Update on the Chicago Market (law.com)

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miamiman
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Update on the Chicago Market (law.com)

Postby miamiman » Wed Aug 11, 2010 11:23 pm

http://www.law.com/jsp/law/careercenter ... s=newswire


Tresa Baldas
The National Law Journal
August 12, 2010
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The cloud of doom and gloom has dissipated over Chicago's legal market. With the economy picking up and law firms needing fresh bodies to replace the thousands laid off last year, 2010 has witnessed an increase in associate hiring. Lateral partners are being plucked from bigger firms.

Frankly, the law firms with their bare-boned staffs didn't have much choice, according to legal recruiter Gary D'Alessio, president of Chicago Legal Search. "I've been recruiting now for nearly 25 years and I can assure you, it was the worst," said D'Alessio, who witnessed thousands of layoffs during 2009. "So many firms cut to the bone ... and when you have gutted an entire class, your hand is forced."

Forced to rehire, that is. "There's definitely been an uptick in the market," he said. "And thank God."

On the lateral front, big moves in Chicago in 2010 included DLA Piper's hiring of Marc Horwitz, who was the head of Baker & McKenzie's North American derivatives practice, and Jenner & Block's hiring back of corporate partner David Savner from General Dynamics Corp., where he had been general counsel.

Chicago's largest lateral move last year may have been the merger of Chicago-based Bell, Boyd & Lloyd into K&L Gates, which brought the latter 122 new partners. K&L Gates tops The National Law Journal affiliate The American Lawyer's list of firms that made the most lateral partner hires during 2009.

In addition to Horwitz, DLA brought on Ralph Dudziak, a former Mayer Brown partner who specializes in complex equipment leasing and lending transactions, and Gregory Hayes, a former associate general counsel at Chicago-based mall owner General Growth Properties Inc.

On the flip side, DLA lost two top labor and employment partners: Adrianne Mazura, who had chaired DLA's Chicago practice; and Tracy Bradford Farley, who split in January for the Chicago office of Quarles & Brady.

Then there were the newer entrants such as Baker Hostetler, which opened its Chicago office in October 2009 with just one lawyer and now is up to 16.

THE PLACE TO BE

Make no mistake, Chicago is the place to be for attorneys looking to score big and lucrative deals, said Linda [deleted], a partner at Chicago's Kirkland & Ellis. "You're talking to a former New York lawyer. I used to think that the center of the universe was New York and that all the hot deals you read about must be coming from New York," she said. "That couldn't be further from the truth. The big transactional practice -- you can have it in Chicago, too."

Regarding associate hiring, incoming classes are definitely bigger, [deleted] said. Better yet, they actually will start this year -- not like in 2008 and 2009, when start dates were delayed, up to one year at some firms. This year, [deleted] said, there's a heavier workload. And fresh blood is high in demand. "This year, we'll start people earlier because we're really busy," she said. "It's a much more joyful time." Kirkland's class of 49 Chicago associates, down from 61 last year, is scheduled to start in September.

As for workloads, Kirkland's corporate practice has picked up enormously, and restructuring, intellectual property and litigation practices continue to be busy. Even the real estate people are "incredibly busy" handling all the distressed inventory, [deleted] said. Basically, she explained, with the markets stabilizing and capital available again, more people are able to do deals, which translates into more work for the lawyers. "We're going gangbusters," she said. "We need people. We're hiring."

Ray Werner, partner and chairman of the executive committee at Chicago's Arnstein & Lehr, is experiencing a similar bliss. "We were able to come through 2008 and 2009 stronger than we came into it," he said.

Bankruptcy and litigation are hot areas for his firm of 150 lawyers. Chicago's midsize firms have fared well through the recession as companies have turned to them to litigate the cases that don't involve "company-busting litigation," he said. Midsize firms are handling more commercial, trade secrets and employment contract cases.

"People are looking to us as good lawyers and value providers," he said. "I think we're holding our competitive place."

Meanwhile, larger firms appear to be moving in on the midsize firms' turf. As Werner noted and others confirmed, there's been a growing movement by large, out-of-state firms to set up offices in Chicago. He is sometimes baffled by their presence. "If they have clients with in-state business, I understand. But just to have a Chicago office?" he said.

It's not just about the office -- it's a business necessity, said Jennifer Kenedy, managing partner of the 123-attorney Chicago office of Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell. "We don't really believe in growth for growth's sake, but we are looking to grow our corporate office for our clients, a lot of whom have legal needs in Chicago," she said. "It's one of our larger offices."

D'Alessio, who tracks law firm developments in Chicago, said that at least 87 out-of-state law firms maintain offices in Chicago, 20 of which opened during the past two years -- at the peak of the recession. That tells you something about Chicago's legal market, he said. "Despite the market going south, almost 20 offices is crazy," said D'Alessio, who expects that at least 10 more firms will open offices in Chicago during the next couple of years.

