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2015 Legal Industry Hiring Trends

2015 Legal Industry Hiring Trends


The U.S. garners a major portion of the global legal market. The U.S. contributes to around 75% of the world’s legal spending and is seen as the richest legal market in the world. Ever since the 2007 recession, things haven’t been very good for U.S. lawyers and legal hiring has declined. However, the industry has started to pick up. Legal researchers forecast that the gearing up will continue through 2015. Let’s quickly glance at the hiring trends for 2015.

Robert Half Legal commissioned a survey among 200 lawyers of top law firms and corporations in the U.S. to know what are the top job promising practice areas. The legal areas where restricted to: Litigation, general business/commercial law, healthcare, IP, personal law, and labor law, with an option to choose ‘other.’ Thirty eight percent voted for litigation, 19% for commercial law, 6 % for health care and IP, 5% for personal law, and 4% for labor law. Eleven percent chose in favor of other areas of law and 13% had a ‘None’ response.

Studies show that there is a decrease in the number of students graduating from law schools when compared to the previous years. The year 2015 is likely to reach equilibrium or a breakeven in terms of the number of law graduates in the industry and the law jobs available. With the current trend in the legal job growth, it is likely that the year 2016 will witness an undersupply of lawyers, which would mean there would be more of legal job. The situations would be even better for 2017 law pass outs.

Professor René Reich-Graefe predicts that the law graduates are all set to see their good times. The growth in lawyer demand and the increased lawyer retirement rate are some factors that contribute to the growth.

Legal Hiring Trends in 2015

Hiring in Specialized Areas: Quality is now the key to any services performed. The days when attorneys simply had to pass the national police check and clients just had to be satisfied with the work they provided, are gone. Despite the fact these factors are still important, clients are more demanding now. To satisfy such clients, law firms are looking for specialized talents with experience in demanding practice areas. Researchers forecast that intellectual property, insurance, medical malpractice, labor, patent, e-discovery, compliance, and commercial litigation will be some of the hot areas in the legal industry. Therefore, it would be a good idea for job aspirants to undergo training/specialize in the areas noted below would be worth considering for job aspirants:

  • E-Discovery: The e-discovery industry is in its growth phase and will continue to grow for the coming years. The U.S. retains a major portion of the global e-discovery market. The legal industry is adopting new and improved technological solutions for archiving, case research, case management and marketing. Therefore there is scope for litigation support professionals (people who effectively assist in managing litigation related data that are electronically stored.) It is not mandatory that you should be a law grad to perform this role. However, considering the attractive compensation package that would cling to this role, it would be a very good option for a tech savvy legal grad to specialize in litigation support and take benefits of the growing e-discovery market. Paralegals can also consider training in this area.
  • Compliance: These days, we see legal professionals and law departments doing more of compliance work. Traditionally, this was an area that was under the finance department. The financial crisis slowly moved this area to the legal sector. The changing regulatory requirements have forced corporate to focus on compliance and seek the advice of legal professional to stay up to date and comply the requirements. Financial institutions, energy and utilities companies, telecom companies are the most popular clients for lawyers who specialize in this area. Therefore, updating regulatory requirements in these areas would be a good choice for a person seeking job in this sector. Staying up to date with the data protection laws and the health care laws is also important.
  • Litigation: Generally, the trend is to go for lawyers who have good experience and a steady work experience. Therefore, if you want to be a good trial lawyer, you may opt to join a law firm to gain experience. Big law firms look for experience and specialized knowledge in areas such as health care, insurance, labor law, commercial law, litigation, and IP. An increase in litigation is fueling demand for skilled litigation from law firms like Sidley Austin who have specialist expertise in the areas of commercial litigation and disputes.

Legal Support Services: Researchers predict that the legal industry has the potential for many more support jobs in 2015. You can expect to see more attorney support services and paralegal hiring. Technological developments allow legal work product to be segmented and shipped to any part of the world. Such legal outsourcing of attorney support services takes advantage of low labor costs, while maintaining confidentiality. Studies show a growing trend to delegate work such as document review, contract review, and compliance review to attorney support services.

E-Hiring: Social media will increasingly be an essential tool of corporate recruiters and HR departments. This means that maintaining updated and accurate information on your LinkedIn account will be vital in creating new career opportunities.

Technology Based Talent: Technology is inevitable, and the changes in technology have influenced all walks of life. The law practice area is no exception. Therefore, there will be increased demand for attorneys with a technical background in 2015. Suggestions have been made to expand the educational curriculum for law students and include subjects on technical know-how.

In-House Legal Jobs: Mid-sized and big companies are looking at creating more in-house legal jobs so that they can reduce their legal spending on big law firms. Corporate law departments are looking at hiring attorneys who have previous law firm experience, good track record, strong business law backgrounds, and preferably knowledge in the company’s industry or sector. Companies are also considering recruiting fresh law grads.

The legal industry is evidencing a fluctuating graph in terms of growth. However, studies report that legal hiring will witness an upward swing in 2015. It would be a great idea for job aspirants to stay updated in areas such as e-discovery, compliance, litigation practice, issuance, labor, and IP laws. The general trend for legal job hiring seems to be positive. Sources report that things seem to be rosy for fresh law grads as well. The above discussion would help in getting an idea of the promising legal areas.

If you’re a law firm looking to acquire new talent, you can use Lawyer Exchange to fill the positions of your attorney jobs vacancies.

About the Author

This article was provided by LegalEase Solutions. LegalEase is a specialized legal research and writing company serving attorneys, law firms and legal departments across the US and beyond since 2004. For more information, please feel free to contact us at 1(877) 712-8003 or email us.

Full disclosure, Legal Ink Magazine is an affiliate partner with LegalEase Solutions.

Sources referred:

Robert Half Legal Hiring Forecast

Robert Half Legal Salary Guide

BTI Litigation Outlook 2015

Priyanka Menon
Priyanka Menon


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