The San Francisco legal market is a healthy (albeit competitive) one. Sometimes it seems as though everyone wants to move here! We see more laterals relocate to the San Francisco Bay Area than to any other market in the country. At any given time of the year, roughly 30% of our candidates are moving here (usually from DC, New York, or Chicago). Like the rest of California, labor & employment hiring is a constant, as is intellectual property (life sciences, technology transactions, litigation, patent agents), and corporate (emerging company/venture capital in particular). Data privacy and cybersecurity skills are valued here across multiple practice areas and there is a continual shortage of candidates with that skill set. Banking & finance gained a foothold here years ago but hiring tends to be uneven. Real estate is currently strong. Litigation vacancies are typically concentrated in business & complex commercial litigation and, in recent years securities litigation.
There is no two ways about it: San Francisco is the destination of choice these days for tourists, techies, financiers, foodies, hipsters, hedonists and anyone who has been fortunate enough to be captured by its spell, including hundreds of lateral law firm associates. I moved here “just to give it a try.” That was five years ago and I’m not going anywhere. You’ve been warned.
San Francisco’s iconography is ingrained in the American psyche: the Golden Gate Bridge, the cable cars, Chinatown, the Victorian architecture, the fog (affectionately known as “Carl” by locals) and its staggering hills. All of these things capture the imagination of tourists and locals alike. But San Francisco’s food and tech scenes are driving people here by the thousands. Food is to San Francisco what politics is to DC. With the most restaurants and farmers markets per capita in North America supplying organic food, San Francisco sets the gold standard for dining. This is America’s bread basket, after all. And whether you’re dining out or eating in, you’d be hard pressed to find a bad meal. The tech industry is the juggernaut of the local economy at the moment, creating previously unseen levels of wealthin the city (and contributing directly to astronomical rents and an insanely competitive housing market). With tech employers now dually established in the city and Silicon Valley, technology is also a feeder for the majority of the other major local industries, including law, finance, medicine, and pharmaceuticals.