The BCL team discuss the East Midlands & East Anglia private practice market and market predictions for 2023...

2022 has been a buoyant year for law firms in the regions with growth at most firms, law firm mergers, combinations and expansion into new offices as staff return to their offices.    

NQ rates have risen in most areas to keep up with city pay rises in Birmingham and London.  The salary bidding war has slowed a little with firms being more budget-conscious with their hiring in the later part of 2022 and we expect this to continue into 2023. 

The growth seen at the beginning of 2022 has started to slow with fewer NQ roles on the market and hires being focused on the 3-8 PQE level, with experience and skills being very important to firms.  That said, firms are still being flexible on hard-to-fill roles, considering candidates with different backgrounds. 

Diversity and social mobility are proving more important to firms this year, with blind CV’s and diverse hiring more obvious and a priority to firms. 

Work life balance, the ability to work flexibly and a decent benefit package have been important to our candidates this year.  Clearly salary is important during a cost of living crisis but the other benefits also matter to candidates, with the ability to work from home part of the week still an important consideration to most candidates.  Roles which are remote or truly hybrid are still more popular with candidates than fully office-based roles.  If firms want to attract the best pool of talent, then opening the role up to remote/fully hybrid working is the way to do it.

The international firms in Milton Keynes and Cambridge are starting to attract talent from smaller firms on the outskirts of London with candidates realising that they can commute in reverse, giving them the ability to step up to a larger firm offering better quality work which may not have been accessible in London for them.

Moving into 2023, firms are planning their hiring around their 2023 budgets, so we expect to see new growth roles appearing in Spring 2023 whilst the firms continue to recruit for existing budgeted and replacement roles.

Connect with BCL's Midlands team:

Also read BCL's 2022 salary round-up for: