In-house IT Law Jobs Market Remains Strong

April 11, 2012

Based on activity we have seen so far in 2012, the IT sector promises to remain an active and buoyant market for the in-house legal recruitment throughout the rest of the year. Both specific IT businesses and large non-IT companies are looking to expand their IT legal teams. Equally, an increasing number of legal professionals are showing an interest in this growth area. 

Companies are currently putting significant emphasis on exploring ways that new apps and games related to their products or service offerings can help them engage consumers. Because of this, there has been an expansion in demand for legal support in this area. 

Jobs are most suited to qualified lawyers from a technology background who possess a genuine interest in the sector. Specifically, employers are looking for professionals with a strong knowledge of their business and the products they produce – this in turn puts these people in a stronger position to advise on commercial and legal solutions. In order to further improve the understanding of the contracts they are dealing with, employees are also expected to generate strong internal working relationships by actively networking with business heads across the rest of the company. 

Typically, employers are targeting professionals with 2 to 7 year’s PQE. However, as this is a sector within the early stages of expansion, businesses seek to recruit generalist IT or IP lawyers who can quickly acquire the specialist knowledge required on the job. In isolated cases, there is demand for specialists – as an example, specific computer games lawyers are recruited where generalist IT lawyers are deemed unsuitable for this niche area. 

However, lawyers from a private practice background are expected to have experience of dealing with commercial contracts. More specifically, individuals who have had exposure to hardware and software licensing and/or cloud computing and SaaS implementations are in high demand. At the same time, however, employers recognise this is a relatively new skill set and understand that lawyers are unlikely to have a fully integrated knowledge of specific specialist areas. As a result, demand for strong IP and IT lawyers is rising. 

Despite this emphasis on new development areas, data protection lawyers remain in high demand across the IT sector due to the increased intensity of European regulatory pressure. This is likely to remain the case throughout 2012. 

Christian Brown is Manager of the in-house legal division at Robert Walters: