Law Firms Gradually Starting to Hire Staff to Handle Family and Energy Cases

Law Firms Gradually Starting to Hire Staff to Handle Family and Energy Cases


Signs that law firms are gradually emerging from nearly two years of economic downturn marked by a hiring freeze and downsizing are gradually being felt. In Pittsburgh, for instance, a couple of law firms have started to hire additional lawyers to fortify their Marcellus Shale and energy cases. Other law firms are being buoyed by tons of legal work brought about by bankruptcies and family law issues.

However, some legal industry experts are not expecting a sudden increase in hiring in the coming days. David Blaner, the executive director of the Allegheny County Bar Association said, “I don’t know that we’ve recovered … fully, but we’ve seen pockets and places within the local legal economy that seem to be doing better.”

Based on the report made available by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 300 new jobs were added in July, the month of August has 1,400, while September saw an additional 2,500 jobs. These new jobs included attorneys, as well as legal support staff. This developed after the legal industry experienced a loss of around 4,000 in May and June.

The surge in the demand for attorneys, paralegals, and legal support personnel was observed by the Pittsburgh office of Special Counsel, a legal recruiting and placement firm with offices all across the country. Its executive director, Chris Cronin said, “It’s a ripple effect from the cutbacks of a couple years ago. The work still needs to be done and our clients need to get it done.” Cronin mentioned that there is an increase of lawyers hired for contract, as well as full-time positions.

This position is also echoed by Lori Carpenter of Carpenter Legal Search. She said, “I think everyone has seen an uptick in work. In April 2009, law firm hiring just stopped. But from all different size firms recently I’ve heard they are busier and need to add some specialties.”