Lawyer Hiring Outlook Good, Survey Shows

Saturday, July 1, 2006 - 01:00

The hiring outlook for law firms and corporate legal departments remains positive, a new survey shows. Fifty-five percent of attorneys surveyed plan to add personnel in the coming year. Only 1 percent of respondents anticipate reductions in personnel.

These results reflect little change from a similar poll conducted in 2005. Corporate governance, litigation and intellectual property were identified as the areas of law expected to experience the most growth in the next 12 months.

The survey was developed by Robert Half Legal, a leading staffing service specializing in attorneys, paralegals and other highly skilled legal professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 300 attorneys among the 1,000 largest law firms and corporations in the United States and Canada; 200 attorneys were polled for the 2005 survey.

Lawyers were asked: Do you expect the number of lawyers employed with your law firm or corporate legal department to increase, stay the same or decrease in the next 12 months? The 2006 responses were: increase 55 percent, stay the same 41 percent, decrease 1 percent, and don't know 3 percent. The 2005 responses were: increase 55 percent, stay the same 41 percent, decrease 3 percent, and don't know 1 percent.

Lawyers also were asked: In your opinion, which one of the following areas of law will experience the most growth in the next 12 months? Their responses: ethics and corporate governance 25 percent, litigation 23 percent, intellectual property 19 percent, real estate 8 percent, bankruptcy 5 percent, general corporate/commercial 5 percent, employment law 2 percent, other 7 percent, and don't know 6 percent.