saint Louis should have a tie to the area or a compelling reason for relocation.
Partners with Portable Business
BCG’s Chicago recruiters would be happy to assist Saint Louis partners, or those partners with ties to and desire to relocate to Saint Louis, who have $250k in portable business (for small firms) and upwards of $500k for medium and larger firms.
There’s been a slight uptick this quarter in needs for Banking attorneys. Those on the more senior end are more marketable than those who still need some training and supervision. Excellent academics and large law firm training are preferred, as is a background in finance.
Corporate law, while quieting down generally throughout the US, has remained relatively strong in Saint Louis. Transactional work, M&A, and securities are generally sought after sub-practices in this area. Strong academics are required, and large firm training is preferred for corporate lawyers.
There remains a moderate demand for health care lawyers in Saint Louis. Firms are generally looking for skills including Fraud & Abuse, Stark Law, Anti-Kickback, Medicare/Medicaid law, and HIPAA. Health care litigation is somewhat less marketable than the regulatory and transactional side, but it is certainly a plus for some firms. Experience with hospitals and hospital system clients can also be helpful.
Patent prosecution has slowed generally throughout the country, and also in Saint Louis, though we continue to see a moderate demand for Patent Prosecutors with Electrical and Mechanical Engineering degrees. Life sciences remain quiet in this city.
Litigation has remained strong in Saint Louis in firms large and small. Products, transportation, premises liability, and toxic torts have all been active this quarter, and there is a continued need for Commercial and Business Litigators in firms of all sizes. Those with 3+ years of experience are the most marketable, and the largest firms insist on spotless academics.
Employment Law and Employee Benefits
Saint Louis has also seen an increase, though mild, in employment law needs. Traditional labor law experience may be a plus in Saint Louis. Employee benefits attorneys are in moderate demand as well, including those with health & welfare plans, counseling, ERISA, and sometimes Executive Compensation experience.
State of the Market Report: Detroit Metro Area, Michigan by Julie Lehrman, Senior Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Unlike some markets that experienced a decline in hiring this quarter, Detroit appears to be going strong. Detroit metro area firms have been generating needs for Patent Prosecutors, Litigators, Corporate attorneys, and Tax attorneys.
Partners with Business
The Chicago office of BCG welcomes inquiries from partners with portable business who would like to explore the Detroit Metro market. While large firms in the Detroit area prefer a portable book of least $1M, small and mid-sized firms will talk to partners who have considerably less.
Detroit, Bloomfield Hills, Southfield, Novi, Troy, Royal Oak, Lansing
We are seeing a continuedneed for Patent Prosecutors in Detroit and its suburbs. Sought-after technical backgrounds include Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering, and Computer Science. Admission to practice before the USPTO is required, and applicants are often required to provide writing samples.
Litigation has remained reasonably busy in the Detroit metro area this quarter, especially in the suburban areas. We are seeing needs for Litigators in both GeneralCommercial/BusinessLitigation and specialty areas of litigation such as Insurance Defense and Construction Litigation. Large firms value excellent academics and large firm experience, while smaller firms tend to focus on hands-on experience.
Tax attorneys have seen a decline in demand throughout the country this quarter, but there is still a moderate demand for them in the Detroit area. Attorneys with more experience are more marketable than junior attorneys, and those coming out of accounting firms may find it especially hard to land an attorney position. Tax attorneys are often required to hold an LL.M. or CPA.
State of the Market Report: Ohio by Liz Leach, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
There continues to be greater legal hiring growth in Ohio as opposed to other Midwestern states. In Ohio, the major law firms are doing most of the hiring, but we also have seen many of the regional and local firms posting new positions as well.
State of the Market Report: Philadelphia by Claudia Barnes, Manager, BCG Attorney Search
Hot Practice Areas:
There are a good number of traditional Corporate openings, specifically at the mid-level to senior level range. Candidates with experience in capital markets and mergers and acquisitions will get many interviews. However, attorneys with Finance backgrounds will have a much harder time in this market.
