Top tips when considering your next Legal In-House role

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Over the last 12 months, demand for in-house lawyers has rapidly increased. In a thriving jobs market, understanding which sectors are hiring most (and at which levels) can help you to identify the types of opportunities available, and pinpoint your job search when applying for your next role. 

Looking to take advantage of a booming legal jobs market? Aleisha Murray, Senior Manager of Legal In-House recruitment at Robert Walters London, provides an overview of the current jobs market, with top tips to prepare for your next career move.

Why is now a great time to consider your next legal in-house role?

Many of our clients have been fortunate to increase much-needed headcount already in 2022. With job levels reaching record highs, we’ve seen an uptick in basic salaries across the board (roughly 15-20% above the pre-covid market) and expanded benefits packages (including sign on bonuses in some instances), making it a great time to consider a move if a key motivator is a salary uplift.

At the junior-mid level, candidates (particularly those with commercial/corporate experience) are in such short supply that there has been a significant increase in clients offering Tier 2 sponsorships. This means that it’s a great time to consider relocating to London, particularly if UK working rights are precluding you from doing so, as clients are more open to (and in many instances, simply ‘must’) consider candidates from foreign jurisdictions to fill the skills shortage here in the UK.

At the senior end, we find that the months of May and June are the best time to start actively looking as this is when we see the most movement, usually as a result of bonuses having been paid out towards the end of April.

Which areas are we seeing the most activity? 

The industries with the largest growth (and the areas to look out for) are Payments, Alternative Assets (particularly Cryptocurrency) and Gaming across all levels. Other sectors, including Financial Services and Technology, are continuing to see a consistent amount of growth. We have also seen an uptick in roles across Publishing, Media and Construction already in 2022.

Which legal candidates are in demand for employers? 

We continue to see a huge demand for Data Protection/ Privacy experience across many of our clients (particularly in Tech, Sport and FS industries). Junior-mid level Commercial lawyers, Financial Services Regulatory lawyers and lawyers with alternative assets/high frequency trading experience are also not without a multitude of opportunities in the current market.

What key questions should in-house lawyers ask potential employers at interview?

Asking the right questions can determine the success of an interview as it gives you the opportunity to showcase your interest in the role, as well as ensure due diligence when weighing up a job offer. The types of questions you ask will naturally depend on the level of role – if you’re a junior-mid level candidate I’d suggest asking the following: 

  • How does the company manage career development?
  • How does the department track project/workload reporting?
  • Does the company have any pro bono or extra-curricular activities staff can get involved with?
  • Can I get involved in a particular type of work in this role (i.e. if a commercial candidate is specifically interested in marketing/advertising, can the spread of work in the existing team allow the incumbent to gain exposure to this kind of work)?

What key experience/qualifications should candidates seek out that they can stamp on their CV?

Employment and Privacy lawyers from foreign jurisdictions, particularly those at global firms, should attempt to gain exposure to UK/European client work as much as possible ahead of relocating, as we can find it challenging to place foreign qualified lawyers with these specialisms given the differences in local laws. Candidates who are unable to obtain European-client specific experience before relocating (and cannot make a move to the UK with their existing employer) may want to consider further study to maximise their application in the London market e.g., CIPP/E or QLTS.

Ready to explore the in-house jobs market? Take the next step – get in touch with Aleisha Murray to the discuss current opportunities available.


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