The legal industry is constantly evolving, and with it, so is the job market for legal professionals. As a result, both job seekers and hiring managers need to stay informed and adapt their strategies to stay competitive.
In this post, we will explore some of the current trends in the legal job market and provide tips for both job seekers and hiring managers to help them navigate this ever-changing landscape. One of the most significant changes in the legal job market is the increasing demand for legal professionals with specialized skills. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of lawyers is projected to grow 4 percent from 2019 to 2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations. However, within the field, certain areas such as intellectual property, cybersecurity, and data privacy are experiencing much faster growth. This means that job seekers with specialized skills in these areas are in high demand and have a better chance of finding employment.
The legal and compliance job market remains strong in the areas of manufacturing, data security, privacy and intellectual property. More and more in house legal roles are becoming available as companies navigate new and different legal challenges.
Another trend in the legal job market is the shift towards alternative legal career paths. Traditional law firm jobs are still available, but an increasing number of legal professionals are choosing to work in-house, in government, or in the non-profit sector. In fact, according to the National Association of Law Placement (NALP), in 2019, only 64.9% of recent graduates from ABA-approved law schools obtained long-term, full-time JD-required jobs at law firms, compared to 84.2% in 2007. Qualified job seekers should also consider these alternative career paths when looking for employment. As mentioned above, the fields of cybersecurity, intellectual property, import and export law, and legal compliance in the sectors of health, finance and manufacturing are experiencing an uptick in hiring.
In addition to these trends, the legal job market is also recovering from the downturn from the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic resulted in many job losses and the legal and compliance market was, worryingly, not immune to this. However, according to the National Association for Law Placement, the legal job market remained relatively stable during the pandemic, despite the overall economic downturn and was much less affected than other sectors.
So how does a job seeker navigate the current market?
Specialize: As mentioned above, legal professionals with specialized skills are in high demand. Consider what areas of law you are most interested in and pursue education and experience in those areas. Focus and align your specialism in a particular industry, for example, international trade in the Aerospace environment, or Intellectual Property in the medical field.
Work with a specialist recruiter. At Legal and Compliance Hires we work exclusively with legal and compliance professionals helping them find top jobs in top companies and law firms. We have a number of openings that we are looking to fill. Get in touch with us and we can help you.
Network: Networking is key to finding employment in any field, and the legal industry is no exception. Attend networking events, join professional organizations, and reach out to professionals in your desired field.
Be open to alternative career paths: As we mentioned earlier, traditional law firm jobs are not the only option for legal professionals. Be open to working in-house, in government, or in the non-profit sector.
Keep your resume and online presence updated: Your resume and online presence are the first thing a potential employer will see when they are considering you for a job. Keep your resume and online presence updated and professional.
Be proactive: The job market is uncertain, but that doesn't mean opportunities aren't out there. Keep your eyes open for job openings, and don't be afraid to reach out to potential employers.
And how does a hiring manager navigate the current market?
Look for specialized skills: As mentioned earlier, legal professionals with specialized skills are in high demand. When hiring, look for candidates with specific skills that align with your needs.
Work with a specialist recruiter. Legal and Compliance Hires are well positioned to help you find your next legal or compliance hire. We work on a non-exclusive contingent basis, placing lawyers and compliance specialists - from entry level associates to General Counsel. Get in touch with us today, to see how we can help you.
Be open to candidates with alternative career paths: As more legal professionals are choosing alternative career paths, consider hiring candidates with experience in-house, in government, or in the non-profit sector.
Be flexible: The legal job market is uncertain, and hiring managers may need to be flexible in their hiring strategies.