A Quick Look at the Legal Labor Market

The legal industry is seeing modest job gains in a post-recession economy. In October 2015, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced that the U.S. economy created nearly 5,000 legal jobs during the previous month. So while job growth is so-so and law school enrollment continues to dip nationwide (after peaking in 2010), non-traditional careers are the bright spot—realizing robust growth. This includes jobs in information technology, electronic discovery, administration, research, document collection, witness preparation, depositions and due diligence.

The shift towards IT reflects the legal profession’s move away from paper-based practices and towards streamlined, digital processes—and the need for employees with technical skills to match. When filling the aforementioned non-traditional positions, employers are placing an emphasis on unique experience and IT skills, as eDiscovery and other advanced capabilities are becoming a way for law firms to differentiate their services.

Attracting Key Talent

The jobs below are estimated to grow at the following rates (between 2012 and 2022), according to BLS:

  • Information governance and security analysts: +37%
  • Paralegals and legal assistants: +17%
  • Secretaries and administrative assistants: +12%
  • Lawyers: +10%

It would be prudent to have retention programs designed to keep talent that occupies these positions. Experienced, skilled and well-connected legal professionals are growing in importance at a time when Baby Boomers are heading for the exits. Additionally, an effective retention program can help you with succession planning, which provides continuity for your law firm or corporate legal department.

You should also consider cross-functional training for certain roles, in order to share knowledge of various software and technologies. This will help you take full advantage of the benefits and efficiencies that the technologies offer and reduce interruptions if technically inclined professionals leave.

Work-Life Balance

In the U.S., there are nearly 1.25 million workers who provide legal services. While you are focusing on priorities such as information governance, intellectual property and data security, you should keep work-life balance in mind. Some attorneys are actually leaving law firms to join the corporate world, where they often regard work hours as more manageable. Indeed, work-life balance is frequently cited as one of the top reasons why attorneys leave their current positions.

Many lawyers—especially those with families—also believe that working in a corporate setting can provide more stability. At law firms, clients are often pushing back on legal fees, which places added pressure on attorneys to innovate, boost productivity and lower costs.

2016 Salary Guide

To get up-to-date salaries in key markets, check out our 2016 Salary Guide. Compensation figures are broken down by job title and local markets. The information found in the Salary Guide enables you to make competitive offers when you find the right candidates. After all, research shows that compensation is consistently a top consideration (along with work-life balance!) when potential hires decide on job offers.

Attract & Retain Top Talent

With a rapidly changing industry, it's vital to offer the right compensation and set the right expectation. With our 2017 Salary Guide, get detailed job descriptions, industry insights and local salary data to equip your managers with hiring confidence and expertise.

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