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Legal - Market Report 2012

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Legal recruitment in the financial service sector suffered in the second half of 2011. This market is not entirely driven by corporate governance which out of necessity needs to be resourced. Lawyers employed in transactional roles that support business areas have been more badly hit than those working in corporate governance related positions.

Eurozone inspired uncertainty brought the expansion of in-house commercial legal teams to a halt in the final quarter of 2011. We are looking for some form of resolution to the crisis to restore confidence. Until then companies will most likely only look to replace business critical lawyers.

Private practice recruitment is likely to be more subdued in 2012 after a strong 2011. Firms are likely to be more discriminate and many may look to ‘resize’ to ensure that their resources match client demands.

  • The number of vacancies from our sample financial services groups in the second half of 2011 fell steeply from 86 to 38. Demand from commerce and private practice was stronger and is likely to remain so in 2012.
  • The number of lawyers accepting new in-house positions in the second half of 2011 was 62% lower than the peak achieved in the first half of 2010.
  • Salary increases achieved by in-house financial lawyers changing jobs fell from 15% in the first half of 2011 to 7% in the second half.

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