Top 5 Hiring Trends for the Legal Profession in 2014

What factors will influence hiring for legal jobs in 2014? Based on workplace research we conducted for our annual 2014 Salary Guide plus the insights provided by our legal recruiters, here are our top five hiring trends for the legal profession in the coming year: 

  1. Specialized legal talent should remain in high demand. As law firms and corporate legal departments become more exacting in the expertise they require, they’re seeking highly skilled legal talent with specific industry or practice-area specialization. According to our research, litigation, business and commercial law, healthcare, and labor and employment are key areas in which legal organizations continue to need specialized expertise.
  2. Organizations are bringing in outside expertise for strategic projects. Increasingly, legal organizations are hiring legal professionals on a project basis to access specialized expertise that may not be available internally, such as for litigation and e-discovery matters. This practice also helps to avoid expenses associated with full-time hires.
  3. Paralegals and legal assistants will take on additional duties. As responsibilities for paralegals and other legal support professionals continue to increase to include more substantive work, legal job criteria for these positions will expand accordingly. Individuals with advanced technical proficiency, experience with current legal software and collaborative platforms, plus certification credentials will continue to have an advantage on the hiring front.
  4. Companies will seek counsel with global knowledge and experience. As more and more companies conduct business on an international scale, law firms and corporate legal departments are being asked to help navigate legal and operational matters in multiple geographies. Organizations are increasingly looking for legal counsel with knowledge of local laws, regulations and cultures in countries around the world.
  5. Senior-level attorneys with books of business are highly marketable. According to our research, 31 percent of lawyers surveyed said their firms plan to increase hiring of senior-level attorneys to expand business in the next two years. In particular, they’re focusing on candidates with practice management expertise and a portable book of business.


For more on hiring trends in the legal profession, download the Robert Half Legal 2014 Salary Guide.

What other hiring trends do you predict will take hold in 2014?