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 and Colorado)
  5. Midwest (Minnesota, Indiana, Ohio, Utah, Chicago, Wisconsin and Michigan)
  6. Northeast (Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., New York and Boston/New England)
  7. South (Texas, Tennessee, Louisiana, 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
 
The market for corporate and finance attorneys remains strong in San Francisco which shows little signs of slowing down. 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. While membership to the CA Bar is a huge bonus, it is not necessary in most cases.
 
Employment and Labor
 
Experienced labor and employment attorneys at all levels continue to be in demand in San Francisco. 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 has not slowed down at all and continues to be the hottest practice area in San Francisco – and the State. Firms seek 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, insurance coverage and securities/white collar litigation are in demand. Candidates with strong academic and professional credentials as well as clerkship experience will get many interviews. Firms prefer candidates who are already admitted to the CA Bar, but it is not always necessary for those with stellar academic credentials coming from a large firm.
 
Patent Prosecution (Attorneys/Patent Agents/Technical Specialists)
 
Unlike Patent Litigation, the need for prosecutors – both attorneys and agents/technical specialists remains strong and steady in San Francisco. As noted in our Spring Report, 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 science backgrounds.
 
Real Estate (Transactions & Finance)
 
Thankfully, as noted in our Spring Report, the need for experienced real estate attorneys remains solid. 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.

Steady Practice Areas:

Data Privacy
 
As noted in our Spring Report, Data Privacy continues to be a solid practice area. Firms will consider transitioning well-credentialed candidates in other transactional practices or with IP backgrounds. Ideal candidates will have experience working with technology clients on all matters of privacy and data security compliance.
 
Employee Benefits / Executive Compensation / ERISA
 
The need for experienced executive compensation and employee benefits attorneys and to a lesser extent, ERISA remains strong and steady in San Francisco. Attorneys should have at least 3 years of experience, with the “sweet spot” in the five to seven year range. Several firms seek senior attorneys with some portable business.
 
Environmental
 
The need for environmental and land use attorneys continues to be strong and steady as noted in our Spring Report. 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.
 
Healthcare
 
San Francisco law firms continue to seek experienced (3-10 years) health care transactional and regulatory attorneys. A few firms are also seeking those with health care litigation experience. Firms will seriously consider Partners without books or business.
 
Immigration
 
As noted in the Spring Report, firms seek experienced business immigration attorneys – particularly those with 7-10 years of experience.
 
Patent Litigation
 
The need for patent litigators has slowed down a bit since our Spring market report. San Francisco law firms continue to seek experienced patent litigators with a concentration 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.
 
Tax
 
As noted in our Spring Report, the need for tax attorneys in San Francisco in strong and steady. The ideal candidate has an LLM in Tax and if possible the CA Bar. Most large firms do not require the CA Bar for candidates coming from another large firm.
 
Trademark
 
As noted in the Spring Report, San Francisco firms are seeking experienced trademark attorneys but are willing to wait for the right candidate. Candidates with at least 3 years of experience will surely get several interviews. Candidates should have the CA Bar. Some firms specifically are seeking candidates for non-partnership track positions.

Dead Practice Areas:

The following practices have little activity: bankruptcy, energy, technology transactions (this area has slowed down a bit since Spring) 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
 
The need for experienced corporate and finance attorneys remains solid in Silicon Valley – this has not changed since our Spring Reports. The ideal candidate will have experience in one of the following: M&A, securities, venture capital, emerging companies, private equity, corporate finance. Life Sciences hiring continues to be strong. Associates who have experience with tech companies are highly sought after.
 
Litigation
 
A good number of Silicon Valley firms seek litigation associates. The focus here is on candidates with white collar and securities litigation experience, but those with antitrust, insurance coverage and commercial will also do exceptionally well here. Silicon Valley firms are highly selective and prefer to interview those already admitted to the CA bar.
 
Patent Litigation
 
The need for patent litigators is much more in Silicon Valley than San Francisco – this shift is a marked difference from our Spring Report. Silicon Valley firms actively seek experienced patent litigators at the mid and senior levels; however, firms are picky and willing to wait for the right candidate. Attorneys must have strong academic and/or professional credentials. The ideal candidate will also have a scientific background, such as computer science, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, physics, chemistry or biology. Firms have a strong preference for in-state attorneys admitted to the USPTO and who have experience in Hatch Waxman.
 
Patent Prosecution
 
The hottest practice area in SV Silicon Valley (unlike San Francisco) is patent prosecution. The need for patent prosecutors, patent agents, and technical specialists is more than anywhere else in the state – as noted in our Spring Report. Patent attorneys are more sought after than patent agents/technical specialists – also noted in our Spring Report.
 
Candidates with strong academic and/or professional credentials who have backgrounds in Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Computer Science, Physics, Chemistry, and Biology. 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 a must, but candidates need not be admitted to the California bar.
 
Technology Transactions
 
The need for “Tech Trans” attorneys aka Technology Transactions remains strong in Silicon Valley. But like corporate attorneys, firms are willing to wait for the right person. Candidates with any corporate transactional experience have been considered (more so if they possess technology or life sciences degrees/experience). Firms will consider candidates coming from in-house backgrounds at the junior to mid-levels.

Steady Practice Areas:

Data Privacy
 
As noted in our Spring Report, Silicon Valley firms seek attorneys experienced in Data Privacy. The ideal candidate will have experience working with technology clients on all matters of privacy and data security compliance. Counseling on foreign data privacy laws, especially laws of the European Union. Should you have an interest in this area and would like to transition from another transactional practice area (such technology transactions or corporate), it would be possible since so few people do have hands on experience in this area. Firms are happy to consider candidates who are coming from in house backgrounds.
 
Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation / ERISA
 
Silicon Valley firms continue to seek experienced executive compensation/employee benefits/ERISA attorneys – as noted in our Spring Report. Firms will seriously consider candidates at all levels (particularly mid and senior levels). Firms will absolutely consider out-of-state candidates with solid experience from a major market who also have big firm experience.
 
Employment and Labor
 
As noted in our Spring Report, Silicon Valley firms continue to seek well-credentialed employment and labor attorneys. Candidates with experience in employment counseling, discrimination, and wage and hour experience. 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 CA bar.
 
Real Estate (Transactions & Finance)
 
A shift since our Spring Report, the need for experienced real estate attorneys has picked up a bit in Silicon Valley. This practice area will likely never be “hot” in Silicon Valley, but it is a shift that we have seen an increase in job openings in this area for Silicon Valley firms. Candidates should have experience in acquisitions, leasing, joint ventures, and sales. Firms prefer candidates who have California experience.
 
Tax
 
There has been a small (very small) increase in the need for tax attorneys in Silicon Valley. The ideal candidate has an LLM in Tax and if possible the CA Bar. Most large firms do not require the CA Bar for candidates coming from another large firm.
 
Trusts & Estates
 
We are happy to report, more Silicon Valley firms are actively seeking experienced trusts and estate attorneys with all aspects of estate planning and wealth transfer planning for high and ultra-high net worth individuals. Most firms like to hire candidates with have an LL.M. in Taxation. We have also seen an increase in the need for candidates with trusts and estates litigation experience.

Slow Practice Areas
 
Trademark
 
The need for experienced trademark attorneys with true trademark prosecution experience has died down a big since our Spring Report.

Dead Practice Areas:

There is currently little to no activity in bankruptcy, energy, environmental, health care, and immigration (this practice area has slowed down since the Spring).

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

San Diego remains one of the most sought after markets for candidates across the state and country seeking to make a lateral move. Its incredible beauty and climate render it a stand out above other destinations, and consequently, the competition here is intense. Beyond requiring outstanding academic credentials and experience, California licensure is (generally) required, and ties to the area should be demonstrable.

Hot Practice Areas:

Litigation
 
Although when corporate demand increases litigation opportunities generally decrease, at this time we are seeing strong demand for both. Although litigation opportunities remain most prevalent in San Diego, firms are extremely selective in making hiring decisions, often inviting candidates back for several rounds and reposting positions over the course of months.
 
