As life returns to a measure of normality after months of disruption, it is business as usual for many law firms. The legal recruitment market is busier than ever but candidates are proving a little more cautious. We look at the opportunities and trends as we head into the second half of 2021.

The Covid-19 rollercoaster continues to keep us all on our toes but perhaps we are getting a little more used to the ups and downs of this now?! We have certainly seen legal recruitment picking up rapidly after the third lockdown at the beginning of the year.

With summer on the horizon (surely…) and restrictions easing, there is an air of optimism, boosted by the Bank of England’s recent forecast that Britain will see a stronger economic recovery this year than initially anticipated.

Like many businesses, law firms are ready to make the most of this growing sense of confidence. Legal recruitment has bounced back after each of the lockdowns, so what can we expect over the coming months?
Law firms are hiring… but candidates are more cautious.

The jobs are certainly there and we are busy at the moment, as many law firms look to expand their teams. However, we are picking up on some hesitancy from candidates. There is a feeling that people are still unsure about what lies ahead with the pandemic and are nervous about making a move.

With all the uncertainty over the last 15 months, this is perhaps not surprising. Our advice for candidates is to speak to a specialist legal recruiter, who will be able to give you a clear picture of the market in your area. At Legal Southwest, we are working with law firms who we know have a true business need and are looking to move forward with long-term hires, so we can reassure our candidates about their prospects at a firm and help them to feel confident about finding the right role.

There is sometimes a belief that it will be a case of ‘last in, first out’, which can hold candidates back. In our experience, though, this is generally not true – if you are good at what you do, your firm will want to keep you whenever you joined!

The opportunities are there for savvy candidates

As people slowly gain confidence in the market, the number of candidates looking for jobs will increase again, especially those who had postponed making a move over the autumn and winter. For now, however, legal recruitment is being instigated by law firms looking to fill positions.
This means it is a very much a candidate-driven market at the moment, offering some great opportunities for those who know what they want and are ready to take the next step.

Demand is high for certain practice areas

With the market picking up, there is a huge need for newly qualified solicitors. There is an ongoing requirement in property, which has been particularly active in recent months. We are also noticing an increased number of positions within litigation, with much higher recruitment levels than we have seen in this area previously.
Alongside this, other practice areas are showing a steady demand, including family and private client.

Firms are gearing up for a return to the workplace

While we have had a small number of clients looking for candidates to work from home full time, we have found that the majority of our clients would like employees to be back in the office as restrictions ease.
There are some firms looking for candidates to return to the office permanently but the pandemic has shifted the debate on flexible working for businesses across the country. We are seeing many firms embracing this in their long-term plans, implementing a split week with employees working both in the office and at home.

Legal Southwest is here to help you get your legal recruitment right.

With recruitment levels at a high, it is vital that law firms have a strong recruitment strategy in place to ensure they stay competitive and attract the best candidates.

For candidates wanting to forward their career, the opportunities are out there as firms look to fill many positions at all levels.

As a specialist legal recruiter, Legal Southwest is here to support both sides of the recruitment process, helping to place the right person at the right firm at all times.

Legal Southwest is a specialist legal recruiter, bringing together talented professionals with like-minded organisations. Take a look at our current vacancies Jobs – Legal Southwest or contact us Contact – Legal Southwest to find out how we can help you.