Employment litigation is a strong market here, and someone with solid defense-side Employment experience, especially with labor experience as well, would likely get a lot of interest. Ideal candidates will have 2-8 years of experience handling single-plaintiff claims and class actions.
As compared to other markets of the country, litigation in Philadelphia is on the healthy side. A couple of the large firms continue to put out openings for litigators, but due to a growing interest in relocating to Philly, we are seeing these positions filling up extremely quickly. Thus, if you had an interest in this market and have a strong litigation background at a large firm and would like to lateral to another large firm, we recommend jumping at any opening that may come out. Specifically, firms seek candidates with experience attending hearings, taking/defending depositions, arbitrations, mediations, and trials. Many firms seek candidates who have the PA and NJ bars.
Several firms seek Patent Litigators at all levels, and the firms do not necessarily require a technical background.
There is a greater need for Patent Prosecutors than litigators. The majority of Patent attorney openings are for those with a hard science background such as Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering or Computer Science. The ideal candidate will have experience with software patents. There are also a good number of openings for Patent attorneys with a PhD in one of the life sciences, such as Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, or Biology. The greatest need is for attorneys at the senior level – including partners – without portable business.
Many firms also seek Patent Agents with a hard science background or PhD in a life science.
Real Estate continues to be a solid market in Philadelphia. Candidates with 3-8 years of experience will get many interviews. Candidates should have experience in one of the following: leasing, sales and acquisitions, or corporate transactional practice support. Firms will consider candidates coming from an in-house position.
Executive Compensations/Employee Benefits in Philadelphia is a smaller market, with an opening coming out every couple of months. The openings tend to be at the junior level. Candidates should have experience with all types of employee benefit plans and programs, health and welfare benefit plans, and executive compensation arrangements.
Slow Practice Areas:
There are a few to no openings in the following areas: Data Privacy, Tax, Technology Transactions, and Trusts & Estates.
State of the Market Report: New York City by Becca Levine, Managing Director, BCG Attorney Search
New York continues to be one of the top hiring markets in the country and we are seeing great signs for 2017 in the lateral attorney market. The New York market is steady in corporate, with most of the large firms interested in top corporate talent. Litigation continues to be slower – this does not mean that no openings exist – just that the market in litigation is not as strong as in the comparable corporate practice group. Specialties in New York are strong, especially Real Estate, Health Care, and ERISA.
The IP world is seeing a slowdown, with Trademark/Copyright/Entertainment demand being extremely slow. Patent Litigation and Prosecution are a bit stronger, but slow overall. The Trust & Estates and Tax markets, in comparison, are going strong, with many top firms looking for candidates with these types of skill. As is typical in New York, the market is targeted towards mid-level associates with a scope that can range from 2 to 6 years. Senior litigators continue to have more difficulty making lateral moves or breaking into the New York market from other areas, unless they have significant portable books of business.
As compared to other markets of the country, litigation in New York is seeing some interest, with openings popping up at major firms on a steady basis. All signs are pointing towards a solid 2017 in litigation. However, litigation (especially general litigation) is certainly not a “hot” market in New York, as the openings are still on the slower side compared to other practice areas, and firms are looking for stellar credentials when considering lateral associates. Senior litigators in the New York market are going to have a very hard time making a move or breaking into the market, as firms just do not have a need for senior skills. International arbitration is particularly slow in New York, with almost no openings over the last year. Other litigation specialties such as Real Estate or Employment are steadier, with Employment continuing to see openings at top firm practices.
The corporate market in New York has remained steady, and we predict the market will continue to be strong going into the first quarter in 2017. Capital markets specialties as well as corporate finance continue to be strong practice areas, and firms are generally in need of attorneys with this type of niche expertise. Corporate M&A continues to be a strong market as well, but with more competition for these openings since there are so many more corporate M&A attorneys on the market. Corporate candidates with backgrounds in technology transactions or life sciences are especially marketable, as demand for this type of practice is growing in New York at a large rate.
Real estate continues to be a solid market in New York – especially on the transactional side. Although the market is very steady, with many firms looking for associates, we saw less new openings in the last quarter of the year than we did in the first quarter of the year. As with other areas, attorneys with between 2 to 6 years of experience with significant Real Estate transactional experience are the most marketable.
