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By Yin Wilczek
June 29 — Almost three in 10 in-house and outside counsel plan to hire in the second half of this year, according to a new survey.
The Robert Half Legal survey—which polled 100 in-house attorneys and 100 attorneys at law firms—also stated that 64 percent of the respondents found it somewhat or very challenging to find skilled legal professionals.
“Competition for top talent is intensifying as law firms and corporate legal departments expand their teams to meet rising demand for legal services,” Robert Half Legal Executive Director Charles Volkert said in a release. “When evaluating job seekers for a position, employers must move quickly to avoid losing top candidates to another organization.”
Volkert added that to assess attorneys' potential for success within their firms, hiring managers are placing more weight on personal referrals and the prestige of former employers.
The survey findings are in line with prior reports in which consultants told Bloomberg BNA that in-house law departments are beefing up internal resources, relying less on outside attorneys and competing with law firms for the same small pool of talent.
In other highlights, the Robert Half Legal survey, released June 25, found that 58 percent of the respondents expect to fill only vacant positions. Only 1 percent of the respondents expect staff reductions in the next six months.
In addition, 39 percent of the respondents were concerned about losing attorneys to other job opportunities.
The survey further found that litigation is expected to yield the most job opportunities in the second half of the year, as cited by 39 percent of the respondents. Within the litigation umbrella, the respondents said the top drivers of job growth were:
• insurance defense;
• commercial litigation;
• employment; and
• securities and corporate governance.
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