Health care, environmental work and intellectual property remain strong practice areas in the Kansas City, Mo., market, according to Joel Voran, chief executive officer of Lathrop & Gage.

“In terms of developing trends, we’ve seen a lot of general counsel of Fortune 500 companies who are more interested in using not just the big firms, but midsize firms, because of the value they can get from those practices without the costs,” Voran said.

Kansas City-based Lathrop opened a Boston office this year to focus on biotechnology patent work. Increasingly, he said, firms are incorporating intellectual property as a significant practice.

“I think, in terms of the overall legal market, the revenues and profits per partner have tended to go up a little bit,” Voran said. “Some of that is cutting expense. The Midwest doesn’t usually experience the big highs and lows of the coasts. It’s more steady, and that’s true to this day.”

J.P. Helder of H3 Counsel LLC agreed that firms with national practices are doing the best. Business is “following the ebbs and flows of the economy, though,” he said.

“My hope is that there will be a number of lateral jobs coming on the market,” Helder said. “If you do see hiring, it’s going to be for very specific, individual needs at each firm.”