According to new research, released by Robert Half Legal, litigation should yield the greatest legal job prospects in the coming months. More than half (52%) of U.S.-based lawyers surveyed expect the litigation practice area to be the top driver of job growth at their law firms or companies in the second half of 2018, followed by general business or commercial law (12%), and real estate (9%).
Within the area of litigation, insurance defense is anticipated to yield the most legal jobs, according to nearly 4 in 10 lawyers (39%). Commercial litigation ranked second, with 23% of the survey response, followed by employment law, at 18%.
“Law firms and companies are competing to recruit and retain the legal field’s best talent,” said Jamy Sullivan, executive director of Robert Half Legal. “Senior-level associates with commercial litigation, real estate and insurance defense backgrounds are sought by law firms to enhance service offerings, while legal departments are hiring compliance, corporate transactional and employment law specialists to help them manage rising workloads.”
One in seven (14%) lawyers surveyed said their law firm or company plans to increase its outsourcing of legal matters to attorneys on a contract or project basis in the next 12 months. Litigation support was ranked as the most common type of legal work to be assigned to consultants, cited by 83% of respondents. Legal research ranked second, with 64% of the response, followed by document review, at 37%.
Sullivan added that an increase in legal court filings and proceedings is accelerating demand for legal professionals with litigation backgrounds. “Many companies are proactively implementing strategies to minimize litigation risk, which also is heightening the need for experienced litigation specialists,” she said.
Lawyers were asked, “Which one of the following practice areas will offer the greatest number of job opportunities at your law firm or company in the second half of 2018?” Their responses:
- Litigation (52%)
- General business/commercial law (12%)
- Real estate (9%)
- Health care (6%)
- Intellectual property (3%)
- Privacy, data security, and information law (3%)
- Ethics and corporate governance (1%)
- Regulatory or compliance (1%)
- Other (3%)
- None/don’t know (10%)
Lawyers who cited “litigation” as a response were also asked, “Which of the following areas of litigation, if any, will offer the greatest number of job opportunities at your law firm or company?” Their responses:
- Insurance defense (39%)
- Commercial litigation (23%)
- Employment (18%)
- Securities and corporate governance (9%)
- Intellectual property (9%)
- Class actions (8%)
- Other (18%)
- Don’t know (13%)
The online survey was developed by Robert Half Legal and conducted by a leading independent research firm. It is based on responses from more than 200 lawyers who work full time at law firms with 20 or more employees and corporate legal departments with 1,000 or more employees, or as solo practitioners. Respondents possess 5-plus years’ experience in the legal profession and are involved in managing the hiring of legal personnel. For more information, click here.