Lawyer Recruitment, Professional Development, and Personnel Management Professionals - 2004

NALP Bulletin, November 2004 

Every other year NALP conducts a survey of individuals involved with recruitment, professional development, and related functions at law firms. Historically, the analyses compiled from this survey have grouped respondents to reflect the primary and second person in the office, regardless of specific job titles. A comparison of selected indicators for primary professionals from the 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004 surveys is shown in Table 1.

As has been true in the past, most primary professionals — 70-80% — have been in the field of legal recruitment or law school career services for more than three years. However, the percentage with a J.D. degree has tripled, to about one in five in 2004. Among those who have been in their current position for five years or less, the percentage is higher, about one-quarter. It is also interesting to note that the frequency with which primary professionals reported duties such as paralegal hiring and marketing has declined somewhat; these additional responsibilities had become more prevalent in the mid-1990s.

In addition to analyses reflecting primary and secondary professionals, this year's report for the first time provides analyses based on job functions, differentiating professional development and recruiting, and directors, managers, and coordinators. Among the findings is that having earned a J.D. degree is most common among individuals whose primary responsibility is professional development — almost two-thirds of whom reported having a J.D. (See Table 2 below.)

TABLE 1. Legal Recruitment — Then and Now — Primary Office-wide Professional


1992 1996 2000 2004
Percent with J.D. or LL.M. 6.5% 4.1% 12.6% 19.8%
By years in current job:
2 years or less 16.7% 27.9%
2.5 - 5 years 12.2% 23.1%
More than 5 years 5.6% 8.8%
Percent in current job 3 years or less 46% 38% 63.1% 45.9%
Percent in field more than 3 years 81% 78% 72.2% 79.8%
Median salary $46,000* $48,000 $57,750 $77,500
Prevalence of "other" duties:**
CLE compliance 28% 31% 22% 26%
Paralegal hiring/supervision 27% 31% 22% 18%
Marketing/public relations 20% 27% 25% 17%
Office management 11% 15% 9% 9%

* The 1992 survey requested a salary range rather than an actual figure. The $46,000 figure is estimated based on the distribution of ranges reported.

** Respondents were asked to indicate duties beyond lawyer recruitment, professional development, and personnel management.



TABLE 2. Percentage of Respondents with a J.D. By Job Function — 2004


Directors/Managers of Professional Development 63.3%
Directors/Managers of Professional Development and Recruiting 36.6%
Directors/Managers of Recruiting 14.0%
Coordinators/Administrators and Assistants 2.3%
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