Orange County Business Journal

OCBJ SPECIAL REPORTS

Q&A

The Business Journal’s Jane Yu asked local law firms whether the pace of associate hires has picked up in recent years after a long slowdown hiring in the industry following the recession. Yu also asked attorneys how they’re grooming young talent for their firms’ future leadership. Here are edited excerpts of their responses:

Legal Pros Focus on Fine Arts, Plan UCI Collaboration

Attorneys Work With UCI Program to Boost Fine Arts

Put together a few attorneys sharing a passion for the arts and a local university that fosters artistic talent, throw in some creative thinking and readiness to provide support, and you’ll get Off-Center, a collective launched by a committee of local lawyers and educators in concert with University of California-Irvine’s art department.

Law Firms Add Attorneys After Two Years of Cuts

Headcount Up 3.2%; More Make List Due to Growth

The biggest law firms in Orange County grew their workforces in 2014, breaking a two-year streak of cuts in attorney headcount.

Q&A

Meetings and conventions venues, which host many events that involve guests eating and drinking, typically experience trends taking place at restaurants in the community, and Orange County is no exception. Local operators observed some similar patterns last year and expect many in common this year. The Business Journal’s Paul Hughes asked a sampling of venue executives about significant food and beverage trends and how the hospitality industry is responding to them in the meetings business arena. Here are edited excerpts of their responses.

How to Mind the Gaps: Teamwork, Planning, Creativity

Hotels Reach Beyond Big Groups to Meet Needs

Going “dark” in the meetings and conventions business is a bad thing.

Local Meetings Clients Won With Shoe Leather, Pizazz

Venues Get Creative, Find Niches to Home in On

Out-of-town groups that book rooms, meeting space, food and beverage, and an interesting evening event or two spend more than 80% of dollars spent on meetings in Orange County.

Hotels Add Little Space, Numerically and Spatially

Up 1.3% As More Small Rooms Meet New Demand

Orange County hotels added little meeting space last year, but what they did bring online came creatively in a market where occupancy and room rates are growing.

Toastmasters Takes on Speakers’ Fears From Historic Home in OC

Nearly three-quarters of the U.S. adult population—74% to be exact—fears the idea of speaking in public, according to a 2013 National Institutes of Health survey.

Q&A

The Business Journal’s Jane Yu asked local bankers to discuss their and their clients’ thoughts on how to manage operations in a changing interest rate environment, where rates are expected to rise. Here are edited excerpts of their responses:

Banks Post Biggest Jump in Assets Since Predownturn

23 Together See 35% Rise To $18.5 Billion In Year

Orange County-based commercial banks have notched the biggest year-over-year asset growth in the ongoing economic recovery and even since the few years prior to the recession.

Biggest Credit Unions Account for Bulk of Growth

Group’s Assets to $16.9B, Despite Declines for Most

Orange County’s credit unions built assets at a faster clip over the past year, when the biggest of the group pulled most of the gains.

Investors Adapt to Changes in Post-Recession Market

‘Opportunistic’ Real Estate Scarce, Competition Stiff

Opportunity is still knocking for many of Orange County’s most active commercial real estate investors of the past five years, but it has required a decided shift in strategy.

Office Market’s Occupancy Levels Improve

The office market continues to experience positive momentum, pushing toward a full recovery. Occupancy levels are steadily improving due to constant demand, moving the market to near prerecession conditions.

Industrial Market Records Busy Q3

Orange County’s industrial market continued to record healthy levels of activity in the third quarter, ending with 2.8 million square feet of gross activity and resulting in 208,021 square feet of positive net absorption.

Fastest Growers Keep Pace

Public Cos. Combine for 24% Hike to $83B in Sales

The latest batch of Orange County’s fastest-growing public companies kept pace with last year’s mix, combining for a 24% growth rate on revenue.