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Corporate Legal Department Hiring Accelerates as Companies Bring More Work In-House

October 06, 2023 (3 min read)
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With corporate budgets tightening this year, most general counsel have been forced to scrutinize their spending across the board. One strategy they appear to be embracing is to bring more work in-house as a means of increasing efficiency and better controlling expenses.

“In-house counsel hiring is on the rise,” reported Law360. “Companies are moving cautiously in these economic times, but a just-released report on in-house counsel still found a steady flow of hiring.”

The report that documented the acceleration in corporate legal hiring was the In-House Market Conditions report for the third quarter of 2023 published by legal recruiting firm Major, Lindsey & Africa.

“The in-house legal hiring market continues to boom, in part because general counsel are bringing more work in-house to control costs and economic uncertainties are fading,” reported ALM's Corporate Counsel. “There is yet another subset of companies that did an overwhelming amount of hiring in 2021 and 2022, and needed to take a pause, and after taking that pause, are back in the market again.”

Moreover, the outlook for the remainder of the year suggests this hiring trend is likely to accelerate.

“Thanks to better-than-expected economic news and no recession materializing — plus the end of summer vacations — Q4 is forecasted to bring increased hiring activity in the U.S. in-house legal market,” the Major, Lindsey & Africa report said. “Organizations that put hiring on hold are starting to show signs of movement.”

The report goes on to break down the specific industries and functional roles that are seeing the most hiring activity. The most in-demand industries include:

As for specific corporate legal positions, the hottest job areas include:

In addition, the Major, Lindsey & Africa report notes “a trend of ‘GC light’ roles like Head of Legal, often with an alternative reporting structure (as) many pre-IPO companies have put their GC searches on hold and are relying on in-house and outside legal help for the time being.”

Looking ahead to 2024, the firm reports optimism in in-house hiring trends for four key reasons: (1) Strong economic growth and waning recession fears points to companies moving forward with strategic growth plans; (2) A surge in turnover is anticipated “as the massive number of people hired in 2020-2022 reach their three-year tenures” and begin to make moves; (3) Forecasts call for a pickup in M&A and IPO activity in the next six months, which will create demand for a variety of in-house counsel roles; and (4) Key in-house growth industries such as life sciences, healthcare, AI and renewable energy are predicted to thrive next year.

In-house counsel would be well-advised to stay abreast of changing job market conditions in the corporate legal space, as well as tuned into the most valuable tools and resources that help them bring more work in-house by supporting their new lawyers.

LexisNexis® offers a wide range of legal information resources to empower in-house counsel, such as:

  • Practical Guidance — From templates and checklists to practice notes and authoritative analysis, Practical Guidance on Lexis+® gives in-house counsel the critical legal know-how to accomplish the most complex tasks, including those outside their primary areas of expertise.
  • State Law Comparison Tool — This Practical Guidance resource helps in-house attorneys handle complicated legal issues across multiple U.S. states by collecting legal data from various sources (e.g. state government websites, legislative records, etc.), organizing it into a structured database, and categorizing laws by topics, statutes, regulations and jurisdictions.
  • Code Compare — Code Compare on Lexis+ allows in-house counsel to compare any two statutes to stay updated in changes over time, and whether laws are becoming more or less restrictive. A brief YouTube video illustrates how this tool can help save in-house lawyers a lot of time when comparing changes from one version of a statute to another.
  • 50-State Surveys — LexisNexis surveys of statutes and regulations across all 50 states enable in-house counsel to compare the statutory and regulatory provisions on a given topic for multiple states in just one click. Each survey provides an overview that addresses the federal context in which these requirements operate and outlines state-level regulatory themes with direct links to relevant citations.

One legal research platform specifically designed for in-house counsel brings all these resources together. Lexis+® General Counsel Suite provides in-house counsel with a vast collection of legal resources, breaking business and legal news, and practical guidance content that includes practice notes, templates and checklists. Learn more about how General Counsel Suite helps you manage today and anticipate tomorrow by signing up for a free trial:

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