Thursday, December 29, 2016

Hiring & Firing at Pennsylvania Law Firms

Do these trends hold for other parts of the country? From the Legal Intelligencer (Dec. 12, 2016):

The number of firms that said they laid off lawyers in the past year increased from 3.2 percent in 2015 to 12 percent in 2016. And the same goes for expectations for layoffs in the coming year, with a rise to 12 percent of firms expecting to cut ­additional attorneys in 2017.

The staff ranks were hit even harder at Pennsylvania law firms in the last year, with 22.7 percent of respondents saying they have cut staff recently. That was up from 3.3 percent that said the same in 2015. Plans for additional staff cuts in the coming year are in the works for 8.7 percent of respondents, up from 6.5 percent last year.

When it comes to which types of lawyers law firms are bringing into the fold, associates are waning and contract lawyers are on the rise.

According to the survey results, 60 percent of respondents hired the same or fewer associates this year as they did last year. Only 44 percent said that in 2015, when 25.8 percent hired more first-year associates. This year, only 16 percent of respondents hired more first-years.

The use of contract lawyers, on the other hand, saw a big jump. Of the 48 percent of firms that hired contract lawyers in the last year, 83.3 percent said they hired more than they had in prior years. That was up from 71.4 percent in 2015.

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