The Legal field offers a diverse range of career options, from practicing law in a specialist legal firm to working in an in-house team for a business, non-profit organisation or government agency. There is a huge amount of opportunity for those either looking to join the profession or wanting to move into a different specialism.
Demand for specialist law talent remains high, particularly employment law. Thomson Reuters reported solid growth for the legal market, an average of 6% per year, including an increase in fees and in the number of lawyers which was up by 2.6% from 2020 to 2021(Thomson Reuters: State of the UK Legal Market 2022).
When looking for a new career opportunity or if exploring branching into a different area of law, there are a myriad of factors to consider. With this in mind, we spoke to Emma Delli-Bovi, Business Director for Legal at IDEX Consulting, for her best advice on securing the Legal role that is right for you.
How can professionals stand out in a candidate driven market?
Professionals can stand out in the current market by ensuring that as well as clearly articulating their professional expertise, they also emphasise the strength of their softer skills. These are your ‘value add’ when it comes to standing out in a crowded market. Try and highlight your experience and success in influencing and negotiation, business development, client relationship management and communication. These are things people often assume they’ll be immediately good at which, in reality, is rarely the case. These skills need to be learned, practiced and developed.
What skill are employers looking for?
As we’re seeing across many sectors at the moment, skills like emotional intelligence, empathy, general people skills and commercial awareness are important. As well as resilience, especially given changing market conditions and client demand. Employers are looking for that value add, it’s not enough to simply be an encyclopedia of Law (though that certainly helps!), professionals need to zero in on what makes them different to others, including how they can support and drive business growth.
What advice would you give to someone looking for a new Legal role in the current economic climate?
The current climate can make people feel slightly nervous when looking for a new role but I really would suggest the opposite. Any roles that are being recruited for will have undoubtedly gone through robust internal hiring processes to ensure that there really is the workflow there to support whatever new hire is made. This is because we’re seeing constrained and signed off budgets across the board. For candidates, that means any advertised role that has passed the budget scrutiny, is solid.
There is of course, the age-old adage of ‘last one in, first one out’, but when roles have been audited to make sure there is work in place before they hit the market, this is highly unlikely to be the case.
So, my advice would be to remain confident that vacancies are secure and if you’re interested in a particular opportunity don’t be put off by the economic climate, Legal employers are looking for skilled professionals who are keen to take on new challenges and exciting projects.
How long is the sourcing and interview process on average, from screening to placement?
Most processes take between eight to twelve weeks, and then you’ll have your notice on top. The wait is usually around trying to get diaries for multiple partners in one place at one time! There are, however, circumstances where we can help candidates delay or speed up processes to suit their needs. For example, if someone is desperately wanting to move firms, but they have to wait until a certain point due to a bonus payment, that’s OK – we can support them with that. It’s important people tell us information like this, so we can work with them and their new employer to negotiate a start date that works for everyone. If not, that bonus payment can become part of their signing on package - my personal mantra: ‘where there’s a will, there’s a way’.
What can professionals expect from working with a Legal recruiter?
Working with a Legal recruiter like myself, should make your life much easier; I am here to take away a lot of the day-to-day stress that can come with searching for a new role. I normally start with an informal coffee so I can get to know someone and what they’re looking for (or not looking for!). That puts me in a better position to give people advice on the market and specific companies.
Professionals get as much support as they need; I’ve helped NQ lawyers write their first CV, coached senior lawyers through interview processes, and helped Partners negotiate lucrative and sometimes creative packages to suit their needs. It’s all about having a consultative approach and working collaboratively, to get people something that is better than what they have currently.
What are the benefits of working with a professional recruiter?
To start, it’s a free service! It’s also a way for people to explore their career options as well as multiple lifestyle opportunities and improvements, all in one place. The beauty of it, is the continuity of one point of contact throughout which can often be a lengthy process. I’ve built some great relationships with professionals who I’ve not only known for years and been able to support throughout their careers, but also become good friends with. Trust and doing the right thing is incredibly important to me, and this is one of my guiding principles. It’s fantastic to see people flourish in their careers and positively change their lives – that’s what I love about my job!