Survey: One In Four Lawyers Plans To Add New Legal Jobs In Second Half Of 2014; Litigation Tops List Of Growing Specialty Areas

PR Newswire

MENLO PARK, Calif., June 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- In a new study from Robert Half Legal, 29 percent of lawyers interviewed said their companies will be adding new legal jobs in the second half of 2014. This is up two points from a prior hiring survey conducted six months ago. Fifty-two percent of lawyers said they expect to only fill vacant posts, while 10 percent said they would neither fill vacant positions nor create new ones. Just two percent of respondents anticipate staff reductions in the next six months.

Litigation is expected to generate the greatest number of legal job opportunities in the second half of 2014, according to 42 percent of attorneys surveyed. Within the litigation practice area, insurance defense was cited by 31 percent of lawyers as the leading driver of job growth, followed by commercial litigation (30 percent).

The survey was developed by Robert Half Legal, a legal staffing and consulting services firm specializing in lawyers, paralegals and other highly skilled legal professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and 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 of the respondents have hiring authority within their organizations.

Lawyers were asked, "Which one of the following practice areas, in your opinion, will offer the greatest number of job opportunities in the second half of 2014?" Their responses:*

Litigation

42%

General business/commercial law

20%

Intellectual property

6%

Labor and employment

4%

Energy/oil and gas

4%

Real estate

3%

Family law

3%

Privacy, data security and information law

2%

Regulatory/compliance

2%

Other

6%

None/don't know/no answer

12%


104%

*Total percentage does not equal 100 due to rounding.

Lawyers who cited "litigation" as a response also were asked, "Which of the following areas of litigation, if any, will offer the greatest job opportunities in the second half of 2014?" Their responses:*

Insurance defense

31%

Commercial litigation

30%

Personal injury

20%

Employment

15%

Class actions

4%

Intellectual property

3%

Other

16%

Don't know

3%

*Multiple responses were permitted.

(NOTE: An infographic depicting these survey results is available for download at http://legal.rhi.mediaroom.com/file.php/1515/RHL_0614_GRAPH_Job_Opps_US.jpg.)

"Law firms are competing to secure new clientele and expand profitability," said Charles Volkert, executive director of Robert Half Legal. "To succeed, they are seeking legal professionals who can help broaden their service offerings and spur business development."

Volkert noted that corporate legal departments are expanding their internal teams to support higher demand for business-related legal services, including commercial litigation, contract management and patent filing. "General counsel are hiring corporate counsel, patent attorneys and contract managers to take on more work in-house and reduce their spending on outside law firms," he said.

More than half (56 percent) of respondents cited at least some challenge in finding skilled legal professionals. Volkert noted that employers are becoming more exacting in the expertise they require, making the task of finding legal specialists with sought-after skills even more difficult.  "Increasingly, managing partners and general counsel need outside help to staff these hard-to-fill positions," he said.

Employers are placing significant weight on experience and personal recommendations when recruiting candidates. Nearly half (49 percent) of respondents said previous work experience or prestige of a former law firm or company are the best indicators of a job applicant's potential for success in their organizations. Twenty-one percent of lawyers pointed to a referral from a current employee or member of their networks as the primary indicator of success. "Top law firms and companies attract top talent so having prior work experience with an organization known for hiring great people can be an asset on a resume," said Volkert.

Hiring is not the only personnel concern for legal organizations. Retention also is high on their list of priorities, with nearly one-third (32 percent) of lawyers expressing concern about losing top performers to other job opportunities. Employers who are concerned with recruiting and retaining top legal talent may want to examine their compensation packages: Half (50 percent) of lawyers surveyed said increased compensation or bonuses provide the greatest incentive for legal professionals to remain with an employer.

About Robert Half Legal
Robert Half Legal is the legal staffing and consulting services division of Robert Half. A premier legal employment agency, Robert Half Legal provides highly skilled legal professionals for law firms and corporate legal departments on a temporary, project and full-time basis. With North American and global locations, the company offers a full suite of legal staffing and consulting services to help organizations manage constantly changing workloads and access expertise across in-demand legal practice areas. More information, including online job search services, can be found at roberthalflegal.com. For career and management advice, follow our Legal Blog at blog.roberthalflegal.com.

Rates

View Comments (0)