Executive Summaries » Law Department Staffing Trends

Law Department Staffing Trends

February 23, 2015

The survey captured information about legal department staffing trends for 2015. One-third of respondents came from departments of six to 24 lawyers, another third from departments of five or less and one fourth from departments with 26 or more lawyers. The larger departments expect to do some hiring.

Only a small percentage of respondents reported planning layoffs, and those were more likely to be in smaller departments.

Networking was reported to be the most popular method for recruiting new lawyers, but respondents from larger departments and organizations indicated that they used many more methods for recruiting than did smaller ones. More than a third of respondents said they used a legal recruiting firm. Two-thirds of respondents said that where someone went to law school is either highly important or somewhat important. There was no difference in how respondents answered this question based on the size of the department or organization.

“I think in-house hiring will be stable this year, with some growth,” said Richards Gordon, Boston-based partner in the Major, Lindsey & Africa search firm and leader of the In-House Practice Group. “An example I use is a major law firm that laid off 15 lawyers when the recession came, and as things turned around they hired, but they didn’t hire 15 lawyers. They became more careful and made sure they could justify every decision to bring someone on. The same thing is happening in-house. Hiring is back, but staffing decisions are carefully measured.”

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