Litigation Attorneys are Finally Back in Demand in NorCal, Says BCG Recruiter Evan Anderson

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BCG Attorney Search Recruiter discusses the strong and surprising demand for litigation attorneys in Northern California. He also discusses the current market for attorneys specializing in intellectual property, corporate/transactional, and real estate.

BCG Attorney Search

BCG Attorney Search

In San Francisco, we’ve seen virtually nothing in litigation for four years,” says Anderson. “All of a sudden demand for litigators catapulted, and now we’re seeing more openings for litigators than we have for corporate attorneys.

Litigation hiring has skyrocketed in Northern California in the first quarter of 2013, says Evan Anderson, the Managing Recruiter of BCG Attorney Search’s San Francisco office. Litigation, along with intellectual property prosecution and litigation, corporate/transactional, and real estate are the practice areas in demand right now at the Bay Area’s most prestigious law firms.

Litigators that specialize in complex commercial matters are in great demand at large law firms in and around San Francisco. This rapid growth comes after several years during which big law firms were simply not hiring litigation attorneys. According to Anderson, the demand is so great that firms are keen to hire junior and mid-level associates from second-tier law schools, which is good news for any litigator looking to make a lateral move.

“In San Francisco, we’ve seen virtually nothing in litigation for four years,” says Anderson. “All of a sudden, demand for litigators catapulted, and now we’re seeing more openings for litigators than we have for corporate attorneys. It’s unusual to see so many firms looking to hire attorneys in this practice area.”

Anderson attributes the current demand for litigation attorneys to the slowly recovering economy. “In the past, firms have been very cautious about litigation hiring. Because they couldn’t get work at big firms, litigation attorneys moved to small and mid-sized firms where they could continue to practice and keep their rates low. But the increase in work in the corporate practice area is driving the need for litigation attorneys, and now big firms need to keep up. They are much less gun-shy about hiring.”

Anderson explains that firms are currently willing to interview out of state litigation attorneys that are scheduled to take the California Bar.

According to Anderson, the other hot practice areas for San Francisco attorneys at the moment are corporate, IP, and real estate.

“Regarding patent litigation and prosecution, the need continues to be extremely high. In general, the most sought after attorneys are IP litigators with an electrical engineering or computer science background. However, law firms are starting to look more at attorneys with backgrounds in mechanical engineering and life science degrees, particularly in the areas of biotechnology and chemical engineering.” IP law is bigger now than ever before, and Anderson predicts that demand for attorneys in this area will continue to grow, especially in Northern California, where America’s leading technology companies are based.

Anderson credits the recovering national economy with the increased demand for corporate and real estate attorneys as well. “Real estate is such a sensitive market and very much tied to the construction industry. We saw years of no growth or slow growth in real estate law, but over the last half of last year and the first quarter of this one, I’ve seen a lot of firms looking to hire real estate attorneys, all in transactions and finance. That was a surprise and a good one at that!”

In the corporate legal world, Anderson says that the hiring of corporate attorneys is strong, and that the winning combination of what San Francisco firms are looking for is M&A, securities, emerging company, and venture capital. “Firms are always looking for attorneys with this type of experience.”

Overall, Anderson says that the market for attorneys either working in San Francisco or considering a move to San Francisco is very strong at the moment. “I think that the strength of the Dow right now and other positive economic indicators reflect consumer confidence and confidence on the part of firms to hire. We’re seeing a slow economic rebound, but firms are once again standing on solid ground and interested in hiring more. Candidates with strong academic credentials and great experience are in a position to make a move.”

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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Andrew Ostler
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