March 2, 2006 | PDF Version
Pasadena, Calif., — BCG Attorney Search, America's largest legal search firm for attorney placement, has released a new analysis of the changes in the demand for attorney jobs at the country's largest and most prestigious law firms in the last 12 months. The report compares the demand for attorneys from February 2005 to February 2006. BCG Attorney Search collected the data for analysis by monitoring the hiring demands at the country's most prominent law firms that use legal recruiters. The results indicate a sustained growth in demand for attorneys with nearly all practice areas involved in the expansion.
Fluctuations in the market show a measure of instability, but overarching trends continue. "The country's economy is improving, but the growth has varied from sector to sector," said Managing Director of BCG Attorney Search, Harrison Barnes. "The legal community has been affected by that variation, with some practice areas shooting up suddenly and then subsiding into slower increase and others showing steady but unspectacular improvement."
Corporate law continues a healthy period of increase, rising by 40.17 percent in new jobs. Improvement of the economy as a whole, with large corporations leading the way, has produced a need for top-level lawyers to support that growth. "The leading law firms in the U.S. have always had close ties to the major U.S. corporations, and their good fortune is being shared at the moment," explained Barnes.
As a reflection of this rise, antitrust and trade regulation is also expanding, with job openings in that area jumping by 62.5 percent. Recent corporate scandals and the watchful eye of federal agencies like SEC and FTC have prompted spikes in demand for trade attorneys in the last year, though the size of the increases has varied. "As always, the national news affects the financial and legal news," commented Barnes. "There is a new climate of concern in both the private sector and the federal government over trade regulation laws, and prospects look good for future growth in this area of practice."
Intellectual property law continues a significant upswing, with litigation and trademark/copyright divisions particularly strong in numbers of vacancies in the last 12 months. Many of the most influential law firms across the country have expanded their IP departments in recent years; and though the popularity of various focuses has varied from month to month, the overall growth has been dramatic.
One particularly encouraging trend was the improvement of the job market for Internet/e-commerce law. The slow but steady recovery of the e-business economy has until recently delayed expansion in legal support in this sector, but the tide seems to have turned. "It's great to see this rebound," said Barnes. "We've been expecting it for some time, but the traction in the business sphere was keeping growth slow for this area. The year ahead looks fruitful for e-commerce law."
BCG Attorney Search is the largest national legal recruiting firm dedicated to placing attorneys in law firms. Its headquarters are located in Pasadena, CA, with additional offices in Atlanta, Boston, Century City, Charlotte, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Miami, New York, Newport Beach, Palo Alto, San Francisco, and Washington, DC.
|Practice Areas||Increase/Decrease in Number of Jobs from 02/05 to 02/06|
|Antitrust and Trade Regulation||+62.5%|
|Intellectual Property - Litigation||+322.22%|
|Intellectual Property - Patent||+20%|
|Intellectual Property - Trademark/Copyright||+128.57%|
|Intellectual Property - Other||+20%|
|Trust and Estates||-66.67%|
Source: BCG Attorney Search