1.800.973.1177CAREER COUNSELOR’S CORNERPAGE 1 continued on backThere is nothing more exciting than leavingone area of the country and going to a newarea to start a new career and life. One of theadvantages of having chosen a career in thefluid legal industry is that you do have theoption of living in other parts of the UnitedStates or even the World. We have movedattorneys from one city to another and fromone continent to another. Indeed, as anattorney search firm that places attorneysthroughout the United States and the World,we believe that we have made a positive dif-ference in the quality of many lives throughour relocation efforts.Nevertheless, we cannot always do this. Forexample, it seems that on almost a dailybasis we receive resumes from Russia,Bangladesh, Nigeria and India. While theseattorneys may certainly be placeable in theirown markets, the odds of us placing them inthe United States are severely diminished ifthey do not have skills that are easily trans-ferable.When considering relocating, remember thefirst question you will always be asked iswhy? Deciding to relocate to a city with whichyou have minimal ties may not be attractiveto a firm who is seeking loyalty and stabil-ity. You must think through the reasons thatyou have for relocating, and whether thosereasons will appeal to potential employers.Before you pack your bags, however, it is im-portant to distinguish the types of attorneysthat are likely to have the most success inrelocating from those who will not have suc-cess. It is also important that you know whichmarkets are going to most likely be receptiveto your efforts to relocate there. If you’vespent some time reviewing the jobs we haveavailable, you’ve quickly realized that thereare countless opportunities in many of themarkets that we are serving. As much as wehate to say it, your success in getting anyof these positions will be dependent uponnumerous factors which, in many cases, willhave more to do with forces beyond yourimmediate control than with what you cancontrol.Several times on a daily basis we are ap-proached by attorneys in other markets whoare seeking to relocate to a given marketthat we serve. When analyzing the major-ity of the placements we make throughoutthe United States, we have found that morethan 50% of the placements we do make arefor attorneys who are relocating to anotherarea of the United States. For example, inCalifornia, despite the fact that our main of-fices are in Los Angeles, in the 2000 calendaryear more than 60% of the placements wemade were for attorneys relocating to SiliconValley from other areas of the United States.The substantial majority of the attorneys werelocated to Silicon Valley were corporateattorneys. In the 2001 calendar year, the sub-stantial majority of the placements we havemade in California have been in Los Angelesfor litigators.Why, you may ask, has this pattern emerged?As a national legal search firm, we can tellyou that these placement results will parallelthe results you will have should you com-mence a search through us or another re-cruiter. There are simply many economic andother forces that make all of this happen.When relocating to a given market, it isextremely important that you have a goodsense of how the relocation process worksand the issues that affect it. Your success inrelocating to a given market will be influ-enced by a variety of factors; however, we be-lieve two of the more important factors are:What type of attorney you areWhere you are relocating toA. The Type of Attorney You Are At a GivenPoint in Time Will Inﬂuence Your Success inRelocating to a Given MarketYour success in relocating to a given marketwill generally be better if you practice in agiven area of the law that is in high demandat the time. Before we go into some detailabout this, you should know the following.First, litigators are almost always in demandin both good economies and bad economies.However, it is more difficult for litigators torelocate than other types of attorneys for themost part. Second, corporate attorneys areextremely marketable when the economicclimate is good and can easily be relocatedto other areas of the country. Corporateattorneys also have the luxury of being mar-ketable just not in other areas of the UnitedStates but in other areas of the World. Whenthe economic climate is failing, corporate at-torneys have a very difficult time finding workand may even be laid off. Third, the morespecialized the practice area an attorney isin, and to the extent those skills are transfer-able to another firm, the more marketableGuide to Relocation[BCG Attorney Search]
