The Qualification Season: A Focus on… Planning

March 25, 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 Planning.

The Current Market

Planning departments vary in size and work quality dramatically between even the largest of law firms. The majority of planning teams are bolted on the real estate teams and tend to gain their work as referrals from the transactional real estate department.

There are a few examples (e.g. Walker Morris LLP in Leeds) where the planning department is stand alone, and wins its work directly.

The distinction between the above two is key; the former is more likely to be dependent on the wider real estate market, and therefore the wider economy to a certain extent. The standalone departments tend to be more self-sufficient and more able to weather any economic lull.

That being said, in the current market both types of team are fairly busy and have been recruiting over the past year.

Is this a good career option? 

In our opinion, the career of a planning lawyer is a very good one. There are never that many lawyers around, hence there is always the ability to progress. Another benefit is that the door is open for lawyers from Local Authority backgrounds; even the most prestigious of law firm hugely values experience gained from Local Authority planning teams.

In addition, the work is varied, being both contentious and non-contentious in nature.

September 2019 opportunities

Save for a significant Brexit related downturn, we expect this year to be very similar to last year in terms of volumes of hires.


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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