Law Departments Hiring More Contract Lawyers, and the Pickings Are Good

An increasing number of corporate law departments are hiring contract lawyers and sending them more projects, according to two principals with Pennsylvania legal staffing firms.

James LaRosa, an owner of JuriStaff in Philadelphia, told the Legal Intelligencer that legal departments are hiring contract lawyers for stints of six months to a year to handle specific projects, and they typically are paying between $75 and $150 an hour. More specialized lawyers may command even higher pay.

LaRosa said employers benefit because so many good lawyers were laid off and available for contract work. “The pool of contract attorneys right now is exceptional,” he told the Intelligencer.

Valerie Esposito of McAnney Esposito & Kraybill Associates in Pittsburgh also reports a “huge upswing” in law department demand for contract lawyers. But as the economy improves, she believes law departments “are leaning back toward permanent hires rather than contract hires,” she told the Intelligencer.

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