Trends in Law 2019: The Era of Legal Tech

Hot Practice Areas, Hiring Trends, and New Opportunities

2018 was a very good year, in fact the lion’s share of Am Law 200 firms offered pay increases across the board. The 2019 legal job market this year continues to be strong and as we head into summer things should begin to heat up.

Capitalize on these top markets and new legal trends as opportunities present themselves for those who offer the right skills set for these jobs.


Source: Firm Prospects LLC (December 2018 – March 2019)

Lateral Moves By Practice Area 2019

As was the case in 2018 Litigation and Corporate continue to dominate the legal field with Labor & Employment and Intellectual Property rounding out the biggest slices of the lateral moves for first quarter of this year. Litigation will be the top driver of legal job growth in the first half of 2019, then followed by Privacy, Data Security and Information Law.

Commercial litigation is expected to yield the most legal jobs followed by insurance defense, followed by employment law. Key industry sectors include financial services, healthcare, manufacturing and technology. Other practice areas in demand include securities and corporate governance, privacy and data security, commercial law as well as ethics and corporate governance.

Firms Attorneys Made Lateral Moves To

Source: Firm Prospects LLC (December 2018 – March 2019)

The following firms were most active in major markets this year: 

  • Atlanta: King & Spalding – 11 hires
  • Boston: Goodwin – 29 hires
  • Chicago: Kirkland & Ellis – 31 hires
  • Dallas: Kirkland & Ellis – 18 hires
  • Denver: Perkins Coie and Greenberg Traurig – 8 hires
  • Houston: Kirkland & Ellis – 36 hires
  • Los Angeles: Kirkland & Ellis and Loeb & Loeb – 15 hires
  • Miami: Holland & Knight – 8 hires
  • New York: Kirkland & Ellis – 46 hires
  • Orange County, CA: Morgan Lewis – 10 hires
  • Philadelphia: Morgan Lewis – 14 hires
  • San Diego: Sheppard Mullin – 6 hires
  • San Francisco: Wilson Sonsini – 16 hires
  • Seattle: Perkins Coie – 13 hires
  • Silicon Valley: Wilson Sonsini – 16 hires
  • Washington D.C.: Paul Hastings and Wilson Sonsini – 15 hires

Industry trends affecting mid-sized to large law firms report a greater focus on cybersecurity, continued lateral acquisitions and cost-effective specialization. Legal issues surrounding blockchain technology are creating an increased demand for attorneys who specialize in cyber security fueled by expanding security and privacy regulations as well as heightened security measures.

Another emerging trend is cannabis legalization.  Cannabis is the newest regulated industry now legal in over half the states) necessitating sound legal advice in interpreting the new federal enforcement policies, protections as anticipated cases emerge from this new controlled substance.

Lawyers are not just out for more money. Millennials often seek out work that is meaningful and offers a healthy work-life balance. “New emerging trends in law offer attorneys parental leave as well as remote work arrangements. Many firms offer incentives to lure top talent including flexible work arrangements, professional development opportunities and company perks such as dry cleaning on-site, a fitness center and childcare.” – Shari Davidson, President of On Balance Search Consultants.

Candidates must present value propositions that can best address firm’s growing specialized legal need for risk mitigation. Ready to make the lateral partner move? You’ll need to clearly detail how you got to where you are and why the you’re the best.

Working with a local legal recruiter can benefit your job search in several ways. Have you valued your book of business? Detail how much revenue each client contributes and what verticals have historically been most profitable.

Lawyers are inherently risk-averse. Those who don’t adapt to change are going to be left behind.



About On Balance Search Consultants

On Balance offers great insight and industry intelligence.  Shari Davidson, president of On Balance Search Consultants, advises law firms on how to take a firm to the next level and helps rising talent make the transition to the right law firm.

Contact us today.  Call 516.731.4300 or visit our website at

Please note that the content of this blog does not constitute legal advice and is only intended for the educational purpose of the reader.  Please consult your legal counsel for specifics regarding your specific circumstances and the laws in your states pertaining to social media and any legal restrictions regarding the law.