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Careers Counsel: is current recruitment boom just a blip?

: 1. The first half of the year has seen heavy recruiting but has it also meant that most regular recruiters may have met their quotas. Can this robust trend be expected to continue or is it a state of misdirected consolation for law students?

2. And in the larger picture - are we witnessing heavy recruiting right now because of the appetite that a few firms developed while resisting their urge to hire over the past year?

What can we expect in the next three months (for the current passing out batches) and the 12 months after that for the next lot of passing out batches?

Answer: 1) As a legal recruiter we strongly believe that the worst is over for us.

The graph from here may be flat-to start with-and then upwards, but definitely not pointing south.

Anyway, we must appreciate the fact that ours was the least hit economy as compared to other growing or for that matter, even developed markets.

So at this point of time we are in a relaxed environment and domestic and international investors are gearing up for the next upward trend.

The way ahead for firms would be first to stabilise and then to expand. We are quietly confident that with better market sentiments, lots of M&A activities and the concept of “best friends relationships” floating around in the legal arena the need for quality lawyers (both fresh pass outs and experienced) will be seeing a significant hike.

2.) To a certain extent, yes, current recruitment activity is compensating for lack of previous recruitment.

Last year organisations were focusing on keeping their work cycle intact. So growth could have never been on their mind.

Even if some firms had the scope for expansion, they were not confident enough to hire, seeing the low sentiments and speculative direction of the economy (as it appeared at that time).

I recall, at that time recruitments were done essentially for replacements and not for expanding.

It was a challenge even to keep the existing work force (productively) busy, forget about expansion plans.

So now with the sentiments improving considerably, organisations are back on their (year-on-year) growth targets, covering their last year’s backlogs and missed targets.

In the coming year and the year ahead, India is likely to witness record high placements compared to the previous year, both in terms of the number of hires and the packages offered to the pass outs from top law schools.
Dinesh Sharma is the director of recruitment consultancy Personnel Junction

Legally India says:
Another important factor is that the boom times will still be in most managing partners' minds but not necessarily in completely fond memories.

One of the big problems many firms faced during this time was to staff transactions adequately, with associates working 90 hour weeks and partners being unable to properly supervise deals.

Anecdotally, quality of work therefore suffered at the busy firms and some firms had found themselves wanting to turn away work.

Not a good situation to be in (although arguably preferable to the low activity levels of the last year).

With most law firm managers now hoping that levels will return to those previous highs, many firms want to be prepared now and not find themselves under-staffed again six months from now.

New recruits, especially fresh out of law school, will always take a while to settle in so for most firms the current hiring activity will be a longer term play.
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