Manchester lawyer vacancies continue rising as city stakes claim as UK legal litigation, personal injury and insurance hotspot — new report

May 26, 2022 | Legal, News

  • Legal hiring in Manchester rising faster than rest of England & Wales 
  • City accounts for 17% of all qualified legal vacancies in April 2022
  • Surge in hiring for insurance, litigation and personal injury lawyers
  • Thompsons Solicitors tops table for most legal vacancies in 2022

Legal vacancies in Manchester continue rising following a record 2021 as the city’s law firms make up ground on London and carve out a niche as the UK’s hub for litigation, personal injury and insurance legal services, new research shows.

According to a report by national legal recruiters JMC Legal and labour market data analysts Vacancysoft, new private practice and in-house jobs for lawyers in Manchester hit an all-time high of 880 vacancies in 2021, up 135% year-on-year. Recruitment in 2022, meanwhile, is rising faster than the rest of England and Wales, with Manchester accounting for a record 17% of all qualified legal vacancies in April.

Surge in private practices jobs for insurance, litigation, personal injury lawyers

Litigation and dispute resolution (LDR) has become the largest single area for private practice recruitment in Manchester in 2022, up 44% compared to the same period a year earlier. This increased the city’s share of LDR vacancies across England and Wales from 12% in 2021 to 21% by April 2022.

Manchester’s law firms account for even higher vacancy shares of qualified legal insurance and personal injury roles compared to the rest of England and Wales, at 41% and 35% of all published vacancies, respectively. Jobs for lawyers specialising in technology (11%) and regulatory (10%) were the only roles to experience downturns.

JMC Legal CEO Jason Connolly said:  “Manchester has firmly cemented its position as a significant legal hub and has been thriving since the second quarter of 2020. Firms are taking advantage of the abundant talent pool and lower overheads to expand their legal functions in Manchester. This rise has heated up the competition for talent, creating more opportunities for lawyers looking for a different direction, and contributed in part to the wave of dramatic salary increases we have seen in recent months.

“2022 is set to be an exciting year for Manchester and its legal market, with solid pipelines of work offering confidence across several practice areas. We can expect to see firms capitalising on strong financial performance and the positive outlook to continue investing in and growing their teams and developing their existing lawyers, and improving working conditions with better flexibility, better pay, and more opportunity.”

Thompsons Solicitors tops table for most legal vacancies in 2022

The leading law firm in Manchester for legal vacancies is Thompsons Solicitors due to a 112% surge in new jobs so far in 2022. TLT topped the table in 2021 with 48 vacancies for lawyers. In 2022 so far, the UK law firm published only a handful of vacancies, sending it to ninth place in the table for Manchester jobs. 

Top 5 Law Firms for Legal Vacancies, Manchester, 2021-2022 (see report for full table)

# Firm 2021 2022* (Jan-Apr)
1 Thompsons Solicitors 24 17
2 DAC Beachcroft 27 16
3 PWC 10 14
4 Eversheds Sutherland 35 11
5 Berrymans Lace Mawer 20 11

In second place for 2021 vacancies was DWF with 44 vacancies. Like the firm directly below it, TLT, it is performing sluggishly in its recruitment for lawyers in Manchester so far this year, with vacancies down 53%. The biggest increase in Manchester legal vacancies in 2022 is at PwC Legal, with volumes up 320%

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