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Has the Market for Litigation Associates Improved in Recent Years?

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Question:

I am a fourth year litigation associate and I have been with the same firm since I graduated from law school. I remained with my current firm because, even though I quickly realized that it was probably not the best fit for me, litigation was very slow in most major markets, and I was afraid that I could not find a new position. I have begun to notice a lot more litigation openings, and I am wondering whether the market for litigation associates is better than in recent years?

 
Has the Market for Litigation Associates Improved in Recent Years?

Answer:

In short, yes! The legal market went through a very difficult time in 2008, and many practice groups remained slow for several years. However, around 2011, certain groups began to reemerge from the doldrums. Real estate and corporate were probably the first two areas to show life, and then slowly others - like tax and ERISA - began to get busier. Unfortunately, for many litigation associates like you, their chosen practice area continued to remain very slow. It was particularly odd for me because when I began recruiting back in 2002, I primarily placed litigation candidates. Then for a lot of years - from approximately 2008 until 2015 - I barely placed any litigation candidates. I often spoke to litigation associates during these "dark days" and my advice - incidentally advice a recruiter does not like to give - was to stay with their current firm and wait for better days.

Well, I am very happy to report that better days are here! At BCG Attorney Search, we pride ourselves on many things. One of them I have found invaluable since I joined the company back in 2012 is how well we - the recruiters - communicate with each other.BCG has offices in most major cities in the U.S., and every week all the recruiters participate in a conference call where we discuss many salient topics, including trends that we are noticing in our respective markets. Several months ago we began to notice that firms that had not had any litigation searches in years were suddenly posting litigation searches but opting not to use recruiters for these searches. A couple months later these very same firms were opening these searches up to search firms, and new firms were posting additional litigation searches and actively soliciting the help of search firms like BCG.

Litigation is finally experiencing the resurgence that other practice areas had experienced in 2011 and 2012! Moreover, the resurgence is not limited to any particular regions. In fact, I just placed a litigation candidate in D.C. last week. D.C., in my opinion, is THE toughest market for litigation candidates. This particular candidate had extraordinary academic credentials, but she was not from the Ivy League nor was she a former federal appellate court clerk. Her placement with a prominent D.C. firm was the last piece of evidence I needed to state emphatically that litigation has finally emerged from the abyss of 2008.
I have been reaching out to litigation candidates because I know that many - like you - were grateful to have the job that they secured out of law school. Despite a growing feeling that their firm was not the best place for them, they stayed because they did not feel that they had any other viable options. If you are a litigation candidate who feels less than satisfied with his current position, now is an excellent time to polish your resume, commence a search, and find a position that will truly enhance your career. Litigation is most definitely back!

Summary: Litigation is finally experiencing the resurgence that other practice areas experienced in 2011 and 2012.

Please see this article to find out if litigation is right for you: Why Most Attorneys Have No Business Being Litigators: Fifteen Reasons Why You Should Not Be a Litigator


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