What should your law firms hiring process for 2020 look like?

legal hiring process for 2020

As we step into 2020, hiring is usually front of mind for all businesses, and the legal sector is no exception. A new year is a good time to pause, reflect and analyse the needs of the firm in order to properly and effectively plan for the year ahead. With this in mind, we share our plans for hiring this year and the thought process behind it.

Q1: Talent Pipelining

While 2019 was the year of high demand, skills and shortages in a candidate-driven market, Q1 of 2020 will see hiring demands falling to a seven-year low. Of course, there are many driving factors here, predominantly Brexit uncertainly and lulling business confidence. Despite this, the legal sector remains busy and primed for legislative changes and development. With this in mind, hiring may not be the first port of call for some, but there really is no reason why firms should put off planning their hiring strategy early on in the year.

Focusing your efforts on talent pipelining and building a network of suitable, skilled and experienced candidates will not only allow you to plug gaps when they arise, but it lessens the pressure on HR, and your hiring department, should the short-term need for staff arise. Pipelining will keep you two step ahead of the curve and your competition, allowing you to accomplish recruitment goals as and when they arise – reducing the potential risk of a bad hire.

Q2: A spike in salaries

Despite 2019 proving a fairly challenging and uncertain year for business, the one aspect that proved resilient was that of wage growth – with salaries at one point rising at the fastest rate in decades! Salary rises are positive for all sectors, indicating profit and business success which is set to continue in 2020.

Come April 2020, the national living wage will rise by 6.2 per cent to £8.72 – the biggest increase since April 2016. The government estimates this will positively impact over three million workers. While the legal sector is not famed for low salary banding, this will certainly relieve the pressures for entry-level workers that may be on the lesser end of the bracket.

Amongst senior positions, salaries are continuing to remain competitive. That said, even newly qualified solicitors are reaping the benefits – Magic Circle firms in particular were seen to increase salaries to over £100,000 a year in 2019. As competition in the sector continues to heat up, the battle for top quality, specialist talent is more evident than ever, and many law firms will be revisiting their salaries come the start of the financial year to offer the best package possible.

Q3: Building a competitive perks package

Of course, if every law firm were to increase their salaries there wouldn’t be much to differentiate and provide candidates with a reason to jump their current ship to join a different firm. As each month passes, we experience more and more millennial and Gen Z candidates joining and progressing through the sector. It is a well-known fact that these generations are purpose-driven and are motivated well through tailored perk packages.

The legal sector stereotypically can be referred to as a little ‘behind the times’ when it comes to providing modern career solutions such as flexible working and fun and quirky offices. That said, many are stepping up to the forefront and pioneering the way. Here at Lysander Law we offer an abundance of perks including, but not limited to, cycle-to-work schemes, flexible working options, training and development and regular staff outings. Other key figures in the sector are offering unique benefits too such as: Deliveroo vouchers, bonuses and fitness passes to name a few.

Increasing salaries is attractive to legal professionals however, as the generational gap changes, more and more candidates will be looking for an entire package that reflects their desires and needs – it’s the firm’s job to accommodate that.

Q4: Preparing for 2021

While it’s hard to predict a year in advance, The Law Society has estimated the approximate growth in real turnover to average 2.1 per cent per a year over the period from 2021 to 2025. This may be lower than the previous period, but it is still a positive indication of growth. The real focus for the final quarter of 2020 will be futureproofing and ensuring you have the talent pool that are skilled and ready to progress your firm to further success in 2021.

It’s an educated assumption that the legal sector will be much more tech-aligned by the end of the year. With many firms beginning to adopt technology to take over the more menial tasks, we will see further advancement of the use of the IoT and chatbots within the sector. Therefore, throughout this period, it will be useful to ensure staff are well equipped and properly trained. Hiring intentions may well be centred around technological literacy, as well as the traditional skills required to succeed in the legal sector. Whatever the case, it’s looking to be another exciting year for law!

Are you looking for legal representation or advice? Contact our experts at Lysander Law for more information.