Sunday, June 5, 2011

Practice trends - where the hot specialties are

The following is a list of national practice trends from

• Regulatory: Although Dodd-Frank and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will continue to face challenges, both political and legal, regulation is a major issue. It particularly impacts certain industries -- health care, financial services, pharmaceutical and energy. Closely related to this area is ...

• Government Affairs: A growing number of firms are creating government affairs groups because of the increasing role of government, both federal and state, in business and legal matters.

• Health Care: Covers many specific practice areas and all types of providers.

Some of the areas that continue to be hot, together with a few new ones, include:

• Financial Services: In addition to Dodd-Frank, the new drivers in this area are consumer finance and suits being filed against lenders for what has come to be known as "robo-signing" of documents. Another developing issue is increased regulatory requirements for private equity and hedge funds.

• Energy: Particularly oil, gas and nuclear. Gas has become red hot in Pennsylvania and New York because of the proposed regulations from the Delaware River Basin Commission that will impact the Marcellus Shale gas play.

• Labor & Employment: One of the "standard" areas referred to above that is always in demand, L&E is becoming even hotter because of wage-and-hour actions, government investigations in the health care industry and, of course, in Wisconsin, Ohio and perhaps soon in Pennsylvania, movement to strip collective bargaining rights from public sector employees.

• Immigration: Arizona is just the tip of the iceberg.

• White-Collar Crime: Heating up due to financial fraud investigations and continued violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

• Litigation: Despite the trends moving toward alternative fee arrangements (AFAs) and for corporations to reduce spending on outside legal counsel, the number of cases being filed continues to rise dramatically. Construction litigation and complex, "bet the company" cases are red hot. Patent litigation continues to be hot and school-based litigation is getting hot. However, also hot in some firms is ...

• Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR): Both mediation and arbitration, because of the high costs of litigation and delays in the courts.


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