Welcome to our Autumn issue of Totum’s dedicated HR newsletter – designed to help those of you interested in joining the legal profession or further developing your HR career.  Here are some of our noteworthy developments and trends for HR in law.

Growth areas


There has been a real increase in learning and development (L&D) roles – both in terms of newly created and replacement jobs at all levels. Firms are investing in L&D, for example bringing in Heads of L&D who can drive this function forwards. Firms realise they can’t shut up shop when the market slows down, that there’s a need to continue to develop and keep key talent. Together with the increase in recruitment roles across all levels, it may also be an indication that the market is improving.

Nor are these roles just among the largest firms. We have also had a number of newly created roles from mid-sized firms, a couple of which have appointed their first dedicated L&D at manager level.  This gives candidates the opportunity to shape the role for themselves, and to liaise directly with Partners / decision makers as the Number 1 in this field. Some recruits have come from large law firms but, whatever the source, we tend to find that the prerequisite for success is strong influencing skills.

We have also seen an increase in the number of firms forming a devoted diversity & inclusion (D&I) resource / team. This is partly due to key heads moving on, which has opened up new opportunities, but there are also other examples of firms launching their first ever dedicated D&I role. D&I is still a key focus for firms so there is a genuine opportunity for good candidates here to make a difference. As a relatively new function, many firms are also looking outside the sector for talent, typically to banking, insurance and financial services, as demand outstrips the supply of candidates from within the legal profession.

After a period of relative quiet – we have seen a number of HR Director (HRD) roles come in to cover retirement, back fill, as well as new appointments.  With these appointments come change and opportunities at all levels, as new directors establish themselves, their teams and the role of HR.

Wellbeing and mental health


As we have noted in our recent research into wellbeing in the legal sector, the health and happiness of those working in law has become increasingly important for law firms large and small. Particularly on trend is mindfulness due to increased awareness of mental health. Some firms are offering mindfulness training and encourage staff to take time out to focus on mental health – by way of example, A&O recently had a mental health presentation by Ruby Wax, while Simmons & Simmons held its first Mental Health Awareness week, including talks, activities and mindfulness exercises. While this area is typically headed up by consultants at the moment, we could see this becoming its own area of expertise in time. Watch this space.

For candidates 


We are always looking for candidates who have commercial and strategic expertise, a solid background in whatever discipline they are specialising in (e.g. HR/Talent/Recruitment/L&D/Comp&Bens), the ability to demonstrate they have progressed through their career and to show positive steps on how they have moved up the career ladder – for example, admin to advisor / officer, manager up to Director. We are not just looking for candidates experienced in law, we are also always interested in talking to candidates from other sectors such as finance, professional services, banking and corporate. So, if you are interested in shifting to law, don’t feel that your non-law background necessarily counts you out. Talk to us and we can provide guidance that will help.

This also goes to all of you who are interested in discussing your career options. Don’t feel we are only relevant for when you are actively seeking work. We are advisors too and are always happy to chat through market trends or career considerations more broadly. As you’ll see from our blog pieces, we’re as happy to talk about securing your next promotion as seeking a new job. Success for us means supporting candidates to make the right decisions for you and your career – because that’s what ultimately underpins the best recruitment matches.

If you would be interested in having a chat about any aspect of your career going forwards, please don’t hesitate to drop us a line.

Laura McNair




Driving engagement: The case for HR
By putting engagement at the top of the agenda, HR professionals in law are in a powerful position to make a difference to their firm's bottom line.




The wellbeing factor: Why law firms are prioritising employee health
We talk to D&I and HR professionals on why wellbeing is fast becoming a legal hot topic.





Senior Inclusion & Diversity Manager
Great opportuntity to join an established D&I team, taking on a role that is central to this leading global law firm's commitment to making a positive impact on society. 



HR Advisor
Great role for candidate with established HR experience to work alongside HR Business Partners providing advice, support and solutions on all aspects of HR policy, queries and issues. 




A significant number of our candidates come via referrals from clients and candidates. If you know a friend or colleague who might be appropriate for the roles we handle, please let us know. If we place these people, 
we would like you to benefit. 



For further information on our expertise or for more detail of specific opportunities in Totum's HR function, please contact Laura McNair.



Alternatively contact Roisin Ashmore, who has just returned from maternity leave and is raring to go!

Click here to view Laura McNair's biography 
Click here to view Roisin's biography


If you would like to subscribe to Totum's HR newsletter, click here to contact Sarah Broad and she will add you to the list.


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