The 2017 legal market was one of the better legal markets on record. We placed 30% more attorneys in 2017 than we placed in 2016—and 2016 was a very good legal market.
While the partner market was healthy, the associate market was far healthier than it has been in a generation. The market is doing well in every part of the country.
Provided there is no crash, the 2018 market should be an even better market than 2017.
Litigation was surprisingly active in smaller to midsized law firms and very slow in the largest law firms. Large law firms have continued to have reduced hiring in 2017. Large law firms have also started creating more and more staff attorney roles for litigators. We saw numerous law firms do this in 2017 that formerly would have hired regular associates.
Niche practice areas remained very popular and the easiest to get jobs in. The more “niche” an attorney’s background, the more marketable they are likely to be. Attorneys in the most niche practice areas that are geographically flexible were almost always able to land positions.
For many niche practice areas, it became easier for attorneys to get hired at top law firms than it has ever been. Large law firms are finding a lack of talent for attorneys in many niche practice areas and hiring more and more of them.
Corporate generalist hiring was much less robust than it was in the previous years; however, corporate finance has gotten busier.
Overall, corporate was extremely competitive to get positions within the largest law firms, but smaller to midsized firms were hungry for attorneys in corporate.
Real estate was very slow. There was hardly any activity in real estate all year, and real estate attorneys had a difficult time.
More and larger law firms are moving away from employment-related work. Many of those that are not are hiring “staff attorneys” to do the day-to-day related employment work. In an interesting twist, many employment-only firms did a lot of hiring in 2017 and were increasingly demanding the best talent.
Trademark is traditionally a “barometer” of a healthy economy with new businesses being started—we saw more trademark jobs in the last month of 2017 than we have ever seen. Many large law firms are hiring staff attorneys to do trademark work, however.
Senior level litigators had a very, very difficult time getting positions in larger markets. Litigation is increasingly becoming a dangerous practice area for large law firm attorneys with few opportunities for advancement.
More and more millennials seem to be interested in smaller law firms and unconcerned about compensation and leaving large law firms than ever before—many are simply quitting.
Changes have occurred in the legal world according to the 2016-2017 State of the Market Report.
For instance, hiring law firms are far more interested in an attorney’s niche practice than a generalist-type attorney.
Niche practices have also shown themselves as more important for job hunting attorneys than where they went to law school.
Summary: This State of the Market Report covers the major trends in legal placements for 2016 and 2017. As this Report explains, one of the most significant features of the new legal job landscape is the increasing demand for specialist attorneys and the decreasing demand for generalist attorneys. In fact, it appears that the new badge of marketability has become the quality of an attorney's "niche" practice area experience as opposed to the quality of the attorney's law school or law firm. This Report tells you what happened with the legal job market across the country in 2016 and what we can expect in 2017. READ MORE >
Many recruiters use a five-level system to determine the ability of a law firm candidate.
Of course, those levels are based on criteria not just of the client, but the law firm as well.
That can include the firm’s client base’s stature and the prestige level of the firm’s partners.
For the candidate, their law school grades and work ethic are used for evaluation.
Summary: This article reveals the secrets of the Harvard-inspired ranking system used by high-end legal recruiters to appropriately match attorney candidates with law firms. BCG recruiters assign rankings of “5” (highest) to “1” (lowest) to every law firm seeking to hire attorneys and to every candidate seeking to find a law firm position. The rankings are based on a host of criteria including (for law firms) the stature of the firm’s client base and caliber of the firm’s partners and (for attorney candidates) the candidate’s law school grades and the candidate’s work ethic. READ MORE >
They can be raises or come in the form of holiday bonuses.
Still, law firm compensation has changed within the last 15 years.
Find out now what those changes are.
Summary: Learn more about the history of law firm partner compensation and how partners are compensated in law firms today in this article.
There has been considerable change in law firm partner compensation systems over the past 15 years and two basic systems exist today – subjective systems and lockstep systems – according to a recent white paper. U.S. law firms overwhelmingly use subjective systems in which committees allocate compensation based on a number of factors, the most important of which is client origination. READ MORE >