Summary: BCG Attorney Search releases the Spring 2017 State of the Law Firm Hiring Market, an update on booming legal practice areas. The report includes recent hiring trends in the legal sector and legal recruiting across the US.

  1. Northern California (San Francisco and Silicon Valley)
  2. Southern California (San Diego, Los Angeles, and Orange County)
  3. Northwest (Seattle and Portland)
  4. Southwest (Las Vegas, Phoenix)
  5. Midwest (Colorado, Minnesota, Indiana, Ohio, Utah, Chicago, Wisconsin, and Michigan)
  6. Northeast (Philadelphia, Washington DC, New York, and Boston/New England)
  7. South (Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Missouri, Atlanta, and Charlotte/North Carolina)
  8. Southeast (Florida)
 
NORTHERN CALIFORNIA
 
State of the Market Report: San Francisco

by Claudia Barnes, Manager of BCG Attorney Search

Healthy Practice Areas:

Corporate/Finance
 
Firms continue to seek a large number of experienced Corporate and Finance attorneys. Candidates 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 helps but is not always required.
 
Employment and Labor
 
Many San Francisco firms continue to seek Labor and Employment attorneys at all levels. Candidates with experience in the following: wage and hour, discrimination, and client counseling experience as well as class action, deposition, and trial experience are highly valued. Firms typically want candidates who are members of the California Bar, are located in California and/or have experience with California employment/labor laws.
 
Litigation
 
Litigation is the hottest practice area in San Francisco – more so than IP or corporate. Firms are seeking candidates at all levels with the greatest need at the mid-level (3-5 years). Candidates with experience in complex commercial and general litigation, construction (major pick up!), 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. Firms prefer candidates who are already admitted to the CA Bar, but it is not always necessary.
 
Patent Litigation
 
San Francisco law firms are actively hiring experienced Patent Litigators – a definite change since the beginning of the year. The need is concentrated on junior and mid-level attorneys (2-6 years). Candidates should have backgrounds in the following: electrical, computer science, computer engineering, mechanical, physics, pharmaceutical/medical device, chemistry, and biology. The ideal candidate will also be a member of the CA bar.
 
Patent Prosecution (Attorneys/Patent Agents/Technical Specialists)
 
San Francisco law firms continue to seek Patent Prosecutors, Patent Agents, and Technical Specialists. The need for patent agents and technical specialists is slightly greater than the need for patent attorneys. Firms continue to seek candidates with life sciences and hard sciences backgrounds.
 
Real Estate (Transactions & Finance)
 
There’s definitely been a pick-up in the Real Estate market since January. The sweet spot is at the mid-senior(ish) levels (3-8 years). Candidates should have experience in at least one of the following: purchase & sales, leasing, joint ventures, and finance (including CMBS) and REITs.
 
Tax
 
San Francisco firms continue to seek experienced Tax attorneys at all levels. The ideal candidate has an LL.M. in Tax and the CA Bar.
 
Steady Practice Areas:
 
Data Privacy
 
Data Privacy continues to be a solid practice area. Firms will consider candidates with good credentials in other transactional practices or with IP backgrounds. Ideal candidates should have experience working with technology clients on all matters of privacy and data security compliance.
 
Employee Benefits/Executive Compensation/ERISA
 
San Francisco law firms continue to seek Executive Compensation and Employee Benefits attorneys and to a lesser extent ERISA attorneys. The need has not grown as we had anticipated. Attorneys should have at least 3 years of experience, with the “sweet spot” in the 5-7 year range. Many firms desire senior attorneys with some portable business.
 
Environmental
 
The need for Environmental and Land Use attorneys has had a marked pick up since January. Most firms seek candidates at the mid and senior levels with litigation and transactional experience in water law, site remediation, and the defense of environmental enforcement actions. Candidates should have a familiarity with a broad range of state and federal environmental laws, including CERCLA, RCRA, CEQA, NEPA, CWA, ESA and the Clean Air Act.
 
Health Care
 
Law firms in San Francisco continue to seek experienced (3-10 years) Health Care transactional and regulatory attorneys. Firms will seriously consider partners without books or business.
 
Immigration
 
Firms continue to seek Immigration attorneys, particularly experienced Business Immigration attorneys with 7-10 years of experience.
 
Technology Transactions
 
San Francisco firms continue to seek Technology Transactions attorneys; however, they are willing to wait for the right candidate. Firms seek candidates with licensing, corporate/technology transactions experience, and/or IP support. Candidates with life science or hard science backgrounds are what firms are looking for.
 
Trademark
 
Much like Technology Transactions, San Francisco firms are hiring Trademark attorneys but are willing to wait for the right candidate. Candidates with at least 3 years of experience will likely get several interviews. Candidates should have the CA Bar.
 
Dead Practice Areas
 
The following practices have little activity: Bankruptcy, Energy, and Trusts & Estates. Experienced candidates with strong academic credentials in these practice areas will still get interviews.
 
State of the Market Report: Silicon Valley
by Claudia Barnes, Manager of BCG Attorney Search

Hot Practice Areas:
 
Corporate and Corporate Finance
 
Firms in Silicon Valley continue to seek Corporate and Finance attorneys. Firms are looking for candidates with experience in one of these areas: corporate finance, emerging companies, M&A, private equity, securities, or venture capital. Hiring is still strong in life sciences. Associates possessing experience at tech companies are sought after highly by firms.
 
Litigation
 
The market for litigators has continued to grow throughout the state, Silicon Valley included. The focus in Silicon Valley is on candidates with white collar and securities litigation experience, but those with antitrust, insurance coverage and commercial experience will also do exceptionally well here. Despite the strong need, firms are always highly selective and prefer to interview those already admitted to the CA bar.
 
Immigration
 
For the first time ever, Silicon Valley firms need experienced Immigration attorneys. Many firms (mostly boutiques) are in desperate need. The ideal candidate will have corporate immigration experience including experience managing others, overseeing workflow and delegating case assignments. Candidates should have experience assessing the eligibility of corporate foreign national employees for non-immigrant and immigrant visa status in the United States.
 
Patent Litigation
 
Like San Francisco, Silicon Valley has a strong need for experienced Patent Litigators at all levels. While they have a strong need, firms are very selective and will still wait until they find the right candidate. In order to secure interviews, candidates need strong professional or academic credentials. The best candidate will possess a background in science, such as computer science, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, physics, chemistry or biology. There is a strong preference by firms for in-state attorneys with USPTO admission and who have Hatch-Waxman experience.
 
Patent Prosecution
 
Silicon Valley firms are very actively seeking Patent Prosecutors, Patent Agents and Technical Specialistsmore than any other area in the state. Unlike our Winter report, the need is larger for Patent attorneys than Patent Agents/Technical Specialists. This is certainly good news for Patent attorneys!
 
Candidates with strong academic and/or professional credentials who have backgrounds in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, computer science, physics, chemistry, and biology are being sought 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 United States Patent and Trademark Office is required, but candidates do not need to have California bar admission.
 
Technology Transactions
 
Silicon Valley firms are in desperate need of Transactional attorneys. Firms are considering candidates that have any experience in corporate transactions (especially attorneys that possess technology or life sciences degrees/experience). Candidates from in-house backgrounds at the junior to mid-levels will also be considered by firms.
 
Steady Areas:
 
Data Privacy
 
Like San Francisco, there is a need for attorneys experienced in Data Privacy. Firms are looking for candidates that have worked with technology clients on data security compliance and privacy. Firms are also looking for candidates that have experience in counseling on foreign data privacy laws, especially European Union laws. If you are interested in transitioning to this area from another transactional practice area (such as Corporate or Technology Transactions), it is possible since few have direct experience in Data Privacy. Candidates coming from in-house backgrounds are definitely considered by firms.
 
Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation / ERISA
 
The need for experienced Executive Compensation/Employee Benefits/ERISA attorneys has remained steady and strong in Silicon Valley. Candidates at all levels (particularly mid and senior levels) will be considered by firms. Firms will absolutely consider out-of-state candidates with solid experience from a major market.
 
Employment and Labor
 
Silicon Valley firms continue to seek well-credentialed Employment and Labor attorneys. Candidates with experience in employment counseling, discrimination, and wage and hour experience are being sought by firms. Ideal candidates will have a mix of class action and single plaintiff experience. Mid-level and senior attorneys should have experience in taking and defending depositions, arguing motions; and, if possible trial or arbitration experience. Firms typically require candidates be admitted to the CA bar.
 
Slow Practice Areas


Real Estate (Transactions & Finance)
 
Silicon Valley has never been a very strong market for Real Estate attorneys; however, we do have a good number of opportunities for attorneys experienced in real estate law. Candidates should have experience in acquisitions, leasing, joint ventures, and sales. Candidates with California experience are preferred.
 
Trademark
 
Silicon Valley firms continue to seek experienced Trademark attorneys with true trademark prosecution experience.
 
