The novel coronavirus has slowed in-house hiring, but essential positions, especially at the top levels of corporate legal departments, are still being filled. At the same time, employers have become more selective about whom they hire and are increasingly turning to contract lawyers to fill lower-level positions, according to recruiters. 

“Essential roles are still being filled. If a company needs a general counsel, the company is not putting off hiring a general counsel,” said Sonya Som, a partner at Chicago-based executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles.