Two in Five Lawyers Plan to Hire in Third Quarter: Vast Majority of Lawyers Interviewed Optimistic About Business Prospects

TORONTO, June 14, 2012 /CNW/ - More than two in five (42 per cent) of lawyers interviewed for the quarterly Robert Half Legal Hiring Index plan to hire full-time legal staff during the third quarter of 2012, while just three per cent anticipate staff reductions. The net 39 per cent of respondents projecting an increase in hiring activity is up two points from the previous quarter's forecast.

Business optimism also is improving. Ninety-one per cent of lawyers polled are at least somewhat confident in their organisations' growth prospects for the third quarter, up three points from the second-quarter survey.

The survey was developed by Robert Half Legal, a legal staffing firm specialising in lawyers, 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 in Canada. All of the respondents have hiring authority within their organisations.

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    Key Findings

    -   The net 39 per cent of lawyers expecting to hire is up two points
        from the second-quarter forecast. These lawyers plan to add an
        average of two full-time positions.
    -   The three most in-demand positions are lawyers, legal
        secretaries/assistants and paralegals.
    -   The practice areas expected to see the most growth in the third
        quarter are corporate law, litigation and
        intellectual property.
    -   Finding the right talent remains challenging, according to 73 per
        cent of lawyers, although this number is down three points from the
        second-quarter survey.
    -   Business optimism is up, with 91 per cent of lawyers saying they are
        somewhat or very confident in their organisations' prospects for
        growth in the next three months, a 3-point climb from last quarter.
    >>

Hiring Trends

"Law firms are expanding in-demand practice groups and launching new service offerings to meet client demand and grow revenue," said John Ohnjec, division director of Robert Half Legal in Canada. "A surge in corporate law and litigation-related matters also is increasing hiring activity."

Lawyers identified corporate law as the area that will experience the most growth in the coming quarter. This specialty garnered 30 per cent of the response from those interviewed. Litigation and intellectual property followed with 22 per cent and 7 per cent of the response, respectively.

"Demand is also steady for in-house associates and law clerks with contracts administration, compliance, and labour and employment law experience," Ohnjec said. "Legal departments also are expanding their in-house teams in an effort to curtail spending on outside counsel."

Lawyers hiring expect their organisations to add an average of two full-time positions in the third quarter of 2012. Those interviewed said they will most likely hire lawyers (93 per cent), legal secretaries/assistants (40 per cent) and paralegals (15 per cent).

Small and midsize law firms, in particular, are seeking associates with three or more years of experience who can make immediate contributions and support thriving practice areas.

About The Robert Half Legal Hiring Index

The Robert Half Legal Hiring Index is based on 200 telephone interviews with lawyers: 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, paralegals, law clerks, 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: Robert Half Legal, Nadia Santoli, (416) 350-2330, nadia.santoli@rhi.com


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