Trusts & Estates
 
A good number of firms seek experienced Trusts & Estates attorneys with every aspect of wealth transfer planning and estate planning for individuals with high net worth. Most firms prefer candidates that have an LL.M. in Taxation.
 
Dead Practice Areas:
 
There is currently little to no activity in Bankruptcy, Energy, Environmental, Health Care, and Tax.

 
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
 
State of the Market Report: San Diego
by Christina Brown, Legal Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search

Given that San Diego is by all accounts one of the greatest cities to live in, it comes as little surprise that attorneys seeking to make a lateral move to or within San Diego face fierce competition. Candidates must have outstanding academic credentials and experience, California licensure is generally always required, and ties to the area should go beyond “making an opportunistic exploration” in the market.
 
Hot Practice Areas:
 
Litigation
 
Litigation opportunities abound in San Diego, with the caveat that despite the numerous positions available candidates must come armed with absolutely stellar credentials and experience, given the competition they face. Am Law experience, trial and strong deposition work, and expertise in such areas as product liability, class action, and securities will serve to advance one’s candidacy.
 
Corporate
 
The need for Corporate attorneys is constant in San Diego, particularly in finance and M&A, securities, tech transactions and emerging companies. Although generally a lack of the California bar precludes consideration, in this practice area there are some exceptions, with candidates from New York attracting particular interest.

Employment

The market for Labor and Employment is incredibly strong throughout California, and San Diego is no exception. Attorneys with significant experience in wage and hour, discrimination, retaliation, class action, and traditional labor – or exceptionally strong Litigators with interest in transitioning to an Employment practice – will find no shortage of opportunities here.

Steady Practice Areas:
 
Tech Specialists / Patent Agents

The market in San Diego, and across California generally, is very steady for Patent Agents, from life sciences to electrical engineering and computer sciences. USPTO registration and advanced degrees are highly desired (if not required), and foreign language skills are a plus.

Slower to Dead Practice Areas
 
The market in San Diego was less dynamic in practice areas such as Environmental, Health Care, Real Estate, and Trusts and Estates, while activity for Bankruptcy, ERISA, and Insurance was extremely slow.
 
State of the Market Report: Los Angeles
by Paul Danielson, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search

Hot Practice Areas:
 
Corporate
 
Los Angeles firms continue to seek Corporate and Finance attorneys, including debt finance, with a focus on the mid and senior levels. However, the need in Los Angeles is not nearly as strong as the Bay Area and not as strong as the beginning of the year. Law firms are looking for candidates that have experience in capital markets, mergers and acquisitions, and private equity. There are quite a few openings for Finance attorneys with banking, corporate finance (including high yield transactions), debt finance, and structured finance experience.
 
Employment and Labor
 
There is a great need for experienced Los Angeles Employment attorneys that continues into the spring. Firms are looking for candidates with employment litigation (including discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination suits) and wage and hour litigation experience. Candidates with this kind of experience will receive many interviews. Nearly every firm expects candidates to already be members of the CA Bar. Employment attorneys seeking to move to LA should take the next available bar exam.
 
Executive Compensation/Employee Benefits/ERISA
 
LA firms continue to seek Executive Compensation/Employee Benefits/ERISA attorneys – particularly at the mid to senior level. Partners without portable business (10+ years) will get many interviews. Firms will definitely consider candidates that are out-of-state if they have solid experience from a major market.
 
Litigation
 
Litigation in Los Angeles is the hottest practice area in the state. That being said, candidates must have solid academic and professional credentials. The California bar is required for all candidates in this practice area. Firms are especially looking for candidates that have trial experience. Clerkships are a major plus as well. The hottest practice areas are Insurance Coverage and General Commercial Litigation.
 
Real Estate
 
The Real Estate market continues to be very, very strong in Los Angeles. Many firms seek experienced Real Estate attorneys with all levels of experience and in particular those at the mid to senior level. Real Estate partners are also being sought by firms, and portable business is not a requirement in this practice area. Candidates should have experience in any of the following: finance (including CMBS), joint ventures, leasing, and purchase & sales. We are seeing more Real Estate Finance openings. Specifically, firms are seeking candidates with experience in mortgage/mezzanine debt and joint-venture equity work.
 
Patent Prosecution
 
Los Angeles firms continue to heavily pursue Patent Prosecutors, Patent Agents, and Technical Specialists. Candidates should already be members of the USPTO, have a degree in the hard sciences or life sciences (ideally a masters or Ph.D.), and the CA Bar.
 
Tax
 
The need for Tax attorneys has not slowed down in Los Angeles. Multiple interviews will be obtained for candidates possessing 3+ years of experience. The market is also very good in Los Angeles for senior Tax attorneys. An LL.M. in Tax is usually a big bonus. There is a need for a SALT (State and Local Tax) attorneys as well.
 
Steady Practice Areas:
 
Data Privacy
 
Firms in Los Angeles continue to seek candidates for their Data Privacy practices. Firms are willing to transition Litigators or Corporate attorneys into this practice area. Candidates must have stellar academic and professional credentials in order to break into this area of the law. The CA Bar is not necessary.
 
Entertainment
 
Los Angeles is full of Entertainment boutiques and large firms with growing and busy Entertainment departments. Boutiques tend to represent talent seeking attorneys who can prepare and help conduct negotiations related to artist performances, recordings, touring, and appearances in motion pictures and television. Larger firms tend to represent studios and seek candidates with experience in mergers and acquisitions and joint ventures. All candidates must be members of the CA Bar. Rarely do firms relocate candidates from another state unless they have spot on experience and outstanding academic and professional credentials.

Environmental
 
The need for Environmental attorneys is the same as it was in the beginning of the year, and several top firms are seeking candidates with CEQA, land use, water, and NEPA experience.
 
Family Law
 
Everyone is divorcing in LA! There are a good number of opportunities for experienced Family Law attorneys (those with at least 2 years of experience).
 
Healthcare
 
Health Care is still a strong practice area in LA, but not quite as hot as it was in the beginning of the year. Candidates with experience in corporate, transactional, and regulatory matters for healthcare clients are highly sought after. Those with 3-8 years of experience will get a number of interviews.
 
Technology Transactions
 
Firms are looking for Technology Transactions candidates with 2-5+ years of experience in the following: contracts, corporate financing, licensing IP, mergers and acquisitions, and technology transactions. Firms want candidates with this experience that are connected to the technology and entertainment worlds.
 
Intellectual Property Litigation
 
The Los Angeles market for Patent Litigators has never been that great; however, it is steady.
 
Trademark
 
The market since January has picked up a little for experienced Trademark attorneys (candidates with 2-6 years of experience). All firms require candidates to be active members of the CA Bar.
 
Trusts & Estates
 
The Trusts and Estates practice area has picked up a bit since the beginning of the year and there are a fair number of openings. An LL.M. in Tax is a big plus. The ideal candidate has 5-7 years of experience in trust administration and provides proactive estate planning solutions for high net worth individuals and families. It is required that candidates have significant experience in drafting estate planning documents, including wills, revocable trusts, and powers of attorney.
 
Dead Practice Areas:
 
There is very little or no activity for attorneys in Bankruptcy, Energy and Trademark law (except for partners with business).
 
State of the Market Report: Orange County
by Paul Danielson, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search

Sitting between the massive Los Angeles and large San Diego metropolitan areas, Orange County is often overlooked as a potential market by attorneys looking to move to or within California, yet between the excellent schools and solid practice opportunities at both large and smaller firms, Orange County should not be overlooked. The majority of the action in the OC legal market can be found in Corporate Transactional work, with a healthy amount of Real Estate, Intellectual Property (Transactions, Prosecution, and Litigation), and General Litigation.

Hot Practice Areas:

Litigation

Litigation remains hot in Orange County, with firms seeking lateral attorneys at the junior level (exceptional credentials needed for junior associates in this highly competitive market), the mid-level (the most concentrated demand, with firms seeking experience in commercial litigation, construction litigation, insurance, toxic tort, and financial litigation), and even some opportunities for more senior-level litigators with smaller books of business, which is a rarity in the general lateral market.

Steady Practice Areas:

Patent Litigation

In a strong reversal of the trend for the latter half of 2016, Patent Litigation has made a comeback as a practice area, and particularly in Southern California of all places. Firms in Orange County are seeking Patent Litigators with significant experience, particularly in the areas of computer software and hardware, medical devices, and to some extent the life sciences.

Patent Prosecution

While demand for Patent attorneys has slowed significantly on the West Coast relative to the past couple years, there are still a steady stream of opportunities for Patent Prosecution attorneys and agents who have solid backgrounds in the hard sciences (EE, CS, and Physics), and occasional opportunities for practitioners who have an advanced degree in the life sciences (most firms will require or at least strongly favor candidates with a Ph.D.).

Labor & Employment

Continuing a trend we are seeing across the West Coast, demand for Labor & Employment attorneys remains strong in Orange County, with the majority of the demand focused on mid-level and senior attorneys with solid employment litigation experience, and less of an emphasis on employment counseling and traditional labor work. Partners with portable business in this area will receive strong consideration from most every Orange County firm with an existing practice.

