The changing scenario of the Canadian legal sector



The Canadian law sector is facing major impact with respect to recruitment.

Competition for legal talent in Canada has been fierce throughout 2022. According to a survey released in June 2022, which covered the Vancouver market, salaries had increased on average 20% higher than expected. This trend has resulted in increasing recruitment in the legal sector. The same trend is being observed by the entire country.


Another trend impacting law firm operations has been the retention issues. With unprecedently high number of lawyers moving jobs, seeking to take employment in sectors guaranteeing them with a safe pay, has caused salary compensation to drive up. In simple terms, compensation is the money received by an employee from an employer as a salary or wages. This issue is causing a challenge for firms, many of which are not able to meet. addressing the situation, Jeremiah Kowalchuk, the Edmonton-based managing partner of Field Law, spoke, “It’s not so much of an issue of attracting talent. Our firm, in any event, continues to attract really excellent candidates. It’s more about trying to find the right spot for people who are looking for a position and identify what our firm needs, what they want, and see if we can match those things together.”


Apart from compensation, another aspect which is impacting recruitment is that legal-job seekers tend to approach jobs which provides them with flexible work arrangements. In the survey we mentioned above, there was another resultant, which said that apart from monetary compensation, 24% candidate held that flexibility and remote work options were the most offered variables, which the employer provided them. As a result, it can be stated that law firms looking to attract talent, should focus on providing flexible start and finish times, shorter workweeks, and paid-leave benefits such as parental leave top-up plans.


With digitization evolving all around us, it is also an excellent time to boost marketing. Thirty percent of the respondents in the survey said that “excellent company reputation” is a “key reason” to choose one firm over another. Even though the pandemic forced them to look for work which provides them facilities such as remote working, and uses technology which is easily understood and accessible, there is still an assertion that those who desire jobs, consider those firms which provides them good mentorship and development. They try to choose firms which provides them with a culture they can fit in, where they can express their views.

Another major issue to bring here is the raising interest rates to temper inflation, being brought by the Bank of Canada, all in all implying that an economic downturn might be on the horizon. One can directly relate economic downturn with decrease in job opportunities, a resultant of recession. As a legal firm, it becomes necessary to prepare ourselves for such type of economic reality.


Finally moving on to our final trends, In addition to the battle for legal talent, two other major industry trends impacting the legal market in 2022 are the continued investment in legal technology and massive shifts in real estate. During the pandemic, law firms swiftly adopted technology to overcome any obstacle they faced while working remotely. Apart from this, digital collaboration also occurred and business processes became more automated. Such shift has allowed firms to focus on higher-value tasks, delivering the best user-centric client experiences and diversifying available opportunities.


Law firms occupy more office space than any other industry, using multi-sized private offices instead of open workspaces. Remote work may lead to a decline in real estate investment. But even if we overlook the pandemic, law firms had already been looking to reduce real-estate costs since years before the pandemic. Much like investment in technology, rethinking real estate is yet another trend COVID

accelerated.

 

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