Lawyer Hiring Up Though Many Firms Cautious, Says Consulting Firm Altman Weil
Lawyer hiring is up according to the 2013 Law Firms in Transition Survey recently released by the Altman Weil consulting firm and authored by Thomas S. Clay. Based upon a sample of 791 U.S. law firms with 50 or more lawyers, the report suggests that, although firms are being careful about growth and more selective in determining who will become partner, many are expanding the numbers of lawyers within their ranks.
For the year 2012, the following percentages of firms reported increases in the number of lawyers by categories (with the percentage of increase in the parenthetical):
53.5% increased the number of equity partners (the median change was 1%).
65.1% increased the number of non-equity partners (the median change was 3%)
59.4% increased the number of partner-track associates (the median change was 2%).
28.2% increased the number of non-partner-track associates (the median change was 0%).
35.9% increased the number of other full-time lawyers (the median change was 0%).
The use of part-time and contract lawyers is now the norm within these firms:
81.6% are using part-time lawyers.
76.5% are using contract lawyers.
And many firms see growth by hiring new lawyers:
89.4% plan to hire laterals during 2013.
55.7% believe growth is a requirement for their firms’ continued success.
Altman Weil’s observations are consistent with published reports about the improving legal job market in Michigan and with Cooley’s own observations about lawyer demographics that the market for legal jobs is picking up.