The way he sees it, if a law firm wants to be competitive on a national scale, "you're going to definitely come to Chicago."

bradley
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Re: Update on the Chicago Market (law.com)

Postby bradley » Wed Aug 11, 2010 11:58 pm

X
Last edited by bradley on Sat Sep 18, 2010 2:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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UnTouChablE
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Re: Update on the Chicago Market (law.com)

Postby UnTouChablE » Thu Aug 12, 2010 12:06 am

Yes Sir!

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stratocophic
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Re: Update on the Chicago Market (law.com)

Postby stratocophic » Thu Aug 12, 2010 12:25 am

Seems overly optimistic until firms start hiring at significantly greater levels than the last two years. Yeah, yeah, things will never go back to the way it was before the boom, but this tries to make it sound like big firms are heading that way. Sure firms don't have enough people to do the work, they canned all the people that would've done it for them. Sure partners are chipper about the process of hiring associates, they didn't get laid off and more associates means more money. I don't blame 'em, but this just seems like NY TO 190 until we see concurring placement stats and hiring info. Maybe I'm just cynical, but to my knowledge there isn't any data that backs up this rainbows and lollipops view (aside from 100% offer rates in itty bitty summer classes). Please correct me if I'm wrong, because I'd love to be :?

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funkyturds
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Re: Update on the Chicago Market (law.com)

Postby funkyturds » Thu Aug 12, 2010 1:33 am

thanks for posting, mm. now let's all just pray the economy doesn't double-dip.

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20160810
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Re: Update on the Chicago Market (law.com)

Postby 20160810 » Thu Aug 12, 2010 1:36 am

Related question: How important are ties to the area for people trying to work in Chicago? I feel like it's kind of in-between NYC/DC/SF/LA, where they don't much matter, and smaller secondary markets, where they matter hugely. Anyone have any insight on this?

miamiman
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Re: Update on the Chicago Market (law.com)

Postby miamiman » Thu Aug 12, 2010 2:17 am

SBL wrote:Related question: How important are ties to the area for people trying to work in Chicago? I feel like it's kind of in-between NYC/DC/SF/LA, where they don't much matter, and smaller secondary markets, where they matter hugely. Anyone have any insight on this?

From what I understand, your read on this is mostly credited...talking with career services at u of c about placing into this market for myself, I was given the strong impression that my being at uc did not in itself establish a tie to this market. It's somewhat insular in that respect probably no different than sf or sv

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20160810
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Re: Update on the Chicago Market (law.com)

Postby 20160810 » Thu Aug 12, 2010 2:19 am

miamiman wrote:
SBL wrote:Related question: How important are ties to the area for people trying to work in Chicago? I feel like it's kind of in-between NYC/DC/SF/LA, where they don't much matter, and smaller secondary markets, where they matter hugely. Anyone have any insight on this?

From what I understand, your read on this is mostly credited...talking with career services at u of c about placing into this market for myself, I was given the strong impression that my being at uc did not in itself establish a tie to this market. It's somewhat insular in that respect probably no different than sf or sv

SV? (Silicon Valley?)

I've applied to a number of CA firms. The ones from SF and LA never mention ties to the area and don't seem to care (the attitude seemingly being Hey, who wouldn't want to work here?), the ones in tend SD and Oakland mention that they'd like to know in cover letters why you're bidding there, and the ones in Sac all seem to hold ties to the area as almost as important as grades.

It seems like as the perceived "coolness factor" of a city goes down, the importance of ties go up, but I've no idea where Chicago stands in all of this. It's really surprising that they told you going to U of C doesn't count as a tie though. If not that, what?

miamiman
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Re: Update on the Chicago Market (law.com)

Postby miamiman » Thu Aug 12, 2010 8:50 am

SBL wrote:
miamiman wrote:
SBL wrote:Related question: How important are ties to the area for people trying to work in Chicago? I feel like it's kind of in-between NYC/DC/SF/LA, where they don't much matter, and smaller secondary markets, where they matter hugely. Anyone have any insight on this?

From what I understand, your read on this is mostly credited...talking with career services at u of c about placing into this market for myself, I was given the strong impression that my being at uc did not in itself establish a tie to this market. It's somewhat insular in that respect probably no different than sf or sv

SV? (Silicon Valley?)

I've applied to a number of CA firms. The ones from SF and LA never mention ties to the area and don't seem to care (the attitude seemingly being Hey, who wouldn't want to work here?), the ones in tend SD and Oakland mention that they'd like to know in cover letters why you're bidding there, and the ones in Sac all seem to hold ties to the area as almost as important as grades.

It seems like as the perceived "coolness factor" of a city goes down, the importance of ties go up, but I've no idea where Chicago stands in all of this. It's really surprising that they told you going to U of C doesn't count as a tie though. If not that, what?



Yes, but you're at a UC and presumably from CA. If you were from Texas and attended UT, I know -- instinctively and from what I have read -- the sell would be much harder.

I can't exactly tell you why Chicago is a more insular market than say DC or NY. I really haven't figured it out for myself yet.

