Legal Recruitment Consultants at Interlink Recruitment share their opinions on how hiring has changed in the legal sector since the pandemic.
The legal sector, like many other industries, has been faced with unique challenges during the pandemic, particularly when it comes to recruitment. Despite the uncertainty brought to light, the legal industry has continued to recruit for a number of roles and has seen success and growth in multiple areas.
Increased Desire For Flexibility
In terms of recruitment in the legal sector, one of the main challenges has been a massive shift in people’s work-life balance. The legal market is constantly changing and adapting to ensure they keep up to date with societal standards. As the majority of people were forced to work from home and a more hybrid approach to working has been introduced over the past year and a half, this has resulted in candidates wanting more flexibility from potential roles.
Although this has been challenging when recruiting as roles need to be much more tailored to meet these needs, it has also had a positive impact on legal firms bringing them flexibility with their hiring. Madeline Amer, Legal Recruitment Consultant at Interlink Recruitment said:
“This has led to success for the legal sector as law firms are offering positions to Solicitors from all over the UK, not restricted to specific locations. Consequently, this provides new recruitment opportunities, widening the pool of candidates for all UK law firms. With law firms seeking the best candidates, standards are higher for the requirement process. Overall, the most important factor for Solicitors is to take on new opportunities, widen your network and be consistently motivated.”
Traditionally, recruitment processes take time and money – for good reason. It’s important that during this process, candidates are carefully selected and considered to ensure the most qualified and suitable individuals are selected for the role.
However, new advances in automation technology have meant that certain recruitment processes can be sped up – for example, sifting through CVs, application forms and the scheduling of interviews. Although this can be seen as a positive to some extent, some concerns come with relying entirely on technology to do the job of a human.
Thomas Crea, Legal Recruitment Consultant at Interlink Recruitment says:
“There will be additional costs for the software, training and maintenance of the system that must be weighed against the money saved in admin staff fees. Therefore, it isn’t always a financially beneficial option. Another challenge faced with AI and automation is inaccuracies. No technology is perfect and AI would likely make errors, potentially resulting in the loss of great candidates. The main disadvantage that we firmly believe in is the absence of relationship-building in AI. Recruitment is about people and how are you supposed to give a ‘human touch’ with a robot? Long-term client relationships require the personal touch to provide a feeling of trust, comfort and security. Recruitment software doesn’t take the client out for lunch, a recruiter does.”
High Demand for Specific Roles
Another evident change is an increasing interest in Legal Cashier roles, so much so that the demand currently outweighs supply. This has meant that recruiting has been difficult as although the demand is high, it is also a niche role with a limited pool of candidates. Emily Holman-Gavin, Legal Recruitment Consultant at Interlink Recruitment shares her experience with this challenge below:
“A few of our clients are beginning to ask about these Legal Cashier opportunities and this is becoming increasingly regular. We also see a consistent number of Legal Assistant roles and administration roles that remain sought after all year round. Recruiting for these types of roles where there is high demand but limited candidates is very difficult. From my experience, there are very limited Legal Cashiers nationwide and most candidates aren’t interested in moving either. When a Legal Cashier is settled in a firm they appear to desire staying in this role unless a change is necessary.”
This alongside the general growth and success of the legal industry during the pandemic has meant that there is also much more competition for legal roles. Not only is there a great deal of Newly Qualified legal professionals that will be looking for jobs, but people’s working attitudes and requirements have also changed causing many people to consider new opportunities.
All in all, hiring has brought challenges but recruiting for legal positions continues to be a success despite the new considerations. The important thing is that legal firms continue to adapt and cater to people’s needs when recruiting, as it is unlikely that we will return to traditional ways of working, so to attract the best talent firms must be willing to offer flexibility and keep up with the ever-evolving industry.
Interlink Recruitment is one of the fastest-growing independent legal recruitment consultancies in the UK, acting for a wide range of law firms both nationally and internationally.