1.800.973.1177CAREER COUNSELOR’S CORNERPAGE 2 continuedthey will be.The following are our observations about thesuccess different types of attorneys are likelyto have in relocating to a different market.1. LitigatorsLitigators can easily relocate to a givenmarket if certain specified criteria are met.A litigator relocating faces an interestingdilemma. While litigators are almost always indemand in a given market (even during reces-sions), they do have a slightly more difficulttime relocating on an ongoing basis than otherattorneys. For the most part, then, a litigatormust have outstanding credentials to considerrelocating to a given market. There are someexceptions to this rule, however, and thesewill be discussed below.First, the good news. When the economyslows down, many types of attorneys, such ascorporate attorneys, have a very difficult-ifnot impossible-time relocating regardless ofthe strength of their resumes. Conversely,lawsuits can drag on for years and even pickup to some extent when the economy cools.Thus, litigators are almost always marketableto some extent regardless of the state of theeconomy.The bad news is that it is far more difficult forlitigators to relocate. One interesting thing tous about litigation is that-at its highest level-the skills necessary to perform as a goodlitigator do not always come through in jobinterviews, and therefore firms may be lookingfor traditional indicators of success in litiga-tors that they would not be seeking in othertypes of attorneys. A good litigator needs to bean outstanding writer, needs good negotia-tion skills and (the law firm stereotypes aside)needs to have the ability to be an advocate in acourtroom type of setting. Many of these skillsare “natural” and some attorneys just do nothave them. It is difficult for interviewers topick them up. Accordingly, there is more of anemphasis on traditional indicators of successfor litigators than there is for other types ofattorneys.This may be one reason why, in the litigationcommunity, having certain achievements,such as law review admission, a federal clerk-ship and graduation from a top law school isoften more important than it is for other typesof attorneys. When an attorney is relocating toa given market, these types of qualificationsoften receive even more emphasis, and it isnot easy for attorneys to relocate to a givenmarket unless they are truly stellar.Attorneys who have achieved significant tra-ditional indicators of success in the litigationfield, such as law review admission, federalcourt clerkships (federal circuit is most indemand), graduation from a top 10 to 15 lawschool and employment with a top nationalfirm, are almost always good relocation can-didates. However, the difficulty with attorneysrelocating who do not have these high levelcredentials become magnified to a greater ex-tent than they are for other types of attorneys.If you are not with a top firm or did not go toa top school, your chances of relocating to amajor market are going to be very minimalif you are seeking to practice with one of thebetter firms in that market.One of the reasons it is more difficult forlitigators who are not truly stellar to relocateis because there are so many of them. Thereare far more litigators than tax attorneys,ERISA attorneys and corporate attorneys,for instance. The desks of hiring partners inmajor firms are littered with the resumes oflitigators, and for hiring partners it is often fareasier for them to hire local talent than attor-neys relocating unless the litigator is stellar.In a market like New York or California, forinstance, there are also several less-than-obvious risks to hiring an out of state attorneyunless the attorney has some really stellarqualifications. First, the firm must bear therelocation costs for the attorney, pay theattorney while they are studying for the barexam and so forth. Second, while there arecertainly the same risks in hiring corporateand intellectual property attorneys, the risksare far greater for litigators because litiga-tors must be licensed before the bar of theirjurisdiction in order to even sign pleadings.Furthermore, once a litigator gets involved incases, they can become somewhat indispens-able compared to attorneys practicing otherareas of law. Finally, there are various rulesfor pleadings, filing requirements and all sortsof things that are unique to each jurisdictionand court that litigators may practice in. Thelearning curve is often far steeper for out ofstate lateral litigators than for local attor-neys, and such laterals who practice litigationgenerally need far more training than theircounterparts practicing other types of law.You must also be aware of the various re-quirements for certification state to state. InWashington, D.C., having a certain score onyour state’s bar exam will allow you to waiveinto the D.C. bar without taking an examina-tion. On the other hand, New York state hasreciprocity with a very few states, and only af-ter 5 years of continuous practice. You shouldalso be aware of the type of practice. If youhave already had substantial federal experi-ence, you know that federal courts are guidedby the same general rules of procedure andevidence. Your skills in one state court maynot be readily transferable in a different state,depending on their various rules of procedureand practice.There are some markets where these con-cerns are not as significant, and litigationattorneys may have more success in thesemarkets. For example, in Washington, DC,which has reciprocity for bar admission forattorneys coming from other states, theseconcerns do not seem to be emphasized to asgreat an extent as in other markets. Addition-ally, the bar exam in Illinois is not extremelydifficult, so the threat of not passing the bar islessened here as well.For detailed information about the admissionrequirements in each state, see the AmericanBar Association’s Comprehensive Guide to BarAdmission Requirements.