Slow to Dead Practice Areas

Corporate has seen a decline lately in the Orange County market, though given it is one of the region’s most prominent practice areas, we expect this is simply an anomaly (or a stronger than normal pause following the beginning of the calendar year after large deals have closed and attorneys consider lateral moves that create new opportunities). There have been a handful of listings for Tax, Trusts and Estates attorneys, Technology Transactions attorneys, and Real Estate (which has been in decline on the West Coast for a couple quarters running now, implying a large scale shift in the economic cycle). All practice areas not listed above can be considered fairly dead at the moment in Orange County.
 
NORTHWEST
 
State of the Market Report: Seattle

by Paul Danielson, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search

Seattle and Portland continue to battle it out for most popular Pacific Northwest destination city, each seeing high-level growth in population, economy, and real estate prices. Consequently, the Seattle market remains as competitive as ever for job seekers, and attorneys will need to have top-level credentials (and ideally portable business) to catch the attention of firms. Am Law firms in Seattle are especially picky, as salaries have risen recently, and attorneys with an interest in working in the technology and healthcare sectors consider Seattle to be a top choice of market.

Hot Practice Areas:

Litigation

Following on the heels of our last market update, demand for Litigation attorneys in Seattle has kept pace, representing the hottest practice area in the region for a couple sequential quarters now. White Collar, Construction, and Insurance Litigation represent the majority of the openings at firms, and firms are primarily seeking candidates at the junior and mid-level with stellar credentials and ideally trial experience. The opportunities shrink for more senior level lateral candidates unless a portable book of business is a part of the package.

Corporate

Demand for Corporate and Transactional candidates in Seattle has slowed slightly in the early part of 2017 (which is fairly typical for the beginning of any calendar/fiscal year as major deals have just closed and others have yet to ramp up), but we still see this as a strong practice area in Seattle for the near term. M&A experience, and venture capital/emerging companies experience are in the highest demand, which is not surprising given how much of the Seattle legal market has come to serve the massive technology sector in the region. Candidates with Energy sector experience will also see more new opportunities than there have been in some time.

Steady Practice Areas:

Labor & Employment

As is typical for this stage of the market cycle, Labor & Employment attorneys remain in steady demand during the continued economic boom in Seattle. We are seeing demand at all levels of experience, as well as all sub-practices within L&E, including wage & hour, discrimination, class action, and even traditional labor.

ERISA, Executive Compensation, and Employee Benefits

With both traditional and tech-sector companies making strategic acquisitions on a regular basis, as well as expanding their operations and gearing up for IPOs, there remains a steady demand for attorneys with experience in Executive Compensation and Employee Benefits matters, especially within the context of large M&A deals.

Real Estate

Real Estate remains steady in Seattle. While not as booming as a few years ago, development continues in the Seattle area, and law firms are seeking attorneys with significant real estate transactional experience, particularly those from large firms.

Patent Prosecution

After a bit of a lull towards the latter part of 2016, Patent Prosecution has started to come back online in terms of law firm hiring in Seattle in the early part of 2017. Not surprisingly, the vast majority of the demand is for attorneys and Patent Agents with degrees in Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, and Computer Engineering. To some extent, we are also seeing a small uptick in demand for life sciences candidates, although they should expect to bring at least a Masters-level degree as well as significant patent drafting experience if they want to be competitive for the limited number of openings.

Trademark & Copyright

Soft IP has made a little bit of a comeback in Seattle, with multiple firms seeking mid-to-senior level experience in Trademark and Copyright matters. Seattle firms are showing a strong preference for candidates who have prior large firm experience.

Slow to Dead Practice Areas

We are seeing limited openings in the areas of Trusts and Estates, Patent Litigation, Environmental law, and Health Care law (although firms will still look at strong health care candidates on an opportunistic basis). Any other practice not yet listed above can be considered fairly dormant in the Seattle market as of now.
 
State of the Market Report: Portland
by Paul Danielson, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search

At the city level, Portland continues to experience massive growth, and massive growing pains along with it. Longtime residents bemoan the pace of new construction, as well as rising rents and real estate prices, but those relocating to or within the area who have highly sought after technology, legal, and business experience from large, sophisticated markets have been finding Portland highly receptive (as well as a cheaper cost of living and higher quality of life than most every other major West Coast city). Being such a popular city, there is tremendous competition for each new opening, and many candidates will need to broaden their search to cover every firm beyond just the usual suspects.

Hot Practice Areas:

Litigation

As is the case in most West Coast markets generally right now, we are seeing the most action in terms of new openings in Litigation, though competition is extremely high for every open position, and firms will often take their time in making a hiring decision because they have a large pool of qualified applicants from which to choose. In Portland, strong academic backgrounds are always necessary, and candidates will have a better chance at landing a lateral position if they have particular experience in construction, insurance, and employment related litigation. Portland firms particularly like to see lateral candidates with trial experience, and those who are capable of handling matters independently, as there are fewer large, institutional clients in Portland relative to other markets that require major staffing on cases.

Labor & Employment

With Portland’s economy booming, a very low unemployment rate, and the explosive growth of the city’s technology sector, it is not surprising that demand for Labor & Employment attorneys is quite strong at the moment. Law firms are seeking primarily Litigators, particularly those with wage and hour and discrimination experience, although we are also seeing occasional demand for traditional labor and employer advice experience as well.

Steady Practice Areas:

Environmental, Energy and Infrastructure

A little bit of a hybrid category, firms in Portland have been seeking attorneys with experience in a variety of semi-related areas under the umbrella of the Energy sector, from Land Use, to Environmental Regulation, to Energy Project Financing. This is due to the rapid growth in the region, Portland (and Oregon’s) generally strong environmental protections and green-mindedness combined with the need to scale up the local, regional and state infrastructure. If you are an attorney with experience in this area, it would be a good time to consider a lateral move.

Corporate

We continue to see steady demand for Corporate, Banking, Finance, and Transactional attorneys in the Portland market. Firms are primarily seeking attorneys at the mid-level of experience (3-6 years), with fewer opportunities available for more junior attorneys. More senior attorneys with portable business will also see interest from Portland firms.

Slow to Dead Practice Areas:

We have seen a handful of listings for Patent attorneys (Prosecution and Litigation), small residual demand for Tax, Trusts and Estates attorneys, and a handful of Real Estate openings. Any other practice area not listed above can be considered dormant in Portland for the time being.
 
SOUTHWEST
 
State of the Market Report: Phoenix

by Christina Brown, Legal Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search

The market in Phoenix remains largely unchanged from when we last reported, with the notable exception that there is a notable uptick in firms seeking partners. Partners in virtually every practice area having more than $500,000 in portable business are encouraged to contact us to talk about opportunities.
 
The job market in Phoenix is very healthy in virtually every practice area (with some exceptions), so please contact us if you are seeking to lateral to another firm or make a move to Phoenix from another state.

 
Hot Practice Areas:
 
Litigation
 
Litigation in Phoenix is vibrant and slightly up from last quarter. Firms remain selective in their process, with many positions being reposted from last term. Practitioners in virtually every area will find opportunities, with the most common demand being for associates with 2-5 years of business and commercial litigation, insurance and construction defect, and collections experience. Arizona state bar membership is generally essential, although attorneys may be eligible for admission by motion.
 
Real Estate
 
The legal market for Real Estate practitioners is dynamic, having experienced a sharp upswing from the winter months. Attorneys with 2-8 years of experience in finance, loan transactions, closings, purchase and sale, and other sophisticated deals will find a wealth of opportunity in the Phoenix area.
 
Corporate and Corporate Finance
 
Although slightly down in demand, Corporate remains a very strong force in the Phoenix and neighboring areas for attorneys with 3-8 years of experience in commercial lending, corporate finance, securities, M&A and venture capital.
 
Family Law
 
The call for Family Law practitioners is up from last quarter in Phoenix and surrounding areas, with firms seeking associates with 3 or more years of experience. Associates prepared to hit the grounds running in managing discovery, settlement conferences, mediation, Protection hearings, and divorce-related litigation have no shortage of opportunities.
 
Steady Practice Areas:

Labor and Employment
 
Although demand for Employment attorneys remains impressive, it has dropped sharply from when we last reported. Candidates with 3 or more years in litigation and counseling, specifically EEOC, Wage and Hour, FMLA, FLSA, discrimination and harassment, and wrongful termination are most sought.
 
Other Practice Areas:
 
Although not nearly as dynamic as the practice areas highlighted above, there is steady demand in Intellectual Property (Prosecution, Litigation, and for Agents), Trusts and Estates, Immigration, and Bankruptcy law.
 
