5 Skills Employers Are Seeking Most From Legal Professionals in 2023

By Robert Half on January 6, 2023 at 2:23pm

What skills are employers seeking most from legal professionals in 2023?

Attorneys can grow their careers in many directions, and whether they work for a law firm or in a corporate legal department role, there will be several essential skills required for success. As the legal landscape evolves in response to technology and other global workplace trends, so will the abilities needed for success. From legal database management to the ability to rapidly adapt to and navigate gray areas, learn more about what Robert Half recruiters see as the competencies those in the legal field should strengthen as we enter 2023.

  1. Ability to hit the ground running and add value from day one
  2. Legal database management experience
  3. Critical thinking
  4. Adaptability is key
  5. Think and operate on your toes

1. Ability to hit the ground running and add value from day one

“Employers in the legal space are most attracted to legal professionals who can clearly communicate that they have the ability to hit the ground running and add value from day one.

Legal professionals should be able to describe their ability to do the job with concrete examples of success in their current or previous roles and provide examples of how they would apply that experience to a new role if hired.

By harnessing the ability to communicate their skills and experience with impact, they can make themselves irresistible to an employer. This isn't a superpower, but it is a skill few take the opportunity to master. Don't be one of the many. Be one of the few that stands out from the pack at your next interview and get that job!”

Andrew McNaughtan, director of legal permanent placement and vice president, Minneapolis, Minn.

2. Legal database management experience

”With more and more companies investing in internal process and technology upgrades to optimize workflows, candidates with database management and hands-on project implementation experience are frequently being requested.

While this is not the most requested skillset by employers, candidates should be sure to highlight any database implementation experience, from creating a tracking system for documents through Excel, to spearheading a contract management system (CMS) rollout for their previous employer.

Highlighting all software experience, where and how they obtained it, and how familiar they are with a specific technology has never been more important!”

Andrew Whitbeck, assistant vice president and practice director, Boston, Mass.

3. Critical thinking

”Employers will continue to seek the best talent in 2023. Critical thinking remains a top skill set for employers. In an interview, be sure to ask questions demonstrating your curiosity. Also, have ready examples of effectively communicating, creating solutions and collaborating with your team. This will showcase your skills as a creative thinker.”

Chinetta Foster, vice president, Chicago, Ill.

4. Adaptability is key

“In 2023, legal employers are seeking professionals who can adapt. Changes in where and how people work over the past two-plus years have made employers realize the value of having team members who can seamlessly transition between work locations, while simultaneously maintaining a high level of productivity and professionalism. This means that legal professionals who are technically adept and self-directed are increasingly valuable and in demand. Adaptability will be a key skill set in 2023 and beyond.”

Katie Miller, branch director, Minneapolis, Minn.

5. Think and operate on your toes

“If there is one thing we have all learned post-2020, it is that you have to be able to think- and to operate- on your toes. The pandemic has eternally altered the way we exist in a professional capacity, and now, more than ever before, we are seeing candidates and clients who are not only open to, but actively seeking, a more fluid working environment.

Over the course of the last few years, my clients continuously brought to light the necessity for new hires to be open-minded, confident and adaptable in ever-changing environments.

Whether it is a shift from remote to hybrid to 100% in office or being well versed in the myriad of video platforms, the ideal candidate in 2023 will be comfortable working in different settings.”

Daisy Ennis, assistant vice president – legal permanent placement, Chicago, Ill.

Headshot photos of the five recruiters quoted in this blog post.

Robert Half recruiters (top row, from left): Daisy Ennis and Andrew McNaughtan; (bottom row, from left): Andrew Whitbeck, Chinetta Foster and Katie Miller.

Looking for legal talent?

Robert Half is featured on Forbes’ 2022 list of America’s Best Professional Recruiting Firms (#1). For details on how our specialized recruiters can help you find skilled candidates for legal jobs, visit this page.


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