Year in Review 2022: Jobs for lawyers continue to grow despite the slowdown!

A new Law report by Vacancysoft!

      • Q1 2022 was the peak quarter for legal vacancies
      • East of England achieved the highest increase year-on-year, up 27.3% on 2021
      • Private Client was the practice area most in demand this year
      • Banking led the way for legal vacancies across financial sectors
      • Stone King was the number-one law firm in 2022

According to a report by labour market data analysts Vacancysoft, key recruitment trends also include:

Looking at the performance across all sectors within England and Wales (E&W), legal vacancies grew 7.1% year-on-year in 2022, with over 11,700 jobs registered. This represents a big difference if you consider the 100.4% growth experienced a year earlier. 

Segmented by quarters, Q1 2022 was the best-performing quarter for legal vacancies across Law, Finance, and Commerce and Industries (C&I), publishing over 3,000 new jobs. Moreover, it was also the peak quarter for the Law sector’s hiring activity, achieving over 1,900 jobs.


James Chaplin, CEO of Vacancysoft, said:

“The post-pandemic labour market in the UK saw vacancies for the legal sector return to more normal levels, despite the unprecedented global events and a slowdown in the UK economy. Add to this inflationary pressures and a cost-of-living crisis: And it’s been an uncertain and challenging time for the legal market. Law firms have struggled with lawyer shortages, vying to attract new talent amid the increasing demand and competition for legal services”.


London failed to outperform 2021

A regional breakdown of jobs for lawyers in 2022 indicates that the East of England experienced the fastest year-on-year growth compared to 2021 (27.3%). The South West also experienced a significant yearly rise from 2021 (20.3%).

In terms of job volumes, London remained dominant, recording over 1,900 jobs by the end of the year, accounting for 28.3% of overall private practice vacancies. However, this represented a year-on-year drop compared to 2021 (-12.1%), when total numbers exceeded 2,200.


Bad year for lawyers in Real Estate and Employment

With over 400 job postings gathered last year, Private Client (25.9%) was the practice area with the highest demand, followed by Family (10.1%) and Commercial Property (18.5%).

Interestingly, Real Estate and Employment suffered considerable decreases compared to 2021 (down 29.1% and 29.3%, respectively).


Massive surge for Express Solicitors

A look at the top law firms shows Stone King topped the table in 2022, experiencing extraordinary year-on-year growth (277%). It was closely followed in volume terms by Express Solicitors, who, however, recorded the highest year-on-year rise in relation to 2021 (284.5%).

At 27.4% year-on-year, DAC Beachcroft is the law firm with the highest numbers across 2021-22, with 373 jobs for lawyers published across the period.

Conversely, Eversheds Sutherland suffered the most significant drop across all law firms, down 35.9% on 2021.


Top firms, Legal vacancies, 2021-22 (see report for more)

Top firms 2021 2022
Stone King 61 230
Express Solicitors 58 223
DAC Beachcroft 164 209
Thompsons Solicitors 129 137
Eversheds Sutherland 198 127


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