The Qualification Season 2017: Corporate

February 25, 2017

As part of The Qualification Season a series of blogs by CapeClarke aimed at trainee solicitors looking to qualify in September 2017 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 Corporate.

The Current Market 

The corporate market (along with Real Estate) was one of the biggest casualties of the recession and it spent the next five years recovering.  For years, corporate transactions were not moving beyond due diligence and clients were not viewing deals as being financially viable.  The stock market crashed.  Private equity transactions dropped off a cliff as did equity capital market work!  There were some redundancies, 4 day working weeks and unoccupied private equity and M&A specialists.

That was then, this is now! As everyone reading this will know, the corporate market has been much busier in the last five years, with renewed (or enhanced) confidence in the market or opportunistic businesses seeking to take advantage of the recovering market.  Those firms who operate in the private equity markets have really undergone a revival.  The market has had a number of corporate solicitor roles at all levels in all types of firm and an ambitious or unhappy solicitor has been able to have his/her pick of roles!

There has been a slight slowdown on the recruitment front in the top firms since the referendum, but real quality is still very much of interest to them and most teams have reported only minimal disruption to deals as a result of the vote.  Many are still enormously busy!

Is this a good career option? 

Corporate is an excellent area to qualify into, particularly if you work at a strong transactional practice during the better times, you will be hugely busy and as a result of there being not enough trainees gearing up to qualify into corporate in recent years, you will find yourself highly sought after once you have a year or so of PQE under your belt!  History dictates there will be another downturn (although hopefully not as devastating as the last one) the key is to make yourself indispensable to your firm and to spend the next few years before the next slump to build your contact base.

September 2017 opportunities

If you want to be a corporate solicitor, now is a great time to be qualifying.  There will be numerous opportunities this year to qualify into corporate and they will also afford the opportunity to NQs in smaller or mid-tier firms to make the step up to the larger practices corporate divisions cannot be as picky as they used to be so that has allowed, particularly junior, solicitors to transform their careers.

The time is now this trend will not continue forever and even if teams continue to be busy in the years to come, the  amount of recruitment and qualification opportunities will tail off to a degree as firms will have one eye on activity levels in the next few years.


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 one of our dedicated consultants on 0113 2385965 or 0161 3000750.

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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