Accordingly, candidates should present with excellent academics and practical experience, such as courtroom work, depositions, and significant client contact. The most sought after candidates are those with 2-5 years of experience although more senior litigators will find opportunities in general commercial, product liability, class action, construction, securities, and antitrust.

Steady Practice Areas:

Corporate
 
Corporate demand remains strong in San Diego, particularly for finance, VC, M&A, securities, tech transactions and emerging growth companies. Experience sought ranges from 2-7 years, and although most firms require state bar membership, some firms will consider candidates licensed in other jurisdictions with otherwise outstanding credentials.

Labor & Employment

The market for labor and employment continues to be exceptionally strong in San Diego. The focus is primarily on litigators with class action, wage and hour, discrimination, retaliation, and class action work, with counseling experience being considered a strong plus. Exceptionally strong litigators with interest in transitioning to an employment practice will find an abundance of opportunities here and across the west coast.

Patent Prosecution:
 
Intellectual property has been quite strong in San Diego recently, particularly (but not exclusively) in hard sciences for both attorneys and patent agents. USPTO registration and advanced degrees are strongly recommended (if not required), and foreign language skills are always a strong plus.

Slower to Dead Practice Areas:
 
The market in San Diego was less active in areas such as trusts and estates, tax, health care, family law, and immigration, although there were a handful of listings. Attorneys with exceptional qualifications in any practice area can nearly always find opportunities, particularly if an attorney has a portable book of business.
 
State of the Market Report: Los Angeles
by Claudia Barnes, Manager, BCG Attorney Search


Hot Practice Areas:

Corporate
 
As noted in our Spring Report, firms in Los Angeles firms continue to seek corporate and finance attorneys – with a noted increase in candidates with private equity experience. Specifically, candidates should have experience in mergers and acquisitions, private equity, and capital markets. There are also many openings for finance attorneys with debt finance, structured finance, banking and corporate finance (including high yield transactions).
 
Employment and Labor
 
Much like our Spring Report, employment litigation attorneys at all levels (including the very junior) are in demand in Los Angeles. Ideally, candidates should have experience in all areas of employment law including discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination suits, and wage and hour litigation. Membership to the CA Bar is a requirement for every firm. Employment attorneys seeking to move to Los Angeles should take the next available bar exam.
 
Family Law
 
Los Angeles firms are seeking experienced family law attorneys more than ever! Those with at least 2 years of experience will surely get interviews.
 
Litigation
 
As noted in our Spring Report, litigation is the hottest practice area in the State and is the hottest practice in Los Angeles. Firms of all sizes are actively hiring litigators – particularly at the mid-level. That being said, candidates must have solid academic and professional credential. Laterals without the California Bar just won't be considered. Candidates with trial experience are highly desired. Clerkships are a major plus as well. The hottest practice areas are insurance coverage and general commercial litigation.
 
Real Estate
 
Los Angeles firms continue to seek experienced real estate attorneys at all levels, and in particular the mid to senior level. Many firms are also seeking real estate partners and portable business is not required. Candidates should have experience in any of the following: purchase & sales, leasing, joint ventures, and finance (including CMBS). 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. The need is the same for both attorneys and non-attorneys. Candidates should already be members of the USPTO, have a degree in the hard sciences or life sciences (ideally a masters or PhD), and for attorneys, the CA Bar.

Steady Practice Areas:

Entertainment
 
As noted in the Spring Report, Los Angeles is full of entertainment boutiques and large firms with growing and busy entertainment departments. Boutiques tend to represent talent and seek 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. Corporate attorneys who seek to transition into entertainment should not have more than 3 years of experience and must have superb academic and professional credentials. Should a corporate attorney seek to transition into this practice, your best bet is to transition into another corporate practice with a firm that has an entertainment practice in Los Angeles.

Environmental
 
The need for environmental attorneys remains steady and strong in Los Angeles. Several top firms are seeking candidates with land use, water, CEQA and NEPA experience.
 
Executive Compensation / Employee Benefits / ERISA
 
A shift since our Spring Report, the need for experienced executive compensation/employee benefits/ERISA attorneys has declined in Los Angeles. Fewer firms are seeking to hire in this area; however, several firms continue to seek experienced mid and senior level attorneys. Los Angeles firms will consider out-of-state candidates with solid experience from a major market.
 
Healthcare
 
As noted in our Spring Report, health care is 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 health care clients are highly sought after. Those with 3-8 years of experience will get a number of interviews.
 
Tax
 
The need for experienced tax attorneys has had a slight decline since our Spring Report. Those firms that are hiring seek candidates with at least three years of experience. An LL.M. in Tax is usually a big bonus. There is a need for a SALT (State and Local Tax) attorneys as well.
 
Patent Litigation
 
As noted in the Spring Report, Los Angeles is not a hot market for patent litigators – but it is steady.
 
Trademark
 
Several Los Angeles firms seek experienced trademark prosecution attorneys – ideally with 2-6 years of experience. All firms require candidates to be active members of the CA Bar.
 
Trusts & Estates
 
As noted in the Spring Report, Los Angeles firms seek experienced trusts and estates attorneys. Candidates who have an LLM in Tax will get snatched up. The ideal candidate has 5-7 years of experience in trust administration and providing proactive estate planning solutions for high net worth individuals and families. Candidates should have significant experience in drafting estate planning documents, including wills, revocable trusts and powers of attorney is required.

Dead Practice Areas:

There is little to no activity for attorneys with Bankruptcy, Data Privacy (a decline since the Spring Report), Energy and Technology Transactions (a decline since the Spring Report).
 
State of the Market Report: Orange County
by Paul Danielson, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search

HOT Practice Areas:

Litigation

As we last reported in the Spring, positions for litigators remains the most dynamic in Orange County, with firms (boutique and large) seeking attorneys from junior to more seasoned. The most focused demand is for mid-level litigators with experience in business and commercial litigation, product liability, insurance, and financial litigation. Since positions here are highly competitive, those with top academics and solid practical courtroom and deposition experience will fare best in their search for a position here.

Steady Practice Areas:

Patent Prosecution

Although in our last report demand for patent litigators had increased, the trend has turned downward while requests for patent prosecution has picked up considerably from last quarter. Opportunities for both patent prosecution attorneys and agents with strong backgrounds in hard sciences will find numerous openings available.
 
Corporate
 
Unlike last quarter, corporate has grown stronger with the economic surge. When corporate is busy, this generally brings good news for other practice areas such as real estate, which has also noticeably strengthened over the last several months. Candidates with 2-8 years and solid M&A, finance, VC, private equity, as well as general corporate experience will find numerous opportunities with firms in Orange County as well as throughout the California market.
 
Labor & Employment

We continue to witness incredible demand for labor & employment attorneys, which remains extremely strong across California generally, although it has diminished slightly in Orange County from our last report. So strong is the demand for excellent employment litigators that those a strong interest in L&E can now make the transition even absent a background in the practice area, assuming otherwise excellent credentials.

Slow to Dead Practice Areas:

Apart from those practice areas listed above, there have been sporadic postings for bankruptcy, environmental, family law, insurance defense, and trusts and estates. However, these and other areas are for the most part in little demand.

 
NORTHWEST
 
State of the Market Report: Seattle

by Paul Danielson, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search

Seattle continues to boom in terms of population, housing prices, the economy, and with summer weather in full swing (the best time to be in Seattle, in my own opinion), it will continue to look like a very attractive option for job seekers. Popularity means competition, however, so even highly credentialed attorney candidates will find that a job search in Seattle is not an easy proposition. Personal and family ties to the area will help, and enough portable business will open the door of most any firm, but expect a very, very competitive market.

Hot Practice Areas:

Litigation

Litigation remains hot on the west coast, and Seattle is no exception. Firms look for candidates with stellar credentials and are hiring primarily in the 2-5 year experience range (above that, it gets difficult for litigation candidates without portable business). We are seeing demand for litigators with experience in the following niche litigation areas in particular: construction, insurance litigation, trust and estate litigation, and some white collar work.
 
