3 Legal Recruiting Predictions For 2015

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legal_recruiting_predictions_2015The beginning of the year is often a time for planning and setting priorities. It can also be a time of transition as new promotions take effect and employees re-evaluate their own priorities, sometimes even tendering unexpected resignations.

While only time will tell what’s ahead for your company, our staff strives to take an eagle’s eye view of law department staffing to see what’s likely on the horizon. We do this by staying in close contact with clients we’ve worked with over more than 25 years, attending industry events and maintaining good ties with professional organizations. Here’s our legal recruiting predictions your company will need to know for 2015.

1. More Companies Will Hire In-House Counsel

As the economy continued recovery this past year, we’ve seen companies feeling more eager to create new positions or recruit legal talent for positions that have gone unfilled for some time.

In fact, 43 percent of companies said they increased in-house legal hiring last year, according to a 2014 Altman Weil survey. We’re confident this upswing will carry over into the new year.

Yet within the legal industry, there’s another driver influencing decisions besides the need for more staff—the need to control costs. In the same survey, decision makers said shifting more work to in-house counsel was the most effective way to keep costs in check.

2. Executives Demand In-house Counsel With A Business Mindset

For decades, many law departments tended to operate in more of a silo, objectively advising executives on legal matters and largely staying out of strategic business decisions. Now more than ever, as business expands across the globe, legal and strategic matters have become one and the same.

CEOs want to work with a General Counsel who not only understands legal and ethical business practices, but knows what practices will ultimately be most effective in driving profits. In fact, 86 percent of Corporate Board Member directors and CEOs across the country said their General Counsel was a member of the executive management team, according to a recent survey BarkerGilmore conducted with NYSE Governance Services. Seventy-five percent said the GC’s capacity for business judgment added value to the board.

Executives who desire this kind of counsel will need to look beyond the usual resumes and recruiting sources to find it.

3. Hiring Managers Will Need to Dig Deeper for the Best Talent

As the job market continues to improve, so has competition for the most talented candidates. With more opportunities available, the most qualified in-house counsel candidates won’t stay on the market for long. That’s why it’s crucial for hiring managers to go beneath the surface to find candidates who aren’t necessarily advertising they’re looking for a career change, and to act quickly once high quality candidates are identified.

Attracting passive candidates requires a unique approach. Legal recruiters need to do their research, sell the opportunity and be prepared to make an enticing offer. Uncovering and cultivating these candidates is more of an effort, but the payoff has proven to be worthwhile. 

Working with a legal headhunter that specializes in identifying and evaluating these lesser-known candidates can give your company a competitive advantage. If you’re planning to grow your law department by hiring in-house counsel this year, contact us to let us know how we can help you find the right fit.

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Topics: Recruiting

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