Survey: Blended Law Clerk and Legal Assistant Roles Account for Nearly One-Third of Legal Support Jobs in Canada

As clients seek legal services at lower costs, the need for multifaceted support staff is growing.

Toronto, ON — As clients seek legal services at lower costs, the need for multifaceted support staff is growing. More than half of Canadian lawyers (52 per cent) interviewed by Robert Half Legal said blended or hybrid law clerk and legal assistant positions have become more prevalent in the last two years, and 28 per cent said their organization plans to increase hiring for these roles in the next 12 months. The research also found that 30 per cent of the legal support jobs at law firms or companies are hybrid positions.

View an infographic with the full survey findings.

The survey was developed by Robert Half Legal, a legal staffing and consulting solutions firm specializing in placing lawyers, law clerks and other highly skilled legal professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on 150 telephone interviews with lawyers from the largest law firms and companies in Canada.

Lawyers were asked, “In your opinion, have blended or hybrid law clerk/legal assistant positions become more or less common than they were two years ago?Their responses:*

 

Much more common

12%

Somewhat more common

40%

No change

38%

Somewhat less common

5%

Much less common

1%

Don’t know

5%

 

101%

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

 

Lawyers were also asked, “Does your law firm or company plan to increase or decrease its hiring of legal support professionals for blended or hybrid law clerk/legal assistant positions in the next 12 months?Their responses:

 

Increase significantly

2%

Increase somewhat

26%

Keep the same/no change

68%

Decrease somewhat

2%

Decrease significantly

0%

Don’t know

2%

 

100%

 

“Hybrid positions that combine administrative tasks with law clerk duties are becoming more widespread as firms restructure their support teams to improve efficiencies,” said Jamy Sullivan, executive director of Robert Half Legal. “To deliver quality results to clients at lower billing rates, the responsibilities of legal professionals in these blended roles are also expanding to include a variety of litigation support tasks traditionally handled by first-year associates.”

Job prospects and salaries are increasing as employers compete for tech-savvy and versatile legal assistants, Sullivan observed. “Law clerks with a bachelor’s degree, technical proficiency and three-plus years of experience in a high-demand specialty — such as compliance or commercial litigation — are in short supply,” she said.

The Robert Half Legal 2018 Salary Guide revealed average starting salaries for hybrid law clerk jobs at a midpoint of $47,000 in Canada, depending on the scope and complexity of the position. Download a complimentary copy of the guide and access a salary calculator at the Robert Half Legal Salary Centre.

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. Follow @RobertHalf_CAN and visit roberthalf.ca/blog for workplace news, trends and advice.

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