Throughout 2017 and the first three quarters of 2018 hiring across in-house legal departments was active. There was a whole host of regulatory change including GDPR, MIFID II and planning for the Brexit deadline of March 2019.

Within in-house departments this has positively impacted permanent headcount but also increased the demand for consultants to assist with bespoke projects. There have also been increases in senior legal demand across European key centres such as Frankfurt, Dublin and Luxembourg as part of continued planning for exiting the EU.

Within law firms we saw an increase in hiring across the regulatory sector and key transactional areas of growth. Partner and team moves to fill strategic gaps in law firms were also seen across key European centres. A number of law firms bolstered their presence in Dublin by the hiring of senior partners and this continues to be a highly competitive market place due to the scarcity of talent.

Due to the new data protection act, GDPR became a hot topic over the last 12 months, we have seen a large amount of hiring within this area and data protection is ever becoming a new specialist skill. Across financial services, corporates and law firms hiring was undertaken to bolster departments with many new ‘Head of data protection’ positions being created. Competition for candidates within this space was high especially within consumer-focused businesses. We saw an increase in market compensation on offer for this skill set and expect it to continue to rise over the next few years.

There was and continues to be a lot of negative news around Brexit throughout the first half of 2018. We have continued to see newly created roles within institutions in Europe ranging from senior counsel, general counsel and partner. We anticipate both permanent and consultant hiring to remain steady throughout the second half of 2018 and beyond in order to fulfil Brexit transformation programmes. Lawyers are expected to play a huge part in this process. In summation we anticipate a continued rise in legal hiring and compensation to remain high for top talent across all the key areas and sectors of law.