The legal profession is a rapidly growing one, both in-person and online. According to The Global Legal Post, there has been a 22% rise in British legal professionals working entirely online, with more and more agencies devoting time to their online presence. With this greater focus on digital working, the digital skills of legal professionals have come into sharp focus. Now, more than ever, recruitment agencies are adapting their methods to make sense of what legal firms need when recruiting and how to meet that need. Ultimately, it’s making hiring easier.
First and foremost, law is now an international profession. While laws are still directly applicable to their host states, people can practice from anywhere in the world with the right knowledge. Recruitment must be international, then, and law firms are adapting their approach to suit. Much of this lies in how they approach search engine optimisation (SEO), both to match Google’s algorithms and those of recriminate websites. Essentially, they are needing to refocus what they can offer candidates to appeal to any corner of the planet. This tweaking is done in combination with cutting-edge legal recruitment outlets; as noted by legal experts Thomson Reuters, newer more flexible services are being preferred over more localised old-school websites.
Nepotism has historically been rife in the legal profession. As far back as 2009, the Financial Times (amongst others) was calling for an end to the sponsorship system that reigned in many British law chambers. With firms noting the potential and skills of international candidates, it may be that the system of patronage that exists in some law firms comes to an end and a truly skills and qualifications based system comes into play. With many better quality recruitment platforms now offering validation systems for diplomas and the like, it will become more streamlined and straightforward for law firms to look at what a candidate has to offer.
All of this comes down to digital technology, and law firms will be looking to recruit people who are digitally native. This will be especially useful as more and more lawsuits become focused on digital matters. The Guardian reported in early April that UK councils were facing complex lawsuits over the provision of education during lockdown, and noted the complexity posed by the digital nature of this provision. Legal professionals will have to contend with more and more of these cases as society becomes, by nature, more online. As a result, recruiters will need to see evidence and demonstration of digital skills, creating a matrix in which legal qualifications and skills are mixed with an inherent understanding of the digital world.
As the world becomes more digitalised, industry will move to reflect this. This is true for the legal profession and the recruitment that it will require in the coming years. For recruiters, adapting will be important in riding the new wave of modern legal professionals and finding those roles in the job market.
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