Amongst the trends we’ve noted in the hiring of in-house counsel is the fact that businesses seeking these individuals are often looking for someone with a highly specific set of skills, able to work within the speciality represented by the sector in which the business is based. Often, having exhausted the possibilities of their own networks without finding the right person, they will turn to the services of a search firm. This type of highly tailored search is exactly what we at Fox Rodney consider our bread and butter.
Also significant is the fact that many businesses now seek to recruit in-house lawyers from other countries or jurisdictions. In many cases this will be because they wish to expand into a certain territory, or are operating there already, and wish to employ the services of someone who will bring the kind of in-depth and detailed local knowledge which can only truly be developed through lengthy, on the ground experience. No amount of legal research is ever going to replicate the knowledge base of someone who has witnessed and dealt with a specific legal framework first hand.
Of course, many businesses have their own in-house recruitment team, feeling, quite rightly, that they know their business better than anyone else. When moving outside their own network, however, particularly if recruiting from another jurisdiction, they often find it necessary to call upon the expertise of a search firm. Their knowledge of precisely what they want, coupled with our understanding of exactly where to find it, comes together to deliver results.
Another recent trend has been towards an increase in activity in terms of the recruitment of in-house lawyers, particularly within the banking and finance sectors. This would tend to indicate that the market for such services is buoyant, and it should also be noted that this is merely the latest stage in a long-term trend. This is growth which looks set to continue, driven by factors such as increasing regulation, particularly large, complex and overarching bills such as the Companies Act (2006) and the Bribery Act (2010) and a desire to drive down legal costs.
In more specific terms, there has been an increase in middle level hires as opposed to junior hires, something which reflects a realisation that recruiting an in-house lawyer will only reap dividends if the individual in question can boast the requisite expertise.