Demand for legal talent is increasing as the U.S. economic recovery gains steam, perhaps signaling a corresponding increase in leasing activity by law firms.
While law job openings have been volatile over the past year, there has been a noticeable upswing so far this year (Figure 1).
Figure 1: Lawyer Job Posting Volume per 10K
Declines in law job postings over the past year appear to coincide with periods of quarantining in many of the country’s most populous markets. Since the start of 2021, nearly every major large market has seen an increase in law job postings. Pre-pandemic trends suggest there has been heightened demand in these large markets for the past several years. Whether it is lack of supply or an increased need for this talent, the industry demand continues at elevated levels.
Office space leasing by law firms has remained low since the onset of the pandemic (Figure 2). However, demand for space is expected to increase with the recent rise in demand for legal talent. Several factors could influence this, such as workplace strategy, location and future economic conditions. Legal industry occupiers may find opportunity now in addressing their office needs while landlords are more flexible in negotiations.
Figure 2: Legal Office Space Leasing by Square Feet
Source: CBRE Research, Q1 2021