The Qualification Season: A Focus on… Corporate

March 5, 2019

As part of The Qualification Season, a series of blogs by CapeClarke aimed at trainee solicitors looking to qualify in September 2019, 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 

As everyone reading this will know, the corporate market has been significantly busier in the last six 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 and we have recently seen a couple of very high profile moves in this area.

Leeds and Manchester benefit from strong mid-tiers and this is no more prevalent than in the corporate market.  There are outstanding firms – from multi-office firms such as Mills & Reeve, Gateley and Shoosmiths down to more regional quality operators like JMW, Schofield Sweeney and Clarion.

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 over the past couple of years due to the sheer number of additions in recent years, but real quality is still very much of interest to them and most teams have reported minimal, if any, disruption to deals as a result of Brexit.  Most 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 (Brexit induced or not) to build your contact base.

September 2019 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.

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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