What have been the main trends/ developments in your region/ sector over the past 12 months?
Similar to most other areas of the country, real estate has been the dominant area for recruitment for big and small players in the South West. Residential and commercial property development lawyers, agricultural property lawyers and commercial property lawyers specialising in portfolio management have been high on the shopping list of the larger law firms. Demand for litigators has remained fairly low with the exception of insurance litigators. Private client roles have been few and far between.
What have been the real growth areas and where has the demand been coming from?
2014 has been all about ‘energy’ in the South West. Most of the national and international law firms with Bristol offices have been seeking lawyers with energy sector experience, with a particular emphasis on renewable. However, there is still a high demand for lawyers within the oil and gas space. Demand in this sector spans projects/infrastructure, commercial contracts, commercial property and construction.
What have been the key stories that have dominated your region/ sector?
It’s been mainly positive news stories coming from the South West. Revenue and, more importantly profit, is in the main going up and in some cases staggeringly so. TLT posted an increase of 18% in revenue growth in the financial year 2013/14; Simmons and Simmons has increased its turnover by 7% and an increase in PEP by 5%; whilst Osborne Clarke’s revenue has increased by 26% and PEP has gone up a whopping 46%. Booming business has also meant good news for NQs as some firms announced 100% retention rates including Michelmores and TLT. Burges Salmon has recently confirmed that it is hoping to increase the trainee intake up to 30 by 2017.
What are your predictions for your region/ sector for 2015?
Demand for non contentious commercial roles will remain high, but in particular there will continue to be a demand for lawyers specialising in commercial and residential property development, property portfolio management (especially in the retail sector), construction (contentious and non contentious), projects, planning and infrastructure.
How would you sum up 2014 in one sentence?
Recruitment across many non contentious areas has been high as has the standard of lawyer sought.