According to a recent survey done by recruiters Laurence Simons, corporate legal departments suffered the same fates as many large firms last year, cutting staff and stagnating salaries. Salaries remained mostly flat, but the survey didn't cover bonuses which were down dramatically. But according to an article in Corporate Counsel, things are looking up this year. Corporate legal offices are starting to hire again, and this year Hewlett-Packard made the surprising move of hiring four associates straight out of law school.
Inhouse Insider ran an article back in January predicting that up to 25% of corporate legal departments would start hiring again in the first half of 2010. They also predicted that the biggest up tick would be in the same industries that employment experts agree will lead the recovery: Most notably, health care, energy, and the services industries. We can also expect smaller companies to take advantage of the glut of unemployed lawyers by establishing their own in house legal offices for the first time.
In 2009 many companies shifted work away from outside counsel, increasing the workload for their in house staffs. This trend, coupled with an ongoing conflict between corporate clients and large law firms over rates and the assignment of junior associates to accounts may spur additional growth in corporate legal departments.
If you're thinking about making the move to an in house position, LawCrossing is an excellent place to begin your search. Currently, there are 21, 216 positions listed for in house attorneys and our team of dedicated researchers is consistently adding new positions every day.