State of the Market Report: Las Vegas
by Christina Brown, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search

Hot Practice Areas:
 
Litigation
 
Litigation in Las Vegas holds its lead, but demand has dropped significantly from when we last reported. Boutiques and larger firms are seeking Litigators with experience in construction, general business and commercial, insurance defense, mortgage and foreclosure, consumer finance, and criminal defense. Notably, more seasoned Litigators are in demand this season, with those having trial and strong deposition experience being sought. Those having judicial clerkships, law review and moot court experience are at an advantage and the Nevada bar is essential.
 
Steady Practice Areas:
 
Employment

Sharply up this term is demand for Employment attorneys, particularly those with wage and hour, discrimination, class action and traditional labor experience. Attorneys with 2-6 years’ experience in employment law litigation experience are encouraged to contact us for more information about these positions.
 
Corporate
 
Associates with 2-5 years’ traditional M&A, finance, securities and consumer finance experience continue to enjoy opportunities with larger firms in Las Vegas. The need ranges from junior to partner level, and while generally the bar is required, in some circumstances firms are accepting candidates with out of state credentials.
 
Insurance Defense
 
Demand for Insurance Defense attorneys remains steady, as it always seems to at every report. Attorneys with 3-5 years’ in insurance defense work will see a steady flow of positions affording hands on litigation work. The strongest candidates will have experience in depositions, arguing motions, and handling a voluminous motion practice.
 
Slower Practice Areas:
 
Although the market in Las Vegas has generally been slower than in the winter months, a smattering of positions have appeared for strong candidates seeking positions in Trusts and Estates, Tax, Immigration, and Bankruptcy.

 
MIDWEST
 
State of the Market Report: Chicago

by Jamie Bailey, Partner, BCG Attorney Search - Chicago

Similar to our report at the end of fourth quarter 2016, we have seen significant lateral activity in Chicago law firms during first quarter 2017. Corporate Transactional practices continue to flourish in Chicago and there remains a steady need for highly qualified attorneys with strong general corporate, finance, M&A, securities, private equity, investment management and joint venture experience. We have seen a decline in the need for Commercial Real Estate associates, as well as requests for lateral Tax, ERISA and Employee Benefits associates. Intellectual Property practices remain very busy and we continue to receive requests from our law firm clients for skilled Patent Prosecution and Trademark attorneys. There has been a very slight pickup in Patent Litigation requests since our last report, with a particular need for attorneys with experience in Hatch-Waxman matters and a background in chemistry, biochemistry, biomedical or chemical engineering. Technology Transactional attorneys are highly sought after and we have many junior to mid-level positions for associates with Privacy and Data Security experience. Although the need for Litigation associates in large law firms has not increased substantially since our last report, we are still seeing a high level of need for skilled Litigation associates in smaller firms. Healthcare practices remain steady regarding expansion. By contrast to fourth quarter 2016, Labor and Employment is an area in which we have seen increased need for lateral associates.

Partners with Portable Business

Are you a partner with portable business? We are interested in speaking with you. In this market, large firms are generally looking for a minimum of $1M in portable business. Partners seeking to make a move should contact our Chicago office at 312-321-9411.

Associates

General Corporate; M&A; Private Equity; Investment Management; Securities; Joint Venture
 
Transactional practices in Chicago remain very busy and we continue to receive requests from large law firms for highly qualified Transactional attorneys. We are interested in speaking with associates who have 3-5 years of experience in fund formation, private equity and investment management transactions. Mid-level associates with M&A, securities and general corporate experience should also get in touch with us. We would also like to speak with senior associates with 6+ years of experience in M&A, joint venture and private equity transactions. Income partner level candidates with 8-15 years of experience with securities, corporate governance, M&A, and joint venture experience should contact our Chicago office immediately to discuss a few unusual opportunities at firms that are not requiring portables.
 
Finance – Structured Finance; Consumer Finance
 
Mirroring our fourth quarter report, our large law firm clients are requesting that we send them top tier junior to mid-level Finance associates with anywhere from 1-6 years of experience in structured finance and derivatives. We would also be interested in speaking with associates with 3+ years of experience handling consumer finance matters.
 
Bankruptcy / Restructuring
 
We are continuing to see a strong need for junior and mid-level Bankruptcy associates with anywhere from 1-5 years of restructuring experience.
 
Litigation (IL bar required in most cases)
 
We have not seen a dramatic increase in the need for Litigation associates at our large law firm clients since our last report. Indeed, first quarter 2017 has reflected a continued 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, General Commercial Litigation, Insurance Coverage and Construction Litigation. We would be interested in speaking with junior and mid-level associates with strong litigation skills and Illinois bar admission.
 
ERISA/Employee Benefits
 
Employee Benefits practices have slowed dramatically since our last report. However, our clients have a need for ERISA attorneys who have experience handling transactional matters for investment funds.
 
Health Care - Regulatory Compliance; HIPAA; Data Privacy
 
Healthcare practices remain busy at Chicago law firms. Associates in this area with 2-5 years of experience in healthcare regulatory and transactional matters, as well as HIPAA and data privacy matters should contact our Chicago office.
 
Intellectual Property - IP Litigation; Patent Prosecution; Trademark and Copyright; Technology Transactions
 
IP Litigation
 
Since our fourth quarter 2016 report, there has been a slight uptick in the need for Patent Litigation associates at Chicago law firms. We have significant need for IP Litigation associates with 3-6 years of experience in Hatch-Waxman matters and a background in chemistry, biochemistry, biomedical or chemical engineering. We also have a need for IP Litigation associates with hard science backgrounds in electrical engineering or computer science. (USPTO is required for some of these positions.)

Patent Prosecution (USPTO and IL bar required)

The need for Patent Prosecution associates at law firms in Chicago has remained steady. Associates with 1-4 years of experience in Patent Prosecution experience and a background in electrical engineering, computer engineering or organic chemistry should reach out to our Chicago office to discuss opportunities.
 
Trademark and Copyright
 
Firms in Chicago are seeking Trademark and Copyright associates at all levels. We would like to speak with junior Trademark associates with 1-3 years of experience handling trademark prosecution, clearance and licensing matters. Trademark associates with 3-5 years of experience handling trademark clearance, filing, prosecution and maintenance should call our Chicago office. Senior associates with 5-10 years of experience in international trademark prosecution, enforcement and litigation, as well as trademark portfolio management, trademark clearance, copyright and licensing are also sought by our Chicago law firm clients.
 
Technology Transactions

We have seen a marked increase in the need for Technology Transactions attorneys over the past quarter. Junior associates with 1-3 years of experience handling IP intensive transactions, both domestic and international, including outsourcing, advertising, software systems, R&D technology transfers and biotech transactions should contact our Chicago office to discuss opportunities. Additionally, we would be interested in speaking with mid-level associates with 3-6 years of experience handling Technology Transactions and Privacy and Data Security in the U.S. and internationally.
           
Real Estate – Acquisition and Dispositions; Retail; Finance; Leasing; Joint Venture
 
By contrast to our last report, during first quarter 2017 we have witnessed a dramatic decline in the need for Commercial Real Estate associates. However, we are still receiving requests for Commercial Real Estate associates with 2-5 years of experience in acquisition and disposition, retail, financing, leasing and joint venture transactions.
 
Labor and Employment
 
In contrast to fourth quarter 2016, we have seen an increased need in this area during the first quarter of 2017. We would like to speak with Labor and Employment associates with 2-5 years of experience in employment litigation and class actions. We would also be interested in speaking with senior Labor and Employment associates with 5-8 years of experience in traditional labor, NLRB hearings and labor union matters.
 
State of the Market Report: Colorado
by Jamie Bailey, Partner, BCG Attorney Search - Chicago

Denver

Partners with Portable Business

Are you a partner with portable business? Do you want to lateral to a new firm in Colorado? Firms are generally 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.

Associates

Similar to our fourth quarter 2016 report, we are seeing significant lateral hiring needs in Denver firms in Transactional practices, as well as in Intellectual Property and Litigation. Specific skills and hiring requirements in these areas are noted below.
 
Corporate - M&A; Finance; Public Finance; Securities; Private Equity
 
Denver firms have been experiencing heavy need for Corporate associates with private equity, M&A, securities and finance experience. We would be interested in speaking with associates with 2-5 years of experience in these key transactional areas. Public Finance associates who have 4-7 years of experience serving as Public Bond counsel, Disclosure counsel or Underwriters counsel in connection with the issuance of tax exempt and taxable bonds should contact our Chicago office to discuss opportunities in Denver.

Litigation (CO bar is most often required and prior judicial clerkship experience is always a plus)

The need for excellent Litigation associates in large Denver firms has increased this past quarter. We would be interested in speaking with White Collar Litigation attorneys with 5-12 years of experience. Prior federal clerkship and AUSA experience is preferred. We would also like to talk with Litigation associates with anywhere from 2-5 years of experience in a variety of areas, including medical healthcare litigation defense, construction defect, premises liability, product liability, and complex insurance defense.
 
