The Hybrid Worker: Entering The Legal Industry in 2021
By Dennis Theodorou, Last updated: 2023-01-11 (originally published on 2021-05-18)
After a long and challenging year of COVID, the legal industry has finally begun its recovery. As shutdowns rolled throughout the globe, firms, like those in the US, were forced to implement various cost-saving strategies such as pay cuts, furloughs, and layoffs to make ends meet. But as the professional world begins its return to normalcy, it appears that the legal industry is ready to flourish. With nearly 5K positions opening across the US within the first month of 2021, the legal industry appears to be searching for determined and qualified employees to grow along with.
Throughout our research we have identified two booming trends for hiring in the legal industry, the first being the acceleration of digitalization. The introduction of new and upcoming software technologies has streamlined workflow processes within firms and at-home offices across the country. We’ll dive into detail showcasing why you should get a jumpstart on your technical experience and why you should consider highlighting your software proficiencies.
We’ve also noticed a robust demand for firm “hybrid workers” and/or “paralegal-legal secretaries”. Essentially, firms are searching for dedicated employees who are willing to tackle new professional opportunities. The key, though, is to understand how you can market yourself as the expert of getting things done. While still maintaining your own personal and professional boundaries.
“We’re starting to see the slingshot of talent demand bounce back from unemployment being nearly 15% a year ago,” says Ryan Miller, Client Success Manager at Employment BOOST – a professional resume writing, career coaching, and outplacement services company. “Now that more people are vaccinated and many organizations are returning to the office and returning to work, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a place that isn’t hiring. Every day it’s going back into a candidate-driven market.”
Firms are rapidly increasing their dependence on cloud-based software systems to achieve daily objectives. New technology allows legal firms to efficiently communicate with clients and colleagues. And after 2020, it’s no wonder why we’ve seen companies within the legal industry lean into the implementation of innovative system programs. But not only does new technology streamline workplace processes, but it also helps companies with cutting additional costs. By introducing additional services such as videoconferencing, e-filing, and online subscriptions, firms have been able to provide key clientele with competitive pricing.
It’s never too late to get started! We strongly recommend that our clients familiarize themselves with the latest and most popular technical trends in their industry. By exploring and navigating new technology developments you are positioning yourself for success. Not only would you be developing your own technical and professional skills, but you would also be increasing your desirability for employers.
Our resume writers recognize how key it is to highlight and feature your technical proficiencies on your professional documents. To start, consider listing the software systems and technologies you’ve most familiar with. By having these featured at the bottom of your resume, employers will automatically know just how far your experience extends. If you’re working with company-specific systems, then don’t be afraid to list those as well. By incorporating additional systems and applications into your resume content not only shows employers the direct success you’ve had with new technology. But it also highlights your ability to adapt to and learn new program processes.
“An interesting trend we’ve noticed since the start of the pandemic is hiring teams paying more attention to behavioral aspects of a candidates background,” says Kristen Fowler, Practice Lead at Clarke Caniff Strategic Search. “In many ways, the current job market is more competitive because organizations are no longer restricted by geography when finding a new hire, they can look across the entire country and choose the best person for the job.”
The demand for cross-trained employees in the legal industry seems to be booming. The need for support staff appears to be growing, but what does this mean for legal secretaries? The development of these enhanced positions comes with the additional expansion of expected responsibilities. As these positions continue to develop and expand it’s important that you not only market yourself accordingly but that you also establish and maintain your professional boundaries with employers.
When developing your professional resume, keep in mind that this document is a tool to win you that coveted interview slot. In order to receive that opportunity, you must be sure that your resume is showcasing your skillsets in the most optimal ways possible. When constructing your legal resume documents be sure to focus on these three key aspects: your expertise in a practice area, your administrative experience and skills, and, of course, your technology proficiencies. By expertly highlighting these competencies you are painting a clear picture of what you could bring to the firm while also providing an insight as to how you can develop and grow along with the firm.
Know your worth
The key to creating and maintaining healthy professional boundaries is knowing your limits and value. These practices can begin as early as the start of the interviewing process. It’s best to figure out what the position’s pay is, what the expected benefits are, and how the firm plans on aiding in your development as a professional. Once you’ve collected this information, do your research! Is the pay competitive? Is the firm invested in your growth? If so, great. If not, then speak with the employers and see what can be adjusted so that your workplace appreciation aligns more with your own determined value.
Know your limits
Once you’ve secured the position, it’s crucial that you discover and establish your workplace boundaries. It’s critical that you are aware of expected responsibilities, that way you are able to prioritize your workload while still being able to pick up on additional tasks. What can be complicated about operating in a still-developing position, is that your tasks may vary depending on which firm you interview with. To avoid confusion, outline what’s expected from you, and don’t be afraid to speak up! If you feel as if your tasks continue to pile and pile up, then communicate that with your employers.
As we return back to professional normalcy, enter with your best foot forward. When applying for positions be sure to keep up with the constant and continuous technological developments taking place within the legal industry. Try to explore and discover new positions and potential employment opportunities. And most importantly be sure to invest in yourself. Develop a comprehensive resume, explore opportunities that can assist with the development, highlight your technical proficiencies, showcase your skillsets, and know your professional value.
Dennis Theodorou, Managing Director at Employment BOOST As Managing Director, Dennis leads the firm’s team across sales, strategy, service innovation, and client service. Dennis holds a Logistics, Materials, and Supply Chain Management degree from Michigan State University, certifications in Strategic Management and Service Design/Operations from Harvard Extension School and has completed Six Sigma Black Belt Training.