Published: Feb 01, 2023
What goes up must come down, and the same is proving true with the legal market. 2021 saw law firms hiring at a frenzied pace and associates taking salary increases and bonuses to the bank. Unfortunately, 2022 ended with news of massive layoffs and hiring freezes in the legal market. The good news for lawyers is that the legal industry is still projected to grow by 10% through 2031.[i] So, what will 2023 hold?
Potential for Growth—Practice Areas
When the economy is bad, it’s true that some practice areas dry up—but others take off. The tightening economy at the end of 2022 (and continuing into 2023) had some BigLaw firms laying off lawyers. Falling demand and reduced profits hit some firms and practice areas harder than others.[ii] Firms that trimmed lawyers include big names like Cooley, Goodwin, Kirkland, and Gunderson, and hit practice areas like tech and transactional work. Demand for transactional lawyers and their work in corporate finance and deal work fell in 2022.[iii] Overall, law firms may be looking at a flat 2023, so it’s important to do your research when you are looking at your employment options for the coming year.
Here are some practice areas that could see growth in 2023.
Potential for Growth—Regions
Besides looking for hot practice areas in 2023, don’t forget to think about where you may land a job. News of layoffs has affected geographical areas like New York and Silicon Valley, but 2022 saw law firms opening offices in other areas of the country.[vi] Former “flyover states” are seeing firm expansions in areas like healthcare, real estate, venture capital, energy, banking, and more. Lower cost of living and tax benefits make these new regions more attractive to firms and lawyers alike. Some places with recent expansion include:
While these places may not have the glitz and glamor of San Francisco and New York City, they do have solid, big-name law firms and prestigious clients in need of legal services. And don’t overlook the added benefits of affordable housing, shorter commutes, and work-life balance!
[ii]Sloan, K. (2023, January 10). Law firms face daunting 2023 amid falling profits and demand. https://www.reuters.com/legal/legalindustry/law-firms-face-daunting-2023-amid-falling-profits-demand-2023-01-10/
[iii] (2023, January 9). 2023 Report on the State of the Legal Market: Mixed results and growing uncertainty.
[iv] Robert, A. (2020, January 30). Why elder law is a growing, 'anything-can-happen practice'.
[v] Tanzi, A. (2023, January 17). Over 5 Million New US Startups Show Covid-Era Boom Has Legs. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-01-17/over-5-million-new-us-startups-show-covid-era-boom-has-legs?utm_campaign=mb&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_source=morning_brew
[vi] Horvath, P. 2022, August 31). Growing Legal Markets Primed for New Attorneys. https://firsthand.co/blogs/vaults-law-blog-legal-careers-and-industry-news/growing-legal-markets-primed-for-new-attorneys
[vii] Merken, S. (2022, July 8). Womble opens Nashville office as city attracts more law firms.
[viii]Osakwe, C. (2022, March 7). Morrison & Foerster joins law firms landing in Austin's 'Silicon Hills'.
[ix] Skolnik, S. (2022, July 13). Big Law Raids Colorado as Tech Venture Capital Grows Business.
[x] Merken, S. (2022, May 26). Miami has moment in the sun as new hot spot for big law firms.
[xi] Merken, S. (2022, April 5). Large law firms still see allure of Utah's 'Silicon Slopes'.
[xii] Coe, A. (2022, September 28). BigLaw Expands In The Carolinas Amid Business Boom.
If you didn’t catch our previous post about BigLaw employee benefit packages, take a look here. In that post, we outlined “typical” benefits that BigLaw firms offer their associates, and highlighted some very important but often underutilized benefits that can greatly improve associate quality of life.
Internships are a reality that every student in their later years of school are faced with. While universities try their best to place students in their dream jobs, the question of what one’s dream job is continues to plague the minds of every student!
Is my dream job what I think it is, or is it something I am meant for but have never had the opportunity to experience? Well, maybe one of the best ways to find out would be to try out—and what better way to try out a “dream” job than having a small test run or, to put it differently, getting an internship in a field one aspires to be in.
Each year, Vault surveys thousands of current and former interns at more than 100 internship programs to create our annual Internship Rankings. Last year, we asked 12,000 interns to rate their programs in a variety of areas, including quality of projects, real-life experience, networking opportunities, training and mentoring, and more.