Legal Hiring To Grow, Surveys Says

Saturday, May 1, 2004 - 01:00

Law firms and corporate legal departments will be hiring more attorneys in the next 12 months, a new survey shows.

Sixty-two percent of lawyers polled said they will be adding staff in the coming year. This is an increase over last year when 52 percent of attorneys polled said they planned to increase hiring activity.

The survey was developed by Robert Half Legal, a leading staffing service specializing in attorneys, paralegals and other highly skilled legal professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 200 attorneys among the nation's 1,000 largest law firms and corporations in the United States and Canada.

Attorneys were asked: Do you expect the number of attorneys employed with your firm or corporate legal department to increase, stay the same or decrease in the next 12 months? Sixty-two percent anticipated an increase, 35 percent expected to stay the same and 2 percent foresaw a decrease, with 1 percent responding "don't know."

"Law firms are gearing up for future growth, particularly within high-demand specialties," said Sheron Hindley-Smith, executive director of Robert Half Legal. "Certain practice areas such as intellectual property and healthcare law continue to generate significant project and case work within law offices."

Ms. Hindley-Smith cautions, however, that despite a recovering economy, partners and law firm administrators remain conservative in their recruiting efforts.

On March 15, The Affiliates, the specialized legal staffing division of Robert Half International, became Robert Half Legal. The business provides law firms and corporate law departments with project and full-time professionals including attorneys, paralegals and legal support personnel.