This area is one of the slower areas in New York, especially on the litigation side. There have been almost no openings in trademark/copyright/entertainment work in the last quarter of the year, and Patent Litigation is slow except for Hatch-Waxman experience, which seems to be the top practice specialty New York firms are looking for in lateral associates. PatentProsecution in New York is generally concentrated in medium-sized and small firms, and a candidate with a strong background in this area could have solid success in this type of firm, especially a boutique firm. On the other hand, IP/IT Transactional work is a strong market in New York and top firms with strong practices in this area are going to be interested in a mid-level associate with this type of expertise, especially with top firm training. Licensing agreements and experience in corporate M&A dealing with IP provisions and covenants would be especially appealing in this market.
ERISA/Employment and Tax/Trust and Estates
ERISA/Employee Benefits in New York is steady – we have seen firms show interest in many candidates with this niche expertise, especially with top large firm training. As noted above, Employment Litigation in New York and New Jersey has continued to be a strong market, and we expect that trend to continue into the New Year. Trust & Estates and Tax are also niche specialties that remained strong in the last quarter of 2016 – with firms targeting mid-level to a bit more senior attorneys in these practice areas, and with respect to Tax, candidates with M&A and partnership tax experience.
State of the Market Report: Washington, D.C. by Margaret Gilleran, Recruiter - East Coast, BCG Attorney Search
The D.C. legal market is busy and getting busier! However, certain practice areas – like corporate, intellectual property, and litigation – are definitely leading the charge.
Corporate and Finance
There is no doubt that a corporate associate in D.C. who has strong academic credentials and between 2 to 5 years of transactional experience will have no problem finding a new position. The message is that if the foregoing description fits and you are not wholly satisfied or dare I say thrilled (!) with your current position, then you might want to consider commencing a search.
Which corporate practice areas are most in demand? The short answer is all of them. M&A, Capital Markets, and Private Equity are all busy and show no signs of slowing down any time soon. With consumer confidence the highest it has been in 15 years, there is no reason to believe that the market will get anything but busier over the next several months. In addition to the aforementioned practice areas, associates who have investment management, structured finance, leveraged finance, and/or banking experience are in demand as well.
While it is true now (and traditionally has always been true) that firms are primarily seeking junior and midlevel associates, the good news is that senior candidates (i.e., corporate candidates with 7+ years of experience) also can get interviews and even get hired due to the current demand. Senior candidates with special skills (e.g. derivatives) have the best chances of being hired because firms will be flexible on hiring criteria and bring in attorneys with these special skills in order to service their clients’ needs.
Patent Prosecution seemed to be on the decline, as big firms appeared to be moving away from this less lucrative aspect of intellectual property. However, in the last six months, there has been a spike in demand in the D.C. market for patent prosecution candidates. The candidates who are the most in demand are those candidates with between 2 to 5 years of experience who have hard sciences backgrounds, such as Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Physics, and Mechanical Engineering backgrounds. There is some demand for Patent Prosecution candidates with life science backgrounds, but the demand is significantly less than for the aforementioned “technology” disciplines. Moreover, when it comes to life sciences, firms generally require advanced degrees, which is almost never a requirement for Electrical Engineering or Computer Science positions.
Patent Litigation is active in D.C., but dramatically less active than patent prosecution. In other markets – like New York – life science patent litigators (albeit ones with advanced degrees) are much more in demand than patent litigators with electrical engineering or computer science backgrounds. However, it is the opposite in D.C. There is far more demand for patent litigators with electrical engineering or computer science backgrounds than for life science patent litigators.
Litigation is busy in D.C. and – much like the demand for corporate associates – the most coveted candidates are those candidates with 2 to 5 years of experience. However, while corporate associates need to have excellent academics and solid (usually large firm) experience to garner significant attention, interviews, and offers, the successful litigation candidate in D.C. has to be stellar. Perhaps it is the “Land of the Supreme Court Clerks” or just something about the proximity to the nation’s seat of government, but the competition is fierce in D.C. for litigation positions. Requirements that seem to be de rigueur for litigation candidates in D.C. are a law degree from a top law school, membership in the Order of the Coif, law review participation, and a federal clerkship, preferably appellate.
