Employers want lawyers with tech skills

More and more, to be an in-demand lawyer, your command of technological skills need to be more than knowing how to tweet or post a like or do an Instagram story. 

Employers in the legal field are placing a premium on more advanced skills, new research indicates. More than 6 in 10 lawyers (62%) surveyed by Robert Half Legal said that their hiring decisions are influenced more by job candidates' technical abilities than their soft skills. 

Nearly half of survey respondents (48%) cited cybersecurity as the top area of technology in which lawyers are expected to be competent. Data analytics ranked second, with 43% of the survey response.

Lawyers were asked, "When evaluating professionals for open legal positions, which carries more weight: the candidate's technical skills or his or her soft or nontechnical skills?" Their responses:*

Much greater weight on technical skills

19%

Somewhat greater weight on technical skills

43%

An even split 

30%

Somewhat greater weight on soft skills

8%

Much greater weight on soft skills

1%

 

101%

*Responses do not total 100% due to rounding. 

 

Lawyers were also asked, "In which of the following areas of technology are lawyers expected to be competent at your law firm or company?" Their responses:**

Cybersecurity

48%

Data analytics

43%

eDiscovery 

33%

Artificial intelligence

31%

Blockchain

17%

Don't know

6%

Not applicable

9%

**Multiple responses were permitted. 

 

"With cybersecurity and data privacy at the forefront of many business issues, technical knowledge is essential for job candidates in the legal field," said Jamy Sullivan, executive director of Robert Half Legal. "To provide superior client service, lawyers need to possess strong interpersonal abilities and leverage the latest technology, such as task automation, data analytics and information management tools, to enhance productivity and derive more successful outcomes."

Sullivan added that legal professionals with technical expertise are needed to help organizations safeguard confidential information and improve efficiencies. "Data privacy and litigation support specialists, in particular, are seeing expanding job opportunities and above-average compensation."

To learn more about current hiring trends and projected starting salary ranges for nearly 50 positions in the legal field, download a complimentary copy of the 2020 Robert Half Legal Salary Guide at roberthalf.com/salary-guide/legal.

Survey Methodology 
The online survey was developed by Robert Half Legal and conducted by a leading independent research firm. It is based on responses from more than 200 lawyers in the United States who work full time at law firms with 20 or more employees or in corporate legal departments at companies with 1,000 or more employees. 

About Robert Half Legal
Robert Half Legal is the premier provider of legal staffing and consulting solutions for law firms and corporate legal departments. With North American and global locations, Robert Half Legal provides a customized approach, including managed review, legal project management and eDiscovery services, to help organizations handle constantly changing workloads. The company offers in-demand expertise across practice areas, as well as highly skilled legal professionals on a temporary, project and full-time basis. More information about our full suite of legal staffing and consulting solutions can be found at roberthalf.com/legal. 

 

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