Law firms increasing their ranks in new year

With the national unemployment rate well below 5 percent and over 70 consecutive months of private sector job growth, it’s clear that businesses are hiring again. Will they continue to do so in 2017? Economists seem to think so, and law firms in the new year may lead the way, according to a recent survey.

Approximately 60 percent of lawyers intend to fill open positions within their firms in 2017, based on a newly released poll conducted by staffing and recruitment company Robert Half. That’s up from 51 percent in the second half of 2016.

“One-quarter of law firms will add new positions in 2017.”

Furthermore, 25 percent of lawyers intend to expand their companies by adding entirely new positions, the report said. That’s up slightly from 24 percent compared to the same period last year.

Firms reining in staff reductions

Perhaps most notably, cutbacks are expected to be virtually non-existent in 2017. The poll found 0 percent of firms plan to reduce or scale back their staff levels over the next six months, Robert Half reported from the survey.

Charles Volkert, Robert Half senior district president for the company’s legal division, indicated that firms specializing in specific kinds of litigation will be more active than others as far as hiring is concerned.

“Law firms in particular are recruiting highly skilled experts with backgrounds in commercial litigation, insurance defense and eDiscovery to help them manage rising caseloads and meet client needs,” Volkert explained. “As a result, legal professionals with five-plus years of litigation experience are in strong demand and many are receiving multiple job offers.”

1 in 5 companies intend to hire

“Hiring activity is expected to flourish in Florida.”

The expected rate of hiring among law firms is substantially higher than the national average, at least according to a recent survey’s estimates performed by staffing solutions firm ManpowerGroup. During the first three months of 2017, approximately 20 percent of employers plan to recruit workers, down from 23 percent in the closing quarter of 2016. Companies in Florida expect to be doing quite a bit of hiring as three of the five cities where job prospects are strongest reside in the Sunshine State, those being Deltona, Cape Coral and North Port.

The legal field is a sizeable one, of course, as attorney expertise is needed in all walks of life. But litigation is where lawyers are needed the most, according to the Robert Half survey. Forty percent of lawyers cited litigation as the practice where job openings would be greatest in 2017, with general business and commercial law coming in a distant second at 16 percent. Real estate rounded out the top three at 7 percent, tied with family law.

While litigation is a profitable area of practice, it’s also an expensive one in the run up to the first appearance in court. Furthermore, because lawsuit timeframes tend to be long, cash flow may be limited the longer a case goes. Alliance Legal Solutions provides the financial resources firms need to stay current and take care of any and all expenses, including the essentials like payroll.