Many of the opportunities are for general commercial litigation associates; however, an equal number of litigation positions in D.C. focus more on subspecialty areas like white collar defense, international arbitration and health care. With respect to international arbitration, candidates must generally speak at least one foreign language. Interestingly, Portuguese is in far more demand than Spanish (quite possibly because there are so many candidates who speak fluent Spanish).
Other Practice Areas
Other areas – like Bankruptcy, ERISA, Healthcare, Real Estate, and Tax – remain steady. In an interesting side note, in the late fall, firms with Health Care openings decided to wait on hiring until the first quarter of 2017 due to the election results. Apparently, many health care clients were surprised by the results and, due to uncertainty, decided to delay certain actions that would have engendered legal work. The firms – following their clients’ leads – opted to take a wait and see approach and delayed interviews that had been scheduled until January. As the dust has settled, health care is once again beginning to get hot because many feel that there will be “huge” (!) changes that will create a great deal of work for firms. Prediction: If you are a health care associate who is eager to make a move, then get ready, because 2017 may be your year!
Corporate, Intellectual Property (especially Patent Prosecution), and Litigation are very active in D.C. and show no signs of slowing down. Corporate in particular will continue to get busier during the first quarter of 2017, because with consumer confidence the highest it has been in 15 years and a new president taking office, times for corporate associates have not looked so good in nearly a decade. Likewise, health care is poised and ready to take off because – no matter how you felt about Obamacare – change is coming and will create a lot of work for firms, especially in D.C., which is – arguably – the health care capital of the U.S.
In Boston, the market for lateral associates in the areas of corporate, intellectual property, and real estate is strong. The need for senior bankruptcy attorneys remains solid. Litigation is also continuing to show signs of healthy life here. There is less demand (surprisingly) for transactional support areas such as Tax and ERISA.
The need for transactional associates with strong academic and firm credentials and substantive experience is 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. In Boston, M&A is quite strong, as is private equity, investment management, and capital markets work.
Since Boston is home to so many biotechnology companies, the firms’ intellectual property groups almost always remain busy. Patentprosecutors are in higher demand than patent litigators, as is the case across the country, but the need for patent litigators does remain very healthy in Boston (especially as compared with the rest of the nation). 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. The demand for associates with electrical engineering, computer science, and mechanical engineering backgrounds has increased considerably, as well, as Boston has expanded beyond its biotechnology and pharmaceutical roots and has now become home to a number of other types of technology companies.
Registration with the USPTO is a requirement and all firms prefer advanced degrees. Indeed, it is uncharacteristic for firms to interview candidates who hold only a B.S., but in the cases where it does happen, the Bachelor’s degree was earned with high honors from a top-ranked school.
The Real Estate market remains strong in Boston. The associates in highest demand are those with between 2-6 years of experience, but there are also a number of 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. There also is demand for associates with Real Estate Finance experience.
Commercial litigation is almost as steady and strong as is real estate in Boston. There is a healthy demand for junior-to-mid-level associates with business litigation experience.
Tax, ERISA, and Bankruptcy
There are a few 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 strong now). The demand in this area is for associates with 2-5 years of transactional experience, especially in federal tax law. Firms almost always require their lateral hires in this area to have LL.M.’s from highly ranked schools.
The practice 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 slow.
State of the Market Report: Texas by Suzanne Dupree Howe, Managing Director for Texas and the Southeast, BCG Attorney Search
As we enter 2017, we can look back and see that overall there were areas that were slower as a result of the downturn in the energy industry, but other practices that more than compensated for the dip. Firm revenues are proving to be overall strong and the outlook is optimistic in Texas.
As you may have read, many of the large Texas firms followed the New York raises for junior associates. This makes Texas probably the most attractive venue in which to practice law nationally. Our warm winters and low cost of living make Texas a VERY attractive choice!
