While the legal market is not entirely perfect, it has certainly been on the rise since the recession years ago. The demand for new attorneys is on the rise to fill the “missing gap,” which means that talent is also in demand.
Law firms are starting to add other professional staff and legal professionals to expand their lucrative practice areas. This means that lawyers are no longer the only professionals working on matters as there may be case assistants, analytics experts, or tax professionals. The growth of corporate and general business, compliance, litigation, healthcare, intellectual property and real estate law practices have cleared the table of outdated skill sets for a more updated set. In this upbeat hiring atmosphere, many law firms and corporate legal departments are seeking new attorneys with specialties and nontraditional degrees and skills in conjunction with the traditional J.D.
Here are four desirable “non legal” skills that make you an attractive candidate:
A hard science degree.
Intellectual Property is a growing, complex practice. As law offices explore new business opportunities, and as new companies need more legal protection, employers are looking to hire attorneys with graduate or undergraduate degrees in engineering or other science-related disciplines. Attorneys with these specialized skills are enjoying brighter employment prospects and higher compensation than their counterparts without these areas of education and training.
A law degree combined with a graduate degree in engineering or science can be extremely valuable if you’re pursuing a job in intellectual property.
Firms and companies are going global—whether through multinational offices or international clients and matters. Employers are seeking lawyers with international law experience and multilingual abilities. Legal jobs requiring lawyers with second-language skills has been trending. Law firms and corporate legal departments have been particularly especially interested in attorneys who are fluent in Spanish and Chinese.
Proficiency in Business.
Why? For the simple reason, of business development. Many attorneys with business acumen are able to take on full caseloads, bring in clients and target new prospects. Corporate legal departments are also looking for attorneys with business law backgrounds. A strong understanding of business development and corporate law can give you a real leg up. Strong business skills are also key to understanding what makes a great in-house attorney.
In today’s increasingly high-tech world, employers are searching for candidates with solid technology skills. The ongoing advancements in e-discovery and volume and complexity of compliance and regulatory law, legal departments and IT teams are collaborating more than ever. Attorneys need to be tech-savvy.