I just wanted to mark the New Year by reflecting on the madness that was 2020, offering some thoughts on the year ahead and wishing all our candidates, clients and connections our very best wishes for the year ahead!
Like I am sure for you all, 2020 was the most difficult and challenging year both personally and professionally that I could ever have imagined. While we feel fortunate at Think Legal to have been able to continue to trade while adding value to the individuals and businesses we work with, 2020 was certainly not the year we had hoped it would be. At the same time, I know Paul and I feel an enormous amount of pride in how the business and our brilliant people, Adam, Gish and Lucy have adapted and even thrived in such adversity.
Looking at the legal recruitment market more broadly, I would say that overall firms have demonstrated great versatility when changing the way in which they work to continue to offer value to their clients while creating safe and supportive environments for their people. Indeed, we have been encouraged at how many of our clients have expressed pleasant surprise at how deals and work flow have held up, allowing many of them to continue to grow even against the most challenging of economic backdrops.
While the pandemic remains a significant challenge as we head into to 2021 I think we all have confidence and hope that this will be a better year and with the arrival of vaccines life will slowly start to return to normal. While its devilishly difficult to make predictions for this year I think the fact we have a Brexit deal and that the vaccines are coming mean that I remain broadly optimistic when talking to clients over the medium term view.
I am interested to see how firms adapt as restrictions lift and how much (if at all) we see a return to office working in the year ahead. I’d bet that now the novelty has worn off many will be keen to return to the office environment, if only for water cooler gossip and interesting lunch options! I think we will see much more of a permanent shift in a hybrid office working/home working environment moving forward and I also hope this leads to a permanent shift in attitudes to work/life balance within the legal profession and to employers continuing to prioritise their workers being able to spend time with their families due to less “presenteeism”.
In terms of the market in 2021, I think there will still be a significant amount of pain across the sector as financial help is withdrawn later this year and the full impact of redundancies and the recession becomes clear. Nonetheless, as is always the case, there will be significant opportunities for those that are in position to adapt and take advantage of what will be a very different paradigm. We have certainly seen plenty of movement in the final few months of 2020 to be confident in saying that there are still plenty of opportunities out there for candidates able to highlight the quality and relevance of their legal expertise. This is true across all disciplines.
I am acutely aware of the pain and sorrow that 2020 has caused for many and I know that 2021, even with good reasons for medium term optimism, will be a year of enormous challenge for many of us. I’d like to offer our best wishes to you all as we embark on this challenge together and I hope we are able to meet in person soon!
Joe Gregory is a founding director of Think Legal Recruitment Limited and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org