ERISA, Executive Compensation, and Employee Benefits

With so many start-ups, acquisitions, and mergers in the Seattle corporate economy, particularly in the technology sector where cross-border deals and the relocation of workers is extremely common, it is not surprising that there is a significant and sustained demand for attorneys with experience in this practice area. Firms are sometimes even willing to relax their school/GPA and other standards for candidates with the right experience, and may even interview Executive Compensation/Employee Benefits candidates on a prospective basis without a formal job listing. If you are in this area and interested in the Seattle market, it is an excellent time to seriously explore your options.

Steady Practice Areas:

Corporate

Corporate hiring remains steady in Seattle, though not at the pace of prior years when law firms were stacking their rosters as fast as possible. Successful candidates will have significant M&A experience, with firms also seeking candidates with strong finance, venture capital, and start-up company experience. Corporate formation and governance are less in demand.
 
Labor & Employment

Labor and employment has slowed in demand, but we still consider it a steady practice for the Seattle area and anticipate this to continue for at least the rest of 2017 as the Seattle economy continues to perform well and expand with new hires, which in turn drives demand for attorneys with L&E experience. Most hiring in this practice area is at the 3-6 year associate level.
 
Patent Prosecution

It is nice to see patent prosecution positions continue to remain steady in the Seattle market, after a strange downturn during the latter half of 2016. As is typically the case, the biggest demand by far is for practitioners with formal degrees in electrical engineering, computer science, and computer engineering.
 
Real Estate

Real estate is not as booming of a practice area as it has been in past years, but we are still seeing a decent amount of demand for experienced practitioners, with some firms even looking for attorneys with 10+ years of experience and no portable business required. Hospitality industry experience is in particular demand, which is not surprising given the large amount of international and corporate money flowing in and through the Seattle economy.

Slow to Dead Practice Areas:

We are seeing limited openings in the areas of patent litigation, trademark and copyright, environmental law, and health care law (although firms will still look at strong health care candidates on an opportunistic basis). Any other practice not 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

Portland is experiencing significant growing pains in terms of its housing capacity, transportation infrastructure, and cost of living from the continued influx of new population and ever growing economy following a decade plus of limited to no development beginning in the 90s. As such, competition is fierce for everything, while at the same time opportunities are expanding at an exciting rate. Only the former is true of the legal economy, however, as law firm hiring has lagged the economic expansion. That being said, attorneys with stellar credentials and lower salary expectations will do well in the Portland market.

Hot Practice Areas:

Litigation

Litigation remains hot in Portland, but it is an uphill battle for most every lateral litigation candidate, as even the smaller and lesser-known firms will see dozens of applicants for each open position (make that hundreds of applicants for any larger firm). As such, candidates will need to be aggressive in jumping on every possible opportunity, and stand out with excellent credentials, and the type of experience Portland firms are seeking, especially construction, insurance, product liability, and other niche areas of litigation.

Steady Practice Areas:

Labor & Employment

Any strong economy will provide steady opportunities for attorneys with solid labor & employment experience, especially those with experience in wage & hour, discrimination, and class action lawsuits. We have even seen some demand in Portland for attorneys with traditional labor/collective bargaining experience. That being said, it is not a hugely hot area right now, so would-be laterals will have to remain patient and diligent in their search, and bring very solid credentials and ideally local ties to the Portland area.
 
Corporate

Corporate attorney hiring continues to remain fairly steady in Portland, with the majority of hiring focused on attorneys with fairly traditional corporate transactional experience (M&A, corporate governance, some finance). That being said, it is definitely not as hot of a practice area as it was in 2015 or 2016, but we think that with Portland’s growing economy, hiring in this area should not dip too much going forward for the remainder of the year.

Slow to Dead Practice Areas:

We see the occasional listings for patent attorneys (EE/CS background usually required), environmental, energy, and infrastructure attorneys, tax, trusts and estates attorneys, and a growing but still weak demand for real estate attorneys (not surprising given the intense hiring in this area in the past couple years, so firms are generally well staffed). Any other practice area not listed above can be considered pretty dead in Portland in the summer of 2017.

 
SOUTHWEST
 
State of the Market Report: Phoenix

by Christina Brown, Legal Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search

Phoenix is home to national, regional, and local firms, with an abundance of opportunities for candidates demonstrating strong ties to the area. Membership to the Arizona bar is nearly always required, along with top credentials including large firm experience or at a minimum solid hands-on experience.
 
Because firms are extremely selective and competition is intense, candidates lateralling from larger cities generally fare well in Phoenix.

Hot Practice Areas:

Litigation
 
Litigation in Phoenix remains strong, with insurance defense, construction, and construction defect attorneys most highly sought. Family law and immigration litigation is also in high demand. Associates with 2-10 years of experience and partners (generally with $500K or more in business) in commercial experience are being sought, particularly those having strong trial, deposition, and courtroom argument work. Bilingual skills are a very strong plus, particularly Spanish. State Bar membership is generally essential for any litigator, although attorneys may be eligible for admission by motion based on reciprocity.
 
Corporate and Corporate Finance
 
Corporate is still going strong in the Phoenix and nearby communities for attorneys with 3-8 years of experience in finance, securities, M&A and governance. As we’re seeing elsewhere, firms are also seeking experience in data security, privacy, and IP-related transactions.
 
Labor & Employment
 
As we continue to see in California and elsewhere, the need for attorneys here is very strong. Attorneys with 2-8 years of experience handling immigration, OSHA, discrimination, non-compete, class action, and single plaintiff matters are nearly always being sought. Bilingual ability is a great advantage, as is counseling experience. Strong litigators with an interest in employment work should contact us about these opportunities, as many firms will consider these candidates even without past L&E experience.
 
Real Estate

The market for real estate practitioners is down somewhat but remains steady for attorneys with 2-6 years of experience in loan transactions, closings, purchase and sale, finance and other complex deals.
 
Other Practice Areas:
 
Although not nearly as dynamic as the practice areas highlighted above, there is some demand in trusts and estates, patent prosecution, bankruptcy, and tax.
 
Several firms continue to seek partners with portables at $175K or more in areas including litigation, labor and employment, health care, insurance and intellectual property.

 
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 looking to lateral to a new firm in Colorado? Generally speaking, firms are looking for a minimum of $1M in portable business. If you are a partner with business interested in transitioning to a new firm in Colorado, please call our Chicago office.

Associates

Denver firms continue to reach out to us for assistance in supplementing their transactional, labor and employment, environmental and energy, intellectual property, litigation and real estate practices. Specific skills and hiring requirements in these areas are noted below.
 
Corporate - M&A; Finance; Public Finance; Securities; Private Equity
 
Similar to our report last quarter, Denver firms’ transactional practices continue to be very busy. We would like to speak with associates with 2-3 years of experience handling securities and public finance matters. Associates with 2-4 years of experience in M&A, securities, and finance should reach out to our Chicago office. We would also be interested in hearing from senior associates with 5+ years of experience in general corporate, private equity and M&A transactions. Debt finance associates with 2-5 years of experience 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)
 
Denver firms continue to experience a heavy need for top litigation associate talent. We would be interested in speaking with general commercial litigation associates with 3+ years of experience. Senior associates with 6-8 years of experience in civil, commercial and real estate litigation should also get in touch with us. White collar litigation attorneys with 5-12 years of experience, prior federal clerkship, and AUSA experience should reach out to us to discuss Denver opportunities. We would also like to talk with litigation associates with anywhere from 5-7 years of experience in insurance coverage, premises liability, products liability and complex insurance defense matters.
 
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 associates with experience in data security and privacy transactions.
 
Patent Prosecution (USPTO and CO bar required)
 
Patent prosecution remains strong in Denver firms. We would be interested in speaking with patent prosecution associates with 2-5 years of experience and backgrounds in electrical engineering, computer science, and mechanical engineering.
 
