Trending Now: Legal Hiring is Up!
Good news!! Hiring is up in the legal industry. According to the Labor Department, the United States legal services sector added 2,300 jobs in April 2015. In this number, the Labor Department includes jobs such as attorneys, patent agents, paralegals, process servers, notaries, among others (Gershman). Moreover, going forward, legal employment levels are looking both steady and fairly high right now. Overall, there were 1,122,100 jobs in April, a preliminary and seasonally adjusted number. That figure is the highest for the legal sector since August 2014 and is roughly 2,000 over the number that was calculated at the beginning of this year. However, the legal sector still needs some improvement to reach pre-recession employment levels. In 2007, jobs were at a figure of 1,180,000 or around 5% more of this April’s total.
Given that legal hiring for attorneys has improved and has continued to improve, what do you need to do to make a lateral move or to find a new position in the industry? Many attorneys find that having a robust practice area can help. Indeed, law firms desire candidates with extensive on-point experience and expertise when considering candidate who are making a lateral move. Further, according to anecdotal evidence, 60% of lawyers report that their organizations find it challenging to find highly talented legal professionals. So which practice areas are most desirable, have the greatest number of opening, and have the greatest long-term potential?
In addition to a traditional corporate or litigation practice, let’s review – some of these practice areas might surprise you:
Due to the Affordable Care Act, the healthcare sector has formed new job positions. Thus, more legal work is also created. An individual can work any number of different organizations, including a law firm health law practice to other organizations representing corporations, biotechnology institutions, or pharmaceutical manufacturers. Additionally, a healthcare attorney can work with the government and/or hospital agencies. Typically, a healthcare attorney will with corporate, regulatory, public benefits law, and contract law. Moreover, as healthcare management systems continue to become technical and law specific, legal professionals will be in demand.
Further, according to the United States Census, 20 percent of the overall population will be 65 years of age or older by 2030. This segment of the population requires legal attention as well. A specialization in healthcare law, as it relates to the elderly is in demand because of the elderly population’s medical issues, which almost all overlap with legal issues. Additionally, a professional working under this specialization may work in conjugation with Private Client and Trust & Estates attorneys as they will work together on issues related to wills, guardianship, medical care insurance, trusts, and other such work.
The United States frequently has been called the land of opportunity. This nation attracts so many individuals from different parts of the world. Therefore, an attorney who chooses immigration specialty will be in high demand. Career settings can include a traditional law practice (individual plaintiff or management side), a legal services program, or a government agency. Governmental policies change continuously and an attorney with this specialty will be actively managing issues as they relate to employment/labor issues, civil liberties, litigation, and human rights advocacy.
-Electronic Discovery (E-Discovery)
This industry thrives on mass storage and the ease of discovering electronic data, traditionally, in a litigation context. E-discovery is crucial in litigation support. These professionals recognize, gather, handle, examine, keep, and create electronically stored information or ESI. The collaboration of information technology and legal procedures greatly aid clients and counselors who are not very tech-savvy.
As governmental policies and regulations change, an attorney with an environmental law practice specialty is also in demand. Further, with the growth of the oil/gas industries and externalities such as climate change, there will be a demand for environmental/energy lawyers.
As legal hiring is up, you should take charge of your career. Are you in one of these practice areas? Is your practice area growing? If it’s not, this might be a great opportunity to retool. Gaining such expertise will make you very valuable to employers and they will not want to lose you.
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Are you considering a new position? Need help planning your own job search strategies? Learn more about open legal industry opportunities with Lexacount Search’s legal group. Or, if you need assistance in managing your career development, contact a career counselor with Lexacount Search’s career consulting services.
Gershman, Jacob. “Legal Services Sector Added 2,300 Jobs in April.” Law Blog RSS. The Wall Street Journal, 8 May 2015. Web. 15 May 2015.