Mark Levine
Mark Levine
Managing Director: In-house

Articles From the Team

In-house legal review - 2021

LinkedIn summed up 2021 perfectly when it sent me my ‘2021 year in Review’, have you had yours??

It said:

2021 was a year unlike any other. We call it the #GreatReshuffle, a moment in the history of work, where all of us are rethinking not just how we work, but why we work.

It went on to tell me that there was a 25% increase in people changing jobs since before the pandemic and remote roles doubled in comparison to 2020... and finally 20% of my network changed jobs in 2021.

We always hoped that 2021 would be a busier year than 2020 – given that for circa 4 months of 2020 there was very little movement, but we never expected the recruitment market to be what it was! From Newcastle down to Luton, the main locations that the BCL Legal in-house team support saw circa 550 moves. It wasn’t a case of ‘who was recruiting’ but ‘how many lawyers were they recruiting’!

So what are some of the reasons for such a high volume of in-house legal jobs? My thoughts are as follows:

  • In-house lawyers really showed their ’worth’ during the pandemic, their role was elevated and coming out of that the request to increase the legal team was approved more than it might have been in the past.
  • Increased legal work due to the pandemic, re-evaluating contracts but also work related to Brexit and greater impact of compliance and regulatory matters.
  •  We often started with an ‘additional hire’ role but then following a resignation one role became two.
  • Some lawyers were just ready for a move to something new, others had moved to a new location given the ability to work remotely but had then been required to be back office working and therefore a new job closer to home was required.
  • On the flip side some lawyers had proved they could work remotely 100% of the time and wanted this to be their new normal.
  • Many of the lawyers that the team work with are not unhappy, they are just looking out for the right next career move. With many more opportunities in the market those opportunities were more readily available than they have ever been.
  • Companies listing or going through other major transformations (investments/restructures) also led to new opportunities at the senior end of the market.
All of the above has put a massive strain on the candidate lawyer pool and this has led to supply and demand economics pushing salaries forever upwards. In fact in one location a review of offers saw that the average salary increase was 35%!

Finally, it has been reported that just under a quarter of solicitors now work in-house. I can’t say I remember what the percentage was back in 2003 when BCL Legal was established.. but probably around 10% … so I would suggest it has more than doubled since then. This is fantastic news for lawyers – with more options comes greater variety and opportunity.

Wishing the in-house legal community a wonderful time off – hopefully you will all get this!

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