Litigation Expected to Drive Hiring in First Half of 2017

December 15, 2016

Nearly One-Third of Canadian Lawyers Plan to Add New Legal Jobs

Toronto, ON -- The legal field is expected to see steady hiring with litigation projected to yield the greatest job prospects. Thirty per cent of Canadian lawyers interviewed by Robert Half Legal predict that their law firms or companies will add legal jobs in the first half of 2017. This compares to 33 per cent six months ago and 23 per cent one year ago. Forty-eight per cent of lawyers said they plan to only fill vacant posts in the next six months, while 12 per cent said they would neither fill vacant positions nor create new ones. Three per cent of respondents anticipate staff reductions.

Legal Hiring Environment in Canada

Jan.-June 2017

July-Dec. 2016

Jan.-June 2016

Expanding/adding new positions

30%

33%

23%

Maintaining/filling vacated positions

48%

53%

56%

Freezing/not filling vacated positions or creating new ones

12%

7%

17%

Reducing/eliminating positions

3%

3%

2%

Don’t know/no answer

7%

4%

2%

 

100%

 100%

100%

 

 

Other Key Findings

  • Fifty-five per cent of lawyers said finding skilled legal professionals is somewhat or very challenging, while 33 per cent of survey respondents expressed concern about losing legal personnel to other job opportunities in the next six months.
  • Thirty-eight per cent of lawyers said that, aside from compensation or bonus, challenging work or variety of assignments provide the greatest incentive for legal professionals to remain with an employer. Flexible work arrangements ranked second, receiving 30 per cent of the survey response, followed by professional development opportunities, at 15 per cent.

“Law firms in particular are recruiting highly skilled experts with backgrounds in commercial litigation, insurance defence and eDiscovery to help them manage rising caseloads and meet client needs,” said Charles Volkert, senior district president of Robert Half Legal. “As a result, legal professionals with five-plus years’ litigation experience are in strong demand and many are receiving multiple job offers.”

Volkert added that as employers increasingly compete for highly skilled legal professionals, retention remains a top priority. “The loss of a tenured attorney not only adversely impacts client service, it also can affect a firm’s profitability,” said Volkert.

Litigation Expertise in Demand

Litigation is expected to yield the most job opportunities from January through June of 2017, according to 31 per cent of attorneys surveyed. Within the litigation practice area, commercial litigation was identified as the leading driver of job growth, receiving 41 per cent of the survey response.

Lawyers were asked, “Which one of the following practice areas will offer the greatest number of job opportunities in the first half of 2017?” Their responses:**

Litigation

31%

General business/corporate law

26%

Real estate

14%

Regulatory or compliance

5%

Privacy, data security and information law

4%

Family law

4%

Ethics and corporate governance

3%

Intellectual property

2%

Other

4%

None/don’t know/no answer

8%

 

101%

**Responses do not total 100 per cent due to rounding.

Lawyers who cited “litigation” as a response were also asked, “Which of the following areas of litigation, if any, will offer the greatest job opportunities in the first half of 2017?” Their responses:***

Commercial litigation

41%

Insurance defence

35%

Employment

26%

Personal/family law

12%

Securities and corporate governance

8%

Personal injury

7%

Intellectual property

3%

Other

9%

***Multiple responses were permitted.

Survey Methodology

The survey was developed by Robert Half Legal and conducted by an independent research firm. It is based on 150 telephone interviews with lawyers in Canada: 75 of the respondents are employed at law firms with 20 or more employees and 75 are employed at companies with 1,000 or more employees. All of the respondents have hiring authority within their organizations.

About Robert Half Legal

Robert Half Legal is the premier provider of legal staffing and consulting solutions for law firms and corporate legal departments. With North American and global locations, Robert Half Legal provides a customized approach, including managed review, legal project management and eDiscovery services, to help organizations handle constantly changing workloads. The company offers in-demand expertise across practice areas as well as highly skilled legal professionals on a temporary, project and full-time basis. More information about our full suite of legal staffing and consulting solutions can be found roberthalf.ca/legal, and for career and management advice, follow our Legal Blog at blog.roberthalflegal.com. Follow @RobertHalf_CAN and visit blog.roberthalf.ca for workplace news, trends and advice.

For further information contact: Naz Araghian, (416) 865-2140, [email protected]