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Commercial litigation is one of the most sought after practice areas in the legal arena. For lawyers who enjoy contentious work, commercial litigation is often seen as the pinnacle of the contentious market. With the opportunity to work with large PLC clients on big ticket litigation, including breach of contract and warranty claims and shareholder disputes, junior lawyers are lured into commercial litigation in the false premise that it can offer the best quality litigation available.
However, since the recession hit the UK, commercial litigation has been at best flat. Firms in both the top/mid tier and more niche litigation boutiques are attracting work but not to the volume or scale anticipated, and recruitment into general commercial litigation has been low. This, together with the push towards early settlement through mediation and alternative dispute resolution, means that heading to the Royal Courts to take a complex case to trial is a rarity, not the norm. However, hope is not lost.
It is important in a difficult market to think widely and market your skills more diversely. Many commercial litigation lawyers are now looking to the insurance market to push their career to the next level. Insurance is still the most dominant area and there are no signs of this changing. There is a misconception that insurance work is low value, high churn and low paid, but this is far from the reality. Professional indemnity and commercial insurance work is the highest level of insurance work available and can offer litigators the opportunity to work on complex, multi million pound actions.
Disputes can range from working on large professional negligence actions for a range of professionals, including construction professionals, solicitors, barristers and accountants, to directors and officers claims, disputes on insurance policies and market agreements, and advising on complex policy coverage issues. With the likes of Clyde & Co and Kennedys moving into Manchester, this means that work is flowing from London and the there is an opportunity to work on both national and international insurance and reinsurance disputes whilst based in the North West.
Firms with busy professional indemnity teams are now looking for commercial litigation lawyers to join their teams. With the attraction of top quality work, market leading salaries and the opportunity to progress, the move to professional indemnity and commercial insurance work can be a lucrative move well worth exploring. Whether you are an NQ solicitor or experienced commercial litigation lawyer, if you have the drive and determination to progress your career, professional indemnity can be the best place to be.
For more for information on your options available, please contact Louisa Phillips– Manager in the Private Practice team at BCL Legal.