Canada's Top 3 Legal Trends in 2022

Posted April 28th, 2022 by Urban Legal Recruitment

As we make our way back to a ‘near normal’ world, three key trends underpin post-pandemic strategies in Canada’s legal industry: technology, the hybrid workplace, and an increasing war for talent. 

“We’ve experienced unprecedented activity levels over the past 24 months,”says Stacy Cowan, founder of Urban Legal Recruitment. “There’s been a surge in the demand for lawyers and legal administrative staff in both law firms, and in-house legal departments looking to fill in-house, legal counsel roles. But recruitment isn’t just about finding talent, it’s about finding the right fit, and the ability to operate in a fundamentally altered workplace.”

While changes in technology, remote work, and recruiting talent were already underway, they’ve evolved far more quickly as a result of the pandemic and the desire from the majority to maintain a hybrid work model as the way of the future.

Key 2022 Legal Industry Trends

The dust hasn’t settled yet but there are some definite trends we continue to see in the legal industry as we begin returning to some sense of normalcy. 

Data and digitization

Technology continues to transform both the way work is done and the client experience, but at a much faster pace than ever imagined pre-pandemic. According to Gartner, by 2025 “the average legal technology budget is forecasted to grow three times the amount compared to 2020.” 

Successful implementation of legal technologies is not just about buying the latest and greatest, it requires a strategy aligning the technology to your business objectives and end user needs to: 

  • make both the client and employee experience more seamless, accessible, and transparent 
  • significantly automate the way legal staff research, write and share documents 
  • gather and analyze relevant data to radically improve productivity and the bottom line.
  • accommodate a hybrid workplace by improving how we conduct virtual face to face meetings and court proceedings 
  • allow employees more flexibility and improve client access by minimizing physical, financial or emotional barriers
  • mitigate issues of confidentiality and ensure client data remains safe and secure through enhanced cybersecurity

“Legal departments will increase spending on technology to reduce the dependency on outside counsel, address COVID-19, and satisfy a long overdue need to modernize, digitize and automate legal work,” said Zack Hutto, director, advisory in the Gartner Legal and Compliance practice.

Hybrid workplace

The pandemic didn’t just change where people work, it changed the way they work. The ability for most professionals to work remotely while maintaining (and in some cases, increasing) productivity is a game-changer with profound effects on the workplace.  

COVID-19 forced organizations to adapt quickly - literally overnight, and technologies and workflows were put in place to support business continuity. The unintended consequence of remote work was that heightened awareness of work/life balance, with increased family time and decreased commutes, opened a Pandora’s box that can no longer be closed. 

As people begin to return to the workplace, it will be with very different expectations. To thrive in the new workplace, organizations need to be aware that their employees now expect a certain level of autonomy, flexibility, and recognition of their ‘whole’ self, supported by leaders who are emotionally intelligent and equipped to lead remote teams.

Talent war 

According to The Great Resignation: A Wakeup Call for Canadian Law Firms, “workers are pursuing jobs that are a better fit with their desired lifestyles and values… firms need to reconsider how they attract new talent, and how they keep the staff they have.”

The article, Please Don’t Go, suggests that US and UK firms are actively recruiting in Canada, and it’s estimated our attrition rates may now be as high as 25 per cent. The cost of attrition is high and according to Retensa, “when a lawyer leaves a firm, “the cost to the firm ranges from $400,000 to more than $800,000”. 

While there’s no question that there’s a legal talent war underway, there are ways for law firms to navigate the talent shortage. You can learn more about what legal talent look for in a firm or legal department from here.

Life. Career. Opportunity Awaits. 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.