The COVID-19 Pandemic (“Pandemic”) has significantly impacted the ways in which we work. Court hearings, trials, and client meetings occurred via platforms like Zoom as many people were forced to work from home due to a combination of government restrictions, work policies, child care issues, and/or personal preferences. Working from home became commonplace for many attorneys, and it continued to be an option for some attorneys who worked for employers that adopted this flexible work arrangement. Others, unfortunately, received pay cuts or were laid off due to decreased demand for legal services and the transfer of work to senior attorneys. By the end of 2020, the average law firm employed 1.6% fewer attorneys than in 2019.
Now, during our second year into the Pandemic, there has been a surge in demand for legal work in certain sectors. As a result, legal employers are hiring more employees in 2021 than before. More than half of the employers who responded to a Robert Half Legal Consulting Solutions survey said they are hiring, compared to 1% who stated they were eliminating positions. Another 37% of respondents from the same survey are rehiring furloughed employees or at least maintaining their current workforce. Am Law 200 firms have also hired more than 8,500 associates this year.