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Your Legal Career in a Post-Pandemic World – Where Opportunities Are Out There

  • July 30, 2020

There’s no escaping the fact that we are living in a post-pandemic world, and the impact this could have on your legal career aspirations.

While some parts of life are slowly returning to normal, other areas have changed forever.

The government have borrowed an unprecedented £400bn to tackle the predicted recession, as some sectors struggle to retain jobs.

But in the legal sector, the picture is different.

With the industry faring well, many legal jobs are secure, as many roles in this sector exist to offset the challenges brought about by periods of economic downturn. After the fallout of a recession, businesses need lawyers with the right skills to help them pick up the pieces.

As more and more data is coming out of our sector on where the opportunities are arising, I thought I would update the blog with the latest information on where the jobs will be as we move forward.

First, let’s take a look at where we were in terms of jobs in the legal sector pre-Covid.

The UK’s Legal Skills Shortage

I have written about the skills shortage on this blog before, but it is still a pertinent problem in the UK legal sector. The skills gap has increased since I last wrote about this topic a couple of years ago.

There will be a predicted four per cent decline in lawyers in the UK by 2027 as AI threatens roles. The number of entrants into the profession is failing to keep up with demand, according to a report published last year.

So, considering this, what does the skills shortage mean for you as a legal candidate? It means that now is the time to take advantage of the many career prospects in the sector. Let’s take a closer look at where these prospects lie.

How Has the Pandemic Affected Jobs and the Economy?

Of course, the financial implications of Covid-19 are yet unknown, being unlike anything we have seen before, but economists have not been able to ignore echoes of the 2008 recession.

The fact remains that this recession is different.

Legislation brought in by the government to stop the spread of coronavirus forced the fiscal cogs to stop turning; they didn’t grind to halt of their own accord due to a weak economic environment.

Jobs in the legal sector have not been as severely affected as in other industries; there has been displacement rather than blanket reduction. Firms with a range of different specialisms are looking to refocus and reorder their teams, with some specialisms shrinking, and others increasing to meet market demand.

So where are we seeing the opportunities arising?

Post-Pandemic Litigation

The biggest risk factor for businesses now in the aftermath of Covid-19 is the increased numbers of companies unable or unwilling to fulfil contracts. This has created an increased need for lawyers with the right skills and experience in dispute and litigation; we already see increased opportunities in the rise in these types of vacancies.

Pre-Covid, legal contracts were protected by force majeure clauses, which protected either parties’ obligations and liability in the event of unusual interruptions. If these clauses are not in place, it can be the case that legal contracts are not fulfilled – increasing the demand for both litigation and dispute lawyers.

Supply chain is one area that has been particularly affected by the exceptional circumstances brought about by Covid-19. In March, a study by the Institute For Supply Chain Management found that nearly 75 per cent of all companies surveyed reported supply chain disruptions in one form or another. It will perhaps be many months before the full extent of the failure of contracts is unearthed, and therefore plenty of opportunities for dispute and litigation lawyers to be employed in resolving these issues.

In April, there was a 40% drop in legal vacancies on the yearly average. However, the drop in litigation and dispute resolution was only 32%, showing that demand for these skills remains higher than in other areas of law.

Looking Forward: Post-Pandemic and Brexit Implications

As the UK legal sector is proving to be in a strong position for growth and job opportunities as we move forwards, not even Brexit uncertainty which was affecting plenty of other industries seems to be able to halt the growth.

Brexit fell off the radar in recent months as the pandemic dominated the headlines. Still, as the December deadline approaches, businesses are now focusing on how the UK’s departure from the EU will impact them.

But confidence in the UK legal sector has remained high throughout, with many firms pre-Covid looking to replace overseas leavers and strengthen their teams with the best talent that will take them past the Brexit deadline.

Job Opportunities for Legal Employees

Just because 2020 was put on hold by the pandemic, this does not mean that legal career opportunities have been similarly affected.

Commercial and civil litigation have been almost unaffected by the pandemic, as well as dispute resolution, all of which have experienced virtually no change in opportunities. The main area which we have seen a negative impact is of course, in property law, but a mini-boom in house prices could be the first indication that vacancies in these areas will shortly be back to the yearly average.

At Clayton Legal, we have a wide range of opportunities for legal employees; we can start working with you on your next career move today.

Click here to view our current vacancies or get in touch with us here to have a discussion about the next steps in your legal career with one of our career experts.

About Clayton Legal

Clayton Legal has been partnering with law firms across the country since 1999 and during that time has built up an enviable reputation for trust and reliability. We have made over 5,000 placements from partners to legal executives, solicitors to paralegals and legal IT personnel to practice managers.

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

If you would like to know more about recruiting trends in the legal sector this year, download our latest guide here.

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