The Qualification Season 2016: Projects

April 14, 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 Projects.

The Current Market

The Projects market seemed quite tough throughout 2010 and early 2011, not helped by a much more frugal approach to spending by the public sector than in previous years.   However, projects teams in Leeds and Manchester seem to have been busy, particularly in the past couple of years and there has certainly been some movement at the junior and mid-levels.  Certain firms are really targeting the energy, infrastructure and transport sectors and looking to grow over the coming months/years.

Is this a good career option? 

Projects work is the preserve of the top-tier, with one or two notable exceptions, and so come with the large transactional work, top-tier packages.  On the other hand, solicitors can carry out a lot of work working on tenders and business development without being able to record chargeable hours.  This is another area where there has been a real shortage of solicitors (although some firms have moved, for instance, property solicitors into the team to bolster numbers) and so the ability to move law firms is traditionally a lot easier than other transactional disciplines.  Projects work is often described as mixing the good bits of corporate and commercial, so anyone thinking about those areas should consider a move into Projects work.  As has been proven in recent years, Projects teams move with the times finding new sectors to build upon.

September 2016 opportunities

We would expect to see a number of NQ positions arise internally to give support to the hard-working mid-level associate. Externally, the market was quite light a few years ago but projects teams seem to be in much more confident mood in 2016 and last year we saw interest in quality NQs.


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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