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Survey: One In Four Lawyers Anticipates Making New Hires In First Half Of 2015; Litigation To Generate Greatest Number Of Legal Jobs

MENLO PARK, Calif., Jan. 8, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Slightly more than one-quarter (26 percent) of lawyers interviewed for a new Robert Half Legal survey said their law firms or companies will be adding legal jobs in the first half of 2015. Sixty percent of lawyers said they expect to only fill vacant posts, while 7 percent said they would neither fill vacant positions nor create new ones. Just 1 percent of respondents anticipate staff reductions in the next six months.

Litigation is expected to yield the most job opportunities from January through June of 2015, according to 36 percent of attorneys surveyed. Within the litigation practice area, insurance defense was cited by 45 percent of lawyers as the leading driver of job growth, followed by commercial litigation (23 percent).

The survey was developed by Robert Half Legal, a legal staffing and consulting services firm specializing in lawyers, paralegals and other highly skilled legal professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is 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 the first half of 2015?" Their responses:*



General business/commercial law


Real estate


Regulatory or compliance


Family law


Labor and employment




Privacy, data security and information law


Tax law




None/don't know/no answer




*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 first half of 2015?" Their responses:**


Insurance defense


Commercial litigation




Medical malpractice


Personal injury


Intellectual property


Class actions




Don't know


**Multiple responses were permitted.


View research highlights.

Listen to a Robert Half Legal Report podcast on the Legal Talk Network for additional insight into 2015 hiring and compensation trends.

"Law firms are making strategic hires to meet client demands and expand profitable practice groups, such as commercial litigation," said Charles Volkert, executive director of Robert Half Legal. "As litigation caseloads continue to rise, experienced associates with business development skills and backgrounds in medical malpractice, personal injury and intellectual property will be highly marketable."

Volkert noted that legal departments are seeking compliance, contract administration and commercial law experts to meet the rising need for business-related legal services. "Increasingly, general counsel are staffing these high-demand positions on a project or part-time basis as a cost-effective strategy for accessing specialized skills that may not exist within their organizations," he added.

Fifty percent of lawyers surveyed cited at least some challenge in finding skilled legal professionals. Volkert noted that in many markets, candidates with expertise in the hottest practice areas are receiving multiple job offers and counteroffers.

Employee retention is a chief concern at many organizations, the research finds, with nearly one-third (31 percent) of lawyers expressing concern about losing legal personnel to other job opportunities. "Employers need to expedite the hiring process to avoid losing high-caliber candidates to competing firms," Volkert said.

Aside from increased compensation, nearly one-third (32 percent) of lawyers surveyed said flexible work arrangements provide the greatest incentive for legal professionals to remain with an employer. Challenging work or variety of assignments ranked second, receiving 28 percent of the survey response, followed by professional development opportunities, cited by 24 percent of respondents. "While offering a competitive salary remains an important factor for attracting the industry's top talent, many law firms and companies are re-examining their benefits programs to meet the work-life balance and career development needs of today's multigenerational workforce," said Volkert.

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


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SOURCE Robert Half Legal

For further information: Lisa Hamilton, (650) 234-6234,