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Do national legal trends hold true in the San Diego legal market?

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Recently, I received calls from two human resources managers regarding articles in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today. They were concerned about the WSJ’s claim that the position of legal secretary is extinct and USA Today’s assertion that the growth of temporary hiring is a negative devolvement.

These local managers questioned whether these national trends hold true in San Diego. Based on my experience working for Exclusively Legal, I believe that San Diego has a much brighter legal outlook. As a legal recruiter, I stay in direct contact with law firms and legal departments of corporations and nonprofit organizations throughout the country. Since many clients have used our services for decades, I am also able to see the hiring trends over an extended period of time.
The WSJ article focused on large East Coast law firms terminating legal secretaries to cut costs. At Exclusively Legal, we have placed more legal secretaries in the first half of 2013 compared to that same period last year.

I do agree with the WSJ on this point: Legal secretaries need to ensure that their skill levels are current. At Exclusively Legal, we provide our clients with quality candidates by assessing candidates’ skill levels through computer testing, developing their skill sets through training, reference checking and multiple interviews -- all of which saves employers time, resources and money.

The USA Today article states that “the rise in temp and contract work shows that many employers aren't willing to hire for the long run.” At Exclusively Legal, more than 90 percent of our “temp to permanent” hires were offered full-time positions this year. Hiring managers and candidates are more savvy and wish to “test the water” prior to committing for the long term. We find this to be the case for both clients and employees, which evens the playing field.

As to the claim that “temp jobs don't tend to boost the economy,” I have found that because many of our recruits often seek temporary assignments as a lifestyle choice (work/life balance), they continue to contribute to the economy by traveling, investing in their wellness, and spending time and money on hobbies.

Finally, while the article accurately states that “employers have also sought to sidestep the new health care law's rule that they provide medical coverage for permanent workers,” at Exclusively Legal, we alleviate that concern by providing our temps with medical benefits.

“I’ve hired many candidates through Exclusively Legal,” says a hiring manager from a Fortune 500 company based in San Diego, “and many of those candidates turned into our employees.”

I’m pleased that the San Diego legal market is not as bleak as the national trend, and that my Exclusively Legal clients have placed their trust in us to sort through the facts and provide them with the local perspective.


Submitted by Abigail Parente, Exclusively Legal.

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