One-Third of Lawyers Plan to Hire in Fourth Quarter: Litigation Predicted to See Most Growth in Months Ahead

TORONTO, Sept. 19, 2012 /CNW/ - One-third (33 per cent) of lawyers interviewed for the Robert Half Legal Hiring Index plan to hire full-time legal professionals during the fourth quarter of 2012, while 2 per cent anticipate staff reductions. The net 31 per cent of respondents projecting an increase in hiring activity is down eight points from the previous quarter's forecast. Law firms are expected to do much of the hiring; litigation is the practice area predicted to see the most growth in the coming months.

The vast majority of lawyers surveyed are optimistic about business opportunities. Eighty-six per cent of lawyers are somewhat or very confident in their organisations' prospects for growth in the next three months, down five points from the third-quarter survey.

The survey was developed by Robert Half Legal, a legal staffing firm specialising in lawyers, law clerks, paralegals and other highly skilled legal professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on telephone interviews with 75 lawyers at law firms with 20 or more employees and 75 corporate lawyers at companies with 1,000 or more employees. All of the respondents have hiring authority within their organisations.

Key Findings

    <<
    -   The net 31 per cent of lawyers expecting to hire in the fourth
        quarter is down eight points from the previous quarter's forecast.
        Those who are hiring plan to add an average of two full-time
        positions.

    -   The three most in-demand positions are lawyers, legal
        secretaries/assistants, and law clerks/paralegals.

    -   Litigation is the practice area expected to see the most growth in
        the fourth quarter, followed by general business/corporate law, and
        labour and employment.

    -   More than six in 10 (62 per cent) of lawyers say finding the right
        talent remains challenging.

    -   Nearly nine in 10 (86 per cent) are somewhat or very confident in
        their organisations' prospects for growth in the next three months, a
        five-point decline from last quarter.
    >>

Hiring Trends

"While some law firms remain cautious about hiring in an uncertain economy, others, such as small and midsize law firms are making strategic hires to meet client requests and increase their profitability, said John Ohnjec, division director of Robert Half Legal in Canada. "In particular, they are recruiting associates with solid business development skills and client portfolios to expand practice groups in high-demand specialties, such as litigation and corporate law."

Twenty-three per cent of lawyers anticipate litigation will be the practice area to experience the most growth in the coming months. General business/corporate law ranked second, with 22 per cent of the response, followed by labour and employment (7 per cent).

Organisations planning to hire will add an average of two full-time positions in the fourth quarter. The vast majority plan to hire lawyers (75 per cent), legal secretaries/assistants (40 per cent) and paralegals (26 per cent).

About the Robert Half Legal Hiring Index

The Robert Half Legal Hiring Index is based on 150 telephone interviews with lawyers in Canada: 75 of the respondents are employed at law firms with 20 or more employees, and 75 are employed at companies with 1,000 or more employees. The interviews were conducted by an independent research firm.

Information from the study is featured in the Robert Half Professional Employment Report, launched in 2010 and the first study of its kind to monitor the hiring environment for professional-level positions exclusively. Based on more than 1,000 telephone interviews with executives throughout Canada, it provides insight on employment trends to help businesses and job seekers prepare for the upcoming quarter. To see how hiring within the legal profession has changed since last quarter and how it compares to other sectors, please visit www.roberthalf.ca/per.

About Robert Half Legal

Robert Half Legal is the legal staffing division of Robert Half International. The company provides law firms and corporate legal departments with highly skilled professionals, including lawyers, law clerks, paralegals and legal support personnel, on a project and full-time basis. With North American and global locations, Robert Half Legal also offers managed review and e-discovery services. More information, including online job search services, can be found at www.roberthalflegal.com.

SOURCE: Robert Half Legal

For further information: To speak with a local expert, contact: Robert Half Legal, Nadia Santoli, (416) 350-2330, nadia.santoli@rhi.com


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