What legal specializations are especially sought after on the jobs market at the moment? What specializations are you particularly keen on?
Gudrun Stangl Lutz: The demand for highly-qualified lawyers and attorneys in special fields of practice quite accurately reflects the impact that the financial crisis has had on the affected economies. Transactional business had declined markedly. Whether transactional business will return to pre-crisis levels over the next few years remains to be seen. I personally don’t think it’s all too likely.
In contrast, other areas have gained in importance – and we too are constantly strengthening our teams in them. These include, in particular, the sphere of debt capital transactions, as well as all of the connected themes such as banking law and restructuring. Other growth areas: compliance (liability law, anti-corruption and cartel law) and litigation, including arbitration.
What legal specializations will most likely be especially sought-after over the next 10 years?
It’s difficult to come up with 10-year forecasts, given how quickly the market moves and the impact of that on what’s required of corporate lawyers. However, this much is certain: a good corporate lawyer will continue to not only have to have the legal qualifications – those are a given – but also a solid understanding of business and economics. Every additional qualification is a further asset that will contribute to providing the individual with a stronger profile.
A mix of competence in jurisprudential, business, and economic matters is what’s called for at the technical level. Leading corporate law firms like Schoenherr promote knowledge and skills in these fields through on-the-job training and targeted continuing education.
A further important factor – and one which will continue to gain in importance in the future – is the role played by in-house counsels and the lawyer-corporate client relationship. The function and position of in-house counsels within their corporations has changed over the past few years, with in-house counsels clearly taking on a more distinct profile and greater importance. The strengthening of the in-house counsel position brings with it a sharper degree of professionalization and commercialization in the relationship corporate law firms have with their clients.
Gudrun Stangl Lutz is a Partner and COO at the Schoenherr Law Office in Vienna. She has been with the firm since 2000, her expertise lies in Corporate and M&A. She is admitted to the Vienna and Slovak Bar Associations.