The Pacific Northwest has a "somewhat typical legal market in the sense that you'll find practice groups in all traditional legal sectors, including litigation, corporate, real estate and land use, taxation and IP," says Paul Danielson, recruiter for BCG Attorney Search.
However, the area hasn't escaped the influence of its tech-focused residents, and there's an abundance of patent work in particular.
explains: "While not on par with the Silicon Valley in terms of relative revenue and the sheer number of tech-based companies, the tech sector's significance to the overall Pacific Northwest economy is what has driven the demand for patent prosecution work historically, and I believe it will continue to drive the same demand.
There's also been "an increase in demand for patent litigation associates and partners," he
says, noting that this tends to "go in cycles as compared with patent prosecution, which is typically more steady and sustained.
cycle is back on for now."
Congress has recently been considering new patent law bills "related to the sky-rocketing number of patent lawsuits filed year by year in the district courts of the United States," Danielson
While most industry sectors in the Pacific Northwest were mangled by the recession, Danielson
says that "employment has generally come back online at a steady pace.
Despite this, Paul Danielson
asserts that "it is often not as bad as claimed, and many residents prefer it because it contributes to the lush and verdant nature of the local environment.
An associate at K&L Gates
(Bill Gates' dad gave the firm its current name) agreed: "If it didn't rain so much, it wouldn't look like this.
When the clouds go away, it's beautiful.
Of course, what's "not as bad as claimed" for one person might be just plain awful for another.
presents us with an example: "During my first year of college in the greater Seattle area, there were over 100 days in a row where it rained at some point, often throughout the entire day.
This comes at a price though: according to Paul Danielson
, salaries in the region are on average between 20 and 30% lower than the major legal markets, though there is usually a lower billable hour requirement and an earlier bonus threshold as a consolation prize.
Getting hired here isn't a walk in the park, Danielson
explains: "Because the Portland and Seattle areas are so desirable in terms of the quality of life, and because the legal markets are smaller relative to major cities like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco, competition for law firm jobs is fierce.
You also see a relatively low turnover at the associate and partner level, because people simply tend to stay put once they are established."
"Aside from the generally positive credentials like a degree from a prestigious law school, top grades and clerkship experience, Pacific Northwest firms place a high degree of emphasis on having local ties and/or extensive familiarity with the region," he