February 2021 was TRU’s best February in company history for one simple reason: more jobs are open in legal tech now than at any point in the last twelve months—or longer. The e-discovery industry is in full recovery from the pandemic slowdown and there is not enough talent to meet the supply. TRU saw an enormous spike in interviews scheduled throughout February and into March. Here are the highlights:
Demand for contract ESI project managers, ideally with Relativity skills, as well as data processing talent with plug-n-play Nuix or Relativity experience is unprecedented. Corporations, law firms, and vendors are all using contractors to augment their teams for either spikes in business activity with existing clients, onboarding of net new clients, reinforcements/secondees for legacy clients, or specialized up-leveling of unique skill sets (TAR, Analytics, Privacy). Sixty percent of TRU contractors hired in Q4 were converted to full-time employees in March. Thirty-five percent remain on contract.
The privacy vertical is undergoing a notable downshift from heavy CPO and leadership hiring—though there is still a good amount of that going on—to focus on program managers, privacy analysts, and other programmatic staff. Companies are focusing on building privacy teams and not just focusing on leadership. The 60% increase in total open privacy jobs over this time last year speaks to the desire to expand existing teams. Expect privacy teams to focus hiring on adapting to the CDPA, Virginia’s brand-new comprehensive privacy law, and upcoming legislation in New York and Washington. Privacy hiring managers are more and more turning to ESI professionals to fill the talent gap in their vertical.
Across the board in legal tech, hiring is accelerating in no small part due to the ascendancy of remote hiring. Once again, 90% of TRU’s total February placements were remote, and remote placements demand a major shift in the hiring process: the virtual interview process, a new fact of life, simply takes less time. Skipping travel for in-office interviews alone has eliminated days, even weeks, of delays as logistics are worked out. Expanded access to qualified talent across the country—instead of a city—shortens the interview process even more, with less time spent waiting for volume of options. Speed and decisiveness will define legal tech leaders in the months ahead, as getting the best available talent becomes most businesses’ biggest challenge in Q2.