Patent Litigation
 
We would be interested in speaking with patent litigation associates with 1-3 years of experience and specifically those with a background in physics or computer science.

Environmental and Energy
 
By contrast to last quarter, we have seen a significant decline in the need for associates with experience in oil and gas matters. However, we are still interested in speaking with associates who have at least 4 years of experience in oil and gas matters and advising on federal and state regulations of pipelines. In the environmental realm, we have opportunities for environmental litigators with 3+ years of experience and 3-5 years of experience in natural resources litigation, air and water quality and administrative agency law and regulatory matters.
 
Labor and Employment
 
Labor and employment associates with 2-5 years of experience in employment litigation should contact our Chicago office regarding Denver opportunities. We are also interested in speaking with associates with 4-8 years of experience representing clients in administrative proceedings, arbitrations and state and federal courts.
 
State of the Market Report: Las Vegas
by Paul Danielson, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search

Las Vegas is an interesting legal market for a variety of reasons – for one, Nevada is one of the few states that does not offer any form of bar reciprocity or admission by motion of any kind, so it is not a place a candidate would generally consider when conducting a national search – if you are looking to move to Las Vegas from another market, you should really want to be there and will have to commit to another bar exam. Second, the types of practice areas available are a little different than most other markets in the Western U.S., insofar as niche areas like gaming, government relations, and licensing may be overrepresented while areas like patent law are generally small to non-existent within most Las Vegas firms. Strong litigation candidates, labor and employment candidates, and those with solid real estate experience will tend to find a good number of opportunities. Salaries are lower, but the cost of living is significantly better than most major West coast cities.

Hot Practice Areas:

Litigation

Litigation in Las Vegas continues to dominate the lateral hiring market, but demand has slowed as we approach the typically slower summer season. Large firms tend to seek candidates with experience in construction, commercial, insurance defense, and general business litigation, along with a decent demand for attorneys with consumer finance, mortgage and foreclosure, and criminal defense litigation. Firms are currently seeking litigators across the spectrum of experience, from junior to more seasoned litigators, but even at the more junior level trial preparation and experience is at a premium, so attorneys who seek to lateral to or within the Las Vegas market should be doing everything they can in their current positions to gain deposition and trial experience.

Steady Practice Areas:

Labor & Employment

Because of the nature of the Las Vegas general market environment, which trends towards large operations employing a great number of people from low wage to management positions, labor and employment attorneys are almost always in some demand in the market, and the current lateral market is no exception. Firms are seeking mid to senior level attorneys (and partners with business) who have experience that includes labor and employment litigation, wage and hour, discrimination, and class action experience.

Slow to Dead Practice Areas:

Outside of litigation and labor & employment, the lateral hiring market for the past few months and heading into the summer is extremely slow for practitioners in other practice areas. We have seen a handful of listings for mid to senior level attorneys in real estate, trusts and estates, patent prosecution, and corporate transactional practice areas, and all other areas not mentioned above can be considered fairly dormant through the summer, with a chance things will pick up again in the fall.
 
MIDWEST
 
State of the Market Report: Chicago

by Jamie Bailey, Partner, BCG Attorney Search - Chicago

The state of the Chicago market is very strong. We are happy to report that, despite the normal slowdown in lateral hiring during the summer months, Chicago firms are busy hiring top lateral talent. Transactional practices continue to be very busy and firms are seeking associates at all levels in general corporate, finance, M&A, private equity, and securities. Litigation also remains strong and we continue to see a significant need in smaller law firms across Chicago. Of particular note this quarter, is the increase in lateral hiring in healthcare practices of associates with regulatory and compliance, as well as data privacy experience. IP practices remain busy in patent prosecution, patent litigation, and trademark. By contrast to last quarter, we have also seen a slight uptick in the need for labor and employment associates as well as associates with trusts and estates experience.
 
Overall, the Chicago legal market is reflecting strength and expansion in large, middle market and small firms and we are confident this quarter will bring tremendous opportunities for laterals seeking new opportunities.
 
Partners with Portable Business

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

Associates

General Corporate; Finance; M&A; Private Equity; Investment Management; Securities
 
Similar to what we reported last quarter, transactional practices in Chicago are very busy. We would like to speak with transactional associates with 4-5 years of experience in general corporate matters. Junior associates with 1-2 years of corporate and M&A transactions experience should also reach out to our Chicago office. We also have openings for transactional associates with 2-4 years of experience in private equity-backed, acquisition and finance, leveraged buyout, restructuring and workout transactions. We are also interested in speaking with associates with 3-6 years of experience handling Exchange Act reporting and public and private debt and equity offerings. Mid-level associates with 4-5 years of derivatives experience handling interest rate and currency products, including total return swaps and credit default swaps, should reach out to our Chicago recruiters. Top Chicago firms are also seeking associates with 3-5 years of experience in fund formation/investment fund and private equity transactions.

We would also like to speak with associates with 2-7 years of experience in commercial finance, including acquisition finance, leveraged buyouts, and recapitalizations.
 
Bankruptcy/Restructuring
 
Although we are not receiving a high volume of requests for qualified bankruptcy/restructuring attorneys, we do have openings for mid-level restructuring associates with 3-5 years of experience.
 
Litigation (IL bar required in most cases)
 
Large firms have reached out to us for assistance with their litigation associate needs. In particular, we are seeking tax litigators with 4-6 years of experience handling tax audits and appeals case management. We would also like to speak with commercial litigators with 3-5 years of experience in commercial litigation and associates with 1-4 years of product liability litigation experience. Associates with 2-4 years of experience in insurance and healthcare fraud litigation should also contact us, as well as senior litigation associates with 7-10 years of experience handling complex litigation matters. Additionally, as reported last quarter, smaller firms continue to have a need for litigation associates at all levels in a broad range of areas, including labor and employment, insurance coverage, workers’ compensation, professional negligence, probate, plaintiffs’ class action and family law litigation.
 
Healthcare –Regulatory Compliance; HIPAA; Data Privacy
 
Healthcare practices have picked up at busy Chicago law firms and associates in this area with 2-5 years of experience handling health care regulatory matters advising clients on data privacy and securities laws, HIPAA, the Privacy Act of 1974, and similar state laws and regulations should contact our Chicago office. We would also like to speak with associates with experience in Anti-Kickback statutes, health care compliance, and HITECH matters. Associates with 4+ years of experience handling compliance and regulatory, tax-exempt healthcare organizations, fraud and abuse, and clinical research matters should get in touch with us.
 
Intellectual Property - IP Litigation; Patent Prosecution; Trademark and Copyright
 
IP Litigation
 
The need for IP litigators at Chicago firms remains constant. Chicago firms are seeking associates with 1-4 years of experience and a background in pharmaceutical litigation and advanced degrees in biology, molecular biology, immunology, pharmacology, biochemistry or chemistry. We would also like to speak with associates with 3-5 years of experience handling litigation and counseling matters who have a background in cellular biology, immunology, molecular biology, genomics, chemistry, biochemistry and/or biotech matters. Associates with 3-6 years of experience in pharmaceutical litigation and Hatch Waxman matters and a background in chemistry, biochemistry, biomedical or chemical engineering should call our Chicago office. Our clients would also like to meet with associates who have 2-5 years of experience in IP litigation and a background in electrical or computer engineering, or computer science. (USPTO is required for some of these positions.)

Patent Prosecution (USPTO and IL bar required)

Patent prosecution associates are still sought out by law firms in Chicago and the need for these associates remains steady. We would like to speak with patent prosecutors with 2-7 years of experience and a background in electrical engineering, computer science, or mechanical engineering. Candidates with advanced degrees in organic chemistry or mechanical engineering are highly sought after.
 
Trademark and Copyright
 
Chicago firms are seeking trademark associates with 3+ years of experience handling trademark and copyright matters. Associates with 3-5 years of experience handling trademark litigation, oppositions, counseling, clearance, domain name disputes, and trademark application prosecution matters should reach out to our Chicago office to discuss opportunities. 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.
 
