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Legal Risk & Compliance Trends Shaping 2024

Over the last five years the role that risk and compliance departments play in law firms large and small has grown substantially. Everyone from large financial services institutions to public sector institutions is aware of the dangers of failing to meet compliance demands, and of the benefits a robust and forward-thinking legal risk and compliance function brings to the table.

Whether you are heading up a risk and compliance department in a larger law firm, or are a smaller specialist firm, the landscape presents both challenges and opportunities for law firms in this sector. With that in mind, let’s explore some of the key trends in legal risk and compliance for the year ahead.

Emerging Compliance Risks

While the general regulatory landscape in the UK is stable, there are several new pieces of legislation and some emerging issues that legal risk and compliance lawyers need to be on top of. First is the introduction of a new Legal Services Operational Privacy Certification Scheme, designed to help law firms comply with GDPR requirements and increase client trust. Certification is not yet mandatory, but it could become standard for law firms handling client data. Another key risk for law firms are updates to Anti-Money Laundering (AML) risk assessments and the ongoing impact of international sanctions on AML issues.

Bringing Corporate Risk & Compliance In-House

Ongoing economic concerns have left law firms looking for ways to balance their resources with their recruitment needs. When outside organisations choose to bring their legal risk and compliance needs in-house to save money this has a knock-on effect for law firms specialising in this issue. Law firms need to be aware of the potential loss of income as well as greater competition from in-house legal teams for talent and look for ways to differentiate themselves to attract and retain staff.

Managing Ongoing Digitalisation

28% of UK risk and compliance professionals say keeping pace with the rate of digitalisation is a top 5 priority. Whether you’re working in commercial real estate or family law, to what extent key processes will be digitised in the long-term is something to be aware of, particularly with regards to data security.

Increasing Role Specialisation

The role of corporate risk and compliance departments is changing. They are no longer seen as mere risk management exercises, but as having a key role to play at boardroom level, giving legal risk and compliance professionals long-term influence on organisation, strategy and planning. We are also seeing continued specialisation of risk and compliance roles thanks to changing regulations and an increasing reliance on more sophisticated technologies. These changes will mean the demand from law firms for professionals with advanced technical skills and strategic expertise will be much higher. Firms may want to consider refreshing their training and upskilling programmes to reduce hiring costs and attract new talent.


What these Trends Mean For Legal Risk & Compliance Hiring

Given the outlined legal risk and compliance trends, to attract and retain the right talent, businesses must emphasise agility, innovation, and a commitment to professional growth.


  1. Review Needed Skills & Expertise – Taking a proactive approach to workforce planning and talent acquisition should be a top priority for law firms looking to attract key skills and expertise, particularly in a skills short market. You should be reviewing your current workforce’s skillsets and comparing those with your expected needs. Review your current job descriptions and ensure they reflect the skills you need to attract.
  2. Explore New Sourcing Channels – If your current channels are ineffective at connecting with individuals who have the legal and technical skills you need, you should also look at new ways to connect with candidates. Expand your talent attraction channels to include social media, make connections with wider community groups including professional networks and universities.
  3. Set Your Employer Brand Apart – With law firms seeking to balance resources and staffing needs, there’s a growing emphasis on attracting top-tier talent. This shift requires smaller law firms to differentiate themselves to compete for skilled professionals. Offering unique opportunities for career growth, specialised training programmes, and competitive compensation packages can enhance your attractiveness to potential hires.
  4. Create a Culture of Continuous Learning – The increasing role specialisation within risk and compliance underscores the importance of fostering a culture of continuous learning and development. You should be investing in robust training and upskilling initiatives to equip existing staff with advanced technical and strategic skills. By nurturing talent internally, you can mitigate hiring costs and cultivate a pool of professionals capable of driving long-term growth.

By aligning your recruitment strategies with emerging industry demands and prioritising talent development, you will position your law firm as employers of choice for risk and compliance professionals at every stage of their career.

Clayton Legal has over 25 years’ experience helping clients attract and retain legal talent across practice areas that include Property, Personal Injury, Family, Criminal, and Costs law as well as Legal IT and Civil and Commercial Litigation.

If you are building your legal team, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.


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Posted By

Lynn Sedgwick

Managing Director