State of the Market Report: San Francisco
by BCG Attorney Search
Hot Practice Areas:


We enter winter of 2018 as we have remained throughout the year, with huge demand for corporate associates. Candidates with experience in finance, emerging markets and venture capital, M&A, securities and capital markets have no shortage of opportunity here. Candidates with 2 plus years of experience and that have the California bar are ideally situated, though in many instances firms will make exceptions for stellar candidates barred in other states.


Demand for litigators is markedly more dynamic in San Francisco than Silicon Valley, with firms seeking litigators at all levels. Firms are looking for those with experience in toxic tort, white collar, antitrust, securities, insurance, and general commercial litigation. With competition for these positions intense, candidates should bring top academics, strong courtroom skills as well as clerkships. Admission to the California bar is required for all but truly exceptional candidates.

Labor and Employment

Hiring for employment attorneys in San Francisco is at a strong pace, with firms seeking associates at all levels but particularly mid level. Primarily, the need is for wage and hour and class action experience, though there is also some need for traditional labor experience. California licensed attorneys are strongly preferred, with foreign language skills a plus.


Immigration demand has picked up recently, with firms seeking mid level associates to serve in strategic advising, determining eligibility, and processing petitions and documentation.

Patent Litigation

Firms are hiring patent litigators at a steady pace, with needs particularly on strong mid level associates with hard science backgrounds, though there are several current openings for life science candidates as well.

Patent Prosecution

Firms continue to seek patent prosecutors in San Francisco, particularly in hard science, though demand is less than in Silicon Valley in recent months. Need is focused on mid level associates having the California bar with computer science and engineering, electrical engineering, or mechanical engineering degrees, and there is also a call for life science expertise. There is also need for patent agents, though demand is slightly down from our last report.