Real Estate – Acquisitions and Dispositions; Finance; Leasing; Joint Venture; Zoning; Land Use
 
The need for highly qualified real estate associates at Chicago firms has increased since our last report. We would be interested in speaking with real estate associates with anywhere from 2-7 years of experience handling real estate sales and acquisition, joint venture, finance and leasing transactions. Firms are also requesting that we send them associates with 3-6 years of experience handling zoning and land use matters.
 
Labor and Employment
 
Labor and employment practices at Chicago firms are busy. We would be interested in speaking with labor and employment associates with 2-5 years of experience in employment litigation matters. We would also like to speak with associates with 5+ years of experience handling union side labor matters, including contract negotiations, grievances, NLRB charges, strikes, pickets, NLRB elections, collective bargaining, and litigating arbitration and administrative hearings.
 
Trusts and Estates
 
The need for trusts and estates associates has increased in Chicago firms and we would be interested in speaking with associates who have 1-4 years of experience handling probate trusts, guardianship administration, and litigation matters. Associates with 7+ years of experience in estate planning matters should also contact our Chicago office.
 
State of the Market Report: Indiana/Indianapolis
by Liz Leach, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search

Indianapolis is having a very slow summer as far as lateral opportunities go. In fact, Indy has the least amount of new opportunities posted compared to other Midwest cities. The posted opportunities are looking for attorneys in the following practice groups: Corporate, Patent Prosecution, Bankruptcy, Benefits, Health, Trusts/Estates, Commercial Litigation, Real Estate and Government Contracts. There are only a few firms that are looking for lateral attorneys without portable business. Indy is seeking more partners with portable business than lateral associates. The partners with portable business needs are as follows:
 
  • Partner with $1M in Products Liability and toxic tort business
  • Partner with $1M in Financial Services business
  • Partner with $1M in Regulatory & Transactional Health Care business
  • Partner with $1M in Litigation business
  • Partner with $250K in Environmental business

If you are a partner with portable business, please call our Chicago office.
 
State of the Market Report: Wisconsin
by Jamie Bailey, Partner, BCG Attorney Search - Chicago

Milwaukee and Madison

Partners with Portable Business

If you are a partner with portable business, we would be interested in speaking with you. Firms in these markets are generally looking for a minimum of $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); Trademark and Copyright
 
Patent prosecution associates with 1-4 years of experience and backgrounds in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, or computer science should contact our Chicago office to discuss opportunities in Madison and Milwaukee. We would also like to speak with associates with 1-2 years of experience in trademark, copyright and advertising matters.
 
Corporate - M&A; Debt Finance
 
Last quarter we indicated a marked decrease in the need for corporate and finance associates at firms in Madison and Milwaukee and we have not seen an increase this quarter. However, we would be interested in speaking with transactional associates with 3-5 years of general corporate and debt finance experience. We are also interested in hearing from junior, mid-level and senior associates with 2-7 years of experience in M&A transactions.
 
Labor and Employment
 
Senior level labor and employment associates with 5+ years of labor and employment experience handling state and federal laws, discovery, and case preparation before state and federal agencies and courts should contact us to discuss opportunities in Wisconsin. We would also like to hear from associates with 5+ years of experience in employment litigation who have extensive experience handling trade secret and non-compete matters.

Healthcare

We have opportunities in Milwaukee and Madison law firms for healthcare regulatory associates with 2+ years of experience.

Trusts and Estates

Some of our Wisconsin firm clients are seeking trusts and estates associates with 3-5 years of experience in trusts and estates planning and administration.
 
State of the Market Report: Minneapolis/Saint Paul
by Julie Lehrman, Senior Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search

Twin Cities

The Twin Cities market continues to flourish throughout 2017. Consistently a strong market for IP attorneys, the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area has also seen increased growth in litigation work and also an upsurge in employment law.

Partners with Ties to the Twin Cities

Those partners with portable business who are located in or interested in relocating to the Twin Cities should feel free to reach out to the Chicago office of BCG Attorney Search. Those with 300k+ will find themselves marketable to smaller and mid-sized firms, where those with books of $1M or larger may be competitive at the largest firms in the area. We have experience aiding partners in all stages of the placement process.

Commercial Litigation

We have noticed a large increase in commercial litigation demands all across the nation in the last eighteen months or so, and this need continues to grow. Although it has yet to reach the peak levels of the pre-recession, and salaries are not as high as they once were, the slow and steady growth of this sector continues to encourage job seekers and law firms alike.

IP

The Minneapolis/Saint Paul area is a consistent IP hub of the northern Midwest, and this has held true this cycle as well. We continue to see needs in life sciences and electrical engineering/computer science at both the associate and partner levels.

Employment Law

This cycle has seen an increase in demand for excellent employment lawyers. The most marketable have both employment litigation and counseling, and occasionally employers also ask for traditional labor work, but it is not always necessary.
 
State of the Market Report: Saint Louis
by Julie Lehrman, Senior Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search

The big news in the Saint Louis metro area is litigation, with a smattering of IP. Commercial litigation, as well as some specialty litigation work, has been very busy recently. In addition to general commercial litigation, we have seen insurance defense litigation work, family law, and some real estate litigation. Patent prosecution has also been reasonably active in this market.

Partners with Portable Business

We have definitely seen an increased demand for partners in the Saint Louis market in recent months in a variety of practice areas. Partners with business of at least $250k should feel free to call BCG’s Chicago office to discuss options and strategy. We are happy to help you develop a business plan.

Litigation

We are seeing more and faster of an increase in demand for litigators in Saint Louis as compared with the rest of the country, where the increase is slow and steady. Real estate litigation, family law litigation, insurance defense litigation, and commercial litigation, especially at the larger firms, have picked up greatly this cycle.

Patent Prosecutions

Saint Louis continues to show a small but steady demand for patent prosecution associates, especially those with electrical or computer engineering degrees. Prosecutors should have several years of prosecuting patents at a reputable law firm or company, and samples of their work.
 
State of the Market Report: Michigan
by Julie Lehrman, Senior Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search - Chicago

As was the case last cycle, the Detroit metro area appears to be enjoying a robust local economy in the legal sector. We are seeing strong demands in several practice areas including litigators, corporate and transactional attorneys, tax attorneys, and employment law attorneys.
 
Partners with Business

The BCG Chicago office is ready to help partners and groups gain an understanding of the market and strategize to meet your goals. Large Detroit area firms tend to prefer partners with at least $1M in business while smaller firms will consider far less. Please give us a call for details.

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

Litigation

As has been the case across the U.S., litigation continues to generate needs in the Detroit area. We are seeing demands for commercial litigation, family law, and insurance defense. Experienced associates should have strong trial and deposition experience, while newer grads should bring excellent academics and possibly a federal clerkship or experience from a solid firm.

Corporate and Transactional

Transactional work has picked up slightly in Detroit this cycle. We are seeing needs not only for M & A and Securities work, but also for healthcare transactional and private equity. Deal lawyers will find it easier to transition to a firm that handles comparable size deals.

Tax

As in the last cycle, the demand for tax attorneys remains slight, but there is a small demand in Detroit. Law firms seeking tax attorneys do tend to prefer an LLM, a CPA, or both.

Employment Law

As in other markets, employment law is quiet, but the need persists. There are a few openings for employment lawyers in the Detroit area. Employers tend to value EEO/Title VII litigation as well as counseling, and occasionally we see requests for wage and hour law or traditional labor law work. Attorneys should have a mix of litigation and counseling work where possible.
 
State of the Market Report: Ohio
by Liz Leach, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search

Cleveland continues to have the largest legal need in Ohio. The lateral openings in Cleveland are for the following practice groups: Tax/Estate, Corporate, Finance & Banking, and Affordable Housing Attorneys. Partners with portable business are in demand with a minimum of $300K in business in the practice groups of health, intellectual property, real estate, consumer finance and commercial litigation. Cincinnati is right behind Cleveland with a need for Collection, Trust/Estate, Insurance Defense, Finance, Labor & Employment, Real Estate and Corporate attorneys. Columbus is next in lateral openings with needs in litigation, corporate, SALT, intellectual property, affordable housing, real estate and labor and employment.
 
