The 3 Hottest Markets and Practices for Laterals in Q1 2016

Q1 is complete and 2016 is looking good for associates looking to lateral. Law firms conducted 12% more lateral associates in the first quarter this year than they did in the previous year. Some markets and practices have significantly more opportunities available this year than they did last year. To determine which markets and practices were growing the fastest, we looked at lateral searches from 150 of the largest firms in the country in 8 markets and 12 practices.

GROWTH BY MARKET

The 3 hottest markets for laterals in Q1 2016 are:

  • Atlanta - 66% growth (over Q1 2015)
  • Texas - 58% growth
  • Chicago - 49% growth

The 3 growing moderately are:

  • Los Angeles - 14% growth
  • New York - 9% growth
  • Washington D.C. - 3% growth

The 2 slowing down are:

  • The Bay Area - 14% decline
  • Boston - 12% decline

GROWTH BY PRACTICE AREA

We also took a look at major practice areas in which firms are hiring and found that particular practices are booming in comparison to last year.

Going through the roof:

  • Tech Transactions - 264% growth
  • Labor & Employment - 94% growth
  • Mergers & Acquisitions - 42% growth

Seeing moderate growth:

  • Tax - 30% growth
  • Commercial Litigation - 21% growth
  • Investment Funds - 16% growth
  • Patent Prosecution - 8% growth
  • IP Litigation - 6% growth
  • Finance - unchanged

Cooling off after 2015 highs:

  • Securities - 6% decline
  • Corporate - 15% decline
  • Real Estate - 40% decline

(It's important not to view declines in these practice areas as a sign of weakness. Real estate hiring, though declining, is still highly robust and firms are struggling to find talent. In New York, there is currently one open real estate position for every 8.5 real estate associates at AmLaw 100 firms)

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