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A Shot in the Arm

A Shot in the Arm

As we hurtle toward the end of 2020, London lawyers could be forgiven for being surprised to learn that the lateral recruitment market has been extremely flat for the balance of the year, given how busy they have been day-to-day.

Our candidates and client firms are consistent in their feedback that most practice groups are hovering close to full utilisation, with transactional teams (M&A, Banking & Finance, TMT, and Investment Funds) finally catching up to their contentious colleagues’ pipeline of work (which has remained steady throughout the various periods of lockdown).

Undoubtedly this can be attributed to the announcement of the Pfizer vaccine (with UK grandmother Margaret Keenan becoming the first person in the world to receive a COVID vaccination in early December). It certainly feels like we have turned a corner, and this optimism seems to be borne out in the lateral legal job market.

In the last few months, we have had candidates (both domestic and international) interviewing with a host of Magic Circle, US and major international law firms in London. Australian & NZ candidates in particular continue to fare well, given the relative similarity and portability of their experience.

Restructuring & Insolvency lawyers remain in high demand, as do Competition law specialists and Commercial Litigators. Lawyers from transactional teams with an eye on the London market should also think about updating their CV & deal sheet, as we have been briefed on some very interesting advisory roles across a number of top tier practice groups.

Mobility is still the biggest barrier to inbound legal recruitment, given the fluid nature of flight availability and quarantine restrictions. That said, we are working with several lawyers who have recently relocated to the UK with only minor inconvenience, so interested candidates may want to strike while the iron is hot.

Previous updates have touched on the impact of Brexit on the legal market, and given the fraught nature of trade talks at present, we will likely see the fallout sooner than later. Deal or no-deal, the uncertainty will create plenty of work for lawyers in the coming months.

Current key vacancies include:

  • Real Estate Finance Associate, US Law Firm, 2-5 PQE
  • M&A/ECM Associate, International Law Firm, 4-5 PQE
  • Funds Finance Associate, Silver Circle Law Firm, 3-5 PQE
  • TMT Associate, Magic Circle Law Firm, 2-5 PQE
  • Leveraged Finance Associate, Silver Circle Law Firm, 2+ PQE

For more information on the roles above or for a chat about the London market in general, please contact your local Montgomery representative, or contact Glenn Johnston in our London office.

Glenn Johnston
Glenn Johnston

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