UK: Developing Legal Talent Stepping Into The Future Law Firm - February 2016

Last Updated: 24 February 2016
Article by Peter Saunders

Most Read Contributor in UK, August 2017

Welcome to this Deloitte Insight report which looks into the future of the talent landscape in law firms.

While the legal profession has undergone significant change in recent decades, over the next ten years, we expect to see profound reforms across the profession. Law firms will need to transform the way they think about how they attract, develop, retain and change talent in order to succeed. We expect the more radical changes to take place as 2025 approaches, but firms must prepare their business and talent strategies now to position themselves effectively relative to their competition and the challenges that lie ahead.

This report considers the future of talent in the legal sector based on past trends, an extensive review of literature, discussions with experts and an assessment of potential scenarios. It also helps firms identify what talent strategies may be most relevant and suitable for them. Law firms need to assess their current and future capabilities and aspirations to identify their talent priorities.

We would like to thank everyone who contributed to this research. We hope you find our insights thought-provoking and useful, are keen to debate further and welcome your feedback.

Executive summary

This report examines the future of talent in law firms in the UK over the next decade. It considers how law firms might change, to respond to challenges that are transforming the sector, focusing on what this could mean for future talent in the profession.

Transformation by 2025

Over the past decade, the legal profession in the UK has evolved to respond to changes in the labour force, client demands, technological innovations and broader policy developments. These factors have already altered the way many firms operate. Leading firms are preparing their businesses for further change.

The transformation of the profession is likely to be profound due to the quickening pace of technological developments, shifts in workforce demographics and the need to offer clients more value for money. Indeed, by around 2020, we expect a tipping point for individual firms which will impact the competitive landscape and the role of talent in law firms. Businesses must prepare effectively now so they are not left behind by the end of the decade.

Strategic choices will impact talent

Firms will need to make strategic choices based on how they will operate in the new environment. At the broadest level, this could be to change or continue in the same business segments and/or geographies. This report considers talent outcomes for a range of scenarios based on potential business strategies for the future.

There is no one best strategic option; choices will depend on the aspiration of the firm. Identification of the most appropriate business strategy should be based on the assumptions around future demand, a business risk review and prioritisation of areas in which to invest. This will need to reflect both clients' future needs and other external factors such as technology, globalisation and regulation. However, the strategic choices made will impact the number, type and mix of people required within law firms, affecting how firms should access, attract and develop the best candidates. The talent strategy should be closely linked to and developed in conjunction with the business strategy.

Adapting to a new talent model

Even firms that opt for the status quo – offering the same services and operating in the same geographical markets – will require a review of their talent strategy. Aspirations for radical business outcomes and strategic choices will require more significant change to attract and develop talent.

Strategy and human resources leaders will need to take innovative approaches to staffing in future to adapt to the transformation of the profession. Firms will want to continue to demonstrate that they can offer clients the best products, price and service. However, prioritising what to focus on will help to achieve a better return on investment. With this in mind, firms should develop talent that is dedicated to their relevant strategy.

We expect three 'talent pools' to form the structure of front-office employees within the future law firm:

  • Partners and leaders – to embed the most appropriate culture in the law firm.
  • Traditional, permanent staff – primarily fee- earning lawyers who firms should attract, retain and develop in the conventional way.
  • Non-traditional and transient employees – including project managers, sales executives, dealmakers, data and technology experts as well as lawyers. Access to these employees may be through partnership arrangements or contactor models. These staff will also require alternative incentives and training structures.

Mid-sized firms will need a focused talent strategy as they compete with large firms, that have scale to invest and innovate, and smaller firms that are agile and less restricted by fixed costs. Pressure on mid-sized firms will intensify as merger and acquisition activity continues and the market sees more new entrants.

We believe that the most successful law firms will be those that are agile enough to flex resources in order to meet client needs at an efficient price. They will need access to lawyers who have a broader skill set and are not just technically   competent lawyers.

Download - Developing Legal Talent - Stepping Into The Future Law Firm

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.