Nearly Four in 10 Lawyers Plan to Hire in Second Half of 2015; Two-Thirds Cite Challenges Finding Skilled Legal Professionals

TORONTO, June 25, 2015 /CNW/ - Nearly four in 10 (38 per cent) lawyers interviewed for a new Robert Half Legal survey said their law firms or companies will be expanding their legal teams in the second half of 2015. This compares to 33 per cent from six months ago and 33 per cent one year ago. Forty-eight per cent of lawyers said they expect to only fill vacant posts, while 11 per cent said they would neither fill vacant positions nor create new ones. Just one per cent of respondents anticipate staff reductions in the next six months.

Legal Hiring Environment in Canada*

July-Dec. 2015

Jan.-June 2015

July-Dec. 2014

Expanding/adding new positions

38%

33%

33%

Maintaining/filling vacated positions

48%

50%

56%

Freezing/not filling vacated or new positions

11%

11%

6%

Reducing/eliminating positions

1%

0%

1%

Don't know/no answer

3%

6%

4%


101%

100%

101%

*Responses do not total 100 per cent due to rounding.

 

The survey was developed by Robert Half Legal, a legal staffing and consulting services firm specializing in lawyers, law clerks and other highly skilled legal professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on 150 telephone interviews with lawyers in Canada. All of the respondents have hiring authority within their organizations.

Other Key Findings

  • Sixty-five per cent of lawyers said finding skilled legal professionals is somewhat or very challenging, compared to 66 per cent from the previous survey's findings.
  • Thirty per cent of lawyers expressed concern about losing legal personnel to other job opportunities.
  • Forty-three per cent of lawyers said that aside from increased compensation, challenging work or variety of assignments provides the greatest incentive for legal professionals to remain with an employer. Flexible work arrangements ranked second, receiving 25 per cent of the survey response, followed by professional development opportunities, cited by 16 per cent of respondents.
  • One in four (41 per cent) of lawyers polled said that previous work experience or prestige of a former law firm/company is the best indicator of a job candidate's success. A referral from a current employee or member of a professional network followed, with 29 per cent of the response.

"Competition for top talent is intensifying as law firms and corporate legal departments expand their teams to meet rising demand for legal services," said Charles Volkert, executive director of Robert Half Legal. "When evaluating job seekers for a position, employers must move quickly to avoid losing top candidates to another organization. To assess legal professionals' potential for success within their firms, hiring managers are placing more weight on personal referrals and prestige of former employers."

Business and Corporate Law Expertise in Demand
General business and corporate law are expected to yield the most job opportunities from July through December of 2015, according to 34 per cent of lawyers surveyed. Litigation followed with 24 per cent. Within the litigation practice area, commercial litigation was cited by one third (34 per cent) of lawyers as the leading driver of job growth, followed by insurance defence (23 per cent).

Lawyers were asked, "Which one of the following practice areas, in your opinion, will offer the greatest number of job opportunities in the second half of 2015?" Their responses:*

General business/corporate law

34%

Litigation

24%

Privacy, data security, and information law

11%

Real estate

9%

Regulatory or compliance

6%

Intellectual property

2%

Ethics and corporate governance

2%

Family law

2%

Other

6%

None/don't know/no answer

3%

Total

99%

*Responses do not total 100 per cent due to rounding.

 

Lawyers who cited "litigation" as a response also were asked, "Which of the following areas of litigation, if any, will offer the greatest job opportunities in the second half of 2015?" Their responses:**

Commercial litigation

34%

Insurance defence

23%

Employment

22%

Personal injury

12%

Class actions

6%

Securities and corporate governance

4%

Personal/family law

4%

Intellectual property

3%

Other/don't know

29%

**Multiple responses were permitted.

 

View an infographic of the research highlights.

About Robert Half Legal
Robert Half Legal is the legal staffing and consulting services division of Robert Half. A premier legal employment agency, Robert Half Legal provides highly skilled legal professionals for law firms and corporate legal departments on a temporary, project and full-time basis. With North American and global locations, the company offers a full suite of legal staffing and consulting services to help organizations manage constantly changing workloads and access expertise across in-demand legal practice areas. More information, including online job search services, can be found at roberthalflegal.ca. Follow our Legal Blog at blog.roberthalflegal.com or our Twitter feed at twitter.com/roberthalf_CAN for workplace news.

SOURCE Robert Half Legal

For further information: Naz Araghian, 416.865.2140, naz.araghian@roberthalf.com


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