Much in line with the thawing job market elsewhere, next year’s outlook for those seeking employment in the law field is looking positive.
According to a Robert Half Legal survey, 27 percent of lawyers interviewed said their respective law firm plans to add new positions within the next six months. 56 percent indicate their organization expects to maintain current staff levels by filling vacant posts, and only 12 percent of respondents say they do not intend to fill vacant positions or create new ones and another two percent expect staff reductions.
Robert Half Legal is the legal staffing division of Robert Half. The company provides law firms and corporate legal departments with lawyers, paralegals and legal support personnel. The research 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.
Robert Half Legal’s research shows that litigation is anticipated to drive the new hiring – 46 percent of attorneys surveyed say litigation is the driving force of the greatest number of legal job opportunities in the first of half of the year. The survey shows that specially, insurance defense was cited by 46 percent of lawyers as the leading driver of job growth, followed by commercial litigation at 37 percent and 28 percent was employment law.
“Litigation-related activity shows no sign of slowing down in the months ahead," said Charles Volkert, executive director of Robert Half Legal. "As a result, hiring highly skilled litigation experts – from insurance defense paralegals to litigation associates and e-discovery attorneys – will be a top priority for law firms as they focus on expanding services to meet clients' needs and increase revenue."
Volkert noted that retention becomes a greater priority as firms navigate through an improving economy. "Not only are advanced skill sets and deep industry or organizational knowledge difficult to replace, but the loss of a key team member also has the potential to affect client service levels and future growth plans," said Volkert.