The clouds may be beginning to break over the West Coast. That’s the forecast of our special report on the state of the legal market in California, Oregon and Washington. Silicon Valley seems to be leading the rebound, but other regions
— including Los Angeles and San Diego — are also catching a second wind. The Pacific Northwest’s law firms may be waiting a bit longer, but there too are signs of an economic springtime.

Hot again, Silicon Valley approaches ‘critical mass’
The capital markets are opening up in Silicon Valley — and lawyers have noticed. Best known for its startup technology companies and venture capital, the region has seen renewed investor interest in emerging companies, a spate of initial public offerings and several mergers and acquisitions involving some of the region’s largest businesses, including Cisco Systems and Google.

L.A. legal market picks up
Demand for legal services in the Los Angeles area has picked up in recent months, but the region’s lateral market remains lackluster compared to the Silicon Valley market and others across the nation.

In San Diego, the sun is coming out
San Diego attorneys report that the legal market is catching its second wind, but not without significant changes in the way law firms operate and charge for their services.

Seattle avoids the mood swings
Law firms based in Seattle have enjoyed relative stability despite the economic recession. That’s partly because while other cities experienced a massive boom in business during the mid-2000s, Seattle was still recovering from the dot-com bust.

Portland finds that small is beautiful
There’s room for large law firms like Stoel Rives in Portland, but most practices have 20 attorneys or less. They like it that way.

Click the map to view data from the NLJ 250 and law firm-related articles.

Click to view the full version of West Coast NLJ 250 firms.