Legal Career Advice: Take Advantage of These 4 Hiring Trends

By Robert Half Legal

For many in the legal profession, a new year means not only resolutions but new opportunities. Whether you’re considering different legal jobs or wanting to move up with your current employer, here are some key legal hiring trends to consider for professional success in 2017.

Hiring is increasing

The first six months of the year will bring opportunities for professionals in search of new legal jobs. Eighty-four percent of lawyers Robert Half Legal interviewed for its biannual legal employment trends study said their firm expects to hire within this period, either to fill vacated positions or newly created roles, an increase over last year’s projections.

Legal career advice: Exciting new legal jobs are out there. If you’re ready for a new challenge, start updating your resume and researching companies you’re interested in. And make it a point to step up your networking efforts. Chances are good that acquaintances and former coworkers in the legal world know of job vacancies and new openings. Make 2017 the year you promote your skills on social media and attend more legal conferences and events.

Certain practice areas are hotter than others

As a popular practice area, litigation continues to be a heavy hitter, with 40 percent of lawyers polled saying they expect it to yield the greatest number of opportunities for legal jobs in the first half of 2017. Those who specialize in commercial litigation will be the most highly sought after, with insurance defense coming in a close second. Legal professionals who practice employment and personal injury litigation are also expected to see job opportunities.

Litigation is not the only practice area expected to see active hiring. Respondents also said general business/commercial law, real estate and family law should generate new legal jobs.

If you have a chance to get more experience in your present workplace, seize that opportunity. And speak with your supervisor if you’re interested in branching out and learning new skills.

Experience pays

According to the survey, employers will be looking for specific skills and experience levels to help manage increasing caseloads and client demands. If you have five or more years of litigation experience, expect the welcome task of having to weigh job offers because there aren’t enough specialists like you to go around. What’s more, 38 percent of lawyers interviewed are concerned they’ll lose employees to other companies and firms. Take advantage of this legal trend and make 2017 the year you advance your legal career by asking for a raise or promotion.

Employers are willing to negotiate

Sixty-three percent of lawyers interviewed said it is challenging to land the skilled legal professionals they need. This suggests employers may be willing to sweeten offers for several categories of legal jobs.

When you get a job offer, don’t be afraid to negotiate salary. To find out what level of starting compensation you can command, consult the Robert Half 2017 Legal Salary Guide. Use our Salary Calculator to customize the salary range based on specifics such as location, area of specialization, years of experience and company size. If the employer you’re interested in working with can’t meet your salary request, you could negotiate perks for improved work-life balance, such as remote work options and extra paid time off.

Judging by the survey results, 2017 looks very promising in terms for legal professionals with the right skills. So make this the year you seek more legal career advice, set professional goals and — if you’re unhappy with your current salary or position — take steps to land a new role. The legal jobs are out there.