Spotlight on Legal Hiring and Compensation

By Jamy J. Sullivan, J.D.,
Robert Half 


Managers in the legal field continue to be faced with hiring challenges and need to know the latest job market trends to address legal candidates’ salary expectations and professional priorities. The 2023 Robert Half Salary Guide offers the latest salary and hiring insights. 

Starting salaries continue to rise

The need for specialized expertise is driving hiring in the legal field. Top candidates for paralegal, contract manager and other legal specialist roles are seeing sizable increases in starting salaries. 

To help benchmark compensation packages, the Salary Guide offers average starting salaries for numerous roles in the legal field. Go to the “Find your local salaries” section of the guide and select the city nearest to you to get local salaries. The resulting ranges take regional living costs, talent availability and other factors into account.

Location flexibility can assist recruitment and retention

Over the past couple of years, high attrition rates left many teams stretched thin, facing inflated workloads, burnout and turnover. Flexible work arrangements that help employees maintain their work-life balance can be the cornerstone of a successful hiring and retention strategy. More than three-quarters (76%) of legal hiring managers said that offering remote and hybrid work has helped them hire top talent. Legal roles most likely to remain remote include:

• Contract manager
• Corporate/in-house counsel
• Corporate paralegal
• Law firm associate
• Litigation support/eDiscovery specialist
• Patent agent

Contract talent is changing the game

More and more firms are using contract talent — skilled legal professionals who can hit the ground running and be added or subtracted from teams based on dynamic needs.

Not only does this arrangement allow firms to gain budget flexibility and diversify their legal services. It also improves the morale and motivation of permanent staff, who can take on new projects without worrying about becoming overwhelmed as their workload ramps up. That could be one reason nearly half (48%) of hiring managers plan to increase their reliance on contract professionals in the year ahead.

While money still talks, work-life balance is an important part of the conversation. In these uncertain times, legal organizations offering work that is both remunerative and flexible stand to gain a competitive edge.

Jamy J. Sullivan is executive director of the legal practice at Robert Half, the world’s first and largest specialized talent solutions firm. Robert Half offers contract and permanent placement solutions, and is the parent company of Protiviti®, a global consulting firm. Visit