5 Skills Legal Sector Employers Value Most In 2021

Every industry has had a major shake-up in 2020, but the legal sector is starting to emerge once again – changed by the pandemic and eager to recruit new and talented employees.


Here are 5 essential skills that employers will value most in 2021:


1. Flexibility


The ability to work flexibly is perhaps more valuable in 2021 than any other time. The pandemic will likely be with us for a while yet. Therefore, it’s crucial to know how to work remotely. Until the UK is fully vaccinated, working from home is still a possibility. When applying for a new role in law, make your employers (or potential employers) aware that you’re prepared should the worst happen.


They will need to know that you have the right set-up at home for this eventuality. And that you could pivot to remote working at a moment’s notice. The same applies when returning to the office. Make sure you’re prepared for every eventuality – and that your employers know you are.

2. That your knowledge is up to date

2020 was a year where lots of things had to go on pause. This includes the legal sector to some extent, but not completely. Changes in the law continued, as did various ground-breaking cases that will have a lasting impact on the industry. It may even be how Brexit changes certain legal issues, or even how the sector has evolved following COVID-19.


Make sure you demonstrate to potential employers that you didn’t go on pause – and that there are no gaps in your knowledge. Let them know that you’ve continued to follow the industry you work in (or hope to). This shows commitment to your career and will show employers that they don’t need to spend resources on bringing you up to date. That’s because you already are.


3. Technical aptitude


The past twelve-months may have created opportunities for many people hoping to break into the law profession in 2021. The digital age was already upon us even at the beginning of 2020, but the pandemic has accelerated the legal sector’s reliance on technology. It’s also forced those who work within it to adapt and get to grips with it. Those who may have been resisting such changes either had to embrace them – or face redundancy.


There will have been many legal professionals who chose not to adapt. Instead, they may have retired or pivoted to a new role. Lots of people are intimidated by change, especially when it comes to technology, or how this affects their habits. Make sure your IT skills are competent and target roles where technology may have increased in importance.


4. Real experience


Businesses can’t afford to take chances or be as charitable and accommodating as they used to be. 2021 will be a year of recovery for many industries, and the legal sector is no different. While your qualifications are still of vital importance, don’t expect to rely on them solely. Most firms are not able to employ you and train you in the ways they used to be. They are looking for people who can do the job.


This means having some form of experience. It may be a part-time job, internship, work experience, or even volunteer work. Anything that enables you to say “yes”- when an interviewer asks if you have any. They’ll understand that there’s been a pandemic on, or if you’re fresh out of full-time education. But they will expect you to have gone the extra mile in some way.


5. Ability to network


This is a crucial skill for anyone entering the legal sector job market in 2021. Do what you can to make contacts. Make sure you know who the movers and shakers are in your local area – and do what you can to get on their radar. Write to them and ask their advice or to introduce yourself. Start a LinkedIn account and connect to local firms or other legal professionals.


In time your network of contacts will make it easier to find employment. Also, as your network grows, the more value you’ll be to those who do employ you. You’ll be able to make introductions and represent your firm, sector in a meaningful way. Start this process now, regardless of where you are in your employment journey.

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