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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: Nearly Half Of Law Firms, Companies Plan To Expand Legal Teams In Next Six Months
- Lawyers, legal secretaries and paralegals among top full-time positions being added
- Shortage of qualified candidates is greatest hiring challenge
- Litigation, privacy/data security expected to produce largest number of legal jobs

MENLO PARK, Calif., Dec. 11, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Litigation and data privacy concerns are accelerating demand for legal professionals in these and other specialty areas. According to Robert Half Legal's State of Legal Hiring research, nearly half of U.S.-based lawyers (47 percent) said their law firm or company plans to expand their legal teams in the first half of 2019. More than one-third of lawyers (36 percent) anticipate staffing only vacated positions. Thirteen percent said they would neither fill vacated positions nor create new ones, while 3 percent foresee reductions.

More than three in 10 lawyers (32 percent) predict litigation will be the top driver of job growth in the legal field during the first half of 2019, followed by privacy, data security and information law, which garnered 12 percent of the survey response. General business/commercial law and ethics/corporate governance tied for third place, with each category receiving 11 percent of the response.

Within the litigation specialty, commercial litigation is anticipated to yield the most legal jobs, according to 48 percent of lawyers surveyed. Insurance defense ranked second, with 41 percent of the response, followed by employment law (36 percent).

View an infographic of the legal employment market for the first half of 2019.  

Other Research Findings

  • Ninety-one percent of lawyers said finding skilled legal professionals is somewhat or very challenging.
  • Forty-four percent of respondents said that a shortage of qualified candidates is the greatest challenge their law firm/company faces when hiring.
  • The top full-time positions being added by law firms/companies in the first half of 2019 are lawyers (77 percent), legal secretaries (57 percent) and paralegals (51 percent).
  • When hiring lawyers, practice area expertise is the most important factor to employers, aside from legal knowledge.
  • On average, 22 percent of open positions at law firms/companies will be filled on a temporary, project or consulting basis.
  • Eighty percent of lawyers are concerned about losing top performers to other opportunities.
  • Flexible work arrangements, professional development opportunities and company perks were cited as the best incentives for retaining employees, aside from compensation or bonus.

"An increase in litigation and regulatory matters is spurring demand for attorneys and legal support staff with relevant expertise," said Jamy Sullivan, executive director of Robert Half Legal. "Many employers are seeking legal professionals with compliance, data privacy and commercial litigation experience, which is intensifying competition for specialized talent in these areas."

Sullivan added that hiring managers should act quickly when they find ideal applicants or risk losing them to another offer. "In today's environment, job seekers with superior legal skills, business acumen and advanced technical knowledge are receiving multiple offers. Employers that offer competitive pay and perks will be better positioned to attract top candidates."

Lawyers were asked, "Which one of the following practice areas will offer the greatest number of job opportunities at your law firm or company in the first half of 2019?" Their responses:*

Litigation

32%

Privacy, data security and information law

12%

General business or commercial law

11%

Ethics and corporate governance

11%

Real estate

9%

Regulatory or compliance

8%

Intellectual property

6%

Healthcare

6%

Other

6%

Don't know

1%

 

102%

 

 

*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 at your law firm or company?" Their responses:**

Commercial litigation

48%

Insurance defense

41%

Employment

36%

Securities and corporate governance

35%

Intellectual property

32%

Class actions

21%

Other

9%

Don't know

2%

 

**Multiple responses were allowed.

Survey Methodology  
The online survey was developed by Robert Half Legal and conducted by a leading independent research firm. It is based on responses from more than 200 lawyers in the United States who work full time at law firms with 20 or more employees and corporate legal departments with 1,000 or more employees, or as solo practitioners. Respondents possess five-plus years' experience in the legal profession and are involved in managing the hiring of legal personnel.

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