Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

Amongst the bleak talk about jobs in and around The Great Recession are dismal numbers for attorneys who are looking for work. Which led CorpCounsel.com to wonder: Is in-house hiring up or down? And given the choice between candidates for a law department job, do lawyers who are long in the tooth fare better or worse than their less-experienced and cheaper counterparts? Well, it turns out, there is good news and bad news. It just depends on who you ask. Robin Scullin, Association of Corporate Counsel’s director of communication and public relations, said in an email to CorpCounsel.com that the association’s statistics show that corporate law department hiring is going up as more work is being brought in-house. ACC vice president of legal resources James Merklinger told the Chicago Tribune recently that its volume of job listings has more than doubled since the start of the year. The Tribune, however, focused on the difficulties faced by older workers in the profession who may be passed over in favor of lower-cost workers with less experience. A search of ACC’s 822 job listings Monday yielded only 183 staff attorney positions. The majority of vacancies advertised required significant experience. Nicky Mukerji is director of business intelligence at Nashville-based Legalbill, a consulting and analysis firm that helps companies reduce legal spending. What’s he’s seeing in his practice is that to the extent that companies are hiring, they’re hiring higher-end attorneys. “You get someone who has already managed matters,” says Mukerji. He notes that those attorneys who have extensive experience working on either side of the inside/outside counsel relationship are going to be more beneficial to companies. Those attorneys “know how to leverage outside counsel to gain the maximum advantage for the most optimum price,” he says. But Mukerji says if corporate hires were escalating substantially, he would expect to see evidence in their outside counsel spending. “I haven’t seen a whole lot of reduction, I’ve just seen growth,” says Mukerji. Of his corporate clients that are hiring new in-house counsel, Mukerji says one thing seems pretty clear: “When you’re trying to get legal work done, if you’re looking from a business-management point of view, it’s an in-source versus outsource decision.” Law departments tend to have a lot more information than ever before about their legal spend, says Mukerji. And they’re using that information to make educated decisions about where to put their dollars. Mukerji says every choice — between hiring in-house counsel, outside counsel, a contract attorney, or using legal-process outsourcing — is now being made based on aggregated data. “Because of the economic conditions we were in, there has been a shift in law department management — which is focusing on objective as much as subjective information,” says Mukerji. And money is still tight across the corporate economy.”Given the economic circumstances, corporations are less inclined to hire something that’s a fixed cost — a lawyer — unless they absolutely need it,” says David Bargman, president of Baum, Stevens, Inc., a New York-based legal recruiting firm. According to Bargman, in-house lawyers have fared very poorly in The Great Recession. “The only ones who are successful, by and large, are the very senior attorneys,” he says, “people who command business already, people who are in charge of things like compliance, maybe, but by and large there’s not much of a market.” Bargman says in his practice he isn’t seeing evidence of an uptick in hiring of either in-house or private practice attorneys. “The law firms are cutting back, too,” says Bargman, “because they don’t have enough work right now. They’ll bring someone in if they think they can make a profit off of him or her.”

This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.

To view this content, please continue to their sites.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Not a Bloomberg Law Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.