One of the major advances in the legal jobs market is the demand for skilled talent in a specific practice area. According to a Robert Half survey, 60% of lawyers cited some difficulty in finding skilled legal talent for their firm.

That’s why is crucially important for law students to discover a specific career path within a growing sector. The growth of new industries, technological advancements and changing regulatory environments will influence which practice areas are developing.

Using data from our own legal jobs platform, legalweekjobs.com, here are five trending practice areas for 2017 and why:

Healthcare law

According to Andrew Selesnick, chairman of the healthcare practice at Michelman & Robinson, healthcare companies are strongly seeking legal counsel as they steer through technological advancements and new regulatory structures. There are specific health-related lawsuits that are on the rise such as hospital negligence, birth injuries, surgical malpractice and patient confidentiality.

Cyber security

The need for lawyers in cyber security is catastrophically high for businesses and law firms where security is a huge operational issue. Firms of all sizes are at risk from cyber security threats, with hackers attempting to steal money and confidential data from client accounts. As technological advancements are impacting businesses, the need for lawyers with expertise in cyber security has continued to grow.

Immigration law

With more than one million migrants arriving into Europe in 2015, the demand for immigration lawyers is growing rapidly. As immigration policies are being debated, understanding how these laws affects foreign nationals with respect to human rights, labour and litigation, is becoming a highly complex and critical issue.

Regulatory

Due to continuous changes in government regulation in areas such as healthcare, construction, energy and finance, lawyers with specific expertise in regulatory law are highly sought after. There is an increasing level of worry and reputational concern for companies regarding regulatory changes.

Labour and employment

The current implications of integrating a global economy are having a grave impact on the way businesses operate, and as a result how law firms tailor their offering to meet clients’ needs. Labour and employment lawyers are needed to provide extensive counsel on a range of employment matters, including collective bargaining, working visas and right-to-work.