Intellectual Property - Patent Prosecution; Patent Litigation; Technology Transactions; Trademark

Since our last report, we have seen a decline in the need for Patent Litigators in Denver law firms. The need for skilled Patent Prosecution and Trademark associates remains steady, however, as does the need for Technology Transactions associates with experience in data security and privacy transactions.
 
Patent Prosecution (USPTO and CO bar required)
 
Patent Prosecution has picked up in Denver firms since our last report. We would be interested in speaking with Patent Prosecution associates with 2-6 years of experience and backgrounds in electrical engineering, chemical engineering, chemistry, biochemistry, bioengineering or computer science. We would be particularly interested in speaking with associates who have 2+ years of experience in patent prosecution and advanced degrees in biology, molecular biology or biochemistry.
 
Patent Litigation
 
The need for lateral Patent Litigation associates has declined in Denver firms since our last report. However, we are still interested in speaking with Patent Litigation associates with 1-3 years of experience. We would be particularly interested in hearing from associates who have a background in physics or computer science.

Technology Transactions
 
Mirroring some of our other major markets, Denver firms’ technology practices are flourishing. We would be interested in speaking with junior media and Technology Transactional associates with 1+ years of experience. We would also like to speak with mid-level Technology Transactions associates with U.S. and international privacy and data security transactions experience.
 
Trademark
 
Trademark activity has remained a constant at law firms in Denver. We would be interested in speaking with Trademark associates with 1-2 years of experience handling trademark, copyright and advertising litigation matters and senior associates with 6+ years of experience in copyright and media matters, both U.S. and international, involving trademark clearance, counseling, prosecution and enforcement.
 
Environmental / Energy
 
Environmental and Energy practices in Denver firms continue to flourish. Of particular need are lateral associates with 2-5 years of experience handling oil and gas matters. Those with particular exposure to transportation, processing, fractioning, and marketing oil and gas, as well as federal and state regulations should contact us. Additionally, we would like to speak with associates who have exposure to oil and gas financing transactions. We also are interested in hearing from lateral associates with 3-5 years of natural resources litigation experience in air and water quality and administrative agency law and regulation.
 
Labor and Employment
 
Associates with 2-5 years of experience in employment litigation should contact our Chicago office to discuss opportunities in Denver. We have a specific need for associates with employment litigation experience with FLSA and collective actions.
 
Real Estate
 
We continue to hear from our Denver firm clients regarding their needs in Commercial Real Estate. Associates with 2-4 years of experience handling general commercial real estate transactions should contact our Chicago office to discuss opportunities in Denver firms. We would also be interested in hearing from senior associates with 4-8 years of experience in commercial real estate finance matters, large law firm experience and some portable business.
 
State of the Market Report: Indiana
by Liz Leach, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search

Indianapolis

The hottest practice groups in Indianapolis for lateral moves are Patent Prosecution, Corporate, Litigation, Health Care and Employee Benefits/Executive Compensation. Patent Prosecution practice groups, like the rest of the country, are looking for IP Attorneys with electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, computer science or engineering and chemical engineering. Indianapolis is also looking for IP attorneys with experience in Pharmaceutical work. Labor & Employment, Construction, Bankruptcy, Real Estate and ERISA have slowed down to only a few openings.

Partners with portable business are always sought after in Indianapolis, like the rest of the country. Generally, a minimum of $250,000.00 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
 
Are you a partner with portable business? We are interested in speaking with you. Firms in these markets are generally looking for a minimum of $750,000 in portable business. Partners seeking to make a move in this market should contact our Chicago office.

Associates

Milwaukee and Madison law firm offices are hiring lateral associates in the following practice areas:

Intellectual Property - Patent Prosecution (USPTO and WI bar required)
 
Madison and Milwaukee firms continue to contact us requesting highly skilled Patent Prosecutors with excellent skills and experience. Associates with 2-5 years of experience handling patent prosecution matters and a background in electrical engineering or mechanical engineering should call our Chicago office. We would also like to speak with Patent Prosecutors with 7+ years of experience and a background in electrical engineering, computer engineering or computer science who have exposure to motor design and control systems, power tools, wireless technology, M2M communications and IoI.
 
Litigation
 
We have significant need for lateral Litigation associates at smaller firms in Milwaukee and Madison at the 2+ year level with experience in civil, product liability, insurance coverage or construction litigation matters.
 
Corporate -- M&A; Project Finance; Debt Finance
 
During fourth quarter 2016, we reported significant need for Corporate attorneys at firms in Milwaukee and Madison. We have seen a marked decrease in this need during the first quarter of 2017, but we would be interested in speaking with senior level Corporate associates with 5-7 years of experience in M&A transactions. Finance associates with 2-4 years of project finance experience and experience with renewable energy tax credit transactions should contact our Chicago office to discuss opportunities in Milwaukee. Those with 3-5 years of experience in corporate debt finance transactions should also contact us regarding Milwaukee opportunities.
 
Labor and Employment
 
Senior Labor and Employment associates with labor and employment litigation experience and knowledge of state and federal employment and labor laws should contact us to discuss opportunities in Wisconsin.

Health Care

We have opportunities in Milwaukee and Madison law firms for healthcare associates with 2-5 years of experience in healthcare regulatory compliance matters for providers.
 
State of the Market Report: Minneapolis/Saint Paul
by Julie Lehrman, Senior Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search

Twin Cities

In the Twin Cities, this spring has seen an increase in transactional work, while Litigation remains strong. There also remains a moderate demand for IP and Healthcare attorneys. Partners with portable business, in any area of law, are of course always in demand.

Partners

Partners with portable business are very marketable in the busy Twin Cities area. If partners have more than $500k in business, they will appeal most readily to mid-size to large firms. Those with $1M or more can target larger firms. BCG is happy to help such partners formulate a professional business plan to use as a marketing tool. We can also help match you with suitable firms. Please contact our Chicago office for more information.

Commercial Litigation

Litigation continues to flourish in the Twin Cities. We have seen Litigation needs ranging from Bankruptcy and Workout Litigation to Products Liability and Mass Torts to Labor and Employment Litigation to Advertising and Copyright Litigation. Litigators with strong academics and a solid law firm track record are encouraged to contact BCG to learn about opportunities in the Twin Cities.

Transactional Work

The Twin Cities have seen an uptick in Transactional law since last fall. We are seeing an increased need for Banking attorneys, Finance, Secured Transactions, and Lending. We anticipate that this need will continue throughout 2017.
 
State of the Market Report: Saint Louis
by Julie Lehrman, Senior Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search

The Saint Louis metro area is one of our steadiest markets in that it tends to see minimal fluctuation in terms of demands. Saint Louis has steady continued needs in Litigation, Tax, Employee Benefits, and Employment law. This market tends to strongly prefer candidates who have a connection to the area. Ideal candidates are from Saint Louis, have an excellent reason for moving there, or have some other very strong connection. It can be difficult to break into this market without such a connection.

Partners with Portable Business

Partners in the St Louis metro area or those who would like to relocate to Saint Louis are invited to speak with the Chicago office of BCG to learn about law firms suitable for their practice area and book of business. Smaller firms may look at partners with as little as $250k in portables, and larger firms may require $500k or $1M for the very largest firms.

Commercial Litigation

The market for Litigation attorneys in Saint Louis remains moderately active. Litigation needs have included medical malpractice, asbestos/product liability work, and trial ability. Hands-on, active Litigation skills appear to be highly desirable this quarter.

Tax

Saint Louis continues to generate moderate demands for Tax attorneys. Attorneys with tax credit experience appear to be particularly marketable this quarter. Tax attorney positions tend to require an LL.M., CPA, or both.

Employment Law and Employee Benefits

We are seeing the Saint Louis area holding steady in terms of needs for Labor and Employment and Employee Benefits attorneys. As is usually the case, there are moderate but pretty constant needs in these areas. Attorneys with a solid track record of employment longevity are very much desired in this market. Employment law experience is usually marketable in Saint Louis.
 
State of the Market Report: Michigan
by Julie Lehrman, Senior Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search - Chicago

Detroit continues to be very busy in certain practice areas including Patent Prosecution, Real Estate, Litigation, and Trust & Estates attorneys. Patent Prosecution is especially strong, as it was last quarter, and does not appear to be slowing down.
 
Partners with Business

Partner with $1M or more in portable business will be marketable to the largest Detroit metro area firms, while those with $500k or less will pique the interest of smaller and mid-size firms. To learn about firms that may be a good fit, partners are encouraged to call BCG’s Chicago office.

Detroit, Bloomfield Hills, Southfield, Novi, Troy, Royal Oak, Lansing

Patent Prosecution

The demand for Patent Prosecutors in the Detroit metro area continues as an especially pronounced trend this quarter. Attorneys with Electrical Engineering degrees remain the most marketable, with Mechanical Engineering, Computer Science and Computer Engineering degrees also generating some demand. Several years of experience in a large law firm or reputable boutique performing substantive Patent Prosecution with appropriate autonomy for the candidate’s class level makes a candidate highly marketable. USPTO admission is required for these positions.
 
