2022 – The Story So Far

It’s been a busy few months at TL, and before I (Nick) go away on a well-earned family holiday to Majorca on Saturday, I thought I would take some time to pen my thoughts and observations on the year so far.

Firms throughout the North show no signs of slowing down when it comes to recruitment and from high street to large national, the emphasis is on growth.

I am sure we are not alone amongst recruiters, but we have never found ourselves so busy.

Since coming out of 2020, the legal industry appears not to have looked back. Almost all commercial disciplines are thriving and the lack of available candidates, whilst a concern, does not seem to have hindered it thus far.

It’s the same old story of too many jobs and too few lawyers. The relentless struggle to recruit has seen a profound upwards shift in salaries across the region and hybrid/flexible working here to stay.

NQ salaries have been a hot topic of conversation amongst lawyers and recruiters alike. Several large firms with offices in the North West have pushed NQ salaries to £60k +, whilst other firms of similar size have bullishly talked down what they see as unsustainable salary hikes.

What we see is candidates understandably taking advantage of the market to drive their own salaries up, either by demanding parity with solicitors at other firms or taking the plunge and entering the recruitment market.

We have seen candidates working for good quality high street and regional firms doing commercially focused work who have been snapped up by the same law firms who, pre pandemic, would not have looked twice at them. One Corporate Solicitor we know who was offered £30,000 on qualification with the firm he trained at only to join a high-profile national law firm on twice this!

I must say I do share some of the same reservations’ others do about where this will all end up and what will be expected in return for the elevated salaries we are seeing, especially if we see a downward dip in the economy, as predicted by the Bank of England earlier this month.

The increased activity amongst law firms and the knock-on effect in recruitment seems to be in direct contrast to the gloom and frustration of the cost of living crisis and rising interest rates. The fear being that the UK will tip into a slow-burning recession due to a reduction in consumer confidence and spending.

This worry does not appear for now to have affected law firms willingness to recruit or candidates confidence to move. I will be interested to see whether things slow down slightly as the year progresses but I am making no predictions. Law firms have proven much more resilient over the past two years than I ever imagined they would!

Thornton Legal is a leading legal recruitment company, recruiting for legal jobs in across Merseyside, Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Yorkshire and the West Midlands We are passionate about providing a professional, innovative and reliable legal recruitment service that is focused on quality and ensures our clients are matched with the strongest legal talent available. Contact one of our legal recruitment consultants today  to see what we can do for your law firm or legal career