The U.S. labor market is experiencing all-time lows for unemployment rates, and the legal field is no exception. Aspiring lawyers have responded to these fluctuations as represented by statistics from law schools, and specific areas of the profession have been impacted by varying demands, with an increased focus on technology, privacy, and security.
Enrollment and Graduation
Much of the change is attributed to changes in class size and enrollment as the ABA reports a 5.9% decrease in class size from 2016 to 2017– part of a longer downward trend. As such, employers are competing for candidates within a smaller pool for positions that are often specialized in nature. Several fields and legal jobs in the trade are most impacted for both demand and growth. Moving into the future, the job market may soon be experiencing change as sources are reporting surges in law school enrollment as of 2017.
Litigation and commercial law present the largest number of job opportunities for new grads. This demand is reflected in midpoint salary ranges of $128,000.00 and $93,000 (for corporate compliance managers) respectively. In both cases, the hiring trends lean towards contract work, as it affords employers flexibility and an evaluation period for contract-to-hire employees, while some lawyers view the arrangement as a better opportunity for work-life-balance than full-time employment in a firm
Technological booms have increased caseloads revolving around innovation and privacy as well as the application of advanced technologies in everything from eDiscovery to everyday tasks of law firms. In turn, steady technological advance has increased the need for specialized support staff. An increased need for data security has led to a substantial increase in job growth for Information governance and security analysts as reported by the BLS. Security analysts are looking at a projected growth rate of 28% from 2016-2026. Paralegals and legal assistants follow in the list of job growth, ahead of secretaries and administrative assistants. Lawyers, in fact, are looking at the lowest rate of job growth within the legal trade, behind support staff. These trends are reflected by the fact that emergent technologies decrease the workload of attorneys, allowing firms to do more with fewer lawyers, while requiring the increased presence of specialists to operate and maintain the tech.
Many lawyers have come to view work-life-balance as a major factor in their career longevity and success. Leading staffers in the legaltech industry work to match qualified candidates with job opportunities, affording them precisely that balance. From the perspective of employers, contract work in the law trade presents advantages over outsourcing in terms of accountability and communication. As such, many firms continue to look towards the legaltech field for solutions to cyclical and case-by-case demands for staffing. These positions often require specialized knowledge that’s difficult to find in broad candidate searches, and this is where legal staffing agencies can be of great help. But LawTrades Apex can help. Schedule a free demo today to see how you can take advantage of our powerful legaltech tool to find the right candidate for you.