Chadwick Nott’s specialist Interim Legal Recruitment Team considers why changes in the legal market are good news for law firms and In-house legal teams, as well as for temporary workers themselves.
A difficult economic backdrop, new legal reforms and pressure on costs have all impacted on law firms and In-house legal teams. The need to re-assess how they resource their immediate and future recruitment needs is becoming ever more acute.
Employers require greater resourcing flexibility whilst at the same time reducing staffing costs. This has led to an increase in demand for temporary workers through 2012. In addition there has been a shift from predominantly short-term “locum” roles to longer-term interim strategic appointments.
Historically the interim recruitment option has often been seen by employers as a necessary evil. In reality, done correctly, many such interim appointments have proved to be far more valuable to both law firms and In-house legal teams than originally anticipated. Ultimately recruitment has always boiled down to finding high calibre candidates. This is no different in the interim market.
Indeed a flexible and open-minded approach to finding the best talent means employers are discovering that they are more likely to succeed in securing the ideal candidate whilst minimising long-term risk.
So called ‘virtual firms’ are taking advantage of this and there has been a noticeable growth in the number of firms now offering fee splits with limited exclusivity for the candidates, thus allowing the opportunity to enjoy a true work-life balance.
In some cases clients are opting for the 'try before you buy' approach by offering candidates the opportunity to work with them on a temporary basis before both parties commit to a longer-term role. This seems especially prevalent in the In-house market with interim roles specifically in construction, healthcare and financial services sectors.
Temporary Worker Opportunities
The mindset of the temporary worker has also changed. With a growing number of disillusioned solicitors deciding that partnership may not be for them there is an increasing supply of excellent calibre, well-trained candidates leaving well-known commercial law firms keen to take on an interim appointment.
Often the recruitment need is project-driven. An increase in the number of specialist document review businesses have also increased the demand for interim lawyers and paralegals. This in turn has further empowered candidates to feel secure about entering the interim workforce market as more roles are available on a regular basis.
In Demand Areas
The legal specialisms where demand is highest has stayed fairly constant. In private practice this includes commercial litigation and dispute resolution/arbitration, company/commercial (both In-house and private practice), commercial & residential property, employment, social housing, PI, private client and project related work (non-contentious construction, PFI, IT outsourcing).
Various commercial firms have re-engineered their support functions by creating centralised delivery units consisting of experienced paralegals. Such units allow firms and legal departments to flex their resource in response to the peaks and troughs of client workflow. This appears to be a growing trend.
Clients are looking to adapt and take advantage of opportunities in a changing market. Candidates are looking for a change away from the relentless intensity and lack of satisfaction they have experienced over the past five years.
The solution for many has been flexibility, which is likely to continue over the coming months and years.
If you are thinking of recruiting a temporary worker or are looking for a locum or interim role, please contact Chadwick Nott’s specialist Interim Team or visit www.chadwicknott.co.uk
London – Private Practice and In-house
South West and South East – Private Practice and
Midlands and The North – Private Practice and In-house