1.800.973.1177CAREER COUNSELOR’S CORNERPAGE 3 continued on back2. Corporate AttorneysCorporate attorneys are the easiest types ofattorneys to relocate. In fact, corporate attor-neys can generally pick and choose the typesof areas of the United States and the Worldthey want to relocate to if they are strongenough academically and are coming froma top law firm. A corporate attorney in NewYork, for instance, could relocate to Detroit,Miami, or even Memphis if they were strongenough.However, the negative aspect to this realityis that corporate attorneys are not alwaysmarketable, and their marketability will bedependent upon the state of the economy to agreater extent than litigation attorneys. Addi-tionally, a corporate attorney coming out of amajor legal market and law firm in a city suchas New York or Palo Alto will be far, far moremarketable than a corporate attorney comingout of a lesser known legal market regardlessof the school they attended. The perceptionis that the corporate attorney coming out of amajor legal market and firm will have far bet-ter and sophisticated legal experience than anattorney coming out of a lesser known market.One reason that corporate attorneys are verymarketable is because the skills they learn - ifthey have the right type of training - are trans-ferable. Additionally, depending on the type ofexperience, corporate attorneys who becomespecialized often have skills that are greatlyin demand. One of our recruiters at BCG At-torney Search tells the story to candidatesoften about an attorney he met when he wasa summer associate at his law firm in NewYork. That attorney droned on and on abouthow all she did was work on one particulartype of document used in one particular typeof transaction. The attorney looked at herwork in a real negative way because that wasthe only thing she knew how to do and the onlything she had done the entire 5 years she hadpracticed law.In some respects, this may seem like a badthing. Nevertheless, an attorney with special-ized skills such as these can be truly market-able if there is a firm that needs those typesof skills. The attorney could be marketablein Tokyo, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Londonand all sorts of places while her counterpartswithout those types of skills would not be. Infact, if that attorney were one of only a handfulof attorneys in the World with her particulartypes of skills, she might even have close toguaranteed employment in doing that particu-lar type of work.This is not to say that this is entirely positive(we have seen instances where the InternalRevenue Service or some other body abol-ished the type of specialized work a givenattorney was doing and the attorney was leftto scrounge for work); nevertheless, the pointis that corporate attorneys with specializedskills can be very marketable.Corporate attorneys tend to be most market-able in large Metropolitan areas and also ingrowing areas. In the 2000 calendar year, weplaced several corporate attorneys in Seattle,for example. We placed over 25 corporateattorneys in Silicon Valley and numerouscorporate attorneys in other major markets.There are always openings for corporateattorneys in markets which many attorneysmight not expect to have these openings-mar-kets like Beijing and even Australia. Certainly,being a corporate attorney has some very realrewards because, as a corporate attorney,you develop a skill set which is marketable inmore than one place in the World at a time.The downside to the marketing of corporateattorneys is that when the economy slows,so does much of the corporate attorneys’work. In fact, when layoffs occur in law firmscorporate attorneys are often the first to go.At one point in the early 1990s, for instance,there was one open corporate position in theentire City of Los Angeles. In early 2000, therewere probably in excess of 100. This manicup and down demand for corporate attorneysmeans that a corporate attorney’s likelihoodof relocating is extremely dependent upon thestate of the economy.3. Patent ProsecutorsAt most times, patent prosecutors are morein demand than all other types of attorneys.Particularly in demand are patent prosecutorswith electrical engineering, computer science,physics or mechanical engineering back-grounds. The reasons these attorneys are soin demand comes from the fact that there areso few of them and that the skills they haveare very easily transferable. Virtually everypatent attorney with this type of backgroundwe have ever represented has gotten multiplejob offers.4. Other Practice AreasIf there is anything you get out of the abovediscussion, it should be that attorneys aregenerally most