We have seen much stronger needs in Litigation this last year than in previous years. This is a strong time for litigators to make a move. Candidates with judicial clerkships and strong grades are highly sought after. It is important for junior litigation attorneys to gain as much practical experience as possible in their early years to make them more marketable to a wider range of firms as they develop into mid-levels and senior associates.
This is still a very active practice area despite the downturn in the energy sector. We are still seeing plenty of deal work happening, though it is not as wide-ranging as it was a few years ago.
This area has been very robust the last couple of years and remains so today. Some of our most active needs are in Finance.
This has been a strong area state-wide and in fact, nationally. We have needs at many levels, including counsel and partner levels.
This area has been very slow in Texas and across the country. However, candidates with an LL.M. in Taxation from strong programs are often marketable, as firms often hire them opportunistically.
This has been a remarkably robust area across the country this year, but it has only been medium strong in Texas, interestingly.
This has been a strong area in Texas and across the country. Health care attorneys are extremely marketable right now and it is an excellent time to look. We are seeing openings for both litigation and transactional side health care attorneys.
This has been a slower area in Texas in 2016, but we saw a bit of a surge towards the end of the year. Candidates with Electrical Engineering and Computer Science degrees tend to be most marketable.
PatentProsecution has been strong this year. These candidates are always in demand. We tend to see the most needs for candidates with Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering, and Chemical backgrounds.
I would be remiss if I did not specifically mention Trademark. This has been a very hot area across the country and we have seen needs in Texas consistently this year (mainly Dallas).
This has been only been a medium strong area in Texas, which is surprising given the downturn in the energy market. We saw more needs in 2015. It is my understanding that underutilized traditional corporate attorneys are handling work-outs and reorganizations.
In terms of transactional work, this area is very slow, though some are reporting that midstream work is decently strong. Energy Litigation has been quite strong, as you might imagine.
State of the Market Report: Tennessee by Suzanne Dupree Howe, Managing Director for Texas and the Southeast, BCG Attorney Search
This has been an interesting year for our practice area needs in Tennessee, with this year’s needs widely diverging from previous years! Litigation and IP are two of our strongest needs, while the typical leader, Corporate, is weaker this year.
This has been one of the bigger surprises in this market for 2016. While it is traditionally a very quiet practice area in Tennessee, Intellectual Property has become one of the state’s strongest areas. We are seeing a number of patent prosecution needs at many levels.
This is always a robust area in Tennessee, especially in Nashville, and this year is no exception. Health care is hot, hot, hot across the U.S. and we have very active needs in Tennessee.
State of the Market Report: Louisiana by Suzanne Dupree Howe, Managing Director for Texas and the Southeast, BCG Attorney Search
Transactional needs in Louisiana are extremely slow. Litigation and Employment are the name of the game in Louisiana. Candidates looking to enter this market are vastly more marketable if they have the Louisiana Bar in place before job seeking.
State of the Market Report: Atlanta by Jennifer McNeil, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
Healthy Practice Areas:
There are many active Corporate openings for junior to mid-level associates. Banking and Finance is a hot practice area, as well as transactional, securities, and capital markets practice areas. Firms in Atlanta prefer top associates from comparable large law firms and top law schools. There are multiple postings for more senior corporate attorneys, particularly for finance and transactional partners with portable business. There are several active openings for partners with modest to strong books of business. There is a posting for a senior associate/counsel with bond experience.
Real Estate (Transactions and Finance)
Real Estate has been a very active practice area in 2016. While demand is down a little, there is still a strong need for real estate attorneys given the high growth in Atlanta. There is particular need for mid to senior level candidates with solid commercial real estate transactions experience. Firms are looking for finance experience, as well as more traditional real estate backgrounds, including acquisition, disposition, development, joint ventures, and leasing. Several Atlanta firms have expressed interest in hiring Real Estate partners with strong books of business.
Emerging Practice Areas:
The Atlanta market witnessed an increase in Labor and Employment positions in the last quarter of 2016. Top law firms (AM LAW 100) as well as regional and Georgia firms are seeking employment attorneys with at least two years of experience. Firms are prioritizing employment litigation, advice and counseling, and employment related agreements. Traditional labor experience is also a plus.
