Insights

Developing legal talent

Stepping into the future law firm

February 2016

What will the talent landscape look like for UK law firms in 2025?

The future of talent in UK law firms

Harnessing legal talent: the challenge

In recent decades the legal profession in the UK has undergone significant changes in response to shifting client demands, the regulatory landscape and policy developments. By 2025, we predict a profound transformation of the profession due to the quickening pace of technological developments, shifts in workforce demographics and the need to offer clients more value for money.

Law firms must have a clear strategy for dealing with these changes now if they want to remain competitive and ensure they attract the best talent to support their business.

Developing legal talent: Stepping into the future law firm

The 2020 tipping point

If the pace of change continues to accelerate as we predict, the tipping point is likely to occur around 2020.

Client demands and external pressures will primarily determine the business strategies of law firms; yet, with employee expectations also changing, organisations will be forced to develop a new talent strategy if they are to remain competitive in the future.
 

The strategic choices impacting on talent

Our research has assessed talent implications for firms based on market trends and potential strategic choices.

We have examined four future scenarios for law firms. These are:

  • Status quo - a firm will stick to its existing markets and services
  • Making adjustments - a firm will explore adjacent markets or services
  • Radical transformation - a firm will explore brand new markets or services
  • Refine and refocus -  a firm will scale back on some of their existing markets or services.

The successful firms will consider the number and type of people they need in future and how they will attract, develop, retain and change skills to deliver their business strategy.

What will the future law firm look like?

The legal profession will be radically different in ten years. On the whole, we expect the following:

  • fewer traditional lawyers in law firms
  • A new mix of skills among the elite lawyers
  • Greater flexibility and mobility within the industry
  • A reformed workforce structure and alternative progression routes
  • A greater willingness to source people from other industries with non-traditional skills and training.
     

What will the future law firm look like?

The legal profession will be radically different in ten years. On the whole, we expect the following:

  • Fewer traditional lawyers in law firms
  • A new mix of skills among the elite lawyers
  • Greater flexibility and mobility within the industry
  • A reformed workforce structure and alternative progression routes
  • A greater willingness to source people from other industries with non-traditional skills and training.
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