- Charlotte is a fast-growing city that has become a hotbed for economic activity.
- Attorneys specializing in finance, corporate, litigation, and labor laws will all find opportunities in Charlotte and the surrounding area.
- A Charlotte legal recruiter can help lawyers find top law firms looking for talented professionals.
Charlotte is often called the Queen City and has become an important economic hub, more than doubling its population over the past 30 years. This has brought tremendous opportunity for lawyers, but if you are not familiar with the legal community in Charlotte, you may need to hire a legal recruiter.
Important industries and businesses in Charlotte
Charlotte is one of the best cities for lawyers, not just in the southeast region but across the entire United States. One of the main reasons is the city’s thriving, diverse economy, which brings businesses, families, and individuals to the area.
While some cities are dependent on a certain industry or sector, Charlotte has an industry that encompasses numerous areas. Top industries in the Charlotte area include banking and financial services, manufacturing, energy, and the automotive industry. Like many top metro areas, it also has a steady footing in healthcare and has become a thriving city for technology professionals.
There are many nationally-recognized companies that make their home in Charlotte. Fortune 500 companies headquartered in Charlotte include Bank of America and Lowe’s.
According to Charlotte Business Journal, the largest employer in Charlotte is Atrium Health, a major care institution headquartered in the city. Total local employment is above 38,000 individuals. Major employers in the area also include Wells Fargo (27,500) and Wal-Mart, which employs roughly 16,000 employees in a variety of regional offices.
With many businesses and a variety of industries, Charlotte is attracting people with all types of skills and backgrounds. The city has seen massive growth in the past 30 years, going from about 395,000 people in 1990 to over 900,000 in 2021. In turn, this has created numerous opportunities for lawyers in the city and the surrounding area.
Why is Charlotte an excellent city for lawyers?
With numerous industries and a range of companies serving a variety of sectors, it’s clear why many people are coming to Charlotte. But what about lawyers? Legal service is an industry needed in all cities, towns, and rural areas. Regardless of the city’s top employers, economy, or overall atmosphere, there will be a need for lawyers.
The lifestyle for a Charlotte attorney can be rewarding as well. With gorgeous ocean-side beaches to the east and rugged mountains to the west, as well as culture, entertainment, and major sports inside the city, this is a destination that people cherish.
In Charlotte, as in all cities, there is a need for family attorneys, estate planners, real estate experts, and injury lawyers, among other basic legal disciplines. But with so many businesses, especially in finance and banking, there is a need for corporate attorneys specializing in mergers, financial law, and labor issues.
Expected pay for Charlotte attorneys
This growth has created a large demand for attorneys in the area while allowing Charlotte lawyers to earn salaries above typical earnings.
National, state, and metro-area salaries for lawyers:
As we can see from the numbers above, attorneys in North Carolina tend to earn larger salaries, while lawyers in Charlotte earn even greater incomes. The median annual salary for a Charlotte-area attorney is roughly $17,000 above the national median.
How many lawyers currently practice in Charlotte?
Charlotte already has a strong population of lawyers. Currently, there are about 5,634 lawyers in Mecklenburg County where Charlotte is located. The number seems a bit low, a possible indication that Charlotte has untapped potential for incoming attorneys.
Many of these attorneys are likely part of the Mecklenburg County Bar, which has served legal professionals in the area since 1912.
Law Schools in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the surrounding area
While Charlotte lawyers come from all areas of the country, many of the best and brightest were trained in the state, even in Charlotte itself.
Across the state, multiple colleges train some of the finest attorneys in the country. Many graduates from these schools find their way to Charlotte.
Duke University School of Law
One of the top law schools in the nation, this highly-selective institution is known for training elite-level graduates. With a faculty that ranks among the nation’s best, the Duke law school brings a high prestige to the state and to Charlotte, where many Duke students move after graduation.
Offering law degrees since 1845, this is one of the most historic legal institutions in the country. Although part of a public university, “Carolina Law” remains a selective institution that only selects high-level students.
Offering a solid legal education, Wake Forest has some of the smallest class sizes in the state. This gives law students the chance to learn in a hands-on manner with a top-flight legal faculty.
These schools, although not located in Charlotte, contribute to the high level of legal services available to Charlotte businesses, families, and individuals. They also contribute talent to some of the largest law firms in the area.
Major law firms in Charlotte
As a regional leader in commerce and business, as well as an economic hub for the area, Charlotte needs lawyers trained in a variety of disciplines. Nationally-competitive law firms hire some of the best attorneys in the area. Many of these firms also provide support in the form of paralegals or a legal secretary so that a lawyer can remain focused on helping clients.
