As you might appreciate as a recruiter I speak to a large number of candidates from those actively on the market, those that are passively casting an eye on things to those that just like to stay in contact (yes they do) in order to stay close to their market and understand what is happening out there.
Whilst there are countless reasons that people look to move on it is quite common to speak to candidates who have the desire to move on but who then stall in considering their options or limit the focus of their search along a very narrow bandwith. This can be particularly prevalent among corporate lawyers.
With the onset of a busier corporate market and a distinct shortage of candidates at the mid-level, there are many corporate teams where their lawyers are, for want of a better term, flogged. I would say that they are rewarded handsomely for doing so but that is not always the case. Believe it or not, law firms are in-tune with this up turn and are looking to hire across a range of levels. That motivation comes from the obvious need to bring more people in to service the work but also to try and find balance within teams such that nobody is brought to their knees with work. Firms are acutely aware that there are countless disallusioned corporate lawyers who often then seek to move out of private practice and into in-house roles.
In London we see this a lot and in-house roles can provide a fantastic and rewarding path and as businesses seek to decrease the amount of work it outsources doubtless there will be a commensurate increase of in-house positions.
From the perspective of law firms this is a problem. Not so much the decrease of work (though of course this is problematic but law firms have already sought to adapt with the likes of Lawyers on Demand, Veyro and Agile, coming to the fore) but rather the major problem arises within existing corporate teams when the leakage of talent becomes overwhelming. That would be an incredible shame and firms have to adapt and meet the changing needs of their workforce by providing flexible arrangements and trying to ensure their lawyers are engaged and getting, not just financial reward but, the commercial stimulation they crave.
It is quite common when speaking to candidates that they often feel that private practice and law firms in general, can’t provide them with what they are looking for. They will see their direct competitors as the same role and same issues but within a new building (with less enhanced rights).
Well of course I would but, I disagree (at least in part). As legal recruiters we don’t just speak to a large number of candidates but also a large number of clients and partners. We can get a very clear understanding of the cultural differences and subtleties that exist between teams. Those subtleties can be the difference between heaven and hell for a candidate. A lot of assumptions are made about certain firms and certain teams and prejudices applied from articles in the legal press and rumours on the street. Again, I don’t suggest all such insights are without foundation but when it comes to your career it is important that you make the decision and use your instincts to make the call.
One thing is clear about the London market – it is as diverse in its law firms as it is in its cultural make-up. London has an incredible number of firms that can provide it all – from work/life balance, adult behaviour, client contact, large deal, small deals to entrepreneurial and commercial exposure.
Oh and yes, they can also pay sensibly!
The reality is that far too often the assumption is made that what you are seeking cannot be found so, on that analysis, why bother? Well, nobody said finding what you were looking for would be easy.
My job as a recruiter is to understand what you want, what you are lacking, what you hate and what you love and find the role that best fits your needs. What I am not is a CV spraying machine hell bent on getting you into a job – any job, as quickly as possible. If it were, I wouldn’t be doing it. I’m a former lawyer (of a number of years) – I have seen good and bad recruitment. My aim is to be the best that I can be for you and your needs, whatever they may be (within sensible reasons).
If you think you can’t find what you’re looking for – think again. Give me a call and I will give you an honest appraisal of whether your needs and expectations can be matched and you might find yourself surprised that in-house is not the only route. To be clear however, if in-house is your chosen path – we do that too!
For more information please contact Paul Warburton or visit our website BCL Legal.