The commercial property market in Manchester and the wider North West is without a doubt incredibly busy. It has been gathering momentum throughout the year and moving into the final quarter of 2014 it is showing no signs of slowing. With a relatively small pool of commercial property lawyers to meet the demands of work available, this presents an excellent opportunity for lawyers looking to retrain into this area or move to a new firm.
I focus on recruiting commercial property lawyers in the North West market. On a daily basis I receive calls from commercial property partners across North West market with a sense of panic in their voice. Teams are crying out for help to service the demand of their clients. Law firms from the top tier, to national, regional and small boutique practices both in the city centre and out of town, are incredibly busy in commercial property and feeling their resources stretched. This month for the first time since the recession we have seen firms of all sizes not only retaining their own qualifying trainees into commercial property, but taking additional NQ’s from the external market, and recruitment doesn’t stop at the junior level. There are excellent opportunities for mid level solicitors, associates and senior associates looking for quality commercial property work, including landlord and tenant, development and investment matters.
Because of the improvement in the market, there is undoubtedly a small candidate pool. Lawyers were forced due the recession to move away from commercial property into busier areas of law, or even leave the law to seek alternative work, which means there is now a skill gap in the market. The shortage of commercial property lawyers means firms are looking more widely, and offering more flexible methods of working to appeal to the market. With good commercial property experience lawyers from small firms can now take a step up to the nationals and receive significant pay rises. Candidates with residential property experience are being considered for commercial property roles, and with excellent academics and a genuine desire to move into commercial property, retrain options are also available to enable lawyers to take their career in a new direction.
I am also speaking to national firms now who are offering commercial property lawyers part time and flexible working options. One heavyweight firm in particular is offering quality commercial property work to challenge even the big London firms, acting for a household name PLC clients, but are giving even junior lawyers the opportunity to work part time, from home, or on a flexible basis, to offer a better work life balance that many of their competitors cannot. 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 through the ranks.
The message is clear – with further improvement in the market predicted over the quarter and going into 2015, commercial property is an extremely busy area and can offer excellent career options to lawyers looking for a move. If you are driven and ambitious, you are in an excellent position to take your pick of options in the market and move your career in a new direction.