Cash, Culture, Career?

05 Sep 2022

Cash, Culture, Career?

What ARE the major driver for lawyers making the move?

We are still reading numerous articles in the business pages about the legal sector’s recruitment boom. Since January, we have seen remarkable stats about vacancies and hires in both private practice and in-house.

2021 saw a 131% rise in lawyer vacancies in the City compared with 2020. In 2022, to date, there has been reported a 14% rise in associate vacancies in private practice and a 58% rise in counsel positions in-house. Firms are seeing high attrition levels due to many factors.

The endless narrative around remuneration in law firms detailing unprecedented uplifts in salaries is having a profound impact on associates. We are seeing an understandable level of paranoia and FOMO as lawyers are checking out the legal press for the latest crazy increase in NQ salaries in the top 50 and the US market. Junior and mid-level associates are more likely to consider their options and even candidates who have resigned and accepted new positions are asking for further uplifts before they have even started new roles. In short, whilst the salary tsunami may be necessary, has it also had an unsettling and even counter-productive impact?

It may be that this current scenario is a bubble and the measures (certainly financial) which firms are taking to attract talent will cease to be quite so sustainable when factoring in the commercial pressure to offer competitive billing structures to clients – but with the 100s of new openings advertised by city firms each week (corporate, banking & finance and real estate), it may not be any time soon.               

We all know it isn’t just the money.

In equal measure, lawyers are asking questions around firms’ investment in training and development, transparency around a clear career path (whether a runway to partnership or attractive alternative), culture (supportive and inclusive team and managers?) and, of course, flexibility (WFH, hours, benefits).

If the content of this article resounds with your own situation, please do respond to the follow up poll around your main motivations. If you would like to discuss career opportunities, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me.

Victoria Wright |

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Victoria Wright

Victoria Wright

Founding Director - Head of Private Practice