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Legal and Political Services

Future Trends

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Legal Sector

  • The Legal Services Act – from 2012, non-legal companies/organisations such as banks, trade unions, property management companies and supermarkets will be able to offer legal services - so far, only the Co-op has announced its plans to offer legal services. This could lead to more opportunities for paralegals but smaller high street solicitors firms in particular might suffer

  • Reforms to legal aid, which are likely to come into effect in the next 2 or 3 years, will lead to less government funding for a wide range of disputes, including some divorce and personal injury cases. Law firms who rely on legal aid to help their clients may need to close or reduce staff numbers.

  • In spite of there being fewer university applications to law for 2012, competition for jobs is likely to be as strong as ever - redundancies and a freeze on graduate recruitment over the last few years in many firms means that there's an even greater supply of unemployed law graduates and qualified legal staff than usual 

  • There is far less 'law' to be had and so much competition that companies will need to become much more flexible - which could lead to lower profits (and therefore lower salaries) e.g. recently large organisations/companies have put pressure on law firms to make changes, such as moving to fixed fee arrangements rather than having to pay per hour 

  • In order to save money, some major law firms are outsourcing their support staff and straightforward legal work, sometimes overseas

  • As law becomes ever more international, the ability for legal staff to speak foreign languages will grow in importance

Political Sector

Already a small and competitive job sector, the political sector is likely to have fewer opportunities in the future.

  • The number of MPs is due to be cut from 650 to 600 by 2015, which will make it harder to become an MP - the area which an MP covers may well become larger so the workload could become heavier 

  • The changing of parliamentary boundaries and local authority budget cuts may result in fewer opportunities for people to become councillors

  • The way political parties get funded (e.g. from big business or from trade unions) is being looked at closely - less money for campaigns, for instance, would mean less money for campaign and other staff 

 

Read more about this job sector, including the skills that might be needed in the future, on the National Guidance Research Forum site