Law firm hiring: the good, the bad and the ugly

I am seeing an uptick in the number of opportunities for which I have been asked to recruit, and while my experience may be somewhat anecdotal, I remain firmly convinced that there will always be a need for top candidates, the only kind of candidate my clients expect from me and the only type of candidates with whom I work. That is a consistent part of “the good.”

More of “the good,” is that the legal sector has added just over 2,000 jobs since the start of the year.  I know that is nothing to get overly excited about, as the industry employs more than 1.1 million people, but it is still better than the hemorrhaging of jobs that we witnessed in the last couple of years.

So, the bad. While we are seeing some net job growth, other employers are still maximizing efficiencies by reducing staff and in some cases entire practice groups. Most recently, Edwards Wildman has seen another culling of staff, with the release of 42 admin staff and 10 lawyers.  Other large firms are quietly letting staff go, or strongly suggesting retirement for staff and attorneys who have outlived their perceived utility at the firm.

The ugly.  I know this is a relative term, and it is not and has not been as ugly as in recent years, but there are still some large firm implosions that seem to be lurking in the shadows, both in the US and in our neighbor to the North. Deal flow has not increased as much as had been expected, and large litigations are going to be limited by legislation and recent Chancery court decisions.

In short, we’re not out of the woods yet, but progress is continuing to be made.





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