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TWO MONTHS FROM 'HELP WANTED' TO 'YOU'RE HIRED'; Survey: It Takes Average of Six to Eight Weeks to Fill Open Positions in Legal Field

MENLO PARK, Calif., Aug. 3, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- In today's competitive job market, taking two months to fill an open position may seem improbable. However, a recent survey found it typically takes eight weeks for employers in the legal field to fill management-level legal positions and six weeks to fill staff-level roles.

The survey was developed by Robert Half Legal, a premier legal staffing firm specializing in lawyers, paralegals and other highly skilled legal professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 350 lawyers at the largest law firms and corporations in the United States and Canada.

Lawyers were asked, "On average, how many weeks does it typically take to hire for an open management-level legal position?" The median response was eight weeks.

Lawyers also were asked, "On average, how many weeks does it typically take to hire for an open staff-level position?" The median response was six weeks.

"Law firms and corporate legal departments are hiring selectively – they want the right skills match and the right fit for their work environment," said Charles Volkert, executive director of Robert Half Legal. "In addition to tenure, employers look for a combination of professional experience, practice area expertise and business connections."

Employers who delay making hiring decisions may miss out on the best prospects, Volkert cautioned. "Senior-level associates with experience in high-demand specialties, such as bankruptcy, litigation and business law, are in particularly strong demand and may receive multiple offers," he said.  

Robert Half Legal offers the following tips for identifying skilled candidates and expediting the hiring process:

  • Try a variety of recruitment tools. In addition to referrals from current employees and colleagues, more employers are using a range of resources such as personal connections, alumni groups and online networks to reach prospects and advertise job openings.
  • Fine-tune the job description. If a job posting is too vague or general, it will attract a flood of applicants, many of whom may not possess the necessary requirements. Highlight key responsibilities and summarize the skills needed for success in the position.
  • Work with a specialized staffing firm. Such firms have a pipeline of candidates they've interviewed and tested for critical skills, and can help employers quickly find good prospects.
  • Streamline the screening process. For candidates who make it past the first interview, consider having follow-up meetings with a hiring committee, rather than holding several individual meetings with the prospective employee.
  • Use the temporary-to-hire approach. This allows the employer to observe first-hand candidates' work styles and whether they are a fit with the firm's culture. Companies also can hire professionals on an interim basis until a job is filled to help handle workload spikes or specialized, time-intensive projects such as e-discovery.


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 and legal support personnel, on a project and full-time basis. Robert Half Legal offers online job search services at

SOURCE Robert Half Legal

For further information: Lisa Hamilton, +1-650-234-6234,