Change has been in the legal workforce for a while, and 2024 promises more of the same. This article explores hiring and compensation trends in the field, as highlighted in the latest Robert Half Salary Guide edition.
Demand for specialized expertise
The legal industry is hungry for specialized skill sets. Corporate legal departments and small-to-midsize law firms seek skilled candidates with 3-7 years of experience. Among these in-demand roles, litigation experience is becoming a key qualifier, with expertise in civil, class action, and commercial litigation taking center stage.
The remote work dilemma
Law firms and corporate legal departments offering remote or hybrid work arrangements stand to gain a competitive edge in the hiring market. These options have become more than perks, and they're increasingly the cornerstone of recruitment and retention strategies in many fields.
But while many legal professionals crave these flexible work arrangements, some employers still prefer an in-office presence. This expectation gap is causing some positions to remain unfilled, exacerbating staffing challenges.
In some ways, this shouldn’t be surprising: A recent Robert Half survey found that 42% of legal professionals consider flexible work options their top consideration when applying for jobs.
The importance of contract talent
To address staffing and knowledge gaps, legal departments and law firms alike are ramping up their use of contract professionals. Around half (49%) of law firms are turning to contract lawyers, while 43% hire legal specialists on a contract basis. Corporate legal departments are also following suit, particularly for litigation support and eDiscovery (38%), in-house counsel (36%), and legal support (36%).
Looking toward 2024, the legal world is anything but static. From the rising demand for skills with emerging technologies to the growing role of contract talent, the field is changing fast, creating an exciting landscape for employers and professionals.
Jamy J. Sullivan is executive director of the legal practice at Robert Half, the world’s first and largest specialized talent solutions firm. Robert Half offers contract, temporary, and permanent placement solutions and is the parent company of Protiviti®, a global consulting firm. Visit RobertHalf.com.