Articles From the Team
Demand for Real Estate Solicitors at an all time high! What does this mean for jobseekers?
Recent research carried out by BCL Legal and data analytics firm Vacancysoft illustrated record levels of real estate vacancies. Overall legal vacancies were up almost 50% compared to 2019 which illustrates that the legal market has not only recovered from the pandemic but positively thrived. The level of real estate vacancies in particular is quite overwhelming with pretty much all of my clients in Birmingham looking to recruit into real estate at various levels. This opens up opportunities to lawyers who may currently be working at far smaller firms to take a big leap forwards in their careers and gain access to top quality work and experience.
As a legal recruitment consultant at BCL Legal, I work in a very specific market; my primary focus being real estate in Birmingham city centre. With such a specific focus, I have full coverage of the real estate roles at all of the national/international firms in the city and demand is certainly outstripping supply at the moment which puts any prospective job hunter in a very strong position.
At the junior level, despite it being Q1 there are still plenty of NQ level real estate vacancies about. The result of this is that firms have more flexibility than ever and will very much think outside of the top academics and training at a national/international firm box when it comes to recruiting!
The level of competition for a qualified real estate role at one of the leading Birmingham firms is so far removed from the level of competition to get a training contract at one of these firms that many candidates don't even consider these firms as options until they speak to us. The market is wide open and if the idea of working at a top firm appeals to you then you should speak to us!
Obviously you still need to interview well and demonstrate that you have the right attitude, ambition and potential to operate at a high level but the size of your current firm will be of little regard if you can tick most of the other boxes. Ahead of any interview, I would suggest that you give good consideration to some of these points:
1. Your experience
Very often at a smaller firm your experience can be more 'hands on' from an early stage and you can gain exposure to a broad range of work. You are likely to have had a good level of client contact during your training and beyond and also have managed your own caseload from a fairly junior level. Illustrate that experience and make your experience from a smaller firm a positive.
2. Your academics
With a keen focus on social mobility, many firms are increasingly flexible when it comes to academics. Generally speaking, if you have trained at a smaller firm then it helps if you have a solid academic background but it isn’t a blocker in the way that it once was. Experience will always trump academics so focus on getting the best quality experience you can.
3. Networking and business development
All firms like to see evidence of this in your CV so include a paragraph. Involvement with the JLD (or BTSS/BSG in Birmingham) at the junior level should be noted as should any involvement in charity events or client networking and business development initiatives. At the more senior level, evidence of developing and managing client relationships will always be of interest.
4. A genuine passion for property
If you can demonstrate a passion for property you have won half the battle. Those who enjoy what they do tend to work harder and thrive and firms love to see that passion so be sure to demonstrate it at interview.
5. Do thorough preparation
It's surprising how many candidates stumble when tested on fairly basic technical questions. Be prepared to demonstrate that you know your way around a lease for any real estate interview. If you are development focused, expect to be asked development agreements, option/promotion agreements etc. Also, give some thought to the most challenging work you’ve been involved in. Talk about the client’s objectives to illustrate that you understand the wider picture and commercial considerations.
I am keen to speak to real estate solicitors from the NQ through the partner level about opportunities I'm working on at leading Birmingham firms. If a move is something you are contemplating then don't delay, we have a buoyant market in a thriving city so there couldn't be a better time to make the next move in your career and also negotiate the best package possible.
For a confidential discussion regarding your career, please contact Angharad Warren at BCL Legal.