Recruiter Ted Bavly Discusses What’s Hot in OC and SD Legal Markets

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BCG Attorney Search, a top legal recruiting firm, is seeing high demand for IP and transactional attorneys among Orange County and San Diego law firms.

BCG Attorney Search

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Law firms are looking for the “crème de la crème” and if they find these people, they’ll move quickly.

BCG Attorney Search, widely regarded as the nation’s most selective legal recruiting firm, is witnessing vigorous growth in IP and corporate finance among law firms in Orange County and San Diego. Law firms are selectively hiring IP litigation and transactional attorneys with sophisticated experience and top credentials.

After slowed growth during the economic downturn, Southern California law firms are demonstrating robust demand in several key practice areas. Ted Bavly, a BCG Attorney Search recruiter with over 30 years of experience, offered his insight into current hiring trends at law firms in Orange County and San Diego.

In San Diego, law firms are looking for associate IP litigators, especially those with a background in electronics or electrical engineering. While demand in other IP markets, such as New York, has expanded to include IP attorneys in the life sciences, this has not held true for the California market. In San Diego, which has traditionally been a focal point in the biomedical sector, the bulk of IP work is still concentrated around electronics. As such, firms are primarily looking for associates with technical backgrounds, such as electrical engineering. Law firms in Northern San Diego County as well as parts of southern Orange County are showing strong demand for IP, especially in the medical device arena.

The corporate legal market is also improving as companies are more inclined to be making deals and doing transactional work. “People are bullish in the stock market. They want to be proactive in doing mergers and acquisitions and purchases,” said Bavly. This is translating into many San Diego and Orange County firms expanding their corporate finance groups to handle the increased workload.

Bavly emphasized that San Diego and Orange County firms are showing interest in corporate attorneys in the 2 to 4 year range, with stellar credentials and, preferably, big firm experience. Unlike other professions, where more experience nearly always translates into a stronger job candidate, Bavly noted that law firms were less inclined to hold this view. In today’s legal market, law firms are more apt to hire junior associates to avoid the higher compensation rates that come with more senior-level attorneys.

“Law firms are looking for junior attorneys for billing rate purposes,” explained Bavly. “They don’t want to bring in someone that they have to worry about making partner in a short amount of time. When you get too senior, compensation becomes an issue and making partner becomes an issue.”

Competition remains fierce among hiring firms because of the record-high number of attorneys and recent law school graduates. While the job market has been notoriously bleak for many attorneys, Bavly emphasized that this was not the case for qualified associates with top credentials and the right firm experience. “Law firms are looking for the “crème de la crème” and if they find these people, they’ll move quickly. They’re responsive to that. They don’t want to take any less than that, but when they do find the best, they’ll move quickly.”

About BCG Attorney Search:

BCG Attorney Search is a premier recruiting firm for experienced attorneys in the United States. BCG Attorney Search has 10 offices across the U.S. and its recruiters focus only on working with attorneys. Since the year 2000, BCG Attorney Search has placed thousands of attorneys with employers who were the best fit for individual candidates, and helped law firms and companies with their recruitment efforts. For more information, please go to

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