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Nearly a Third of Surveyed Lawyers Anticipate Hiring in Fourth Quarter

Posted Sep 14, 2012 6:56 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Nearly a third of law firms and corporations plan to hire full-time legal professionals in the fourth quarter, according to a survey of 200 lawyers with hiring authority.

Half of those surveyed by Robert Half Legal were from law firms of 20 or more employees, and half were from corporations of 1,000 or more employees, according to a press release. Thirty-two percent planned to hire full-time legal professionals, while 3 percent planned staff reductions.

An average of two positions will be added at the hiring organizations. Most plan to hire lawyers (93 percent), paralegals (28 percent), and legal secretaries or assistants (14 percent).

Robert Half Legal executive director Charles Volkert identifies the hiring bright spots. "In particular, small and midsize law firms are recruiting associates with solid business development skills and client portfolios to expand practice groups in high-demand specialties such as healthcare and corporate law,” he said in the press release.

In corporations, he said, healthcare reforms are also spurring legal hiring. Other factors are business growth and regulatory activity.

Columbus Business First looked at the local angle. Jeanne Wafalosky, division director of Robert Half Legal in Columbus, Ohio, said the hiring numbers there are close to the national average. “The market isn’t as bad as it sounds on the news,” she told the publication. “It’s definitely, 100 percent trending up.”

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