As 2013 comes to a close, experts are making predictions for the year ahead on just about everything from financial forecasts to travel destinations, to social media trends and more. Here are a few of our legal hiring predictions and practice areas to watch in 2014:
Top Legal Hiring and Practice Area Trends
Law firms and corporate legal departments will make strategic hires. The majority of lawyers we interviewed are planning to hire: Twenty-seven percent of lawyers said their law firm or company plans to expand or add new positions in the next six months and 55 percent said their organizations will maintain current staff levels by filling vacant posts.
Litigation should continue to drive legal hiring. Nearly half (46 percent) of lawyers we surveyed expect litigation to generate the greatest number of legal job opportunities from January through June of 2014. Within the litigation practice area, insurance defense was cited by 46 percent of lawyers as the leading driver of job growth, followed by commercial litigation (37 percent) and employment law (28 percent).
General business/commercial law should remain a hot area for legal hiring. Legal specialists who are able to provide guidance and support for commercial transactions, corporate securities, contract administration, regulatory compliance, and associated business matters, will remain in strong demand for the foreseeable future.
Intellectual property will remain a priority at companies of all sizes in virtually every industry. As a result, organizations will have a heightened need for lawyers and legal support professionals with expertise in patent, trademark and copyright law.
Retention will become a front-burner issue. Employers who plan to expand their legal teams in 2014 may want to reassess their recruiting and retention programs. Six in ten (60 percent) lawyers we surveyed cited at least some challenge in finding skilled legal talent, while one-third (33 percent) of lawyers expressed concern about losing top performers to other legal job opportunities.
For more on legal hiring trends, hot legal jobs and practice areas in demand, download a complimentary copy of the Robert Half Legal 2014 Salary Guide.