marketable when they aretrying to relocate if the following conditionsare met: (1) they have skills which are highlyin demand, (2) there are few types of attorneyslike them, and (3) their skills are easily trans-ferable. If you are an attorney who fulfills eachof these, and depending upon how stronglyyou fulfill each of these criteria, you will bea good candidate for relocating to anothermarket.B. The Best Markets for Relocation1. Major MarketsIn general, the best markets for relocationtend to be major cities where the population istransient. Relocating to a small town in Virgin-ia, for example, would be quite difficult unlessyou were originally from that area. While wehate to sound like gurus on the matter, in ouropinion the best major markets for relocationcandidates have proven to be California, fol-lowed by the East Coast legal market followedby Chicago. All of this is certainly tempered, tosome extent, by the observations above aboutthe types of attorneys that are likely to bemarketable.The State of California alone comprises onesixth of the World Economy. This status asa market should give you a good indicationthat there is a strong demand for attorneys
1.800.973.1177CAREER COUNSELOR’S CORNERPAGE 4 continuedhere and also that the hiring trends we see inCalifornia can be impacted to a great degreeby the health of the economy at a given pointin time.In California, the best markets for relocationtend to be Palo Alto, followed by San Fran-cisco and Los Angeles, Orange County and SanDiego. The growth in the number of attorneysin these markets in recent years has beenfueled largely by attorneys who relocated herefrom out of state. In particular lateral attor-neys in these markets have always been andwill likely continue to be in demand.We serve over 1,000 firms in the State ofCalifornia and interact with many of thesefirms on a day-to-day basis. As recruiters, itis interesting for us to see how the differentareas of California demand attorneys.Probably the strongest legal market in theUnited States for attorneys relocating is thePalo Alto area, in our opinion. The Palo Altoarea may not have the largest number of jobs;however, for skilled attorneys, their odds ofgetting a position in this market are higherthan in most other markets. One reason forthis is that Palo Alto is a growing market.While we have all heard stories about layoffsand so forth in this market, it is notable that itcontinues to attract satellite offices of majorfirms throughout the United States on anongoing basis. When these satellite offices areestablished, they quickly demand attorneysand, in order to fill their hiring needs, areoften quick to hire star talent.One reason this market is so good for lateralattorneys is that most of the attorneys practic-ing in this area are also transients and many,many of these attorneys lateral here fromother firms in other parts of the United States.Contrary to many of the impressions attorneysfrom other parts of the United States have ofthe Palo Alto area, it is not entirely a lifestyletype of place. Many of the attorneys practicinghere commute long distances to work becausepermanent housing is extremely expensive.While a second or third year attorney can cer-tainly afford a home in this area, the homes donot come cheap. Apartment or other types ofhousing is, however, cheaper than in NewYorkCity.San Francisco is also a good market for lat-eral attorneys; however, in our belief the SanFrancisco market is slightly more competitiveand there are fewer ongoing opportunities inthis market than in the Palo Alto area mostof the time. San Francisco tends to attract agreat many attorneys from all over the UnitedStates who are drawn by the lifestyle and ro-mance of the City. In the rush to the Bay Areain the late 1990s and early 2000, the majorityof the attorneys we saw gain employment inthe Bay Area did so in Palo Alto and not in SanFrancisco proper.The market in San Francisco and Palo Altois generally best for attorneys with strongbackgrounds in corporate law and intellectualproperty type matters. In early 2001, therehas been a major slowdown in the hiring ofcorporate attorneys in the Palo Alto and SanFrancisco area, and even some of the largestnames in the legal profession have begunlaying off attorneys. Many of these attorneysare attempting to go elsewhere in the UnitedStates or California.We should add, however, that despite thisslowdown there does remain a demand formany types of attorneys in this area. Litigatorsand labor and employment attorneys with topcredentials moving from one part of Californiato this area with will generally get multipleinterviews. Patent prosecutors and real estateattorneys