Nearly One-Quarter Of Lawyers Plan To Add New Legal Jobs In First Half Of 2016; Six In 10 Report Recruiting Challenges

MENLO PARK, Calif., Dec. 17, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Steady hiring is predicted for the legal field with close to one-quarter (24 percent) of lawyers interviewed for a new Robert Half Legal survey saying their law firms or companies will be expanding their legal teams in the first half of 2016. This compares to 29 percent six months ago and 26 percent one year ago. Fifty-four percent of lawyers said they expect to only fill vacant posts, while 15 percent said they would neither fill vacant positions nor create new ones. Just 1 percent of respondents anticipate staff reductions in the next six months.

Legal Hiring Environment in the United States*

Jan.-June 2016

July-Dec. 2015

Jan.-June 2015

Expanding/adding new positions

24%

29%

26%

Maintaining/filling vacated positions

54%

58%

60%

Freezing/not filling vacated positions or creating new ones

15%

8%

7%

Reducing/eliminating positions

1%

1%

1%

Don't know/no answer

6%

3%

7%


100%

99%

101%

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

View an infographic of the research highlights.

The survey was developed by Robert Half Legal, a legal staffing and consulting solutions 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.

Other Key Findings

  • Sixty-one percent of lawyers said finding skilled legal professionals is somewhat or very challenging while 31 percent of survey respondents expressed concern about losing legal personnel to other job opportunities in the next six months.
  • Thirty-three 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. Professional development opportunities ranked second, receiving 30 percent of the survey response, followed by flexible work arrangements at 22 percent.

"Law firms and corporate legal departments are taking a long view toward hiring by looking at their organization's estimated growth areas," said Charles Volkert, executive director of Robert Half Legal. "Both managing partners and general counsel seek legal professionals with expertise in high-demand specialties, such as litigation and commercial law, to meet the anticipated need for legal services in these areas."

Litigation Expertise in Demand
Litigation is expected to yield the most job opportunities from January through June of 2016, according to 32 percent of attorneys surveyed. Within the litigation practice area, insurance defense was cited by nearly half (46 percent) of lawyers as the leading driver of job growth, followed by commercial litigation (24 percent).

Lawyers were asked, "Which one of the following practice areas will offer the greatest number of job opportunities in the first half of 2016?" Their responses:**

Litigation

32%

General business/commercial law

16%

Regulatory or compliance

7%

Real estate

6%

Healthcare

6%

Labor and employment

4%

Intellectual property

3%

Other

19%

None/don't know/no answer

6%


99%

**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 job opportunities in the first half of 2016?" Their responses:***

             

Insurance defense

46%

Commercial litigation

24%

Personal injury

8%

Medical malpractice

5%

Employment

5%

Personal/family law

4%

Intellectual property

3%

Other

18%

Don't know

6%

***Multiple responses were permitted.

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 roberthalflegal.com. For career and management advice, follow our Legal Blog at blog.roberthalflegal.com.

SOURCE Robert Half Legal

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


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