Litigation Demands Prompting Law Firms to Hire Staff in 2013

A survey conducted by Robert Half Legal found that hiring activity among legal professionals is expected to increase in the second half of 2013, thanks to an increase in litigation-related work.

The survey was based on 200 telephone interviews with lawyers across the United States. One hundred of the survey respondents were with law firms employing more than 20 or more employees, and 100 respondents were from companies with 1,000 or more employees.

According to Robert Half, about 31 percent of lawyers interviewed for the survey said their practice or company had plans to add new positions in the second half of 2013, identified as July through December. About 50 percent of surveyed lawyers said their firms had plans to maintain current levels by filling vacated positions. Just 13 percent of those surveyed said they would not be filling any new or vacated positions, while a mere 2 percent said they had plans to reduce or eliminate positions.

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Drivers Behind the Increase in Law Firm Staffing

The Robert Half survey revealed that much of the boost in hiring can be attributed to an increase in litigation-related work. In fact, 55 percent of lawyers expect their litigation needs to be the primary driver for new hires in the second half of 2013. Another 39 percent said their hiring will be based on increases in business and commercial law.

Other reasons for hiring new paralegals and similar legal positions included:

  • Healthcare: 24 percent
  • Intellectual property: 14 percent
  • Privacy, data security, information law: 11 percent
  • Bankruptcy/foreclosure: 8 percent
  • Labor and employment: 8 percent
  • Ethics and governance: 6 percent
  • Immigration: 4 percent
  • Oil and gas: 3 percent

Highlighting the demand for properly educated and qualified paralegals, the survey also found that 53 percent of respondents have experience difficulty finding skilled legal professionals to fill new or vacant positions.

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