Spicer Rudstrom’s managing partner, Marc O. Dedman, spoke with Law360 last week for a story involving the five hottest legal markets this year. Nashville, Tenn. made that cut, along with the states of Florida and Colorado; Boston; and Louisville, Ky. Because of the city’s boom in industries like automotive, banking, IT and healthcare, it is emerging as a market for law firms to consider expanding in order to expand their profit margin.

“As Nashville has grown, the business climate has changed, particularly in the last 10 years, and is continuing to change dramatically,” Dedman said. “Law firms are going to grow where the business opportunities are. There are now mergers and acquisitions of businesses worth hundreds of millions, even billions of dollars.”

Marc is a business and insurance attorney whose practice is concentrated in professional negligence, insurance coverage and bad faith, medical spa industry and business and commercial representation. His clients include both American and international companies. He is the firm’s Managing Partner and Chair of the Professional Negligence and Business and Corporate Law practices.

Read the full article below.

The 5 Hottest Legal Markets In 2016

By Vidya Kauri

Law360, New York (February 9, 2016, 9:39 PM ET) — Big cities with booming businesses have always been a draw for corporate law firms, but a few emerging markets provide plenty of opportunities for firms seeking to expand in 2016.

The places where firms choose to either hire more laterals or open new offices depends on the amount of revenue per lawyer that a practice group is bringing in, their ability to serve wider marketplaces, and growing business opportunities for existing clients, experts say.

“A lot of it is tied to the type of law firm,” said Frank Michael D’Amore, the founder of legal recruiting firm Attorney Career Catalysts. “If there’s a real trend somewhere, some of this is driven by clients, some of it is driven by firms filling out their geographical footprint and a lot of it is fueled by how strong the firm is.”

Industry trends reveal that the government’s increasing involvement in regulating health care will lead to more work in this area across the country, that the high tech industry continues to be very strong in Silicon Valley and in metropolitan Boston, and that the real estate industry is ticking upward in Florida; Nashville, Tennessee; and Boston, according to experts.

Here is a look at the top five places where law firms can get ahead of the curve and expand their profit margin.

Florida

The health care industry across the U.S. is continuing to undergo major changes following the passage of the Affordable Care Act, but it is Florida’s high demand for assisted living and nursing homes that is leading to a corresponding need for legal representation, according to John Remsen, founder of Atlanta-based TheRemsenGroup, which offers business development programs for commercial law firms.

“Law firms like to react and follow, and I like to encourage law firms to innovate and lead,” Remsen said. “Get ahead of the curve and put yourself out there in front of the growing health care industry in Florida and really niche yourself as a health care boutique representing hospital groups and provisions groups.”

Data from the 2010 census shows that Florida has 3.26 million people aged 65 and older, and the proportion of senior citizens at 17.3 percent is greater than in any other state. West Virginia and Maine follow close behind, with almost 16 percent.

But it is not just the health care industry that is booming. Retiring baby boomers across North America are moving to Florida in droves, raising the need for golf courses, real estate and resort development, Remsen said.

Boston

The capital of Massachusetts and the state’s largest city benefits from its proximity to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and from being home to Harvard University. With a strong technology and biotechnology sector, an atmosphere that encourages incubator firms and a quality of life that attracts some of the best graduates out of law school, the city has been giving Silicon Valley a run for its money for some years now.

While experts say that Boston’s IT sector is forecast to continue growing throughout 2016 and beyond, Ed Wisneski, director of Lateral Link LLC, a legal recruiting firm, warns that law firms expanding into the region will have to compete with those that are already entrenched there.

“Firms need to be careful about where they want to expand and whether they really can establish a footprint in a place they haven’t been before,” Wisneski said.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in the information technology field rose by 18 percent, or more than 230,000 jobs, between 2001 and 2011. Although the industry lost 1 percent of its workforce during the recession in 2009, it bounced back with a vengeance the following year and is now projected to grow by almost 4 percent annually until 2020, compared with employment growth of 2.6 percent for professional, scientific and technical services.

Michael Shackelford, managing partner at Legal Resource Group LLC, said that there are lots of opportunities for corporate law firms in Boston as startups take on new debt, issue shares and go public, and he added that one way to go about handling competition is by merging with a firm that already has clients instead of “opening an office blindly.”

The technology sector also ranks highly among industries engaging in bet-the-company litigation, a legal area where spending has tripled in the last year after about four years of decline, according to the BTI Consulting Group. BTI projects that an estimated $1.29 billion will be spent on high-risk litigation in 2016.