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Re: Update on the Chicago Market (law.com)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 12, 2010 10:19 am

From what I understand, ties are very important for Chicago. At Michigan last year a lot of kids applied to Chicago thinking that Michigan gave them the "ties" to Chicago. This did not work well from them. A lot of the stuff on symplicity for Chicago firms has the phrase "demonstrable ties to the city" listed. SF firms don't even post that. I think Chicago firms have, to a degree, a complex of thinking that a lot of NY-bound hopefuls are using them as a backup.

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kittenmittons
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Re: Update on the Chicago Market (law.com)

Postby kittenmittons » Thu Aug 12, 2010 10:23 am

But you have to live in Chicago...

09042014
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Re: Update on the Chicago Market (law.com)

Postby 09042014 » Thu Aug 12, 2010 11:13 am

Good news. I was fearing I'd have to bid on NYC next year.

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rayiner
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Re: Update on the Chicago Market (law.com)

Postby rayiner » Thu Aug 12, 2010 11:36 am

I dunno. I have no ties to Chicago and my career counselor thought I'd have no problem getting a job here. So far all my callbacks have been at Chicago firms too.

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Re: Update on the Chicago Market (law.com)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 12, 2010 11:44 am

rayiner wrote:I dunno. I have no ties to Chicago and my career counselor thought I'd have no problem getting a job here. So far all my callbacks have been at Chicago firms too.


yea, but you go to northwestern, that constitutes a tie.

miamiman
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Re: Update on the Chicago Market (law.com)

Postby miamiman » Thu Aug 12, 2010 11:49 am

Anonymous User wrote:
rayiner wrote:I dunno. I have no ties to Chicago and my career counselor thought I'd have no problem getting a job here. So far all my callbacks have been at Chicago firms too.


yea, but you go to northwestern, that constitutes a tie.


exactly; that was the distinction made at U of C

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Bosque
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Re: Update on the Chicago Market (law.com)

Postby Bosque » Thu Aug 12, 2010 12:26 pm

funkyturds wrote:Some words, but I was too distracted by the grotesque image to the left to read them.


Oh dear God. PLEASE change your Tar. That is highly disturbing.

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stratocophic
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Re: Update on the Chicago Market (law.com)

Postby stratocophic » Thu Aug 12, 2010 12:37 pm

Bosque wrote:
funkyturds wrote:Some words, but I was too distracted by the grotesque image to the left to read them.


Oh dear God. PLEASE change your Tar. That is highly disturbing.
QFT and seconded.
Image

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rayiner
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Re: Update on the Chicago Market (law.com)

Postby rayiner » Thu Aug 12, 2010 1:00 pm

miamiman wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
rayiner wrote:I dunno. I have no ties to Chicago and my career counselor thought I'd have no problem getting a job here. So far all my callbacks have been at Chicago firms too.


yea, but you go to northwestern, that constitutes a tie.


exactly; that was the distinction made at U of C


miamiman wrote: that my being at uc did not in itself establish a tie to this market


I'm not sure how to reconcile these two statements. Attending U of C does not constitute a tie, but attending Northwestern does?

I think the real issue is the size of the firm. During the Loyola fair, the smaller Chicago boutiques grilled me pretty close about why I wanted to be in Chicago. The really big firms (Jenner, Kirkland, etc) didn't ask me beyond: "which office are you interested in interviewing for?"

miamiman
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Re: Update on the Chicago Market (law.com)

Postby miamiman » Thu Aug 12, 2010 1:14 pm

rayiner wrote:
miamiman wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
rayiner wrote:I dunno. I have no ties to Chicago and my career counselor thought I'd have no problem getting a job here. So far all my callbacks have been at Chicago firms too.


yea, but you go to northwestern, that constitutes a tie.


exactly; that was the distinction made at U of C


miamiman wrote: that my being at uc did not in itself establish a tie to this market


I'm not sure how to reconcile these two statements. Attending U of C does not constitute a tie, but attending Northwestern does?

I think the real issue is the size of the firm. During the Loyola fair, the smaller Chicago boutiques grilled me pretty close about why I wanted to be in Chicago. The really big firms (Jenner, Kirkland, etc) didn't ask me beyond: "which office are you interested in interviewing for?"


Sorry if I wasn't clear. The message I received after I visited both schools was that it was a numbers game. The overwhelming plurality of students from Northwestern ultimately place into Chicago, solidifying the school as the Chicago-feeder. Employers then infer -- fairly, or not -- that if a student is admitted to and enrolls at Northwestern, they are likely pursuing the Chicago market. Alternatively, what I got from Chicago was that a far smaller plurality of students place into the Midwest and so the school has a much more "national" texture, even if it's only somewhat more national in practice.

I'm not saying my read on this is 100% correct but when I passed this bit of info along to a relative of mine that is also a partner at a Chicago firm, he/she said it would behoove me to spend my first summer in Chicago if I was sincere about wanting to be in this market.




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