Q2 Legal sector roundup and FAQs

by Heat Recruitment

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We are 6 months into 2017 now, so we thought we’d catch up with Will from the Legal team to find out about your most frequently asked questions, the state of the legal job market and what’s set to change into 2018 and beyond.

What have opportunities been like in the legal sector in the first half of 2017?
We’re finding that certain areas aren’t doing as well as others, particularly, personal injury is struggling. We also tend to specialise in property law which is currently booming. We’re constantly recruiting for several firms and, for anybody who is starting out in a legal career, you should have a strong desire to get into property law as it’s always growing and there are further opportunities to progress up the ladder. Conveyancing is also doing very well in the job market as is commercial property solicitors.

What do you think will happen for the rest of 2017 going into 2018?
It’s hard to say. I’m not sure it will totally change, if at all. There’s always a chance that the market could become saturated, and especially considering the firms that we’ve been in contact with are wanting to double or even triple in size, which leaves huge demand for the right candidates. In the interim, I don’t think it will change much but this could change as we approach 2020.

Do you foresee any major changes in the legal sector in the next couple of years that will affect training and recruitment in the sector?
Brexit, in my opinion, could change the job market. There is a danger that people coming from abroad will lessen, as Brexit is causing people to be nervous. Will students from Spain or the France come here if there are no jobs available easily? The risk is that people will see no point in coming here to study anymore. Brexit won’t change recruiting British citizens though. Things are also becoming slightly more specific when hiring, in terms of the specific job roles. When assessed, the first things would be your degree grades, where you went to University and your work experience.

How much opportunity is there in the legal sector to keep training and gaining new qualifications?
There are lots of opportunities qualifications wise. Providing you know what you want to do, there are some huge opportunities for progression. If you get your qualifications done, follow the structure and stay at your firm, then there’s every chance that you will succeed and hold the reigns. Most firms are keen to get people on board who want to grow the company as well as themselves.

One change will be to graduates though. They are going to have to choose much earlier what department they want to get into – for example, property law. You’re far more likely to get a role if you’ve decided early that you want to take the property law modules for example. There’s going to be much more of a strain on that now for Graduates.

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What would you like to see more of in the applications you receive? Is there anything that jumps out at you that makes you put someone’s application straight in the shortlist pile?
What we’d love to see more of would be applicants showing a genuine interest in the advertised role. On their CV, they don’t usually point out specific work experience and some applications are irrelevant. We’d love to see people reading the role more carefully and fully considering whether they’d be right for the job.

One thing we love to see is loyalty. A candidate can be exceptional on grades but if they move every six months, the firm will wonder how long they’ll stay with them, therefore, the candidate becomes less employable.

A neat looking CV also makes a big difference. Sometimes it’s not always clear what the person does, and some CV’s are vague with the wording. Being more specific on your CV will be helpful for the firm. Say specifically what you do now and what you’re looking for in the future.

What is the biggest skills gap in the legal sector in 2017?
The sector is crying out for merger and acquisition lawyers, as we’re currently experiencing less than average applications for these roles. Others would include employment lawyers and commercial litigation needs more active candidates.

Will Cairns is one of our Recruitment Consultants specialising in Legal. Connect with him on LinkedIn here or call to have a chat on 0117 922 1771

Visit our Ultimate Guide to Legal Jobs here.