Our 2021 legal technology salary guide presents data gathered and analyzed from a wide range of law firms and includes salaries from ESP Legal’s recent placements as well as national and local research. Due to the pandemic, pay rates remained relatively stagnant in 2020, but with many law firms delivering strong profits, employees will be looking to get pay increases in 2021.
Law Firm Retention & Hiring Trends in the Midst of a Pandemic
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, most law firms initially held onto their technology staff because they needed the support to shift to a virtual work model. As 2020 progressed, some office-related IT roles were eliminated as they were not needed for the remote workforce. Many firms also asked employees to take a temporary reduction in salary. However, as firms saw they were doing well financially—despite the pandemic—many of those pay cuts were removed.
We saw a huge reduction in the number of available candidates in 2020 as job security became the number one concern for candidates. A “passive” job seeker is gainfully employed but open to hearing about opportunities in line with their career goals, but with the uncertainty caused by the pandemic, this type of candidate was all but eliminated in 2020, leaving many law firms struggling to fill difficult positions.
Benefits Matter: Flexibility & Remote Work
Benefit offerings appear to have a high influence on passive job seekers, with 52% saying that they would leave their job for one with the “right” benefits. In nationwide surveys, 3 in 5 workers reported wanting to continue working remotely. For law firms to be competitive in 2021, flexibility and remote work options are key.
In our conversations with legal technology and eDiscovery professionals, we’ve heard that most who are looking for new opportunities desire the possibility to work remotely between 60-70% of the time. Increased flexibility in their work schedule is also desired, with work-life balance being a primary concern for professionals in 2021. For years, benefits have been a driving factor for many professionals as they weigh career options; the pandemic has somewhat changed what benefits workers want, as well as solidifying benefits as an important component of the compensation package.
High Demand and Growth Areas
The technology jobs in highest demand for law firms are:
- Cyber Security Engineers/Analysts
- Cloud Engineers
- Business Intelligence Analysts
- Business Analysts
- Enterprise Applications Engineers
- Data Scientists
We are also seeing more demand in the area of Information Governance and Risk, and the use of eDiscovery grew in the remote work conditions of 2020 and early 2021. In addition, several positions within technology have unemployment rates below 2%, including IT Manager, Network Architect, and Software Developer.
With twenty-five years of legal staffing expertise, ESP Legal continues to monitor and analyze hiring trends, including compensation and benefits in this rapidly changing economy in order to best serve you.