relocating to this area of the UnitedStates (from other states) with top credentialswill also get multiple interviews.The East Coast legal markets, including NewYork City, Washington, DC, Northern Virginia,Boston and Philadelphia are also very strongmarkets for lateral attorneys who are relo-cating. One reason for the relative strengthof these markets is that it is common forattorneys to move up and down the EasternSeaboard. An attorney may practice in Wash-ington, DC for a few years, for instance, beforereturning home to Boston where he or she willjoin another major firm. We have seen a lot ofthis type of movement, and to a great extentthis makes up a great deal of the lateralmovement in the East Coast and contributesto the East Coast legal market being a fluidone for relocating. In many respects, this alsomirrors California where attorneys may movefrom Los Angeles to San Francisco and viceversa. While these are technically relocations,in other respects they are not because they donot involve the same issues that a traditionalrelocation or cross- country relocation does.New York and Washington, DC have particular-ly strong markets for attorneys with corporateexpertise relocating there. While this marketfor corporate attorneys has cooled a greatdeal in the Year 2001, some observationsabout the state of the market should be noted.First, in the Year 2000 the market for corpo-rate attorneys in New York, in particular, wasincredibly strong. We were seeing attorneyswho a year prior would not have had a chancewith certain firms getting multiple inter-views with top firms. Attorneys who were atmid-sized firms in places like Cleveland weregetting interviews and jobs with some of thetop firms in New York. This experience wasmirroring to some extent what was going on inCalifornia.The fact about the New York legal market isthat it has always been a market of transientattorneys for the most part, and this bodeswell for those seeking to relocate. Many firstand second year attorneys in New York look attheir experience in a New York firm as tempo-rary in all respects.The Chicago legal market has consistentlyproven that it is a good market for attorneysto relocate into. However, we should notethat the hiring criteria of Chicago firms doesnot appear as vulnerable to the tides of the
1.800.973.1177CAREER COUNSELOR’S CORNERPAGE 5economy with respect to attorneys relocat-ing to this market. For example, during thehiring frenzy of last year and the prior year forcorporate attorneys, this frenzy did not appearnearly as strong in Chicago. While Chicago isa good legal market, it traditionally has beenmuch more conservative in its approach torelocations. The quality level of the attorneysmust generally, and consistently, be high. Forthe most part, we have seen more demand forlitigators relocating here-and more receptive-ness to them-than in other markets. Addition-ally, many of the individuals who relocateto Chicago are originally from there or havesome sort of connection with the City.2. Smaller MarketsSmaller markets are often very receptive tolateral attorneys. We were astounded by thenumber of lateral attorneys we placed in theSeattle market last year, for instance, andhave been getting a steady clip of opportuni-ties in markets such as Arizona. Additionally,we have seen some interesting activity inmarkets like Florida and Michigan that, for themost part, are not considered major markets.The key to lateraling into smaller markets isthat these markets are not traditional destina-tions for top attorneys when they graduatefrom law school, and these markets-like allmarkets-have attrition and need to get at-torneys to fill the roles of attorneys who haveleft. Another aspect of the smaller markets isthat many are growing. Seattle is a perfect ex-ample. This market has seen the likes of someof California’s top firms open offices thererecently because there is so much work.While a market like Phoenix may not seem allthat developed, we have been amazed by howreceptive this market may be to certain typesof attorneys. For example, for a tax attorneywith an LLM in taxation from a top law school,they may share their academic achievementswith less than 10 attorneys in the entire legalmarket. Accordingly, this market may be opento people with well-defined specialties to agreater extent than many other markets.C. ConclusionsAs a truly national search firm, we have thedistinction of being able to have a pulse onthe markets throughout the United Statesand, to some extent, even the World. As anational search firm, we believe we are betterequipped to handle the relocation needs of at-torneys than any search firm we know of.