One of the few remaining industries throughout the U.S., and world, that seems to have been relatively untouched by recent events regarding recruiting and hiring is the legal industry. To those outside the legal industry, it can seem rather static. However, a deeper dive into the industry reveals a changing landscape filled with new positions, technology, and hiring practices.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects the legal industry to grow at a rate of 4% between 2019 – 2029. This is about average when compared to other industries. There is an expected gap, however, between the number of law school graduates compared to the available jobs.
While most of the new jobs created will still belong to traditional law firms, large and small companies are shifting to employing an in-house legal team. Companies are recognizing the benefits to having an in-house legal department: prioritization, comprehensive advice, and peace of mind. Having a dedicated team (or member) that is a trusted advisor to help guide decisions, manage crises and risks, and provide sound legal and business advice can help propel a company to the next level.
One of the biggest recruiting trends for the legal industry in 2021 is the need for more specialized talent. Gone are the days where lawyers could focus on umbrellas such as corporate, family, and criminal law. Now the need for micro-niches is greater than ever. Legal organizations are seeking highly skilled candidates who can immediately add value to the needs of existing clients and augment service offerings. Some of the more in demand micro niches are in the spaces of data -privacy, security, risk exposure, artificial intelligence, and regulatory compliance. Consumers are no longer seeking a one-size-fits-all legal solution. Firms that will see the most growth will be ones that drill down on these targeted specialties.
Another emerging trend for hiring within the legal industry is the broader commitment that many firms have made towards diversity, inclusion, and equality. In the past, large law firms held the domain of recruiting top candidates that also filled these diversity and inclusion initiatives. While this is still mostly true, many smaller firms are realizing the importance of having these hiring programs. As firms continue to place a greater emphasis on workplace diversity, inclusivity and tolerance will be reflected in the recruitment process as employers seek ways to ensure a better cultural fit within their organizations.
Tips for Recruiting in Legal Industry
- Showcase corporate culture. A negative workplace is a deal breaker for many jobseekers, so it’s important to emphasize the positive attributes of your office environment. Employer branding can help guide this culture, help to recruit better candidates, reduce hiring and marketing costs, and improve productivity.
- Promote professional development. Highlight mentorship and training programs that help employees hone critical skills and prepare for future leadership roles. This is especially important for non-attorney roles such as legal assistants, paralegals, legal secretaries, trial consultants, and mediators.
- Office perks that matter. Work/life balance is top of mind for many jobseekers. In an industry that is notorious for having little balance this is even more important. Promoting benefits such as flextime, telecommuting, on-site amenities, and paid time off for volunteer or pro bono activities can help to attract top legal talent.
- Increase staffing options. Engage legal professionals on a project or consulting basis to ease caseloads, access specialized skills, and evaluate candidates for full-time positions.
- Be willing to bend. Employers are challenged to find highly skilled legal professionals who meet all the requirements for an open position. To boost recruiting efforts, adjust your criteria to focus on the essential skills for success and emphasize on-the-job training.
Recruiters for the legal industry in 2021 and beyond will face both unique and traditional challenges. Diversity and inclusion initiatives, micro-niches, and showcasing a work/life balance will be at the forefront in this industry. By creating a strong employer brand, deepening talent pools, creating flexible working policies, attracting top talent can become easier.
By working with YM Careers Network, you can put your open legal positions in front of hundreds of thousands of top niche candidates in the legal industry. Reach out to a recruitment specialist today to learn how you can engage with deep talent pools of niche candidates, fill open diversity and inclusion initiatives, and hire high performers for hard-to-fill jobs.