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3 industries where in-house legal demand is growing

31 / 05 / 2016
3 industries where in-house legal demand is...We're almost halfway through 2016, and it's already shaping up to be an encouraging year for in-house legal recruitment. The latest Barclay Simpson Legal Market Report showed that only nine per cent of companies aren't expecting to hire lawyers this year. 

Moreover, 59 per cent of in-house legal departments feel they are under-resourced for the demands placed upon them. Notwithstanding the upcoming EU Referendum, the economy and employment have both steadily gained momentum, and it's hoped this improvement will continue over the coming months. 

But where are the best opportunities for in-house lawyers? Which sectors are currently hiring for positions, and what types of role are up for grabs? Let's look at some of the industries that are ramping up their recruitment efforts. 

1. Technology

It's probably no surprise that technology is experiencing a boom in in-house legal recruitment, as the industry is currently enjoying remarkable growth across the board in the UK. In fact, Ernst & Young recently reported that London is now second only to Silicon Valley for tech investment worldwide. The capital attracted nearly eight times as much foreign direct investment in the sector as second-placed Manchester. 

Technology firms often have issues around intellectual property, commercial contracts and data privacy, and businesses may find the cost of external legal fees can become prohibitive once the company reaches a certain size. At this point, they are likely to explore in-house legal options, whether it's a general counsel to manage external lawyers or perhaps a sole in-house counsel role. There are certainly plenty of opportunities for ambitious, experienced lawyers who want to make their mark on the tech world. 

2. Asset management

Over 80 per cent of asset managers that Barclay Simpson contacted had recruited for in-house legal positions in the last six months of 2015. The industry is going through a time of significant restructuring and consolidation, as trading volumes decline at big investment banks and money shifts into asset management. Eventually, some of the more established banks may sell off their asset management divisions. This trend inevitably means asset management firms are doing more deals and require larger legal headcounts. 

We've also noticed regional growth, with some of the larger asset managers shifting support functions, including legal, outside of London. Overall, businesses are keen to find junior in-house lawyers, although demand is typically high at this end of the market, so it can be a challenge to find and secure the right candidates.

3. Challenger banks and fintech firms

Innovation and changes in legislation are driving a large amount of the demand in the finance sector. Specifically, challenger banks and fintech firms are experiencing significant growth, and this shows no signs of easing in the near future.

Many of these organisations are often smaller than established financial services companies, making them slightly more agile in the face of changing market conditions. As they begin to grow, the need for legal teams becomes increasingly important, especially for fintech businesses that must manage the legislation challenges relating to both the finance and technology sides of their operations. These businesses therefore offer in-house lawyers the opportunity to work in high-growth, fast-paced environments that are likely to have rapidly evolving legal requirements. 

These are just three areas where Barclay Simpson has seen in-house legal demands increase. However, the market is in a healthy position as we head into the last six months of the year, so expect more updates from us on the sectors where the best opportunities lie. 

For more information on the latest in-house legal vacancies available, please click here.

Our 2016 Market Report combines our review of the prevailing conditions in the in-house legal recruitment market together with the results of our latest employer survey.

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