by Laura Hayward | 29 January 2018
The year ahead is set for continued economic recovery and growth, which means organisations have to navigate a rapidly changing, increasingly competitive landscape while retaining their focus on achieving commercial goals. There are a significant number of challenges to address, from fast-moving, international economic changes to regional, political and business change. Outlined below are some of the key trends that will affect the legal landscape in 2018, and the opportunities and threats these will uncover.
In a candidate-short market public sector organisations have had to adapt when looking to attract and retain their future legal talent. We have seen an increased trend for legal teams improving their on-boarding programmes in order to stay ahead of the curve. Active candidates will have choices and therefore a timely, flexible and sensible recruitment process will help the employer stand out from an early stage. Ensuring your recruitment process mirrors that of your employer brand and culture will ensure candidates place your job offer at the top of their preferred list.
Opportunities in 2018
Countrywide there is a huge push on development as the days of the recession seem to be well and truly behind us. Development and regeneration is thriving, and can be seen everywhere. Manchester as an example has a number of brand new office and housing blocks being built – a similar picture in cities across the UK - meaning there is a constant demand for lawyers who have regeneration, town re-development, and compulsory purchase order experience. This is set to increase in 2018, so legal professionals with experience in these areas will be in even greater demand.
There is going to be an enormous push within the housing market in 2018 which will provide the legal market with a number of opportunities. Following the budget announcement last year, there is a massive emphasis on increasing social housing, reducing homelessness and making housing readily available for first time buyers. As a result, I expect a surge in the demand for planning lawyers, property lawyers, housing lawyers and contract lawyers to help housing associations navigate this growth. For example, the push to reduce homelessness will see the government aim to half the amount of people sleeping rough by 2022 and eliminate it completely by 2027. This will mean there will be (and we are already seeing) more demand for housing lawyers to make housing applications, secure accommodation applications and more.
Large events such as the Commonwealth Games
It was announced in December that Birmingham will host the 2022 Commonwealth Games which will have a large impact on the Midlands, and the country as a whole as Birmingham prepares for this. In order to facilitate the games, it is likely that a range of commercial lawyers specialising in planning, property and contracts will be needed as new facilities are built and transport links are improved. Whilst this seems like a long time away, the planning needed to support such an event is already underway as events of this magnitude take an enormous amount of organising. We have seen this previously with hosting large, internationally recognised events in Manchester 2002, London 2012 and Glasgow 2014.
Challenges in 2018
The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) legislation is coming in from May 2018 so this is very much on the radar for Sellick Partnership, our clients and our candidates. As a business we have already witnessed an increase in the demand for lawyers with data protection and freedom of information experience as organisations prepare themselves to be GDPR compliant. We have placed a number of locum lawyers with this specialism to assist local government organisations, universities and housing associations to ensure that each is compliant, and has the correct processes and procedures in place to deal with the forthcoming legislation. This is only set to increase as the legislation comes into force in May 2018, and organisations are expected to start putting procedures in place to ensure they are compliant with the new legislation.
Finally Brexit is a topic on the agenda of every organisation in the UK at the moment, and it is the legal profession that is set to benefit the most from the change. Brexit matters for lawyers for two reasons: firstly, because it raises the possibility of changes to hundreds of laws, rules and regulations which govern how businesses operate and how the country is run. Secondly, Brexit will affect laws governing dozens of areas from environment and immigration to intellectual property and finance. As a result, the need for legal professionals to navigate these changes is huge, and we have already seen a surge in demand for lawyers with these skillsets, particularly in central government.
f you would like to discuss any of these issues in greater depth, or would like to know more about our work and how we can help you please feel free to contact me by calling 0161 834 1642 or by emailing me on firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively you can view our latest roles here.