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Tech's IPO Rush Could Bring a Boom for Bay Area In-House Hiring

Caroline Spiezio LAW.COM

A flood of tech startups’ initial public offerings could boost the Bay Area’s in-house counsel market in 2019, recruiters said, as companies’ legal departments grow to meet new compliance requirements.

San Francisco-based ride-hailing company Lyft Inc. beat rival Uber Technologies Inc. to the IPO punch last week. Uber is still set to go public this year, alongside Bay Area neighbors Pinterest Inc., Slack and Airbnb Inc. In a 2017 interview with The Recorder affiliate Corporate Counsel, Lyft general counsel Kristin Sverchek hinted she would hire more securities counsel post-IPO.

Kate Reder Sheikh, the managing director in the associate practice group for Major, Lindsey & Africa, said she’s also seen an increasing demand for securities lawyers versus lawyers with emerging growth company experience. While the latter is still in demand, she said the Bay Area’s market for counsel with capital markets experience will “go way up.”

The problem with a high demand for securities lawyers, Reder Sheikh said, is that the Bay Area currently can’t keep up with the demand, as many securities lawyers opt for careers in New York or London. But she added that could change with firms and companies “importing quite a bit of talent” from more established markets. Sullivan said companies are willing to bring in candidates from outside markets.

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