Bring on the uncertainty

Interlink Recruitment21 January 2019

Never has our country been so deeply plunged into the darkness of political uncertainty as in recent weeks.  And the cloud hanging over our heads feels to be getting ever bigger rather than smaller. With records being broken in Parliament following the resounding number of ‘noes’ against the proposed Brexit deal, who knows what to expect next.  Deliberations, debates and damning accusations will continue, meanwhile we’re all expected to ‘get on with it’. But that’s easier said for some, although for law firms the uncertainty is making a positive difference, for now.

Referendum risk and regulation
At times like this, regulatory uncertainty in key markets is a big concern and this is generating more work for firms.  Both in-house legal departments and lawyers in private practice are serving as risk managers during these uncertain times.  Law firms are playing a vital advisory role for regulatory issues such as contract failures or other areas where companies face risk from legal issues.  And then there’s working to minimise regulatory risk, which for now is done in mostly an advisory capacity.  In these uncertain times, there are more questions, more clients and for law firms, more billable hours.  Departments can maximise their productivity and showcase their abilities across the wider firm.  It might be difficult times in a new, complex regulatory environment but it’s also one of opportunity.

‘Mais oui’ we’re busy
Despite the first wave of panic when the country voted to leave the EU, the referendum has had a positive impact on the legal sector.  Figures from 2018 showed for the two years previously that the sector had grown by over £1.2bn.  Most firms, especially those in the City have set up dedicated teams to advise clients on all eventualities surrounding Brexit.  From litigation advice to drafting reports and even running helplines, the short-term effects of Brexit have been positive for law firms so far.  And despite the uncertainty that continues for now, the one thing that is certain is that Brexit, whether it’s hard or soft, on or off, voted for again or not, will continue to keep lawyers busy for some time.

Changes mean chances
As Brexit fuels advisory growth, we have seen an increase in demand for lawyers across practice areas including regulatory and litigation.  But we can look beyond Brexit to find more opportunity for lawyers to specialise in niche areas, all off the back of uncertainty.  Tech is one such area with the rapid growth of Fintech (finance and technology).  While innovation is encouraged, there’s also a need to respond to the fast-growing regulatory challenges it brings. Law firms are not only looking to hire tech savvy staff, who are few and far between, but also get lawyers trained in tech to meet the needs of their clients.  Cyber and data security is another area which causes a big headache for businesses and is a huge growth area for law firms.  The uncertainty lies with how the Government tackles it down to the risks to businesses themselves.  More firms are establishing specific groups within departments, offering more opportunity for emerging legal professionals to specialise in a niche area that suits.  

If you are looking to grow your team, whether to tackle Brexit issues or add to specialist emerging departments, contact us to discuss your recruitment needs.  Our legal recruitment professionals are well connected with access to a growing pool of legal talent across the country.

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