WORDS Advocate Jonathan Hughes

Partner and Global Senior Service Line Head, Ogier

The business of law is evolving as traditional law firms adapt to meet the same forces that conjured up Amazon, Facebook and Spotify, and disrupted the retail, banking, communications and music publishing industries.

Forward-thinking law firms are as focused on innovation, on technology and on collaboration as they are on the traditional values like technical excellence and client service. And that means that today’s battle for talent isn’t just about law firms fighting over great lawyers, it’s about law firms seeking to recruit the best legal business professionals in the market including lawyers, IT, HR, business development, marketing and client service professionals who all have key parts to play in a successful and progressive legal business.

This change is affecting people working in all roles and at all levels within law firms. Like a lot of lawyers in Jersey, I started my career as an associate in a City law firm – but when I started out, it was in a very different world to the one facing a newly-qualified associate today.

And as the business of law changes, so too do the qualities that law firms are looking for in legal practitioners. Lawyers today are expected to be a lot more comfortable with technology, a lot more collaborative with colleagues across the business and a lot more innovative and agile in how we work.

They also have expectations of their own in terms of work-life balance and what they want from their firms.

One of the most interesting and refreshing things about dealing with the people that work at my firm is how individual and diverse they are. That applies to all roles and levels within the organisation – basically, there’s no such thing as a “typical lawyer”.