Legal professionals actively seeking work are often interviewing for multiple roles


After a slow start to Q3, permanent and contract recruitment picked up significantly with some strong roles around Brexit and other regulatory changes.

Legal recruitment throughout Q3 2018

Both permanent and contract legal recruitment started slowly at the beginning of the quarter, mainly due to the holiday period. This resulted in a slump of both jobs available and active candidates. As soon as hiring managers got back into the swing of things, September picked up rapidly on both sides of the market, with contract hirings for Brexit projects and permanent vacancies in financial services outside of law firms. Newly qualifieds at top City firms saw their salaries increase and the retention rates at these firms saw a rise as a consequence.

What are clients’ requirements?

Contract hires have been primarily Brexit focused, with senior derivatives lawyers who are experienced in implementing large scale regulatory changes being in demand, as well as the standard need for mid level ISDA negotiators for business as usual work.

A lot of in-house clients are looking for junior-to-mid level permanent solicitors with generalist experience in areas such as commercial contracts, employment and privacy. After the vast changes in regulations, GDPR experience is valued highly and those practice firms with international work have been seeking qualified lawyers with language skills.

Legal jobs available

The legal candidate landscape

Professionals have been busy, with many interviewing for multiple roles and competing offers against each other. Some are slightly apprehensive about working for global banks because of the uncertainties surrounding Brexit, whilst a fair amount of others are looking to get into more ‘in-demand’ areas of law like property and finance, displaying their happiness to start at newly qualified level. There are reasonable amounts of regulatory lawyers possessing derivative backgrounds, and those who previously moved into compliance roles are considering shifting back to legal roles due to high demand.

Top Legal roles from Q3

  • Legal Counsel (London) - £85,000
  • Legal Counsel (London) - £120,000
  • Legal Counsel - up to £100,000
  • Custody Lawyer - £800 per day
  • Brexit Lawyer - £800 per day
  • Maternity cover at retail organisation - £150,000

How is the outlook for the remainder of the year?

Positive recruitment patterns continue and despite the greater economic concerns of Brexit, lawyers are still in demand both within practice and in-house. Jobseekers can take confidence that it's still a positive time to move within Legal if they can look past the economic emotions.

Contributors to the Q3 Legal recruitment update