Legal Recruitment vs the Covid-19 Pandemic

5 Minutes

Unsurprisingly in March 2020 most business-as-usual roles were put on hold when we went into lockdown, firms and companies were understandably coping with the shift to home working and reacting to an unprecedented event and one where nobody was able to predict what impact it would have on workflows.  Despite having worked through several recessions myself I really wasn’t sure what lay ahead and the trajectory of recruitment during this period has been surprising. 

By as early as May and June we were once again seeing a steady stream of ‘business of usual’ recruitment, although it must be noted that some of the national and international firms had an almost complete block on recruitment post march until the end of the summer. They were finding that full homeworking had made it much easier to move work around the country and found that they were able to increase utilisation rates nationally.   

From September to date we have seen more roles than we would have expected during the same pre-pandemic period, with firms of all sizes and types recruiting.  These roles have been across a broad spectrum of firms, disciplines and geographies. Those of you keeping an eye on firm’s performance and revenues will have seen that firms are generally performing well, many are even posting improved revenue on their last financial year and whilst some adjusted budgets to accommodate the pandemic those that I have spoken to are performing better than expected. There is a lot of positivity amongst firms.

What has been a surprise to me throughout the whole period is that many firms, even if they had stalled their more junior recruitment, have remained extremely responsive to senior appointments, even in March and April.  The more senior appointments have barely stuttered in their volume and in fact there has probably been more movement at this level.  We have had approaches from senior lawyers and partners who are questioning whether they are in the right firm.  It’s possibly as a result of their pace of life, if not their work, having slowed and therefore having the opportunity to reflect on what they want.  We have seen some who haven’t being delighted with behaviours that they have seen within their own practice, or who simply feel that there could be a firm that could provide a better platform for them.  Most firms have remained very receptive to senior appointments, particularly if it provided a strategic opportunity or they are high quality individuals who had business cases to offer which usually equated to a following or a proven track record in developing work. 

If you are thinking of moving, or recruiting, at this senior level then please get in touch with us for a more in-depth discussion or if you have any questions about the general market on 0113 245 3338. 

Time and again we are speaking to people thinking of making a move and they are taken back when they hear how positive the market is. We hope to speak to you soon and we look forward to seeing what 2021 brings us.