Henry Bain
Henry Bain
Associate: Private Practice

Articles From the Team

Is there a legal job available even if there's no live vacancy?

So, you’re looking for a job but only want to apply for ‘live job vacancies.’  I often hear this from lawyer candidates: they’re only interested in applying for legal jobs that are released to the wider market/where they know there’s a role available, but are these lawyers missing a trick?

Depending on your practice discipline and PQE (especially if you're between two and five years qualified); just because a team within a firm isn't 'actively recruiting', doesn’t mean there isn't room for another position and team member.

If you put your commercial hat on and in the shoes of the firm itself, there are several reasons why this is often the case...

Your experience

Your work history might be directly relevant to a client the firm's currently working with. For example, some real estate teams specialise in education clients but lawyers who practice in this area are few and far between. If someone becomes available in a niche area, it's highly likely they'll look at your CV.

Recruitment takes time

A  13-year PQE corporate lawyer exiting a Top Tier practice might find there a few or no 'live job vacancies' available to them. On the flipside, lawyer candidates such as this don’t come around very often.

If firms look at their pipeline and discover they need to recruit someone in 12 months' time, they might be minded to snap up a candidate before someone else does; even if there's no critical urgency to hire them at the time.

Rules are made to be broken

Firms usually have a hard and fast budget but look at all the teams (construction, private client, real estate etc.) that have moved firms in the last 12 months (in particular, Manchester). There's no way this was factored into their annual forecast, but firms are businesses so when they see a great opportunity, they're inclined to take it.

A calculated risk

Some firms are particularly keen on people who relocate from the City. The training (whether rightly or wrongly) and calibre of work is often viewed in different terms to that within the regions. If you're relocating from the City or moving back home for personal or professional reasons, we know this opens more doors (especially at Top Tier practices).

Ultimately, if you’re happy to keep an open mind and think more widely around your job search, you'll be surprised at what's out there.

BCL Legal has teased out many opportunities for lawyers where perhaps on the face of it they don’t exist. I recently placed a 12-year PQE lawyer into a role where the firm was adamant on its requirement for someone around the four-year mark.  

Adopt a broader approach and you'll likely be rewarded with a fantastic role that's just the right fit for you!

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