This Law sector report, giving an overview of 2018, has been created in partnership with Vacancysoft, the recruitment industry data publisher with thousands of subscribers on a global scale.
Despite all the uncertainty that 2018 brought to the UK and the subsequent challenges, there was an increase in the total number of vacancies available for lawyers over the year. A number of key events contributed to this, in particular the implementation of GDPR regulations in May that caused numerous firms to build out their legal teams - sectors that deal with large quantities of data had to take extra precautions.
Technology, Media & Telecoms (TMT) was a key industry across commerce and industry, representing 50% of the total UK vacancies in this sector - openings for lawyers rose by 42% when comparing 2018 to 2017 in this area. Technology is touted as a key challenge to the industry, with Artificial Intelligence and cybersecurity identified as high priority areas where investment is necessary and as various technologies are adopted more, it could create further openings for IT professionals.
Across the financial services sector, large tier one banks made significant decisions to hire more lawyers in 2018, with Barclays increasing their headcount by more than double when compared to 2017. This increased hiring is most likely in response to the data regulation changes and to establish a strong legal division to protect against any breaches or scandals.
Even though US law firms attracted some top lawyers with lucrative salary packages, they aren’t hiring at the same level as UK firms and the Magic Circle firms remained key hirers in London - their longstanding institutional relationships with clients and subject matter expertise make them hard to dislodge from the top spot.
By analysing the lawyer vacancies in different regions across the UK, it is clear that the geopolitical tensions and wider uncertainties have, unsurprisingly, had more of an effect on Greater London than elsewhere.
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