State of the Market Report: Utah
by Liz Leach, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search

Salt Lake City has a small number of openings for attorneys with some experience. Patent Prosecution work continues to see the greatest growth for IP attorneys with a background in data communication, electrical engineering, software or wireless communications. There are also openings for ERISA, tax/estate, litigation, corporate, insurance defense and health care attorneys.
 
NORTHEAST
 
State of the Market Report: Boston/New England

by Nadeen Weybrecht, Esq., Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search

Boston

Corporate, intellectual property, and real estate attorneys are in high demand in Boston. Litigation opportunities remain few but steady, while there is a much lower demand for lateral attorneys in the areas of tax, ERISA, employment, and bankruptcy.

Corporate

The need for corporate associates with strong credentials and meaningful experience is very strong in Boston now. Corporate associates who are at the 3-5 year level are in high demand (as is usually the case) but, so, too, are more senior folks with 4-6 years’ experience. Practice-wise, experience in M&A and capital markets is in demand, as is experience in private equity and investment management.

Intellectual Property

Patent prosecutors are in much greater demand than Patent Litigators, as has been the case for a long while now. The demand for those with a Life Sciences background – particularly Organic Chemistry, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry – is always robust, and the greatest demand is for those with 2-5 years of experience. The demand for associates with Electrical Engineering and Computer Science backgrounds has remained steady. There are also openings for other backgrounds such as Mechanical, Physics, and Chemical Engineering but these needs are fewer. USPTO registration is a requirement and firms across the board prefer advanced degrees.

Real Estate

The real estate market is very strong in Boston. The associates in highest demand are those with between 2-6 years of experience, but there are also openings for more senior folks with 7-8 years of experience. The specific areas in demand are real estate finance, acquisitions/dispositions, and leasing and development.

Litigation

While signs of life did arise in litigation a few months ago, interviews remain scarce, even for the strongest of candidates in Boston. There is a demand for junior-to-mid-level associates with White Collar, Government Investigations, and Securities Litigation experience but, again, only candidates with the most stellar credentials have a realistic chance at this time.

Tax, ERISA, and Bankruptcy

As I write this, there is only one tax opening and the practice area remains surprisingly slow (one expects this transactional support practice to be stronger since the corporate market is strong now). Equally surprising in its slowness, given the strength of the transactional market, is ERISA and employee benefits. Not surprisingly, though, with corporate going so strong, bankruptcy is quiet.

New England

The Boston market is typically reflective of New England as a whole so it is no surprise that the busiest practices in New England are also corporate, intellectual property, and real estate. Litigation is quieter, while tax, ERISA, employment, and bankruptcy are even quieter still.
 
State of the Market Report: Washington, D.C.
by Katy Anderman, Managing Director - East Coast, BCG Attorney Search

The legal job market in Washington, DC is quite healthy and growing strong this summer. This is surprising as the summer is a time when we typically see the lateral market slow down. Demand is the highest for specialty litigation mid-levels and IP associates as well as general corporate and investment funds associates.
 
Practice Areas with High Demand:
 
Litigation

We are seeing many open positions in traditional DC practices areas such as litigation, government/political law, international arbitration, international trade and antitrust. This is a welcome change of pace as litigation needs have been few and far between for the last couple of years. However, competition for these positions remains fierce as many associates are jumping to make a move after having few opportunities to do so in the recent past. Mid-level associate candidates with 2-6 years of experience in the following practice areas are needed:
 
  • Appellate - Several firms are looking for associates with government and/or judicial clerkship experience to join prestigious appellate practices. Candidates should have strong appellate experience as well as impeccable credentials. 
  • International Trade, Export and Customs
  • International Arbitration (language skills needed - Spanish and Chinese)
  • Antitrust litigation (as well as Hart-Scott Rodino experience)
  • Government Contracts and Government Relations (including lobbying experience)
  • White Collar & Securities
 
Candidates who have at least two years of specialized experience in one of the above areas will have a couple of opportunities to choose from. The market remains competitive but firms have been eager to meet with associate candidates who have a unique and specific skill set. Mid-senior associate candidates with interesting and hands-on general litigation experience can expect to find solid litigation opportunities at big law firms as well.

Corporate

We are seeing a solid number of corporate openings for associates with at least 2 - 6 years of corporate law experience. Firms are looking for candidates with large law firm experience in the following areas: M & A, debt finance, securities, joint venture and private equity experience, capital markets, investment management and fund formation.
 
Intellectual Property

Patent Litigation, Prosecution, Trademark, Technology Transactions and Privacy/Data Security

 
The IP needs in DC are varied and inclusive of pretty much everything IP-related. We have noticed an uptick in both trademark and IP transactions needs. On the IP-Trans side, firms are looking for associates with e-commerce, advertising, media and life science licensing experience as well as technical experience with software and content licensing, partnering and distribution, application hosting, Web-based services, technology development, services agreements, and technology transfer relationships. Mid-senior associates who can draft full trademark opinion letters and advise clients regarding the use of trademarks are in demand. IP patent litigation and prosecution associates have several opportunities to consider in DC (assuming they have Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Pharma and/or Physics degrees). Firms have also been on the hunt for associates with strong data security and privacy skills. This is a rather new and booming practice area and there are not enough associates with the required experience to fill firm needs (relevant experience includes cybersecurity, breach investigations and response, and privacy).
 
Practice Areas with Growth Potential:

L&E

The Labor & Employment market in DC has been consistently producing job opportunities for junior and senior level attorneys over the past year. This summer we have seen junior and counsel level L&E positions open up for employment counseling, labor and litigation practices. Currently, there are several flex time, part time and staff attorney openings for L&E attorneys.
 
ERISA

Firms have been hiring for both ERISA and executive compensation associate and senior associate positions. Firms are looking for candidates with backgrounds in employee benefits and executive compensation with respect to mergers & acquisitions. Experience in Title I and ERISA fiduciary issues as well is also preferred. Tax experience is a plus as well. 
 
Health Care

The regulatory health care market is stable in DC and we have continued to see new positions hit the market quarterly on the transactional and litigation sides. Candidates with at least 2-6 years of health care experience in Medicare/Medicaid, health care fraud and abuse laws including Anti-Kickback Statute, Stark and False Claims Act will have an easy time getting interviews and job offers.

Practice Areas That Are Holding Steady:
 
Real Estate

The real estate market in DC is not booming but firms will show interest in strong candidates, especially those coming from other markets (NYC, Chicago, Boston) with relevant experience and strong credentials.

Tax

We can always count on seeing a couple open tax positions at any given time in DC. In the recent past few months, we have seen firms looking at transactional tax candidates with both law firm and accounting firm experience.
 
Practice Areas with Little Growth:
 
Trusts & Estates

There are few opportunities in T&E in DC at the moment. If you are considering a move, the NYC market has been much more active.

Environmental

We have noticed very little hiring in environmental groups in DC. There are a few very strong positions open for partners in the South, but DC is not very active.
 
State of the Market Report: New York
by Nadeen Weybrecht, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search

The New York market – often an eye towards the rest of the country – has had a steady quarter, but with no real practice group standing out, and many on the slow side.

The litigation market in New York continues to drag, with very few firms looking for general litigators, and with a larger focus on white collar/government investigations work when an opening does come out. Such openings are at the top “big law” firms where credentials and firm experience are most valued. Corporate has remained steady, with a handful of firms at any given time looking for associates with M&A experience, capital markets experience, securities experience, and related work. Fund formation continues to be a strong practice area – if you are someone with top firm experience in this niche practice area, making a lateral move will be an easy one. Intellectual property continues to be extremely slow, with trademark/copyright openings almost non-existent (going on at least one year now), and patent litigation is also trending down. As is common, most openings are looking for mid-level attorneys with 2-5 years of experience. Partners with books of business who are self-sustaining are always in demand, and there is never a bad time in the market to make a move if you fit this category.

