The year 2020 has, to be blunt, been bad for jobs. Between February and April, the Canadian economy lost three million jobs, while some major law firms cut salaries, temporarily laid off staff and postponed their student programs.
That’s why the results of our annual Bay Street Hireback Ranking are a pleasant surprise. On average, the largest law offices in Toronto hired back 85 percent of their articling students as first-year associates. That figure is lower than last year’s stunningly high 98-percent average, but it’s roughly on par with the 2016 hireback season. This is an impressive feat, given that much of the world has been under an extended coronavirus lockdown.
So what’s going on? Where are the cautious, cash-conserving measures that usually accompany uncertain times?
Carrie Heller, president and founder of the legal-recruitment firm The Heller Group, says the 2020 hiring season shows that firms recognize the need to retain their talent pool so they’re prepared for when the market turns around. “Many firms and companies have started to recognize that this may be the ‘new normal’ for some time,” she says. “They still need talented lawyers in a variety of areas.”
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