Q: I keep reading about the strong job market for legal professionals with in-demand expertise. How can I enhance the skills I use in my current position to take advantage of job opportunities down the road?
A: You’re smart to plan for future career moves now. Doing so could help you stand out from the competition and negotiate a better salary when you’re ready for a new job. Here are five valuable legal skills and advice for honing them.
- Specialization in thriving practice areas — Litigation leads the pack when it comes to anticipated legal job openings in the next two years, followed by general business/commercial law and real estate, according to the Robert Half Legal Salary Guide.
To build your specialist’s resume, volunteer to help on projects within your chosen practice area and register for relevant continuing legal education (CLE).
- Industry knowledge — Booming sectors, including financial services, healthcare, manufacturing and technology, are seeing strong demand for legal professionals with industry experience.
Grow your knowledge of a vertical market by finding a mentor with an extensive background in the field. Additionally, keep up with industry news — with an emphasis on related laws and regulations — to become a self-made expert.
- Data privacy — Legal professionals who understand information law, data security and corresponding regulations are prized, especially those familiar with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Stay current with changing data privacy mandates and any regulations that could affect your employer (or prospective employers you might be eyeing). Further increase your expertise by earning a privacy specialist credential and taking CLE courses that focus on data privacy.
- Compliance expertise — Companies also seek legal professionals with compliance experience at local, state and federal levels in areas such as healthcare and lease accounting.
Become the office’s compliance go-to by offering to assist colleagues with related duties and taking advanced training in the subject. If there’s a compliance lawyer in your workplace, ask about job shadowing to increase your knowledge.
- Tech prowess — As organizations rely more on digital solutions for case management, job automation and litigation support, demand for tech-savvy legal professionals continues to grow.
Start by embracing technological advancements to help future-proof your career and gain a reputation for being adaptable and understanding these innovations. Take advantage of vendor-provided software training, and look to articles, cases studies and online tutorials to boost your tech know-how.
In-demand legal professionals call the shots in today’s job market. Cultivate desirable skills now to position yourself for better career moves in the future.
Robert Half Legal is a premier legal staffing service specializing in the placement of attorneys, paralegals, legal administrators and other legal professionals with law firms and corporate legal departments. Based in Menlo Park, Calif., Robert Half Legal has offices in North America and major cities around the world and offers a full suite of legal staffing and consulting solutions.