Q3 2021 - Market Review

It’s October and the start of the final quarter of the year. This year has been a bit of a blur. It occurred to me a little earlier that I completely forgot to write a review of Q2! By way of mitigation, my wife and I had baby number 2 in May and finding the time to blog outside of recruiting and dealing with a crying, demanding and constantly hungry little person has been a challenge. But enough about my colleague Joe and back to more pressing matters……

The team at Thornton Legal has been as busy at it has ever been and shows no sign of slowing down. The Summer used to be the time when there as a lull brief lull in activity with hiring Partners sipping Martinis on their superyachts and candidates struggling to look after feral children during school holidays.

Just about every practice area, with the possible exception of PI, has been buoyant and this Summer we saw a record number of placements at firms both in terms of Solicitor and Paralegal hires.

Here is a summary of our experiences over the past few months:

There has been a lot of movement in the commercial disciplines, particularly real estate, corporate, employment and litigation.

Firms are slowly but surely bringing staff back to their offices, albeit with an emphasis on a blend of home and office-based work.

Salaries across the board are being stretched in an upwards direction. Firms with deep pockets and big corporate clients are offering big financial incentives to talented, junior solicitors. My feeling is that this is beginning to present problems for small to medium sized firms who are losing talent to larger firms in Manchester and Leeds, aided by the promise of home working and a degree of flexible working not seen pre Covid.

Solicitors working for smaller commercial firms are increasingly getting offers from large national and international firms. This would not have been the case a few years ago.

I know that I bang on a lot in these reviews about this being a candidate driven market, but this is a truly great time to be a junior (PQE) lawyer with so many potential options available.

Getting first interviews arranged has never been so easy with virtual interviews capable of being slotted in during lunch hours with so many people still working a proportion of the week at home.

Recruitment for roles which would ordinarily involve one interview is often now a two-stage process.

Firms that are unable or unwilling to offer an element of hybrid working are missing out on good candidates.

There is a lot of misinformation out there amongst lawyers when it comes to market rate salaries. Whilst it is true that salaries are on the rise, some of the figures quoted by prospective candidates and their expectations is eye watering to say the least.

I hope you all have an enjoyable remainder of the year. It will be Christmas before we know it! How terrifying!