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<<That said, selectivity for new hires has certainly increased in all areas, and significant experience and good records are typically being required. Indeed, environmental, bankruptcy, and litigation attorneys may have difficulty finding work in the Boston area, as these are particularly soft realms for hiring. However, the right candidates may still be able to find positions in these areas. Compensation for attorneys in the Boston area is approximately the same as for those in the rest of the Northeast, with salaries typically ranging between $130,000 and $160,000 per year for first-year associates.
Good and Bad Specialties for Finding Boston Law Firm Jobs
Most firms continue to report demand for corporate law specialists. Associates with good investment management experience are especially in demand, though attorneys familiar with mergers and acquisitions and private equity will also find good opportunities for employment, provided they also have good credentials. Even in the current economy, venture capital deals continue, maintaining a strong demand for corporate associates experienced with such deals.
Unsurprisingly, given the state of the market, hiring for real estate jobs at law firms in Boston is substantially slower than it was a year or more ago. There is still an occasional demand for candidates at the top of this field, though in general, associates with real estate credentials are not in high demand. Instead, lateral hiring remains stronger in the intellectual property realm. Patent prosecution jobs are particularly common, and candidates with experience in electrical engineering should do very well.
In general, patent attorneys with good credentials are still in significant demand. Electrical engineering backgrounds are strongly favored, but life sciences, chemistry, biotechnology and computer science credentials are also desirable. This is because the Massachusetts economy is still strongly influenced by biotech and software companies, generating significant work both for firms that specialize in intellectual property and more general firms alike.
<<Litigation hiring remains soft, though there are some jobs available for litigation associates who have very strong credentials. Employment and labor law is also a weak area at present, even though lawyers in this area are often strengthened by economic downturns.
Partners who are looking for better positions should find a receptive marketplace, particularly corporate partners with portable billings in excess of $750,000. In other practice areas, partner opportunities are also available, and there's also some willingness to consider partners in smaller practices that have marketing potential. Branch offices of national firms that are trying to expand into the Boston market are the most likely to be looking for partners.
Compensation for Law Firm Jobs in Boston
The benefits and salaries for attorneys in Boston are generally consistent with those for attorneys in the greater New England area. Summer associates tend to be offered between $2,500 and $3,000 per week, while first-year associates may make between $130,000 and $160,000 per year. As with all areas, the exact compensation package will depend on the firm in question and on the experience and specialty of the given attorney. Common benefits include the purchase of all needed technology for work, retirement plans, and appropriate insurance plans for the attorney and his or her family.
The nationwide economic uncertainty has certainly affected the Boston area, with law firm jobs in Boston becoming increasingly difficult to find. Litigation and environmental law are particularly difficult areas to find positions in right now.
That said, attorneys specializing in intellectual property, corporate, and tax law will find that there are many Boston law firm jobs available. In general, though, all firms are becoming more selective about candidates and prefer to only hire those with very good credentials.
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