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The In-house Legal sector is looking bright this summer

There was a very interesting article in June 2nd edition of The Lawyer Magazine which focused on the magazine’s in-house Attitudes Survey carried out by Thomson Reuters. The survey canvases in-house lawyers for their thoughts on a range of subjects and the article suggests things are rosy in the world of in-house.

The headline of the article is “The bright side of in-house life” and the strapline states “GCs are in more confident mood in our third annual survey, and the urge to shift to private practice is on the wane”.

The findings of The Lawyer and Thomson Reuters report suggests that “respondents this year are predicting a rise in legal spend and the size of their departments”, and that they “are optimistic their budgets will keep rising”.

On the flip side however, respondents did confirm that “it has become harder to persuade external advisers to provide secondees as the market environment picks up, and [that] many firms were asking in-house teams to pay for secondees.”

As a specialist Legal Recruitment Consultancy, with a dedicated in-house function, BCL Legal has over 11 years experience assisting the UKs leading companies (and law firms) recruit legal staff. The Lawyer report raises some interesting points which match our own experience of the market at present. These are:

1) We have seen a sizeable upswing in the recruitment of in-house counsel, predominantly from companies with existing in-house legal departments. The majority of this recruitment is at the 1-5 years’ PQE level although the buoyant IT sector has been actively recruiting at all levels.

2) Law Firms are also actively recruiting, as demand for their services have increased, and these firms are often competing for the same commercial, IP or IT candidates as In-house departments. This partly explains the lack of available talent at the 1-5 year’s PQE level and it nicely answers why in-housers are struggling to secure secondees without paying for them.

3) When in-housers have to pay for a secondee, we often hear that the charges being quoted are very high, even for relatively junior solicitors. This has helped to develop a healthy market for Interim lawyers, either on a temporary or fixed term contract basis. in-housers can often secure an experienced interim for the same or less cost than a junior secondee.

4) Private practice solicitors are still very interested in moving in-house however law firms are beginning to do more to retain top talent. Private practice salaries have begun to increase again and at present in-house departments have been slow to keep pace. This is partially a result of fixed salary bands/grades (particularly at the largest companies) however the biggest obstacles has been the restriction on legal budgets and spend. The fact in-housers are optimistic that budgets will keep rising is sure to alleviate this pressure.

For more information about the information in the blog, please visit: http://www.thelawyer.com/analysis/intelligence/in-house-attitudes-report.

Should you require any recruitment assistance, please visit: BCL Legal  or call 0845 241 0933.

Craig Wilson is a Senior Consultant: In-house at BCL Legal. He specialises in assisting industry and commerce clients across the South-East with the recruit of lawyers, compliance and company secretarial staff. He has worked in legal recruitment since 2007 and he has a wealth of experience assisting companies and lawyer candidates.

 

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