Developments in the areas of data protection and compliance are proving a challenge for lawyers, as such changes can mean employment legislation is quickly out of date, according to Dália Cardadeiro, partner at BAS Law Firm.
Improvements in general market conditions in Portugal have brought new challenges and concerns for both clients and law firms, she adds. “The economic business climate is changing on a global scale and at enormous speed,” says Cardadeiro. “This change introduces new topics of interest; however, the adaptation and evolution of the legal system is still slow.” She adds that this makes it challenging for lawyers to provide answers and solutions to clients on new aspects of business where legislation is “still out of sync with reality”.
Among the areas where there is increasing demand from clients for legal advice are data protection and privacy, as well as flexible working and smart working. With the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applicable from May 2018, clients are urgently requesting advice, consultancy and training from law firms. There is also a demand for employment advice related to real estate and banking, according to Cardadeiro.
While clients are beginning to recruit more people, so too are law firms. A key challenge facing law firms in this respect, according to Cardadeiro, is adapting to the needs and desires of new lawyers and ‘millennials’. In a very competitive market, firms need to recognise the “new way in which young lawyers see the future and way of working, in order to give them good conditions and challenges”, Cardadeiro says. “They are hardworking but also want to live life to the fullest.” She adds that law firms need to provide innovation and technology, because “in the legal field, constant adaptation to new technology is crucial.”