Alison McKee

Alison McKee

In-house Director at BCL Legal

Where have all the lawyers gone?

One of my clients asked me this question recently; he’s a General Counsel in a highly acquisitive multi-billion turnover business, he’s a great lawyer and person and the rest of the team are high quality and easy to get along with.  We have been looking for a junior commercial lawyer since March but unfortunately the business asks its employees to work 5 days a week in its Cheshire office rendering the search incredibly difficult.  He’s not alone. 

Whether it’s flexibility around office time, low salary / package or a lack of progression, there are simply so many opportunities out there for junior to mid level lawyers that any perceived with a role can put a process at the back of a very long queue.

We believe there have been around 130 new roles this year, and there aren’t enough junior to mid-level commercial lawyers to go around.  Our recently completed salary survey established that 92% of in-house lawyers are happy in their job so unless you can offer some kind of incentive, financial or otherwise, good lawyers just don’t need to move.

In addition law firms are offering higher salaries and more flexibility and the possibility of partnership along with structured training and progression also means that many junior lawyers are choosing to stay and reap the financial and career benefits available to them just now.

If you’re recruiting at the moment what can you do to win the war for talent?

The lawyers we speak to are looking for flexibility, high work quality, a great culture and competitive packages.  On average 66% of in-house lawyers have seen an increase in their total package over the past 12 months.  Only 3% are being asked to work 5 days in the office.
How can we help?

Mark, Craig and I have the best agency network of in-house lawyers in the North West; we can help you to access individuals who aren’t active in the market… which is most of them currently!

We can also give you advice throughout the process and when you get to the difficult offer stage, this is so important in a busy market as you really need to know what other opportunities you’re up against and good lawyers can have 3-4 options at any one time.  It’s much more likely that a lawyer will divulge what roles they are deciding between and what offers they have received to us rather than directly to a business they’re interviewing with.

So if you are planning to recruit partnering with a specialist is more important than ever!  If you are thinking about adding to your team and want to discuss how to put yourself at the front of that queue give us a call and we can talk you the ways you can attract talent in a challenging market.

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