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As we roll through the first quarter of 2016 it is clear the market for corporate solicitors is improving dramatically. Reports from our clients indicate that activity is mostly due to mergers and acquisitions although some teams also report an increase in buy outs and private equity investment. On the surface it appears that there is greater funding available and against a backdrop of an improving economic climate businesses are sufficiently confident to look for avenues of growth.
This is set against a backdrop of people wishing to offload businesses that they have fought to bring through the recession and also consolidation in a number of market places as businesses have opportunities to purchase their competitors. In short not dis-similar to what has been going on in the legal market!
For BCL Legal this has manifested itself in a plethora of new opportunities for corporate solicitors in the Midlands. BCL are fortunate enough to have preferred supplier agreements in place with every major law firm in the East and West Midlands and pretty much all of our clients are now seeking to add to their corporate teams. Almost without exception they report increased levels of activity.
Most of the available positions are focussed on filling gaps in teams created by the lack of retention of 2008 – 2011 qualifiers. Certainly if you are a corporate solicitor with PQE who qualified between those dates there are fantastic opportunities to join some of the Midlands leading law firms/ corporate teams.
Around this we are also seeing the occasional partnership opportunity (often not requiring a following) with some of the smaller corporate teams offering excellent opportunities for senior associates to step up.
Finally we have also seen a late flourish of NQ corporate positions. One or two of our clients are already thinking about September qualifiers and we envisage some early positions being on the market. Furthermore, one of our clients is already considering opportunities for trainee solicitors to transfer the end of their training contracts.
The growth of opportunity that we have seen after the last few months mirrors that which we have seen in commercial property. Commercial property has continued on at a pace, with recruitment by those teams showing no signs of slowing down. Commercial property partners have become more flexible realising that their ideal qualified solicitor probably does not exist and as a result there have been occasional opportunities for more (or less) experienced candidates to secure roles or for people to move to leading firms from much smaller enterprises. We have also seen consideration given to candidates who wanted to qualify into commercial property but have had to do something else, sometimes for several years.
For further information or to discuss any aspect of the recruitment market, please contact Nicholas Fear, Manager – Midlands Private Practice Team.