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In addition to identifying trends through our daily interactions with companies and job seekers, we conduct extensive research on hiring and employment issues. Read about our latest research, including results from our ongoing surveys of CFOs, CIOs, lawyers, advertising and marketing executives, human resources managers, senior managers and workers.

Survey: One-Third Of Lawyers Plan To Add Legal Jobs In Second Half Of 2017; Seven In 10 Cite Hiring Challenges

MENLO PARK, Calif., June 14, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Increased hiring is predicted for the legal field in the months ahead, with litigation offering the greatest job opportunities. One-third (33 percent) of lawyers interviewed by Robert Half Legal anticipate that their law firms or companies will expand legal teams in the second half of 2017. This compares to 25 percent six months ago and 31 percent one year ago. Fifty-one percent of lawyers said they plan to only fill vacant posts in the next six months, while six percent said they would neither fill vacant positions nor create new ones. Three percent of survey respondents plan reductions.

Legal Hiring Environment in the United States*

July-Dec.
2017

Jan.-June
2017

July-Dec.
2016

Expanding/adding new positions

33%

25%

31%

Maintaining/filling vacated positions

51%

59%

51%

Freezing/not filling vacated positions or creating new ones

6%

11%

12%

Reducing/eliminating positions

3%

0%

0%

Don't know/no answer

7%

5%

7%


100%

100%

101%

*Some responses do not total 100 percent due to rounding.

View an infographic of the research highlights.  

Other Key Findings

  • Nearly seven in 10 (67 percent) lawyers said finding skilled legal professionals is somewhat or very challenging, while 43 percent of survey respondents expressed concern about losing legal personnel to other job opportunities in the next six months.
  • Thirty-six percent of lawyers said that, aside from compensation or bonus, challenging work or variety of assignments provides the greatest incentive for legal professionals to remain with an employer. Flexible work arrangements ranked second, receiving 29 percent of the survey response, followed by professional development opportunities, at 15 percent.

"To meet rising demand for business-related legal services, law firms are hiring attorneys and paralegals with specialized expertise, such as commercial litigation and insurance defense experience," said Jamy Sullivan, executive director of Robert Half Legal. "General counsel are also expanding in-house teams to reduce their reliance on outside counsel and increase efficiencies. In particular, they are seeking legal specialists with backgrounds in corporate transactions and labor and employment law."

Sullivan added that as competition for experienced legal experts intensifies, lateral hiring is expected to increase in the coming months. "Law firms are recruiting senior-level associates with a book of business as a means to expand high-growth practice areas and grow revenue," she said.

Litigation Expertise in High Demand
More than one-third (35 percent) of attorneys surveyed expect litigation to yield the most employment opportunities in the next six months, citing insurance defense as the top driver of job growth within the practice area.

Lawyers were asked, "Which one of the following practice areas will offer the greatest number of job opportunities in the second half of 2017?" Their responses:**

Litigation

35%

General business/commercial law

17%

Real estate

12%

Labor and employment

7%

Healthcare

3%

Regulatory or compliance

2%

Other

13%

None/don't know/no answer

12%


101%

**Responses do not total 100 percent due to rounding.

Lawyers who cited "litigation" as a response were also asked, "Which of the following areas of litigation, if any, will offer the greatest number of job opportunities in the second half of 2017?" Their responses:***

Insurance defense

35%

Commercial litigation

23%

Personal injury

17%

Employment

14%

Personal/family law

4%

Medical malpractice

3%

Other

9%

Don't know

5%

***Multiple responses were permitted.

Survey Methodology
The survey was developed by Robert Half Legal and conducted by an independent research firm. It is based on 200 telephone interviews with lawyers in the United States: 100 of the respondents are employed at law firms with 20 or more employees and 100 are employed at companies with 1,000 or more employees. All respondents have hiring authority within their organizations.

About Robert Half Legal
Robert Half Legal is the premier provider of legal staffing and consulting solutions for law firms and corporate legal departments. With North American and global locations, Robert Half Legal provides a customized approach, including managed review, legal project management and eDiscovery services, to help organizations handle constantly changing workloads. The company offers in-demand expertise across practice areas as well as highly skilled legal professionals on a temporary, project and full-time basis. More information about our full suite of legal staffing and consulting solutions can be found at roberthalf.com/legal.

 

SOURCE Robert Half Legal

For further information: Lisa Hamilton, (650) 234-6234, lisa.hamilton@roberthalf.com