Is legal market making a comeback? New survey says "Yes"

Posted on 06-08-2015 by
Tags: Legal Industry , new lawyers , Latest Headlines & Stories

The job market for many professions have been down, relatively speaking. While the down job market seems to be a never-ending tunnel , there are some markets , such as the legal profession, that are showing promising signs. According to a telephone survey of 350 attorneys which was recently published by  Robert Half Legal, “The job market for newly minted associates is showing signs of improvement.

In fact, the survey also noted that 32% interviewed attorneys said their organization plans to “increase slightly” or “increase significantly” the number of entry-level lawyers hired in the next year.

Unconvinced in Executive Placement

David Cowen of The Cowen Group remains unconvinced that this shows an big increase in the legal industry. In response to questions emailed to him regarding the survey, Cowen said,

“Twenty-nine percent of firms reported a slight increase in hiring, but without quantifying, it is difficult to know what this means…If 100 firms are adding an additional 1-2 entry-level associates, I don’t think this has a big impact on the market or the direction of the legal industry.”

“In fact, anecdotally we are hearing the opposite. Firms are much more interested in making selective hires of experienced attorneys with training, knowledge, and deep expertise in specific areas of the law. Our clients specifically have a healthy appetite for experience talent in the privacy, security, governance and eDiscovery practice. We also know finance specializations are a growth area in the transactional practices.”

Getting Ahead of Trends

Other recent studies appear to line up with the overall trend line in legal hiring. In an article on the survey, Law360 noted a lawyer survey that pointed to renewing optimism, saying:

“On March 4, the National Association for Law Placement released the results of its own report, which found that firms’ entry-level recruiting is steadily rebounding from the recession.”

Despite the uncertainty of whether the market is or isn’t recovering, one thing is for sure, the overall industry is evolving. To some this evolution may be hard, but for many others it is a good thing as it represents future opportunities. Finally, when it comes to getting ahead of the trends, Mr. Cowen believes areas such as privacy, security and information governance are where “the new battles will be fought.”


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