May 31, 2019
In the Age of Trump, lawyers are hot—and law firms are hiring again. In a survey by Robert Half Legal released on May 30, fully 68% of lawyers said their firms plan to increase the number of positions available for first-year associates within the next year—more than triple the number of lawyers who cited similar hiring plans in the same survey in 2017.
Of those who said they plan to on-board more associates, 14% plan to increase hiring significantly, while 54% said they plan to increase somewhat, and 27% said they neither plan an increase nor a decrease. Just 1% of respondents indicated that their firms would decrease the number of first-year associates.
Beyond expanding job offers to recent law school graduates, law firms are re-assessing starting salaries for those candidates. Nearly two-thirds (63%) believe their firm should raise first-year remuneration.
“While law firms don’t expect newly minted associates to possess in-depth industry knowledge, they do seek lawyers with advanced tech skills, business acumen, and collaboration abilities,” comments Jamy Sullivan, executive director of Robert Half Legal. “Highlighting in-demand attributes on their resumes—along with scholastic accomplishments; and legal experience gleaned through internships, pro bono activities and project work—helps candidates stand out to potential employers.”
Sullivan added that it’s important for applicants to take a strategic approach when researching legal positions. “Aside from responding to online postings, law school graduates can enhance their job search efforts by attending legal conferences, workshops, and events to network and learn of new leads.”
The online survey was developed by Robert Half Legal and conducted by a leading independent research firm. It is based on responses from more than 175 lawyers in the United States and Canada who work full-time at law firms with 20 or more employees.
Research contact: @RobertHalfLegal