The Cyclical Nature of a Recession and the [Aftermath]

April 19, 2012

Firstly, the square brackets in the title are not a drafting error or a statement waiting to be confirmed by other parties like terms in a draft contract. We simply await confirmation that the GDP has not shrunk in the first quarter of 2012, before we start confidently labelling this period as the “Aftermath” of the recession.

With more obvious issues making the business news at this time, it is often forgotten that there are still plenty of legal jobs available.  Don’t get us wrong, it is still a very difficult market and we are a long way from rediscovering the halcyon days of 2007 when one national law firm in Leeds had 6 NQ real estate vacancies!  It is, however, not the doom of gloom of 18 months to 2 years ago!

The number of legal jobs (particularly those for solicitors) have increased in that time but the most notable difference is the type of legal job that is available.  In the last 2 years law firms in Leeds and Manchester have been very active in the market for solicitors specialising in employment, professional negligence, commercial litigation and finance litigation.  That was a response to client needs and the far-reaching effects on the business world of the global economic meltdown.

Now, however, law firms across the country (and we have seen this a lot in London as well as the North) are desperately seeking high quality solicitors in corporate, commercial, real estate and banking.  It is the resurgence of the transaction lawyer!  Well, not quite, but there is certainly a dearth of excellent solicitors in the market specialising in non-contentious legal areas.

Why is this?  There are a number of reasons which may contribute to the situation.  Firstly, at the height of the recession it was the transactional lawyer that suffered most, with scores of redundancies across the country – a lot of those unfortunate solicitors have moved on to do other things and are no longer in the law.  Secondly, there have been many less trainees qualifying into these areas, leaving big gaps in various departments and, therefore, a lack of talent in the market.  Thirdly, a lot of transactional lawyers are still keeping their heads down and feel grateful to have a job!

There is nothing unusual about this pattern – it will happen again with future recessions (are we allowed to say that yet?) – but it does present an excellent opportunity for the transactional lawyer looking to make an important career move.  You are a highly sought after commodity and the market is open for you to make an ambitious move.  Grasp it!

If you have been thinking about a move or would just like some general advice about options in the market, please feel free to contact Terry Cape or Chris Clarke on 0113 2385965.

CapeClarke is a leading niche legal recruitment consultancy operating across Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield, Liverpool and London. Please feel free to check out our priority legal vacancies by clicking here.  Please note these legal vacancies are only a small selection of those we have been instructed on, so please get in touch if you do not see a role which looks suitable.


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