Litigation

We have also seen a continued strong demand for Litigation attorneys in the Detroit metro area. Those with trial work appear especially desirable to both large and small firms. Sub-practice areas such as Insurance Coverage and Family Law continue to generate needs.

Estate Planning

There has been a small but not insignificant increase in demand for Estate Planning attorneys since last quarter. Skills such as Estate Planning and Administration and experience with high net worth individuals are marketable. Estate Planning attorneys should have a high level of autonomy for their class level.
 
State of the Market Report: Ohio
by Liz Leach, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search

The greatest legal hiring growth in Ohio is in Cleveland.  Several midsize Ohio full-service firms are looking for attorneys in a variety of practice areas. Once again Patent Prosecution takes the lead in Cleveland with the most openings for attorneys with Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Computer Science and Computer Engineering. There has also been an uptick in Litigation, Corporate, Labor/Employment and Heath Care Law. To the lesser extent, there are ERISA, Executive Compensation, Real Estate, Cybersecurity and Environmental openings as well. Behind Cleveland is Cincinnati, which has a large number of openings mostly with national firms who have offices there.  The openings are varied with not as many IP Prosecution openings as in other Midwest cities. Cincinnati has the most openings in Real Estate and Litigation, followed by E-Commerce, Finance, Data Privacy, Trusts & Estates, Labor/Employment and Trademark/CopyrightColumbus and Toledo have not seen an increase in open positions in the last quarter.

Partners with portable business of $250,000 should contact our Chicago office to learn more about Ohio opportunities.
 
State of the Market Report: Utah
by Liz Leach, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search

By far, the largest need in Utah is for Patent Prosecution attorneys. The IP attorneys needed must have degrees in Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Computer Science or Computer Engineering.  There are also a few Corporate (Merger and Acquisition), General Litigation and Insurance Defense openings. Rounding out the active postings are a few in the practice groups of ERISA, Health Care Law and Tax.
 
NORTHEAST
 
State of the Market Report: Boston/New England

by Margaret Gilleran, Esq., Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search

Boston

Intellectual Property, Corporate, and – to a lesser extent – Real Estate remain strong in Boston. Litigation is coming alive in the U.S. after a very long lull beginning with the 2008 recession; and it is now making its comeback in Boston. Areas that are traditionally thought of as “support practices” – like ERISA and Tax – are not as busy as one would think given the abundance of corporate opportunities. Perhaps these areas will be more active by the next quarter.

Corporate

In the current market, there is a strong demand for Corporate candidates with excellent academic backgrounds and large firm experience. While it is almost always true that candidates with between 3 to 5 years of experience are in the greatest demand, there appears to be a growing need for more senior candidates, i.e. candidates with between 5 to 7 years of experience, as well. Investment Management is always busy in Boston with M&A and Capital Markets round out the most active corporate practice areas.

Intellectual Property

The Boston area has often been referred to as the “epicenter” of the biotechnology industry and, as a result, Intellectual Property has always been very active in Boston. While Patent Litigation is active, it is far outpaced by Patent Prosecution. As you would imagine in a biotechnology stronghold, life science backgrounds like chemistry, biochemistry, and biotechnology are more in demand than technology backgrounds like electrical engineering or computer science. However, it should be noted that Boston has expanded beyond biotechnology and is now home to many technology companies as well. This influx of technology companies is increasing the demand – in both Patent Litigation and Prosecution – for candidates with technology backgrounds. Intellectual Property is not so different from other areas, with the greatest demand being for those candidates with between 2 to 5 years of experience.

Advanced degrees have become more de rigueur, and USPTO membership is almost always a prerequisite. While it is possible for candidates who only have a Bachelor’s degree to make a move, it is much more difficult than for candidates with advanced degrees.

Real Estate

Real Estate remains steady in Boston. The one difference between Real Estate and Intellectual Property is that employers are primarily interested in candidates with between 2 to 6 years of experience, and will often even consider more senior candidates. It seems that this willingness to go beyond job descriptions (and in a more senior direction) is a continuing consequence of the 2008 recession. For several years – between 2008 and 2011 – firms stopped investing in “bench depth” and so more senior Real Estate candidates are benefitting from an increased demand and a shallow pool of experienced candidates. The specific areas in demand are for those candidates with experience in the following areas: Real Estate Finance, Acquisitions/Dispositions, Leasing, and Real Estate Investment Trusts.

Litigation

Litigation is beginning to experience a renaissance across the U.S. and Boston is no exception. However, despite the said “renaissance”, making a lateral move as a Litigation candidate remains challenging. Firms typically do not see candidates unless they have top credentials and excellent experience. Moreover, interviews are not plentiful even for candidates who meet the preceding criteria. If you are a Litigation candidate who receives a very compelling offer, you may want to consider taking it, because you should not assume that said offer will be one in a long line of offers. Litigation is simply not that strong yet, and it is unlikely to be that strong for a quite some time.

Tax and ERISA

A strong Corporate market almost invariably has a beneficial effect on Tax and ERISA practices, but this “trickle down” effect is not yet in evidence in Boston, which is surprising. The openings for Tax and ERISA associates are generally for candidates with excellent academic credentials and between 2 to 5 years of experience. Firms can be extremely selective in this market (and they are being extremely selective) because the demand has not yet outpaced the supply. Another factor that demonstrates the foregoing principle is that many firms now “strongly prefer” that a Tax candidate have his or her L.L.M.

New England

Boston is the bellwether for the rest of New England. This means that the areas that are the strongest in Boston – like Corporate, Intellectual Property and Real Estate – are the same areas that are the busiest throughout New England. Litigation is beginning to make a showing in New England and Tax and ERISA are relatively slow.
 
State of the Market Report: New York
by Jessica Portela, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search

New York traditionally leads the country in lateral attorney hires, and 2017 is no exception. The Corporate market in New York remains stable, with most of the large firms interested in top Corporate talent. Litigation has picked up this quarter, with an uptick in White Collar and Securities Litigation openings. Niche practice areas like Health Care and Intellectual Property, particularly Patent Litigation and Prosecution, are strong.
Surprisingly Immigration is seeing a slowdown, although we predict it will pick up the throughout the rest of the year. Trust & Estates and Tax markets are also strong, but many firms look for associates with an LL.M. in Tax for these positions. Mid-level associates with 2 to 6 years of experience are the most coveted attorneys in the New York market. Senior litigators should have a significant book of business in order to break into the New York market from other areas or lateral from another firm.

Litigation

As compared to other regions, the Litigation market in New York is leading the count with the most number of openings this quarter. However, landing a Litigation job is still quite difficult as firms are looking for exceptional credentials when considering lateral associates. Lateraling or breaking into the New York market is difficult for senior litigators, as firms prefer junior skills. International Arbitration is slow in this region, with only a few openings this quarter. Other Litigation specialties such as Securities and White Collar are rising, with the demand for Employment associates remaining steady.

Corporate

As we predicted, the corporate market in New York has remained strong. General Corporate and Securities specialties, as well as Corporate Finance continue to be strong practice areas, as firms are attracted to attorneys with this type of niche expertise. Corporate M&A is a solid practice area as well, but there is stiff 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 high rate.

Real Estate

Real Estate has slowed down in New York – especially on the transactional side. Even though the market has seen some openings, particularly for associates with commercial leasing experience, there are definitely less new openings this quarter as compared to last quarter. The most marketable attorneys will have between 2 to 6 years of experience with substantial Real Estate transactional experience.

Intellectual Property

IP has been picking up lately in New York, on both the prosecution and the litigation side. There have been more openings in Trademark/Copyright especially in the enforcement space, and Patent Litigation is also picking up, especially for Hatch-Waxman experience, which appears to be a hot practice specialty that New York firms are looking for in lateral associates. Patent Prosecution in New York is concentrated in medium-sized and small firms, and candidates with strong technical backgrounds, especially in engineering, are particularly sought after by both large firms and boutique firms. Similarly, 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.

Employment/ERISA and Tax/Trust and Estates

The market for ERISA/Employee Benefits attorneys remains solid, with many firms in need of associates with this niche expertise, especially with top large firm training. Similarly, the Employment Litigation markets in New York and New Jersey have continued to be strong. Trust & Estates and Tax are also niche specialties that remain strong in the first quarter of 2017, and unlike some other practice areas, attorneys with more experience fare well, especially candidates with an LL.M.
 
State of the Market Report: Philadelphia
by Nadeen Weybrecht, Esq., Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search

Strongest Practice Areas:

Litigation

The lateral Litigation market in Philadelphia is very strong, especially as compared with other major cities across the country. The greatest need for laterals here is in the 2-5 year range, and firms are seeking top firm experience that includes attending hearings, taking/defending depositions, arbitrations, mediations, and trials. In terms of licensing, many firms here want candidates who have both the Pennsylvania and New Jersey bars.

