The private practice market in 2012 saw an improvement on 2011. There was more demand in areas such as commercial, corporate and property across the North, typically at the larger and medium sized firms. Many organisations looked at consolidation as a tool to become larger, strengthen brands, protect profits and give more offering to existing clients.
Although the number of firms across the North looking to recruit increased, employers were only looking to appoint candidates from City firms or similar regional practices. Salaries remained static and senior lateral appointments were subject to followings and strong business cases.
Legal recruitment into industry and commerce remained consistent across the North in 2012. The majority of roles were at a junior to mid-level, typically for commercial solicitors, but we also saw businesses recruiting in-house employment and property lawyers and paralegals as businesses looked to reduce legal spend. There were also more senior positions as a result of businesses restructuring.
Successful candidates moving into industry were from both private practice and industry backgrounds, and salaries stayed competitive with most businesses offering a base salary plus competitive benefits, including a car and bonus.
There was demand for childcare and adult care prosecutors and commercial lawyers across the region in 2012. As pressure continued on budgets within the public sector, salaries were impacted, particularly for interim lawyers.