This practice area is picking up and we have seen several new listings for junior to mid-level attorneys with Health Care experience, particularly with experience in litigation, regulatory, and government investigations. Firms are more concerned with experience than credentials.
We have noticed a significant increase in Trademark positions across the country, and that has included Atlanta. This would be a great time for a lateral Trademark candidate to make the move he or she is seeking. Firms are looking for associates with 3+ years of experience in trademark portfolio management, prosecution, clearance, enforcement, and licensing.
Steady Practice Areas:
Intellectual Property remains busy. Most of the current openings are for patent prosecutors with hard science backgrounds in Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Computer Science. The greatest needs are for junior and mid-level associates. Firms always prefer advanced technology degrees and USPTO registration. A PhD is a plus.
Litigation is slowing down a bit. Most of the hiring is with small and mid-sized local and regional firms, while the larger Atlanta firms are slower. Demand for civil litigation experience is high, especially in niche areas like employment, bankruptcy, products liability, insurance coverage, and construction law. A couple of larger firms are looking for commercial litigators, and they expect outstanding academic credentials and admission to the Georgia bar. Several firms are looking for litigation partners with portable business (typically at least $800,000).
Atlanta firms are always open to considering lateral candidates with solid books of portable business, and will frequently take a look at top caliber candidates in any practice area on a prospective basis. If you are considering a lateral move in Atlanta, please get in touch with BCG to see what your prospects might be.
State of the Market Report: North Carolina by Jennifer McNeil, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
The main action in North Carolina continues to center around Charlotte (with fewer openings in Raleigh).
Corporate is a strong practice area in Charlotte, and most of the large firms in the area are hiring associates with banking, capital markets, finance, and transactions experience. Firms are looking for mid-level associates, though they are always willing to consider partners with business.
The Litigation market in North Carolina continues to be sluggish, with only a handful of openings, and almost none at major firms. This trend seems to have continued from prior quarters, although Litigation has begun to pick up across the country, so we expect to start seeing some growth in the Charlotte market, especially in the first quarter of 2017.
Similar to the trend nationwide, North Carolina has a stable Corporate market, but certainly not a hot one. Typically, firms are most interested in mid-level associates with banking, M&A, capital markets, regulatory, and finance experience.
Real Estate in North Carolina continues to be somewhat active, though it has slowed a bit. The majority of openings relate to real estate transactions, rather than real estate or construction litigation.
The intellectual property market is slowing down a bit, and most of the new openings are for more junior associations. Firms are looking for attorneys with hard science (and some with life science backgrounds) and patent prosecution history. Firms also strongly prefer candidates with USPTO registration.
ERISA / Employment and Tax / Trust and Estates
Tax, ERISA and Trusts & Estates remain slow in North Carolina. Tax is very slow, with no current openings at any firms for a tax transactional associate.
State of the Market Report: Florida by Jessica Portela, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search
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 an increasing need for health care attorneys, due in part to the passage of the Affordable Care Act and in part to Florida's high demand for assisted living and nursing homes.
The Real Estate market continues to be a strong legal market in Florida. A large number of firms are looking for Real Estate Transactional associates with experience in development, leasing, resort issues, and lending and financing issues. The openings are also throughout the State, including in Miami and Orlando. The increase in development throughout Florida has also led to an increase in demand for Land Use and Environmental attorneys. If someone has a strong Real Estate background and is thinking of looking in Florida, now is an excellent time to do so.
Florida has seen a slight uptick in the market for Intellectual Property attorneys this quarter. Most of the openings are related to patent prosecution work requiring a science background, typically in Electric Engineering or Life Sciences. Trademark and copyright work at Florida law firms remains stagnant, with few firms hiring for this particular specialty over the last year. Litigation in this area is also no exception and remains slow.
ERISA/Employment and Tax/Trust and Estates
There is a steady demand for Trust & Estates lawyers in Florida. 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 Trusts & Estates and typically at smaller to mid-sized firms. For those pursuing a career in Tax law, an LL.M. is usually expected.
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