The Qualification Season 2016: Pensions

May 11, 2016

As part of “The Qualification Season” a series of blogs by CapeClarke aimed at trainee solicitors looking to qualify in September 2016 – we will give a brief overview of the market conditions affecting many of the core legal disciplines that trainee solicitors look to qualify into.

The next area of law for discussion is Pensions.

The Current Market

As you will no doubt be aware, the pensions landscape has been in a state of flux over the past couple of years. As a result of new pensions freedoms and de-risking, law firms are having to respond to emerging client needs.

Is this a good career option? 

As the above is currently ongoing, law firms have differing views on the future of their pensions teams. The pensions industry will start to spilt over the coming years, with the larger law firms growing their teams, offering more diverse and technical work to a wider client base. Conversely the smaller firms could end up without pensions teams altogether, as they won’t be able to source the wide client base required to survive in this new landscape. It is certainly the case that certain firms won’t be committing further investment into their pensions teams, and will effectively allow them to complete current workloads with a view to the department ceasing to exist. This is obviously fairly extreme, however this viewpoint does at least highlight the uncertainty in the sector at present.

However, so few pensions lawyers enter the market that, when one does, even if there are no active roles at that time, firms will still be interested and, should the time be right, create specific roles.

September 2016 opportunities

As a result of this current uncertainly, we would not necessarily expect there to be many external NQ pensions’ roles in the market this year.

That said, the key to qualifying externally in pensions is to be proactive!  The larger firms, with the busier teams, will still possibly be tempted by an excellent trainee entering the market.


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, Newcastle, 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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