What are the top sectors in need of legal expertise

by Heat Recruitment

By Joe Connolly

The legal sector is now worth a staggering £26bn to the UK economy per year – enjoying a phenomenal 8% year on year growth. Amid Brexit, however, legal businesses have seen somewhat of a diversification… specialists are no longer exclusively tied to London. Indeed, Bristol now has the largest legal sector outside of The City, as we explored in a previous post.

With the handing off of London’s crown to other high growth areas in the UK, something interesting is beginning to happen. We’re starting to see a greater rise in specialist firms – great news for the economy as a whole, and even better for lawyers with no taste for the traditional.

So, what are the highest growth areas in need of legal expertise?

Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is one of the world’s fastest growing sectors – the damage from cybercrime is predicted to cost $6 trillion globally by 2021. For businesses, then, this poses significant risk – what happens when a company uses a system, advertised as secure, only for it to be breached, for instance? Discounting the initial response, improvements in security practices and hiring of consultants to identify what went wrong, many businesses will take the legal route to recoup any costs. Provided the end company has indeed acted negligently, the number of court cases will continue to rise so long as cybersecurity is not taken seriously.

Technology

IoT, Amazon’s home delivery system and AI – each present significant challenges for private and professional persons. It is a commonly accepted truth that the global technology sector is innovating far faster than regulation and legislation can keep up with. GDPR, for example, is a regulation that has been introduced far behind the point where it was needed. In integrating legal practice with new systems, many which have not been legislated around, the need for specialists is clear.

Media & entertainment

The media and entertainment sector in the UK, off the back of infrastructure put in place by George Osborne’s tax relief scheme, is set to be worth £72bn by 2021. The latest series of Star Wars films, the first of which came with a budget of $306m, is actually filmed in the UK – parts of The Force Awakens were shot just a stone’s throw away from Bristol. Since 2014, Office for National Statistics figures have noted that in the UK, this sector has grown by 72.4% – compared with just 8.5% across the EU.

With this rise comes strong opportunity for the UK’s legal sector – contracts, negotiations and disputes are rife in Hollywood, after all.

Financial services

Despite the rise of specialist firms, financial services remain a cash cow for the legal sector – London’s crown was earned for a reason, after all. As the UK begins its exit from the EU, and with GDPR and MIFID II on the horizon, organisations operating within financial services will require expert legal guidance – whether said firms are based in London, or elsewhere in the UK.

The UK’s business landscape is consistently changing, and with large-scale economic shifts, this trend is only predicted to continue. For the legal sector, responsible for mediating negotiations and providing legal frameworks for new business agreements, this shift can only be good news.

To ensure success in future endeavours, however, the requirement for top legal talent becomes even more pronounced. If you’re looking for your next legal career shift, we have a litany of resources to aid your search. At Heat Recruitment, we help link employers with the latest legal talent. Get in touch. We’re here to help.