Trends in Legal Recruitment: What Law Firms and In-House Legal Departments Need to Know in 2024
in Employers, Legal Profession

Trends in Legal Recruitment: What Law Firms and In-House Legal Departments Need to Know in 2024

The landscape of the legal profession and recruitment into law firms and in house legal departments in the UK is undergoing significant transformation, shaped by evolving business practices, technological advancements, and changing workforce expectations. As we look ahead to 2024, it is crucial for law firms and in-house legal departments to stay abreast of the emerging trends. Understanding these trends can help firms position themselves to attract and retain top talent. This article explores the key trends in legal recruitment for the upcoming year. We also highlight how platforms like and are pivotal in navigating these shifts, offering robust solutions in permanent and locum legal recruitment, respectively.

1. Increasing Demand for Specialisation

Trend Insight:
Here are some of the key legal fields where demand is going to be particularly strong:

Technology and Cyber Law:

The rapid expansion of digital technologies has led to a surge in demand for legal professionals who specialise in cyber law, data protection, and privacy. This is largely due to the necessity of navigating laws related to data security, data breaches, and the ethical use of artificial intelligence.

Environmental Law:

With growing global emphasis on environmental conservation and sustainability, there is likely to be an increased need for lawyers specialising in environmental law. This includes areas such as renewable energy projects, environmental compliance, and interpretation of international climate accords.

Employment Law:

Changes in work environments, including the rise of remote work and the gig economy, have heightened the need for employment law expertise. Increasing demand over the last year.

Corporate and Commercial Law:

There is robust demand for private practice and in-house lawyers for corporate and commercial law. This includes mergers and acquisitions, corporate restructuring, and navigating complex commercial transactions.

Intellectual Property Law:

Innovations in technology and the increasing value of brand and design in global markets have bolstered the demand for intellectual property lawyers.

Financial Services Regulation:

The financial sector continues to face a dynamic regulatory environment, particularly in the context of Brexit and its implications on the UK and European markets.

Healthcare Law:

The ongoing developments in healthcare, both in terms of technology and policy, have created a demand for lawyers with expertise in healthcare law. This field covers a variety of issues including patient rights, medical negligence, and regulatory compliance for new medical treatments and technologies.

Immigration Law:

Changes in immigration policies and post-Brexit regulations have led to a need for legal expertise in managing immigration issues, advising on citizenship, right to work, and residency rights for non-UK nationals. Particularly increased demand for corporate and business immigration.

Family Law:

Increased demand likely for family solictiors in 2024 and 2025.

Impact on Recruitment:
Law firms and in-house legal departments need to refine their recruitment strategies to target candidates with specialised skills. Worth partnering with recruitment agencies like that have a keen eye for talent in the permanent recruitment landscape.

2. The Rise of Legal Tech Competency

Trend Insight:
As legal technology advances, proficiency in tech tools that automate tasks like document review, due diligence, and contract management is becoming essential. The integration of AI and blockchain in legal processes is no longer futuristic—it’s current.

Impact on Recruitment:
The future of legal hiring involves identifying candidates who are not just legally proficient but are also tech-savvy. Recruitment processes should assess tech skills and adapt to prioritise candidates who can navigate and leverage legal tech efficiently. This is going to have a huge impact in terms of the candidate pool – there are likely to be significant shortages of lawyers who are keeping abrest of the technology changes, compared with those who try to keep working the ‘old’ ways.

3. Flexibility and Work-Life Balance

Trend Insight:
The COVID-19 pandemic has permanently altered perceptions of work-life balance and flexibility in the workforce. Legal professionals increasingly prefer roles that offer flexible working hours, remote work options, and a better work-life balance.

Impact on Recruitment:
To attract and retain top legal talent, firms must offer flexible working conditions. This includes part-time arrangements and remote work opportunities. According to Interim Lawyers, remote working is now the number 1 requirement for all locums and consultants looking for legal jobs, whether in-house or private practice.

4. Emphasis on Diversity and Inclusion

Trend Insight:
There is a global push towards enhancing diversity and inclusion within the workplace, and the legal sector is no exception. Law firms are being judged not only on their legal expertise but also on their commitment to diversity. More applicable to larger practices and in house legal departments, but still extremely important from all angles.

Impact on Recruitment:
Law firms need to develop inclusive hiring practices that promote diversity at all levels. This involves implementing unbiased recruitment processes and showcasing a commitment to diversity. It is a key requirement for future employees.

5. The Gig Economy, the Consultant Model and Locum Lawyers

Trend Insight:
The gig economy is reshaping how legal work is perceived, with more professionals seeking contract-based, temporary and consultancy positions. Consultancy practices are springing up all over the UK, encouraging solicitors with a following to join and take home a hefty percentage of anything they bring in. Whether this is going to be a passing phase and the emporer’s new clothes, or the exciting future and a huge change is hard to tell. The shift to the gig economy (aka as a portfolio career) can result in solicitors and lawyers taking on 5-6 firms at once and handling certain fields of law for them.

Impact on Recruitment:
The increase in gig economy workers within the legal field highlights the need for adaptive recruitment strategies. Services provided by are particularly relevant here, as they specialise in matching consultants and locum lawyers (on hourly rates – not fee share usually) who seek flexibility with firms that require lawyers on demand.

6. Increasing Role of Employer Branding

Trend Insight:
In a competitive legal job market, building a strong employer brand is essential to attract top talent. The reputation of a law firm can significantly influence a candidate’s decision to apply.

Impact on Recruitment:
This applies to all law firms, whether large or small. So many smaller firms fail to maintain their good character online (eg not replying to negative feedback or updating their website for 5 years) that potential employees run a mile in the opposite direction. Law firms must actively manage their employer brand by promoting their values, culture, and employee benefits. This includes using social media platforms and their websites to communicate what makes them unique as an employer.

7. Rise of Cross-Border Legal Services

Trend Insight:
As businesses become more global, there is a growing need for legal professionals who can handle cross-border transactions and multinational legal issues. We are seeing an increase in requests for dual-qualified solicitors & lawyers, but very often this is limited. The rush to Dublin for example does not seem to have happened (this was predicted back in 2017 after Brexit).

Impact on Recruitment:
Not a lot really! You are either dual-qualified or you are not. I certainly wouldn’t splash the cash on any overseas qualifications for the sake of it!


We think the key trends are the gig economy – we expect to see more solicitors sub-contract with multiple firms than just take one full time salaried role, legal tech competency – firms requiring new recruits to be able to handle the new procedures that will inevitably arise – eg the use of AI in contract drafting. The key trend is pretty blindingly obvious to anyone in legal recruitment who calls up a candidate about a new job. The first question is always: “does the firm offer remote working options?”

Jonathan Fagan

Jonathan Fagan LLM FIRP is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment. He has been recruiting solicitors and legal support staff for law firms and in house legal departments for over 20 years and handles roles from junior fee earners through to partners and law firm sales/purchases. A non-practising solicitor on the Roll since 2000, he is also the author of a number of legal career books, which are available at You can contact Jonathan at