Louisville, Kentucky

Kentucky’s largest city has seen rapid growth in recent years, with major corporations such as Ford Motor Co., UPS and Amazon investing about $3 billion into increasing their presence in the area, Shackelford said.

“Louisville is a regional hub for manufacturing and distribution, and also health care delivery and insurance,” Shackelford said. “There are several big law firms here. So if you’re one of those firms, you’ve just increased your clientele. From a corporate law perspective, having a growing vibrant economy is really good.”

Ford has two manufacturing plants in the area, and other lesser-known names have also injected about $1 billion into the city’s economy in the last five years, Shackelford said.

The economic investments have also led to ancillary supply companies popping up, thereby increasing business for law firms, Shackelford said, and a number of corporations, including Humana Inc., a health care insurer, have headquarters in Louisville.

Louisville also has a strong health care community that has grown considerably within the last decade and continues to undergo changes, Shackelford said.

“With Obamacare, there have been some consolidations among both health providers and health insurers,” he said. “Both of those communities have grown a lot in the last 10 years.”

Nashville, Tennessee

Law firms may not have seen America’s Music City as worth investing in in the past, but that is changing now with large amounts of corporate wealth being injected into the area from the automotive, banking, information technology, health care and transportation sectors.

The transformation is a result of a confluence of factors such as a continually rising population, pro-business mayors in a politically moderate climate, lower cost of living than other comparable cities and the absence of state and city income taxes, according to Marc Dedman, an attorney in Spicer Rudstrom PLLC’s Nashville office.

“As Nashville has grown, the business climate has changed, particularly in the last 10 years, and is continuing to change dramatically,” Dedman said. “Law firms are going to grow where the business opportunities are. There are now mergers and acquisitions of businesses worth hundreds of millions, even billions of dollars.”

The latest figures from the U.S. census bureau show that Nashville’s population of nearly 650,000 grew by almost 7 percent between 2010 and 2014. It has already outpaced Baltimore’s population and ranks just below Boston.

The hotel construction industry is also booming to fix a shortage of spaces, which has been a complaint among those drawn to the city’s vibrant arts and music scene, according to Remsen.

“Massive” hotel projects in downtown Nashville are keeping “a lot of law firms with real estate practices quite busy right now,” Remsen said.

Colorado

The first state to legalize recreational marijuana two years ago has been at the cutting edge of developing a body of regulatory law to oversee the plant’s growth, consumption and sale, according to Kieran Lasater, a litigator at Fairfield and Woods PC in Denver, which has an internal policy to only assist secondary service companies in the cannabis industry such as packaging, property owners and major private water interests.

Since cannabis remains illegal at the federal level, the other three states that have also legalized recreational marijuana — Washington, Oregon and Alaska — are looking to the work that Colorado has done as their banks and other institutions grapple with how state laws conflict with federal requirements, Lasater said.

“We have had new clients that have sought advice on how to set up businesses and to get into that industry,” Lasater said. “We’ve had to turn away some of them because it involved the manufacturing, distribution and sale of marijuana, but we’ve also had existing clients who are faced with [compliance and risk issues].”

Data released this month by two market research groups, the ArcView Group and New Frontier, shows that people spent $5.4 billion on medicinal and recreational marijuana nationwide — $800 million more than in 2014. Colorado’s coffers were expected to generate $135 million in cannabis taxes and licenses fees in 2015, an increase of 77 percent from the previous year, and the industry is projected to grow to $2 billion by 2020 in the state.

“There’s a lot of money in this brand new industry that’s popped up, and other states are likely to be legalizing this stuff in some form over the next couple of years,” Remsen said.

The state also witnessed the launch of the industry’s first pesticide lawsuit last October, and neighboring states have complained to the U.S. Supreme Court that interstate traffic is leading to increased enforcement and judicial costs within their own borders.

According to Lasater, the legalization has led to a very dynamic legal landscape, especially since Colorado passed a statute to honor contracts in the marijuana industry and removed ethics sanctions for attorneys representing clients in the industry.

However, there are pitfalls, he warns. Federal courts are unlikely to recognize the legality of contracts within the cannabis industry, which means it would behoove lawyers to either choose state venues or think about binding arbitration clauses while drafting contracts, Lasater said.

Tax attorneys are also heavily sought out as businesses battle with the Internal Revenue Service on whether they can deduct business expenses that are only legitimate at the state level.

–Editing by Jeremy Barker and Catherine Sum.