Whether the national economy is growing or in the doldrums, technology corridors are good places to be looking for legal and law-related job opportunities. There are always going to be jobs there.
What is a Technology Corridor?
A technology corridor is the name given to a high concentration in a relatively small geographic area of research universities, an industrial base, and sometimes federal laboratories, often in an area of urban sprawl. Research Triangle Park in North Carolina is one of the best examples. The "triangle" is the area bounded by three universities: Duke, North Carolina, and North Carolina State. RTP is the largest research park in the country. It contains more than 170 companies that employ over 42,000 people. Companies range from IBM, GlaxoSmithKline, Cisco Systems, Nortel, Biogen and Sony Ericsson to small, entrepreneurial spinoffs from university research projects.
Employees include a substantial number of attorneys and other individuals with a legal background working in Corporate Law, Intellectual Property, Contracting and Procurement, Risk Management, Compliance, Technology Commercialization, and Employment Law, among other areas, as well as in numerous law firms that serve RTP clients. In addition, attorneys can be found in venture capital and other private equity firms that have set up shop in the RTP vicinity in order to be close to their actual and potential investments.
Why Do Technology Corridors Exist?
High concentrations of technology companies, along with nearby research universities and federal laboratories, have a great many natural synergies, and as they grow in size and diversity, they develop new ones. They are powerful economic development and job creation engines. Studies show that they are natural attractors of additional high technology and supporting businesses and contribute powerfully to the state and local tax base. Economic growth in tech corridors is consistently higher than in other areas.
Major Technology Corridors
The success of 50-year old RTP and other early tech business concentrations has spawned a fairly large number of similar technology corridors and parks around the nation, including:
- Silicon Valley (California)
- Route 128 Corridor (Massachusetts)
- Brainpower Triangle (Cambridge & Somerville, Massachusetts)
- Silicon Hills (Austin Metropolitan Area, Texas)
- Silicon Forest (Portland, Metropolitan Area, Oregon)
- Tech Valley (Albany & Capital District, New York)
- Silicon Prairie (Omaha Metropolitan Area, Nebraska)
- Dulles Technology Corridor (a.k.a. Netplex) (Northern Virginia)
- I-270 Corridor (Montgomery County, Maryland)
- Silicon Alley (Manhattan)
- Convergence Corridor (Denver – Boulder, Colorado)
- Eastern Iowa Corridor (Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, Iowa)
- 315 Research and Technology Corridor (Columbus, Ohio)
- Automation Alley (Detroit Metro Area, Michigan)
- Rahall Technology Corridors (West Virginia)
- Connected Technologies Corridor (Southeastern West Virginia)
- Tennessee Valley Corridor (Northeastern Alabama-East Tennessee-Southeast Kentucky-Southwestern Virginia)
- Illinois Research & Development Corridor (Northeastern Illinois)
- Northern Tier High Technology Corridor (Minnesota)
- Cummings Research Park (Huntsville, Alabama)
One of the newest technology corridors is the Fort Bragg All-American Defense Corridor in the area around Fayetteville, NC. This tech corridor hopes to attract a high concentration of defense contracting firms.
Many tech corridors and parks maintain a central repository of company information on their websites that enables you to target potential employers easily (see, e.g., the Northern VA Technology Consortium. Some also maintain job boards (see, e.g., www.austinstartup.com).