Real estate also continues to be a go-to practice area, with at least a couple of firms at any given time looking for a strong real estate transactional associate. Relatedly, employment litigation continues to have interest, as well as ERISA and executive compensation work.

Overall, for the general good state of the economy, one would expect the New York legal market to be stronger but there are only a handful of openings in any given practice area. It is steady but not strong.

Litigation

The litigation market in New York seems to have never bounced back from years of slow growth, with firms rarely looking for a general litigator. As noted above, strong experience in white collar and government investigations work at a top firm would be valued. International arbitration in New York is a non-starter, and anyone interested in this should consider DC. This is not to say that there are no openings, as is the theme of New York, everything remains steady, but it is certainly not a hopping market and has not been for a number of years. With that said, we routinely place candidates in litigation roles; it just takes a more patient and aggressive search.

Corporate

Similar to the trend in other markets, New York has a steady corporate market, but certainly not a booming one. Firms are generally looking for someone at the mid-level stage, with 2-5 years of experience, and generally in the M&A, capital markets, and finance areas. The hottest area right now is fund formation, with many firms needing an associate with real experience in this practice area. M&A will always get interest and there are certainly firms looking for this experience, but it is slower than it has been in recent years.

Real Estate

Real estate in New York continues to be active but has slowed. New openings appear to pop up on a routine basis, but as with corporate and litigation, it is only a handful at any given time. The most valued experience in real estate is transactional work as well as real estate financing. Real estate litigation has little to no interest in the large firm world, but middle market and smaller firms might have a need for this.

Intellectual Property

The Intellectual Property market in New York is extremely slow, especially when talking about soft IP (trademark/copyright). This has remained true for years now, with this market seemingly never picking up in the New York area. Patent litigation is also slower, and there is a mix in need for someone with an electrical engineering background vs. experience with Hatch-Waxman and pharma clients.

ERISA / Employment and Tax / Trust and Estates

Tax, ERISA, and T&E remains steady in New York, but the firms appear to be extremely selective in these practice areas in ways we have not seen in the past. T&E is the slowest I have seen it in a long time across the country, and hopefully, we will see some pick up in that area over the next 6 months.
 
State of the Market Report: Philadelphia
by Robyn Ginsberg, Senior Managing Director - East Coast, BCG Attorney Search

Philadelphia continues to be an attractive city for attorneys and we are seeing the market become more and more competitive than it has ever been with attorneys looking to relocate to Philadelphia in large numbers. Pittsburgh, similarly, is a smaller market, but also we have been seeing increased attorney interest here.

On the other hand, the market in Philadelphia, although a larger market, is still a regional market, and there are not a large number of large firm presences there to garner significant openings.

The litigation market in Philadelphia at top firms remains slow, with very few firms having openings in this practice area. The smaller firms in the area, however, do have more needs for attorneys, so if you are considering making a switch to a smaller firm, Philadelphia may be an interesting market for you.

Most openings are looking for mid-level attorneys with 2-5 years of experience.

Corporate and real estate needs continue to be steady in Philadelphia, but the intellectual property market – usually a strong one in Philly – has remained steady with some needs in both trademark and patent prosecution most strongly. The same is true for tax/trust and estates where we see little need in Philadelphia for attorneys with this type of expertise.

Litigation

The litigation market in Philadelphia continues to be very slow, with only a handful of openings, and only one or two at the top firm level in the area. This trend seems to have continued from prior quarters, although the economy has been steady so we expect to start seeing some growth in this area. This practice area is the most hit also with the influx of strong candidates interested in the Philadelphia market so many openings are being filled extremely quickly with the high caliber of candidates received right away.

Corporate

The corporate market in Philadelphia is probably the strongest market among the big firms, but even here we are not seeing a large need. Firms are generally looking for someone at the mid-level stage, with 2-5 years of experience, and generally in the M&A, capital markets, and securities areas. There is less need for finance work.

Real Estate

Real estate in Philadelphia is also slow, with only a handful of openings, although this is never an extremely large practice in Philadelphia. Candidates interested in this practice area should consider targeting smaller firms where there is more of this type of work being done, especially at the real estate transactional/closing level. There is very little need for real estate finance attorneys.

Intellectual Property

The Intellectual Property market in Philadelphia has remained steady, with firm openings for patent agents, patent prosecution specialists, pharma/life sciences experience, and some trademark needs. Certainly, if you are a strong IP attorney at a big firm coming from New York or are already in Philadelphia, there might be some significant interest for you.

ERISA / Employment and Tax / Trust and Estates

Tax and T&E remain almost nonexistent in Philly, but employment and ERISA remain a decent area in this market. Employment law and labor experience as well as ERISA niche experience are big practice areas in Philly, and firms, although not all rushing to hire, will give a strong candidate a second look.

 
SOUTH
 
State of the Market Report: Kansas City, Missouri

by Julie Lehrman, Senior Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search

Things have picked up in this market noticeably since the last cycle. Litigation, corporate, and tax-related practices like ERISA and wealth management are seeing some growth here.

Partners with Portable Business

Partners in the Kansas City area or who wish to relocate here are encouraged to contact BCG’s Chicago office for information on firms and options in the area.

Litigation

Litigation was quiet last cycle, but we have seen a sharp increase this cycle. Commercial litigators are usually sought-after, as well as those with specialty skills such as family law, insurance defense, and bankruptcy. Junior corporate litigators should have excellent academic credentials to be marketable to larger firms, and those more senior should have trial, experience, depositions, and the like.

Corporate

This market shows a slow, steady need for corporate lawyers. Those most marketable tend to have M & A, some securities, and perhaps a specialty such as private equity. More senior attorneys should show progressively more responsibility.

ERISA and Wealth Management

Like corporate law, the need here is not a strong need but is constant. Associates looking in these market sectors may need to wait some time for the right law firm fit, but there is some activity in this market sector.
 
State of the Market Report: Atlanta
by Jennifer McNeil, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search

Healthy Practice Areas:
 
Corporate
 
Corporate is the busiest practice area in Atlanta. There are many new corporate openings for junior and mid-level associates, particularly in M&A and finance. Generally speaking, firms in Atlanta have a strong preference for attorneys from top law firms and law schools, though top candidates from regional schools are also considered. Direct experience in corporate is essential. There are also openings for more experienced attorneys, particularly for those with portable business of at least $500,000.
 
Real Estate (Transactions and Finance)
 
Real Estate has been busy in Atlanta for the past several years, as anyone who lives here and watches the skyline can attest to. Most of the current openings are with smaller and regional firms, though several larger firms are looking as well. Firms are searching for junior to mid-level associates with commercial and/or residential real estate experience. Traditional real estate experience is also a plus, including acquisition, disposition, development, joint ventures, and leasing. Several large firms are looking for partners with a strong book of business (at least $1 million).
 
Emerging Practice Areas:
 
Health Care
 
Health care law is a hot practice area in Atlanta, and firms here are looking for attorneys with every level of experience. Of special interest are associates with health care regulatory experience. Direct experience is more important than credentials.
 
Trademark
 
This is a great time to practice trademark law. A couple of top firms in Atlanta are looking for mid-level associates with experience in trademark portfolio management, prosecution, clearance, enforcement, and licensing. More experienced trademark attorneys need to have a book of business.
 
Steady Practice Areas:
 
Employment
 
There are not as many labor and employment openings this quarter. Most of the current openings are for junior employment associates with litigation experience. Firms will also consider junior litigation associates who are interested in switching practice areas. The market is slower for more experienced employment attorneys unless they have a strong book of business.
 