Intellectual Property

There continues to be a greater need for Patent Prosecutors than Patent Litigators in Philadelphia, as is the case in most markets around the nation. The majority of 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 Ph.D. in one of the life sciences, such as chemistry, organic chemistry, chemical engineering, or biology. The greatest need is for attorneys at the more senior level – including partners – without portable business.

Corporate

The need for Corporate Transactional associates with strong academic and firm credentials and substantive experience in securities, capital markets, and mergers and acquisitions remains somewhat healthy in Philadelphia, but it is not as strong as in other markets. While Corporate associates at the 3-5 year level are in demand, so, too, are more senior associates with 5-7 years of experience.

Real Estate
 
The Real Estate market remains strong in Philadelphia. Here, firms are seeking both mid-level and more senior associates, in the 3-8 year range, and substantively, they are looking for attorneys with experience in one of the following: leasing; sales, acquisitions and dispositions.

Steady Practice Areas:

Bankruptcy

The need for Bankruptcy attorneys with restructuring experience who are admitted in both Pennsylvania and Delaware remains steady. Here the demand is for mid-level associates.

Executive Compensation / Employee Benefits / ERISA 
 
We receive openings for Executive Compensation/Employee Benefits attorneys at the junior level pretty steadily once every two months or so. Firms seek candidates with experience in all types of employee benefit plans and programs, health and welfare benefit plans, and executive compensation arrangements.
 
Slower Practice Areas:
 
We still rarely see a demand in the areas of Tax, Trusts & Estates, Technology Transactions, and Data Privacy.
 
State of the Market Report: Washington, DC
by Katy Anderman, Managing Director, BCG Attorney Search

The legal job market in DC has been steadily growing since the start of 2017. As we move into the spring/summer hiring season, we are continuing to see several new lateral opportunities opening up at all of the major Am Law 200 firms, with the biggest needs in Corporate and IP. We are also seeing an uptick in jobs for niche practices such as Health Care, Energy, L&E, Tax and ERISA. Litigation needs are strong at the junior level for candidates with stellar academic credentials and appellate clerkships but remain tight for midlevel and senior associate candidates.
 
Corporate
 
A variety of Corporate positions are opening up across all Corporate subgroups. I have noticed some Compliance and Regulatory positions popping up for experienced associates and partners. Required skills include strong working knowledge of the federal and state compliance laws related to banking and consumer finance products and services. The majority of the Corporate positions are targeting mid to senior level associates with at least three years of corporate experience. Multiple mid-senior level associate positions are available in M&A, Capital Markets, Project Finance, Private Equity, Debt Finance and Banking. There are a handful of junior positions open for candidates with investment funds experience. The funds market in DC is usually pretty active at all associate levels with firms hiring candidates with 40 Act, fund formation and hedge fund experience at all levels, regardless of whether they have an advertised opening.
 
Energy
 
The Energy market in DC is stable with positions available for candidates with FERC, project finance, M&A transactional, regulatory and litigation experience.
 
Employee Benefits and ERISA
 
Both the Employee Benefits and ERISA markets have experienced growth on the national level. We are seeing an uptick in the DC market as well. Firms are looking for associate and partner candidates with experience in retirement plans, health and welfare, ERISA fiduciary issues, familiarity with plan services arrangements and investment products.
 
Health Care
 
Firms are looking for Health Care candidates with both FDA and regulatory experience including fraud and abuse, compliance and reimbursement. Firms are also looking for associate and partner candidates with experience in the Anti-Kickback Statute, the Stark Law, and the False Claims Act related to hospitals and health systems as well as experience with data privacy and security work or healthcare fraud.
 
Intellectual Property
 
The IP needs in DC are diverse and plentiful. We are seeing an urgent need for candidates in the areas of Patent Prosecution and Litigation for both hard and life sciences, Data Security & Privacy, Copyright and Trademarks and ANDA Hatch-Waxman. Firms are seeking candidates at all levels (including very junior associates) with stellar academic credentials and strong technical backgrounds as well as advanced degrees in electrical engineering, computer science, biology, molecular biology, immunology, pharmacology, biochemistry, or chemistry.
 
Labor & Employment
 
This is another practice area that has been very active nationally, as well as in DC. We have several clients (both in-house and at law firms) who are looking for traditional Labor candidates as well as Employment Litigation candidates.
 
Litigation
 
A number of prestigious firms are seeking judicial clerkship candidates for entry level or junior Litigation positions. Candidates must have impeccable credentials.
 
We are also seeing a need for associates with white collar and investigations experience. The ideal candidates will have extensive experience in conducting internal investigations, risk assessments, reviewing and implementing compliance programs, responding to government inquiries and anti-corruption matters involving the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Antitrust is also hot right now with firms looking for candidates experienced in preparing Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) filings and responding to FTC and DOJ Second Requests with an understanding of antitrust elements of mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, and distribution and intellectual property arrangements. There are few generalist positions on the market, but candidates with niche experience in government contracts, international trade and securities will see opportunities.
 
Real Estate
 
There are not many active Real Estate openings in DC at this time. Current needs are focused around affordable housing and REIT matters.
 
Tax
 
There are a handful of strong Tax opportunities for mid-level associate to senior partner candidates (a major plus if you have business as well). Firms are looking for attorneys with experience in tax controversy, M&A, nonprofit and SALT.

 
SOUTH
 
State of the Market Report: Kansas City, Missouri

by Julie Lehrman, Senior Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search

Happily, we see that Kansas City has picked up somewhat this quarter from last quarter. We see a sharp increase in a variety of Litigation needs, plus steady but significant needs in Patent Prosecution and Tax. Associates from other cities should have a compelling reason for wanting to relocate to Kansas City.

Partners with Portable Business

The Chicago office of BCG is happy to assist partners with portable business in finding suitable law firms in the Kansas City area. Our recruiters serve as counselors to partners needing assistance in preparing a marketing plan, and deciding which firms might be the best fit for your particular practice and portable book. Partners with books as small as $250k might find smaller firms willing to have discussions with them, while larger firms may require as much as $1M.

Tax

We are seeing a moderate increase in the demand for Tax lawyers in Kansas City. As with most other markets, Tax positions tend to require an LL.M., CPA, or both.

Litigation

Litigation has picked up quite significantly in the Kansas City area since last quarter. We have seen particular demand in Litigation sub-practices such as Family Law, Bankruptcy, Consumer Class Actions, Trial Work, Professional Liability Litigation, and Pharmaceutical Litigation. The trend seems to be for attorneys with hands-on courtroom experience rather than Commercial Litigation associates from large firms. Excellent writing and deposition experience are always sought-after skills.

IP

Patent Prosecution is holding steady in Kansas City. We continue to see demand for prosecutors and agents with degrees in Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, or Computer Engineering. USPTO admission is required, and technical writing samples are usually requested ahead of time.
 
State of the Market Report: Atlanta
by Jennifer McNeil, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search

Healthy Practice Areas:
 
Corporate
 
Corporate continues to be an active practice area in Atlanta. We continue to see new Corporate openings for junior and mid-level associates. Hot areas of experience include banking and finance; mergers and acquisitions, securities, and capital markets, which are also fairly busy. For the most part, Atlanta firms prefer associates from top law firms and law schools, though they are open to candidates from regional schools. Direct experience in the practice area is strongly preferred. There are also several current postings for more experienced attorneys, particularly for those with modest to strong portable business. A large regional firm is also looking for a senior associate/counsel level attorney with bond experience.
 
Real Estate (Transactions and Finance)
 
Real Estate has been a hot practice area in Atlanta for the past several years. Though demand has decreased slightly, experienced real estate attorneys are still in high demand given the rapid growth of Atlanta. Firms are looking for mid- to senior-level candidates with strong commercial real estate transactions and/or finance experience. They are also interested in traditional real estate experience, such as acquisition, disposition, development, joint ventures, and leasing. Partners with a strong book of business are also always welcome.
 
Emerging Practice Areas:
 
Health Care
 
Health Care law continues to be busy, and several prominent firms in Atlanta are looking for Health Care associates with all levels of experience. Firms are primarily interested in candidates with health care litigation and regulatory experience. Generally speaking, they are looking for great experience rather than credentials.
 
Trademark
 
As the economy in Atlanta improves, so do Trademark opportunities. This is a great time for a lateral move, particularly for candidates who would like to go to a bigger firm. Several outstanding firms in Atlanta are looking for Trademark associates with experience in portfolio management, prosecution, clearance, enforcement, and licensing. The market is best for junior to mid-level associates, and not quite as strong for more senior Trademark attorneys.
 
Steady Practice Areas:
 
Employment
 
The number of new openings for Labor and Employment attorneys has started to taper off this quarter, though it is still a steady practice area. Several top and regional firms continue to look for Employment associates with at least two years of experience. Firms are most interested in candidates with employment litigation experience, as well as employment advice and counseling. Traditional labor experience is a plus, but not a requirement. There are not as many active searches for more experienced Employment attorneys.
 
