Current Legal Hiring Trends

It has not happened as quickly as many attorneys would have liked.  However, legal hiring has picked up.  Firms have been seeking attorneys with substantial portable business in almost every practice area all through the recession.  Until recently, many attorneys with large books of business have been reluctant to make moves.  However, more recently, those attorneys have felt confident enough in the economy to pick up their clients and move to other law firms.  Many of these rainmakers have chosen to make the move from large firms to mid-size and even smaller boutique firms.  They have felt that they will be able to avoid the office politics attendant with mega firms and receive the marketing support and more reasonable billable hour rates to enable them to keep and cultivate clients.  Still another group of rainmakers have found other large firms to meet their needs for marketing support and cross marketing opportunities and allow them to still enjoy practicing law.

Now firms are getting busy enough to seek attorneys who are not fully self sustaining especially in regulatory areas such as healthcare regulatory and energy and oil and gas regulation.  Intellectual Property attorneys remain in demand, especially those with degrees in Biochemistry or Electrical Engineering and those with ANDA Litigation experience.

Labor and Employment attorneys  are being sought, especially those with management side restrictive covenant and wrongful termination litigation experience.

M & A is back and more firms are seeking corporate attorneys.  While it is true that deals are taking much longer to come to fruition than in the past, in part due to a tightening of the purse strings of lenders, firms still need attorneys to draft the documents and put those deals together.  Deals involving middle equity markets seem to be coming together the quickest.

Class Action litigation remains busy in many areas including securities, antitrust, and mass torts.  More Asbestos Litigation cases seem to be going to trial these days and experienced attorneys are needed to try them.

The good news is that positions have been slowly opening for stellar litigation associates.  However, many of these positions are for litigation associates with 2 to 4 years of large firm experience.  This is very bad news for the many stellar 6th and 7th year litigation associates who were laid off from large firms during the height of the recession.  A number of these talented attorneys are having trouble finding positions.

Corporations are increasing their hiring of in house attorneys, once again, especially in regulatory areas such as Healthcare Regulatory, FCC Regulatory, and Energy Regulatory as well as Intellectual Property.  These companies are finding that they are busy enough for it to make financial sense to have an extra attorney in house as opposed to paying more outside attorney fees.

Things look very hopeful for a much better 2011 for attorney hiring and the financials of law firms and corporations.  We wish all of the attorneys and paralegals reading this article  much success in their careers and practices.  We are available to help in any way that we can.

Susan Rubinovitz, Esq. is a former practicing litigation attorney and President of SMR Legal Search, a legal recruiting firm based in Philadelphia that focuses on placing attorneys and paralegals in permanent positions with law firms and corporations in the Northeast and Nationally.  SMR Legal Search provides complimentary resume writing assistance, business plan development and writing as well as interview skills training to the attorneys with whom they are actively working.  They also work with law firms and corporations on assessing and filling their hiring needs and helping to implement diversity and other hiring initiatives.

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5 Responses to “Current Legal Hiring Trends”

  1. Jennis Hemingway Says:

    Too bad you don’t specialize in the southwest

  2. Susan Rubinovitz Says:

    Hi Jennis,

    I would be happy to talk with you and see if I can help you in anyway. If you send me your resume and contact information, I will contact you.

    Thanks.
    Susan

  3. Jennis Hemingway Says:

    Thank you Susan. Where should I send my information?
    Jennis

  4. smrlegalsearch Says:

    Jennis,
    You can e-mail your resume to me at SMR@SMRLegalSearch.com

  5. Brandon Tatum Says:

    Thanks a lot for this article. It’s good to hear that the economy seems to be turning around for law firms and that they are hiring more. I’m also in the southwest. Hopefully we can speak soon as I would appreciate any advice and guidance. Thanks!

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