Legal Hiring Outlook For Second Half Of 2014

Survey: One-Third of Lawyers Plan To Add New Legal Jobs; Litigation Tops List of Growing Specialty Areas

TORONTO, June 24, 2014 /CNW/ - In a new study from Robert Half Legal, 33 per cent of lawyers interviewed said their companies will be adding new legal jobs in the second half of 2014. This is up 11 points from a prior hiring survey conducted six months ago. Fifty-six per cent of lawyers said they expect to only fill vacant posts, while 6 per cent said they would neither fill vacant positions nor create new ones. Only one per cent of respondents anticipate staff reductions in the next six months.

Litigation is expected to generate the greatest number of legal job opportunities in the second half of 2014, according to 37 per cent of lawyers surveyed. Within the litigation practice area, commercial litigation was cited by 56 per cent of survey respondents as the leading driver of job growth, followed by insurance defence (22 per cent).

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.

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 2014?" Their responses:*

Litigation 37%
General business/corporate law 23%
Real estate 13%
Intellectual property 5%
Labour and employment 3%
Privacy, data security and information law 3%
Ethics and corporate governance 2%
Family law 1%
Other 8%
None/don't know/no answer 6%

*Total percentage does not equal 100 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 2014?" Their responses:**

Commercial litigation 56%
Insurance defence 22%
Employment 15%
Personal injury 11%
Securities and corporate governance 12%
Personal injury 11%
Personal/family law 11%
Intellectual property 10%
Class actions 10%
Other 8%
Don't know 3%

**Multiple responses were permitted.

(NOTE: An infographic depicting these survey results is available for download at

"In today's competitive market, law firms are focusing on securing new clientele and expanding their profitability," said John Ohnjec, division director of Robert Half Legal. "They are seeking experienced legal professionals who can help them broaden service offerings and spur business development efforts."

Ohnjec noted that corporate legal departments are expanding their internal teams to support higher demand for business-related legal services, including commercial litigation, contract management and patent filing. "General counsel are adding corporate counsel, patent agents and contract managers to their internal teams in order to take on more work in-house and reduce their spending on outside law firms," he said.

More than half (51 per cent) of respondents cited at least some challenge in finding skilled legal professionals. Ohnjec noted that employers are becoming more exacting in the expertise they require and are seeking outside help to find legal specialists with sought-after skills.

Employers are placing significant weight on experience and personal recommendations when recruiting candidates. Forty per cent of respondents said previous work experience or prestige of a former law firm or company are the best indicators of a job applicant's potential for success in their organizations. Thirty per cent of lawyers pointed to a referral from a current employee or member of their networks as a number-one success indicator. "With prestigious organizations often attracting and hiring the industry's best talent, a candidate's professional pedigree can be just as important to potential employers as work history or a personal recommendation," said Ohnjec.

Hiring is not the only personnel concern for legal organizations. Retention also is high on their list of priorities, with 34 per cent of lawyers expressing concern about losing top performers to other job opportunities. Employers who are concerned with recruiting and retaining top talent may want to examine the projects being offered to legal staff members: 34 per cent of survey respondents said challenging work or variety of assignments provide the greatest incentive for legal professionals to remain with an employer.

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 For career and management advice, follow our Legal Blog at

SOURCE: Robert Half Legal

For further information:

Naz Araghian
416.350.2330 ext. 62132


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