Hiring for lawyers highest since pre-pandemic, Allen & Overy and Linklaters rise

Mar 25, 2021 | Legal, News

Recruitment for lawyers is at its highest level since before the start of the covid-19 pandemic, new labour market data for England and Wales (E&W) shows. 

Professional legal recruitment took a big hit during the UK’s first national lockdown, resulting in hiring levels in Q2 2020 falling by 74.3% quarter-on-quarter. Year-on-year vacancies across E&W subsequently finished 33% down compared to 2019. 

However, in February 2021 Britain’s top firms posted 729 professional vacancies, reaching a level not seen since January 2020, according to a new report by Vacancysoft. That’s 18.73% more vacancies compared to the same month a year earlier.

“These encouraging figures show that the recovery within the legal sector is properly back on track,” says James Chaplin, CEO of Vacancysoft. “After a year like no other for the industry, legal firms are rediscovering their rhythm — and recruiters in this space are feeling the positive knock-on effects.”

ALLEN & OVERY AND LINKLATERS SHOW RESILIENCE

While overall professional vacancies across the Magic Circle dropped collectively by 40.5% year-on-year in 2020, hiring levels at two member firms increased despite the challenging economic conditions. 

Recruitment at Allen & Overy finished 13% higher compared to 2019, while Linklaters posted double (+100%) the previous years’ amount of new roles in 2020. All Magic Circle firms made a strong start to 2021, with current monthly average vacancies already higher than last year’s figures.

DEMAND FOR BANKING SPECIALISTS GROWS

The report also shows that vacancies for banking and finance lawyers now make up a bigger portion of the overall legal labour market. These experts’ share rose from 4.6% in 2019 to 6.3% in 2020.

London remains the dominant region for B&F legal vacancies across E&W, with the city accounting for 74.1% of private practice and 79.9% of in-house roles, respectively.

  • The data for this article is taken from Vacancysoft’s recent report on lawyers in banking and finance, available here. 
  • Need labour market data to enhance a story or report? Contact Vacancysoft’s Communications team on +44 (0) 207 193 8990.

[Photo by Sebastian Pichler on Unsplash]

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