Nearly One-Quarter of Lawyers Plan to Hire in First Half of 2016

Seven in 10 Report Recruiting Challenges

TORONTO, Dec. 17, 2015 /CNW/ - Steady hiring is predicted for the legal field with close to one-quarter (23 per cent) 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 38 per cent six months ago and 33 per cent one year ago. Fifty-six per cent of lawyers said they expect to only fill vacant posts, while 17 per cent said they would neither fill vacant positions nor create new ones. Just two per cent of respondents anticipate staff reductions in the next six months.

Legal Hiring Environment in Canada*

Jan.-June
2016

July-Dec.
2015

Jan.-June
2015

Expanding/adding new positions

23%

38%

33%

Maintaining/filling vacated positions

56%

48%

50%

Freezing/not filling vacated positions or creating new ones

17%

11%

11%

Reducing/eliminating positions

2%

1%

0%

Don't know/no answer

2%

3%

6%


100%

101%

100%

                     *Some responses do not total 100 per cent 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, 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: 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. All of the respondents have hiring authority within their organizations.

Other Key Findings

  • Seventy-one per cent of lawyers said finding skilled legal professionals is somewhat or very challenging while nearly half (47 per cent) of survey respondents expressed concern about losing legal personnel to other job opportunities in the next six months.
  • Thirty-nine per cent 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. Flexible work arrangements ranked second, receiving 28 per cent of the survey response, followed by professional development opportunities at 11 per cent.

"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 36 per cent of lawyers surveyed. Within the litigation practice area, commercial litigation was cited by two in five (40 per cent) lawyers as the leading driver of job growth, followed by insurance defence (29 per cent).

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

36%

General business/corporate law

18%

Real estate

14%

Regulatory or compliance

6%

Family law

6%

Ethics and corporate governance

4%

Intellectual property

3%

Labour and employment

3%

Other

5%

None/don't know/no answer

5%


100%

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:**

Commercial litigation

40%

Insurance defence

29%

Class actions

8%

Employment

7%

Personal/family law

3%

Personal injury

3%

Intellectual property

2%

Securities and corporate governance

1%

Other

10%

      **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 roberthalflegal.ca. For career and management advice, follow our Legal Blog at blog.roberthalflegal.com and our Twitter feed @RobertHalf_CAN.

SOURCE Robert Half Canada

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

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