Articles From the Team

A summer of highs and legal jobs for Birmingham and the wider Midlands region

Whilst we reflect on a summer of fantastic highs in general: high temperatures, World Cup football (including M&S reporting high sales of the waistcoat) and the Royal Wedding, it's also been a pretty busy summer for Birmingham. As the city of Birmingham's major redevelopment works continues at a rapid pace, the city centre is changing before our eyes and this means lots of work and lots of legal jobs.

For Birmingham's legal jobs, in particular, it remains as buoyant as it has all year; if not more. This is reflective of the wider Midlands economy and legal job market.

Recently, city centre transformation plans were revealed for Coventry, which ties in nicely with the Birmingham regeneration programme. There were several exciting announcements for the region earlier this year: the Commonwealth Games to be held in Birmingham; Coventry is set to be the City of Culture for 2021; and, Birmingham remains in the running for the new Channel 4 HQ. All a huge plus as it brings investment, business and competitive and attractive legal jobs for the Midlands region.

Given the amount of redevelopment and construction going on in the region, it's hardly surprising the demand for real estate lawyers and construction lawyers remain high. Other thriving areas include banking and finance, corporate, data protection and compliance (following GDPR) and employment law. In addition, the Big 4 continue to thrive within the local market and offer a viable alternative to both clients and lawyers looking for a different opportunity.

Thriving areas

  • Real estate
  • Construction
  • Banking and finance
  • Corporate
  • Data protection and compliance
  • Employment law

The need for law firms to meet rising client demands

The legal market has changed significantly in recent years and law firms recognise that in order to stay ahead of the competition they need to go above and beyond. It's no longer about solely providing the correct advice; in a consumer-driven society, clients can afford to be more demanding of their legal team and pick and choose their representation. Whilst previous relationships and loyalty still plays a part in this, clients want more.

The desire for lawyers with specialist sector experience

For that reason, we continue to see a growing need for candidates with specialist sector experience. For example, energy, public law, healthcare (private and public), education, commercial projects and charities. Clients want lawyers who are not only experts in the law but who also understand their sector inside and out.

As a result, candidates with specialist sector skills are highly desirable, especially in a candidate short market where the move towards sector focussed legal teams is still relatively new in Birmingham (compared to London). So in turn, candidates can be more demanding when it comes to salaries, working hours and flexibility.

Slow and steady wins the race? We can only hope so...

Law firms have been much slower to respond than other professional disciplines when it comes to modern working practices, albeit the last two years has seen a lot of movement in the right direction. With many firms introducing agile working, flexibility and core working hours, we continue to see progress when it comes to listening to candidate needs and finding the right person for the job. Whether it's enough to stem the flow of lawyers out of private practice into in-house legal job roles remains to be seen. However, given how buoyant the market is, firms need to continue on this path in order to secure the quality lawyers they need to deliver and meet client expectations.


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