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Where the Legal Jobs Are

Litigation to Offer Greatest Opportunities in 2013; Challenges Finding Top Talent Reported

bigstock-Conclusion-of-job-interview-21887276Which specialty areas are predicted to yield the most prospects for legal job seekers in the year ahead? Almost one-quarter (22 percent) of lawyers recently interviewed by Robert Half Legal expect litigation will generate the greatest number of job opportunities in 2013. General business/commercial law and healthcare ranked an equal second, with each practice area receiving 19 percent of the response. Legal professionals with expertise in high-demand practice areas may have employers vying for their attention: more than half (57 percent) of survey respondents cited at least some challenge in finding legal talent.

 

The survey was developed by Robert Half Legal, a legal staffing firm specializing in lawyers, paralegals and other highly skilled legal professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and based on 200 telephone interviews with lawyers in the United States: 100 of the respondents are employed at law firms with 20 or more employees and 100 are employed at companies with 1,000 or more employees. 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 2013?” Their responses:

Litigation...................................................22%
General business/commercial law.........19%
Healthcare.................................................19%

Labor and employment................................8%
Bankruptcy/foreclosure................................8%
Intellectual property.....................................5%
Environmental law........................................2%
International law...........................................2%
Other............................................................6%
Don’t know/no answer.................................9%

Lawyers also were asked, “How challenging is it for your law firm/company to find skilled legal professionals today?” Their responses:

Very challenging.......................................12%
Somewhat challenging............................45%

Not challenging..........................................37%
Not applicable/not looking...........................5%
Don’t know/no answer.................................1%

“As law firms expand their teams to meet client requests and enhance service offerings, competition for highly skilled legal professionals is rising,” said Charles Volkert, executive director of Robert Half Legal. “Although the market for entry-level associates should remain conservative, lawyers with five-plus years of experience, solid business development skills and client contacts in the hottest practice areas will likely see lateral opportunities increase at small and midsize firms in 2013.”

Volkert noted that corporate legal departments also are seeking experienced lawyers and paralegals to handle more commercial transactions, litigation and employment-related matters in-house, and to contain outside counsel costs. “With a growing number of law firms and companies looking to hire from the same talent pool, many employers are bolstering their retention efforts to avoid losing valued staff members to other organizations,” said Volkert.

Charles Volkert

The Robert Half Legal Hiring Index is based on 200 telephone interviews with lawyers: 100 of the respondents are employed at law firms with 20 or more employees, and 100 are employed at companies with 1,000 or more employees. The interviews were conducted by an independent research firm.

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Filed Under: Practice Management

About the Author: The Robert Half Legal Hiring Index is based on 200 telephone interviews with lawyers: 100 of the respondents are employed at law firms with 20 or more employees, and 100 are employed at companies with 1,000 or more employees. The interviews were conducted by an independent research firm.

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