5 Pieces of good news (and 5 pieces of bad) for those working in the UK legal industry

13 Mar 2014

Good News – The legal industry is much larger than before

Deregulation has seen more firms enter the market. These firms will develop new products, which will create new demand. Strong firms with new products will perform well in the larger industry.

 

Bad News – The legal industry is newly competitive

The increase in size of the industry and the broadening of some jobs and job roles will mean that you and your firm are competing for work. You may well find yourself competing against non-lawyers, whilst your firm will compete against more firms and firms of different types.

 

Good News – The industry is now full of better businesses

Businesses which succeed in the new industry will be well run and better funded. They will offer exciting job opportunities for those who can rise to the challenge of performing at a high level.

 

Bad News – It may be harder for you to progress than it was for lawyers previously

If you are just starting your career then you may find it difficult: there are less opportunities for trainee solicitors around than there were previously. Those already on the legal career ladder will find it full of more complex choices and may experience a tougher climb.

 

Bad News – Outsourcing is on the increase

Firms will outsource areas they no longer see as core or that do add value. This will obviously impact available jobs in those areas as firms look to become specialists.

 

Good News – There are now more non-traditional firms, with non-traditional thinking

Those coming to the industry from non-traditional backgrounds will find that there is more willingness to find them a place within the industry. This willingness may well come from non-traditional firms, who look at the industry in a different, more business-focused way than many of the large traditional law firms.

 

Bad News – It might be harder to switch career

Firms will hire more out of strategy than opportunity. Because of the diversified range of business models, this may limit your ability to switch career ladder, especially at times when firms do not have an obvious reason to broaden their teams.

 

Good News – If you can add value, you have a good chance to get to the top of the pile

The competitive marketplace will recognise people who directly add value to firms. If you can consistently demonstrate this then you not only have a chance to succeed but to stand out within your firm and your profession.

 

Bad News – The legal market is newly complicated

The market as a whole will be more complex and the route to the top narrower. For individuals, this will mean that each time you achieve a better position, the step to the next position will be harder and require more work.

 

Good News – Your career options are now more varied

New businesses and new types of businesses mean that your career will have more options to it, particularly if you are relatively new within the industry. Internal opportunities at successful firms will mirror the wider picture of the industry. For those that are ready, there will be options available.

 

This article is based on our Chairman, Phil Jepson’s presentation ‘The Lawyer of the Future’, which you can download in full here.