Intellectual Property
 
Intellectual Property is a strong practice area in Atlanta. Most of the current openings are for patent prosecutors with electrical engineering backgrounds. There are also openings for mid-level associates with biotechnology and pharmaceutical experience. USPTO registration is essential. Patent litigation is slow, with only one or two openings.
 
Litigation
 
Litigation openings are few and far between in Atlanta. There are almost no associate openings with larger law firms. Instead, most of the openings are with local and regional firms, particularly for associates with civil litigation experience. For the commercial litigation openings, top credentials are required, including large law firm experience, law review, judicial clerkship, and admission to the Georgia Bar. Firms are always looking for partners with a 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. If you are considering a lateral move in Atlanta, please get in touch with BCG to see what your prospects might be.
 
State of the Market Report: North Carolina
by Jennifer McNeil, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search

Charlotte is by far the largest legal market in North Carolina, though there are also some openings in Raleigh and the Research Triangle. In Charlotte, most of the openings are for corporate associates, particularly for those with banking, finance, and capital markets experience. Outside of Charlotte, the busiest practice area is intellectual property, especially for patent prosecutors with electrical engineering backgrounds.

Litigation

Litigation continues to be a slow practice area throughout North Carolina. Some local and regional firms are looking for mid-level associates, primarily with civil litigation experience. There are very few openings for associates interested in complex commercial litigation.

Corporate

Corporate is a stable practice area in Charlotte, particularly for junior to mid-level associates with large law firm experience in banking, finance, capital markets, and regulatory law.

Intellectual Property

Intellectual property law is a busy practice area in Raleigh and the Research Triangle. The most sought after associates are those with hard science backgrounds, especially electrical engineering. There are also a few postings for IP attorneys with life sciences backgrounds. At least a couple of years of experience with patent prosecution and USPTO registration are essential.
 
State of the Market Report: Texas
by Suzanne Dupree Howe, Managing Director for Texas and the Southeast, BCG Attorney Search

Corporate

Corporate has remained strong through the first half of 2017. Although the area has not been as strong as it was three to four years ago, it remains one of the most in-demand practice areas in Texas. Most of our clients this year have been looking for corporate generalists and we have not seen the specific demand as much for private equity or securities specialists.

Finance

Finance has been a strong and steady area in Texas this year so far. At present most of our needs are in Houston.

Energy and Project Finance

I think this is probably the most interesting story here. We are finally starting to see more needs in Transactional Energy and Project Finance! This is mostly occurring at the larger firms in Houston and is a welcome sight after the last several years of a very slow market.

Taxation

Tax has been extremely quiet for 2016 and 2017, however, we’ve recently seen an uptick in Taxation positions in Dallas and Houston.

Litigation

Litigation has not been a particularly strong area in Texas for over a decade. However, we have seen moderate needs in this area for the last year, which has been very welcome. And while we certainly have needs at the larger firms, we have had abundant needs in smaller and mid-sized firms. Candidates with judicial clerkship experience are generally the most sought after. Candidates with federal clerkships are even more in demand.

Labor and Employment

This area has been moderately strong so far this year. We have seen employment attorney needs across the board with large firms, Employment boutiques, and small firms, as well.

Patent

Patent needs were stronger at the beginning of 2017, but overall we have seen an increased need for patent prosecution candidates in Texas. Over the last year, most of our needs have been for candidates with electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and chemical engineering degrees. The increased need for candidates with chemical engineering degrees this year has been an interesting development.

IP Litigation

We have had slow to moderate needs in IP Litigation in 2017. However, this area has been stronger in 2017 than it was in 2016, so it’s a better time to look. Most of our needs have been for candidates with software or electrical engineering backgrounds, but some of our needs have been more general. An undergraduate degree in science is crucial to be truly marketable in this area.

Real Estate

Real Estate has been incredibly slow in Houston since the downturn in the energy market. Dallas is the best market for Real Estate in Texas and has been for several years, where we have had very consistent needs. Candidates with leasing and finance experience are most in demand.

ERISA and Employee Benefits

This area has been slow in 2017, but we have seen a need here or there in Dallas and Houston.

Bankruptcy and Restructuring

This area has been very quiet this year, a sign of our currently robust economy. However, we have seen a handful of bankruptcy needs in both Dallas and Houston.
 
State of the Market Report: Louisiana
by Suzanne Dupree Howe, Managing Director for Texas and the Southeast, BCG Attorney Search
 
The majority of our needs in Louisiana recently have been in Litigation. We have seen consistent needs for litigation generalists with judicial clerkship experience. We have also had a handful of needs for Employment litigators in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. The most essential element for an attorney considering a lateral move to Louisiana is the Bar. If you are considering a move to Louisiana, I highly recommend taking the Bar exam ahead of your potential move.
 
State of the Market Report: Tennessee
by Suzanne Dupree Howe, Managing Director for Texas and the Southeast, BCG Attorney Search

This has been an interesting year for our practice area needs in Tennessee, with this year’s needs widely diverging from previous years! Litigation and IP are two of our strongest needs, while the typical leader, Corporate, is weaker this year.

Litigation

This has been a strong area in all major cities across Tennessee. Firms have had strong needs for accomplished litigators with strong academic backgrounds and judicial clerkships.

Intellectual Property

This has been one of the bigger surprises in this market for 2017. What is traditionally a very quiet practice area in Tennessee, has become one of our strongest areas in the state. We are seeing a number of patent prosecution needs at many levels.

Healthcare

This is always a robust area in Tennessee, especially in Nashville and this year is no exception. Healthcare is hot, hot, hot across the U.S. and we have very active needs in Tennessee.

Corporate

Corporate has been strong in 2017, but it was stronger in the previous four years in Tennessee.
 
SOUTHEAST
 
State of the Market Report: Florida

by Jessica Portela, Recruiter, BCG Attorney Search

While the temperatures are rising in Florida, the legal market in Florida is stagnant at the moment. There are few openings at the large law firms, even though the supply of talented attorneys continuous to grow. This is true even in markets that are strong in other areas of the East Coast such as Corporate and Bankruptcy. The most openings in Florida are in Litigation, but mainly in smaller firms that focus on Medical Malpractice and Insurance Defense. There has been a rise in consumer finance and construction litigation openings. Trust & Estates remains steady with most openings at smaller firms. Bankruptcy and Intellectual Property are particularly slow in Florida.

Litigation is the strongest market in Florida, but is still slower than the overall Litigation market in the North East. A few large firms have had openings for general commercial litigators and other firms are searching for litigators that focus on consumer finance matters. The majority of openings, however, are at smaller or medium size firms, in either Insurance Defense, Personal Injury, or Medical Malpractice. Of all the markets across Florida, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, and Orlando are the strongest.

Overall Corporate is slow in Florida, but some large firms are looking for Corporate associates in the junior or mid-level range, with M&A and transactional experience. Junior openings for attorneys with SEC and corporate governance work are also desired. For openings like International Arbitration, Spanish skills are a real plus. The Corporate market is most active in Miami and Orlando, while certain parts of Florida, such as Tampa and Jacksonville, are slower. With the overall market for Corporate being strong, it is nice to see openings in Florida popping up.

If any practice area is on the stronger side in Florida, it is Real Estate. Real Estate in Florida is one market that is slowly picking up with firms looking for attorneys with sophisticated transactional experience and condominium/HOA experience. The condominium litigation work is also slowly rising. Most of the needs are with medium and smaller firms, although, a strong candidate with a solid real estate background and mid-level credentials might get interest at some firms with strong real estate practices.

The Intellectual Property market in Florida is one of the slowest markets unless you are a partner with a book of business. More of the IP openings are for the Transactional side and less on the Litigation side.

With a wealthy aging population in many parts of Florida, T&E associates will always be in demand, especially those coming from large firm backgrounds or, on the opposite end of the spectrum, with large portable books of business. Bankruptcy continues to be slow in Florida, with only a handful of openings throughout the state. There are barely any openings for ERISA and Employment associates, with some interest from firms for partners with a book of business. There is some small demand in Tax, with a typical need for candidates with an LLM in Tax.