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2024 Salary, Benefits and Skills Guide: Legal private practice insights

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As we embrace 2024 firms and Legal professionals turn their attention to what the new year promises for the Legal private practice specialism. The IDEX Consulting 2024 Salary, Benefits and Skills Guide offers detailed insights into the professions market outlook, in-demand skills and Legal hiring trends. Below is a sneak peek into the current private practice employment climate, as well as what our specialists expect to see in 2024.

Regional Growth

Decentralisation is a continuing trend as firms are increasingly branching out, with regional growth more of a priority than cementing their presence in a central but saturated environment. Unsurprisingly, positions for Legal talent in regional markets are abundant, with some offering the opportunity to work remotely for London firms and US / Magic Circle practices. According to one report, last year 67% of London-based law firms’ revenues grew by up to 10%, while 38% of regional firms experienced revenue growth of more than 10%. Gone are the days of relocating to impractical central locations for newly qualified (NQ) Lawyers, regional firms are thriving more than ever.

EVP over salary

NQ Legal salaries surged at the beginning of last year, which has inevitably led to a gradual stabilisation as salaries subsequently drop. Firms are, as a result increasingly looking at alternative ways to attract and retain talent, with 91% of employers reporting having an employee value proposition (EVP). This holistic approach to talent attraction and retention sees firms adopt more flexible working, prioritise development and in some cases even work with external mental health organisations to tackle the profession’s extensive struggle with stressful working. According to data from our Salary, Benefits and Skills Guide, this comes at a good time – as a staggering 74% of Legal employees reported feeling negative or uncertain about their career prospects.

But is it too little too late? Since rising capital costs and soaring interest rates mean firms looking to hire won’t have stand-out salaries to offer, we expect the focus to shift. EVP aside, private practice institutions are increasingly promoting ‘most published deals’ to demonstrate growth and bolster reputation. Additionally, for a lot of prospective talent, a solid Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) strategy is a requisite – not a bonus.

Building teams

With the rise of employment-focused social media platforms such as LinkedIn, organisations across sectors are investing in building out Marketing and Business Development (BD) teams. Brand awareness is now as crucial in the Legal specialism as it has been in retail; with 49 million professionals using LinkedIn for job searches weekly, firms understand the importance of brand development and marketing. We expect this shift towards hiring none fee-earners to continue as firms increasingly focus on building out their brand and online presence as a means of talent attraction in an otherwise highly saturated market.

Want to see the numbers? We invited 100,000 employers and professionals to complete our survey, bringing you our most comprehensive guide to date. The 2024 Salary, Benefits and Skills Guide has detailed, sector-specific insights from our Legal specialists on further trends we expect to see this year – all underpinned by data from professionals across the UK and internationally.

Make sure your next move is data-driven and informed, access the exclusive, free guide here.