Legal Job Growth Continues to Heat Up as Summer Sizzles

One short week has proven Leopard Solutions’ May – 2024 Law Jobs Report prescient. Since our report went to press indicating that Q1 of 2024 saw a 7% climb year-over-year in lateral hires among the Am Law 200, a spate of articles have been published affirming what we already determined: things are heating up.  

Paul Weiss has been on a hiring tear of late, gobbling up over 20 seasoned M&A and fund formation lawyers, according to a recent story by Bloomberg. The bulk were centered in major global markets, such as New York and London, and were poached from chief rival firms. The dealmakers were lured by changes to longstanding pay models that have obliterated salary-tier precedent. Some rainmakers are rumored to inhabit the orbit of $20m annually.  

Never a firm to rest on its laurels, Skadden announced its foray into the talent wars by hiring a dedicated C-Suite position, Chief People Officer, focused on hiring and retention efforts. The need for precision ROI data has never been more crucial than it is now in this ultra-competitive landscape.  

According to Law.com, emerging companies’ lawyers are extremely bullish on the business cycle in the coming months. This corroborates our finding that the number of new job postings in the USA exceeding 1000 for the first time this year represents a priming of the pump for busy activity ahead.  

Recruitment Consultant Tim Leffler recently endorsed our assessments and added his sentiment that despite a “feeling” that the contraction doldrums of 2023 are still with us, the hard scientific data speaks otherwise. “2023 is long behind us. For many, it was a less than good year as law firms of all sizes looked to rationalize staff numbers with several big names making well-publicized layoffs (even if the PR departments denied or euphemized their actions), deferring summer school job offers, and “streamlined” departments by not replacing departing colleagues or as a result of mergers.”  

Stay tuned for our legal industry half-year report to understand the nuances of the inflection points when things started to turn and where they might be headed for the rest of 2024. In the meantime, read our annual state of the industry report for our outlook analysis based on 2023 data. 

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