Intellectual Property
 
Intellectual Property seems to be picking up in the Atlanta area. The majority of the current openings are for Patent Prosecutors with backgrounds in electrical engineering, though there are a couple of openings for biotechnology and pharmacology backgrounds. Firms are looking for junior to mid-level associates with advanced degrees and USPTO registration.
 
Litigation
 
Litigation continues to be slower in Atlanta than in other regions of the country. Most of the active postings are with local and regional firms, rather than large or international firms with offices in Atlanta. Additionally, many of the openings are for associates with civil litigation experience, rather than commercial litigation experience. There are a couple of top law firms looking for Litigators, and they expect outstanding credentials, experience with a top law firm, and admission to the Georgia bar. Several firms are looking for partners with a modest book of business ($850k+), with civil litigation, construction, or commercial experience.
 
Slow Practice Areas:
 
The past quarter has seen a few postings for the following areas: ERISA/Employee Benefits, Immigration, IP Litigation, Privacy, Restructuring, Taxation/Trusts & Estates, and Technology Transactions. Firms expect specific experience in these areas.
 
Atlanta firms are always happy to consider lateral candidates with solid books of portable business, and will frequently take a look at stellar candidates in any practice area on a prospective basis. Considering a lateral move in Atlanta? Please get in touch with BCG to find out your prospects.
 
State of the Market Report: North Carolina
by Jennifer McNeil, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search

Most of the activity in North Carolina is in Charlotte (though there are a couple of good postings in the Raleigh area, particularly for Intellectual Property attorneys).

As in the last quarter, Litigation is still a sluggish practice area in North Carolina. Most of the activity is with small and mid-sized regional firms who are looking for mid-level associates, and Civil Litigation is more active than Corporate.

Corporate continues to be an active practice in Charlotte. The majority of the Corporate openings are for mid-level associates with banking, capital markets, and finance experience. Firms are also happy to look at partners with books of business.

Litigation

Litigation has been a slow practice area in North Carolina for the past year or so. There are a few new openings, though none are with large firms. However, Litigation has picked up in other regions of the country, so we hope that it gets busier in the Charlotte market soon.

Corporate

The market for Corporate associates is steady in Charlotte, but not quite as hot as it is in other areas of the country. Firms are looking for mid-level associates with top law firm experience, particularly those with experience in banking, finance, capital markets, and regulatory law.

Real Estate

There are a few openings in North Carolina for Real Estate associates, though it continues to slow down relative to past quarters. Most of the current openings are for associates with real estate transactions experience.

Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property law has started to pick up a little in North Carolina, primarily in Raleigh and the Research Triangle. Firms are looking for associates with hard science experience, though there are a couple of openings for associates with life sciences backgrounds. Experiences with patent prosecution and USPTO registration are strongly preferred.
 
State of the Market Report: Texas
by Suzanne Dupree Howe, Managing Director for Texas and the Southeast, BCG Attorney Search

The Texas market remains steady even though the oil market has not picked up its previous strength. In fact, the market here seems to be extremely well-rounded right now, with no particular area showing signs of major depression or great strength. I'd say this is an unusual state of the market for Texas, which usually tends to swing transactional or litigation-heavy. If anything, laterals looking to move will probably be able to find a position in their area, with some minor exceptions.

We did see some New Year’s hesitancy in job listings likely attributable to the election. This came on top of a lot of end of year hiring needs, so it's been interesting to see some ebb and flow during what is usually an active time for hiring. Here is a breakdown of what we are currently seeing:

Corporate

Corporate needs remain steady in Dallas and Houston, but I would say the level of hiring is somewhat below average. Our greatest needs recently are in M&A and Private Equity.

Litigation

Litigation needs remain higher than I've seen in recent years. We continue to see a lot of needs, especially from mid-sized and small firms.

Transactional Energy

There are definite signs that Energy is recovering! We are seeing more upstream needs trickling down the pipeline over the last few months. However, this practice area is still slow. Energy M&A, however, has remained steady.

Employment

Employment law not been particularly hot, but we have had a steady string of openings.

Real Estate

This area is very dead in Houston. We do continue to see openings in Dallas on a fairly regular basis.

IP Litigation

This area was weak in the first half of 2016 but has continued to rise in the latter part of 2016 and early 2017. We are seeing needs for IP Litigation candidates with EE degrees and Computer Science backgrounds.

Patent Prosecution

We are continuing to see needs in Patent Prosecution, especially for those with software and computer backgrounds.

Employee Benefits/ERISA

We saw a huge surge in openings in this practice area across the nation in 2016, but Texas was remarkably weaker in this area than other parts of the country. That being said, we do continue to see some Employee Benefits/ERISA needs at the junior level. We do find that candidates with strong backgrounds are almost always marketable, however.

Taxation

Tax needs have been light in Texas for the last couple of years. However, we do find that strong candidates with an LL.M. from a top three program are often marketable, despite the weak practice area.

Health Care

We still see higher than usual needs in Healthcare, mostly in Dallas and Houston. This has been a very active practice area nationally. It’s a fantastic time to look for these attorneys.

Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy remains active, but we do not have an abnormally high level of needs.
 
State of the Market Report: Louisiana
by Suzanne Dupree Howe, Managing Director for Texas and the Southeast, BCG Attorney Search

Louisiana firms have recently had strong Litigation needs in a variety of locations. Also, there have been Employment needs in New Orleans recently, and needs in Energy Litigation. Law firms in Louisiana strongly prefer candidates that are Louisiana licensed. Firms do sometimes make exceptions for candidates that are very strong and that have ties to Louisiana, although they will still need to take the next available exam.
 
State of the Market Report: Tennessee
by Suzanne Dupree Howe, Managing Director for Texas and the Southeast, BCG Attorney Search

Our greatest needs in Tennessee right now fall into a few major subgroups: Intellectual Property (especially Patent Prosecution), Healthcare law, and Corporate law. We also see needs in Employment law. Tennessee is a very attractive state in which to practice law. With its low cost of living and thriving economy, it’s a great alternative to some larger markets. Tennessee firms are receptive to attorneys looking to relocate as well, and reciprocity rules make it an easy transition.
 
SOUTHEAST
 
State of the Market Report: Florida

by Becca Levine, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search

The Florida market continues to be one of the slowest markets in the country, with a combination of extremely few openings at the larger firms while at the same time, continuous supply of very talented attorneys looking to relocate to the Sunshine State or looking to lateral from firms already in the Sunshine State. This is true across all practice areas – even markets such as Corporate and Bankruptcy that are strong in other areas of the East Coast, the strength has not trickled down to Florida. Litigation in Florida, in particular, is where most openings are, but it is generally at smaller firms. Very few large firms are looking for litigators. When there is Litigation work, it is more often in Insurance Defense, Medical Malpractice, and Consumer Finance. Trust & Estates continues to have a presence in Florida, again more focused at smaller firms. Intellectual Property is particularly slow in Florida with almost no market in the Litigation side.

Litigation

The Litigation market in Florida has remained weak for many years now, and there has been no large change in the last quarter. Few, if any, large firms have had openings for a general Litigation attorney, and as noted above, most openings, typically at smaller or medium size firms, are in either Insurance Defense, Personal Injury, Medical Malpractice, or Financial Services work. This is true across Florida – while one might suspect the Miami market to be stronger, the lack of openings hits across the State, with Tampa being particularly quiet.

Corporate

If any practice area is on the stronger side in Florida, it is Corporate. Some large firms are looking for Corporate associates – in the mid-level or junior range only – with M&A and transactional experience. Corporate Finance work is much less desired. Typically, Spanish skills in the Miami area are very important, and having these skills can be a real plus. The Corporate market in certain parts of Florida, such as Tampa and Jacksonville, is very slow, with more of the already soft openings focused in South Florida and Orlando. As noted above, this weaker Corporate market is an anomaly compared to other parts of the country, and with the overall strong legal market, we would have expected more needs to pop up.

Real Estate

Real Estate in Florida is one market that was typically reliable as one of the strongest in the State, but in recent quarters has slowed down considerably. Most of the needs are with medium and smaller firms looking for someone with sophisticated transactional experience and condominium/HOA experience and less litigation based work. Certainly, a strong candidate with a solid real estate background and mid-level credentials might get interest at some firms with strong real estate practices, as this continues to be hard to come by at firms when they do have a need.

Intellectual Property

The Intellectual Property market in Florida has some movement on the patent prosecution side, and especially for partners with books of business. The IP market, however, is non-existent on the Litigation side, whether soft IP or hard IP (patent) – if you were thinking about making a move with an IP Litigation background, you should review the market carefully, and understand the search may take time.

ERISA/Employment and Tax/Trust and Estates

As is common in Florida, there is always going to be interest in strong T&E associates, especially coming from large firm backgrounds or, on the opposite end of the spectrum, with large portable books of business. ERISA and Employment work continue to be slow in Florida from prior quarters – with some interest from firms on the Employment side, but mostly in the small or medium size firm market. There is some small demand in Tax, with a typical need for bilingual language skills, especially Spanish.