Revenues at large firms with West Coast presences are flat to modest, but profits are up. With reduced headcounts coming off the layoffs of 2009, most firms were able to improve their profit picture. There was cautious optimism about 2011, and firms have begun to hire more attorneys.
They charge lower rates and cater to businesses too small to appeal to larger law firms.
The real estate practice has picked up noticeably in Los Angeles during the past year, according to Allen Matkins senior partner and founder Frederick Allen. His firm operates a large real estate practice.
Commercial litigation and intellectual property work is flowing back to Los Angeles as the recession ebbs, according to Sheppard Mullin’s chairman, Guy Halgren.
Business is humming in San Francisco. The technology sector is back, and there’s work from the financial sector. Morrison & Foerster chairman Keith Wetmore describes the outlook as “quite positive.”
It’s shades of 1999 in Silicon Valley. “This is the busiest things have been since then,” said Fenwick & West chairman Gordon Davidson. “We started to see tech come back a year ago, and it’s now back to a high level of activity.”
Things are looking up for the practice of intellectual property law in San Diego, according to Roger Denning, managing partner of Fish & Richardson’s office there and firmwide hiring partner.
Edwin Harnden, managing partner of Barran Liebman, reported a noticeable uptick in employers seeking advisory work during the past year — a sign, he said, that the labor market in Portland, Ore., is improving.
The legal market in Seattle is solid but not hot — and that’s just fine with Perkins Coie managing partner Robert Giles.
Firms with the most lawyers in California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Hawaii.