Increasing Demand for Legal Support Professionals

We’ve all heard the saying “those who can’t do, teach”. Well, sometimes, those who can’t practice, support. Legal support professionals, paralegals and legal assistants, are typically as passionate about the law as the lawyers they support, and just as committed to its execution.

Technology’s no threat, yet

The effect of technology on this industry has brought about massive change. Gone are the long days spent in a legal library researching case law, and the advent of electronic repository, filing, and discovery programs, along with web conferencing, have all had a major, and mostly positive, impact on the way business is done in a law firm.

Artificial intelligence (AI), with its ability to ‘learn’, will continue taking over routine legal support tasks, but for now, humans are still de rigueur for more substantive work. 

The law is very much a ‘people’ business - particularly in areas such as family law. While AI may be able to give a mother distressed about an upcoming custody hearing legal information, it can’t adequately provide the accompanying comfort and encouragement a legal professional can (yet).

The tide is turning

According to a recent article posted on the Canadian Bar Association site: “After riding the waves of uncertainty during the first few months of the pandemic, Canadian mid-and large-sized law firms are focusing now on 2021 as work in most sectors ramps up.”

The ramp-up in legal work is, naturally, having an effect on the need for staff. 

“Despite a few slow months over the summer due to the pandemic, we’re now seeing a significant demand for legal support professionals,” says Shona Tischner, Urban Legal Recruitment’s Director of Executive Recruitment and Professional Support.

A recent search for available jobs in Canada’s legal support industry confirms demand. In particular, increased demand for senior legal support roles - a reversal from past years when some firms began replacing their senior support staff with less experienced professionals.

“This is definitely a good time for both candidates and firms. There are excellent roles available in solid, respected firms, and outstanding candidates looking for new opportunities.” 
~ Shona Tischner

The shift to working remotely has increased the value of senior legal support workers because they have the knowledge and experience required to dive into a file without much direction or assistance.

Should I stay or should I go?

There is still uncertainty about what the workplace will look like in the near future. Almost all firms are now set up for remote work and continue to adjust to the new norms.

“Employee reaction to working from home tends to be mixed,” according to Shona. “Some are desperate to get back into the office, while others are feeling more productive working from home. All firms have implemented protocols and some have expansive floor plans that can easily accommodate a safe return.”

HR departments in legal firms have been extremely busy continuing to deliver the tactical side of their business (hiring, payroll, etc) while figuring out how to build a positive workplace culture and maintain employee engagement in a remote work world. 

Links for more information

Life. Career. Opportunity Awaits. Urban Legal Recruitment does more than place candidates. We invest in their future by nurturing relationships - helping them define and navigate their career paths over the long-term.   

If you have any questions, are considering a change, or just want to chat, we would love to hear from you. 

At Urban Legal Recruitment, we have experienced, along with our clients, the impacts of COVID-19.  We’ve made the necessary adjustments to ensure the safety of our team members and our clients.