As we’re coming towards the end of another year, I wanted to provide an overview of the market for in-house legal talent, both from a jobseeker and employer perspective – and catch you before your thoughts turn to festive feasts (they may have already!).   

This post originally appeared on LinkedIn
December 22, 2016

As we’re coming towards the end of another year, I wanted to provide an overview of the market for in-house legal talent, both from a jobseeker and employer perspective – and catch you before your thoughts turn to festive feasts (they may have already!).   

Talent attraction – gain a competitive edge

The post-Brexit world of economic uncertainty is the ‘new normal’. Competition for talent is hot and financial services organisations in particular will need to raise their game if they want to secure top talent. With private practice lawyers increasingly reluctant to move, the existing talent pool is far smaller.

So what can employers do to turn the odds in their favour? Firstly, the big winners will be those organisations who run quick and slick selection processes. Companies that typically have more than two to three rounds of interviews will severely damage their chances of snapping up the best candidates. Speed is the name of the game. 

As we discovered in our recent flexible working legal report produced with My Family Care, 86% of lawyers said they want to know what options were being offered prior to joining. Interestingly, only one in four in-house lawyers enjoy flexible start/finish times, well below the UK average (37%). If you weren’t planning on discussing flexible working, I would urge you to reconsider. 

The biggest areas of demand are in regulatory, general banking, funds/asset management, corporate, commercial, litigation, capital markets and derivatives. If you’ve got a solid track record in any of these practice areas, you’ll be in a strong position to land that next job.

Top 5 tips for candidates

1)   First mover advantage – exciting roles in areas such as transactional M&A or private equity, are few and far between. Organisations often draw up shortlists very quickly, so call the recruiter if you’re interested. You can always decide to not go ahead with your application.

2)   Fail to prepare, prepare to fail – the old adage always holds true. Make sure you properly research the company prior to interview. Do your homework and leave no stone unturned. It’s time well spent.

3)   Give interview feedback – not following up with your recruiter post-interview can give the impression you’re not interested. Remember, technical skills are table stakes – enthusiasm and personality fit can often make all the difference. 

4)   Face to face – meeting in person is always our preferred option as there is so much information beyond the job spec. Should this not be possible, we’d want to have a detailed conversation with you at the very minimum.

5)   Find a trusted partner – always check to see what the recruiter’s relationship is with the client. For example, are they on a preferred supplier list (PSL)? Don’t feel pressured to go with the first agency that contacts you. It’s about who can represent you best. 

If you’d like to know more about our legal practice, please do get in touch ([email protected]). Leave your comments or contact details and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

Have a very merry Christmas and New Year. 

Chris Convey