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Commercial Property – An Improving Market

Commercial Property – An Improving Market

The commercial property market in the North West is undoubtedly showing signs of an upturn.  I focus on recruiting commercial property legal jobs in the North West market and can report from a recruiters’ perspective of a long awaited improvement in the market, with a law firms now beginning to recruit fee earners of all levels.

The latest market reports show improvement in the commercial property market, with property business owners showing quiet optimism in the North West compared to a stark contrast this time last year.  Although there is still an element of caution, confidence is much higher than in 2011 and there has been an increase in market activity which seems to have been building month on month in 2012.

Law firms of varying sizes are now feeling their resources stretched.  For the first time since the start of the recession, 2012 has seen firms from the top tier, to mid tier, national and small practices not only retaining their own qualifying trainees into commercial property, but taking additional NQ’s from the external market.

Commercial property teams are undoubtedly busy in all areas, from landlord and tenant work, to acquisitions and disposals and property development.  With very few lawyers qualifying into commercial property over the last few years, there is a shortage of commercial property lawyers in the market at the 1-4 year PQE level.  Lawyers were forced due to market conditions to re-train into busier areas of law, or even leave the law to seek alternative work, which means a skill gap in the market.

This shortage of commercial property lawyers means that for qualifying trainees there is an excellent opportunity to take a step up into a busy commercial property team on qualification, and have a clear path to progress.  We are also seeing paralegals with good commercial property experience in demand and being snapped up by national firms who can offer full caseloads of quality work and the opportunity to move up the ranks.

Although the market hasn’t fully recovered, there are therefore clear signs of optimism and good quality commercial property work in the North West market.  Aside from paralegals and NQ’s if you did manage to quality into commercial property and keep your job in the last few years despite the downturn in the market, you are now in an excellent position to take your pick of options in the market.  For once you have control of your career.

If you are working in a small firm out of the city, or a boutique practice and looking for a step up to a national or even top tier firm, there are options available.  Firms are busy and if you have experience of handling a commercial property caseload, are ambitious and driven, and looking for your step up the career ladder, you are one of a small number of commercial property lawyers working in a recession and now in a valuable position.

With further improvement in the market predicted over the next six months, consider your options carefully.  If you could like advice how to position yourself for your next move, please contact me for a confidential discussion.

Louisa Phillips, Manager, Private Practice North West

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