Here are a few of the biggest law firms in the area…
- Moore & Van Allen PLLC: Ranking in the Am Law 200 for over two decades, Moore & Van Allen was founded in 1945 and currently serves corporate, litigation, finance, and numerous other areas. They have over 550 local personnel, including almost 300 lawyers and 140 local partners in the Charlotte region.
- McGuireWoods LLP: Employing over 170 lawyers with 65 local partners in the Charlotte area, McGuireWoods Consulting is a major firm that practices almost every type of law. They serve numerous industries, such as finance, food and beverage, real estate, energy, and education, so lawyers of all backgrounds can find excellent opportunities with this award-winning firm.
- Robinson Bradshaw: With a reputation for common-sense legal service and a strong understanding for business principles, Robinson Bradshaw employs roughly 130 attorneys and has 81 local partners. Their list of clients includes some of the top businesses in Charlotte who keep their attorneys busy with employment, labor, litigation, consumer issues, and more.
What is a legal recruiter?
A legal recruiter is a talent scout and recruitment professional who helps law firms find attorneys. They source talent on behalf of law firms that need to fill their office with the right lawyers. Screening and interviewing candidates, all to ensure the right people go to the appropriate law firm, is one of the most important duties for legal recruiters. Whether you’re looking for an in-house position, within a specific firm, or at a company with a legal department, you can find an array of full-time jobs open in the legal industry at any given time. However, you can fast track your chances of success with your job search by working with an executive recruiter early on in the process. Recruiters familiar with legal staffing who run their own recruitment agency have an inside track on open jobs in the Charlotte area and can help you know when job alerts that match your interests pop up.
Legal recruiters look for top talent to place in open positions and then can make recommendations to the law firm. You can discuss what you’re looking for in a Charlotte office, such as specific practice areas, firm initiatives, and more when you meet with your recruiter about new legal counsel jobs.
It’s important to note that these professionals are not employees of the law firm. They are independent contractors who are paid by firms, usually receiving a payment for each attorney they bring to the firm. Engage a recruiting manager early if you want the best chance of all possible job offers. Depending on your years of experience, your recruiter may be able to connect you to multiple jobs.
Duties may vary, but law recruiters often perform these tasks:
- Communicating with law firms to understand their staffing needs
- Researching and contacting job candidates
- Scheduling interviews and interviewing lawyers
- Helping to improve resumes as needed
Why do law firms use legal recruiters?
A reliable, consistent legal recruiter can be an important resource for law firms. Recruiters perform the time-consuming task of finding candidates, and recruiters who deliver top-quality recruits that fit the needs of the law firm are often well paid. Using a recruiter, the task of onboarding a new lawyer is much faster and it’s often more cost-effective to hire these recruiting experts.
The benefits of working with a legal recruiter in Charlotte
Law firms have a clear motive to work with legal recruiters. But what about you, the attorney who is being recruited? While there are downsides, working with an attorney can be more efficient and could result in better job placement.
Working with a legal recruiter, you’ll get deep insight from someone who knows the area and its law firms. There is no cost, as the recruiter is paid by the law firm, and a reliable recruiter could help speed the process. Also, because a recruiter wants you to succeed (your success enhances their career) they will provide honest feedback, helping you improve while giving you the best chance of finding a top-quality firm that is perfect for your future.
Examples of associates using a legal recruiter in Charlotte
Here are a few hypothetical examples of times when using a legal recruiter in Charlotte may be the right choice…
Not Happy with the Work at Current Firm
Curtis is a 5-year associate who is struggling to fit in at his current Charlotte firm. Specifically, he does not enjoy the work that he’s been assigned, which is mostly government contracts. He feels he would thrive in banking and finance law, but knows this may not be possible in his current situation. He’s been so engrossed in his work that he has little knowledge about other firms in Charlotte. Because of his lack of knowledge, he contacts a legal recruiter to help him land a new position.
Ready for a Partner Role With Another Firm
Bridgette is a senior associate working in Atlanta who is due to make partner in the next two years. However, she realizes that this may not come at all, as certain partners probably won’t vote for her. She chooses to make a lateral change to a firm where she stands a stronger chance of making partner. She decides that Charlotte would be a great destination and contacts a legal recruiter serving the area.
If you’re looking to explore lateral opportunities and the best legal recruiters in other states, we can connect you with legal recruiters throughout the United States.
Joshua Holt is a lawyer with 10 years of experience in Biglaw working at the country’s largest law firms, culminating in his work at a Vault 30 law firm in the private equity mergers & acquisition group. He has extensive experience counseling associates in lateraling to a firm with a better fit, helping associates make partner and working with law students navigating on-campus and call-back interviews.