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Expect litigation to drive much of the hiring in the legal profession in the first half of 2014, according to new research from Robert Half Legal. Twenty-seven percent of lawyers interviewed said their law firm or company plans to expand or add new positions in the next six months, while 55 percent said their organizations will be maintaining current staff levels by filling vacated posts.
Twelve percent of survey respondents said they will not fill vacant positions or create new ones and 2 percent anticipate staff reductions.
Forty-six percent of respondents cited litigation as the practice area that will generate the greatest number of legal job opportunities from January through June of 2014. Commercial litigation and employment law followed at 37 percent and 28 percent respectively.
Sixty percent of respondents cited at least some challenge in finding skilled legal talent, while 33 percent expressed concern about losing top performers to other legal job opportunities.
“Litigation-related activity shows no sign of slowing down in the months ahead,” said Charles Volkert, executive director of Robert Half Legal. “As a result, hiring highly skilled litigation experts – from insurance defense paralegals to litigation associates and e-discovery attorneys – will be a top priority for law firms as they focus on expanding services to meet clients' needs and increase revenue.”
The survey is based on 200 telephone interviews with U.S. lawyers who have hiring authority within their organizations. It included 100 respondents employed at law firms with 20 or more employees and 100 respondents employed at companies with 1,000 or more employees.