Survey: Litigation To Be Strong Driver of Legal Hiring in Canada for the Next 6 Months

Nearly one-third (30 per cent) of lawyers expect litigation to produce the greatest number of legal jobs

  • Within the litigation specialty, securities and corporate governance is the leading driver of job opportunities
  • Document review, legal research and litigation support were cited as top areas to outsource as project work


Toronto, ON — Litigation should yield the greatest legal job prospects in the coming months, new research reveals. Nearly one-third (30 per cent) of Canada-based lawyers surveyed by Robert Half Legal 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 corporate law (24 per cent) and regulatory or compliance law (15 per cent).


Within the area of litigation, securities and corporate governance is anticipated to yield the most legal jobs, according to more than seven in 10 (72 per cent) of lawyers. Intellectual property ranked second, with 55 per cent of the survey response, followed by employment law, at 52 per cent.


View and infographic of the survey results.


“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 intellectual property backgrounds are sought by law firms to enhance service offerings, while legal departments are hiring compliance, corporate governance and employment law specialists to help them manage rising workloads.”


Three-quarters (75 per cent) of Canadian lawyers surveyed said their law firm or company plans to increase its outsourcing of legal matters to lawyers on a contract or project basis in the next 12 months. Document review was ranked as the most common type of legal work to be assigned to consultants, cited by 60 per cent of respondents. Legal research ranked second, with 59 per cent of the response, followed by litigation support, at 58 per cent.


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:




General business/corporate law


Regulatory or compliance


Real estate


Privacy, data security and information law


Intellectual property


Ethics and corporate governance




None/don’t know





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:*


Securities and corporate governance


Intellectual property




Commercial litigation


Insurance defence


Class actions




Don’t know


                                *Multiple responses were permitted.



Survey Methodology  

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 150 lawyers in Canada 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 five-plus years’ experience in the legal profession and are involved in managing the hiring of legal personnel.


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 at