Wanted: More Legal Assistance

Recent news from the legal profession has focused on the difficulty of new lawyers in finding jobs. Is that changing? A third of law firms and corporations participating in a quarterly survey indicated they are seeking to hire full-time legal staff.

The Robert Half Legal Hiring Index noted that just 2% anticipate staff reductions. The net 30% of respondents projecting an increase in hiring activity is up eight points from the previous quarter’s forecast. Law firms are expected to do the majority of the hiring in the upcoming quarter.

Business optimism also is improving. Eighty-four percent of lawyers polled are at least somewhat confident in their organizations’ growth prospects for the third quarter, up 16 points from the second-quarter survey.

Among other findings:

  • The three most in-demand positions are lawyers, paralegals and legal secretaries.
  • The practice areas expected to see the most growth in the third quarter are general business/commercial law, labor, and employment and litigation.
  • For the first time since Robert Half Legal began conducting the quarterly hiring survey in early 2010, bankruptcy/foreclosure was not among the top three practice areas.
  • Finding the right talent remains challenging, according to 51% of lawyers, although this number is down eight points from the second-quarter survey.