Activity in the legal jobs market is up as new data shows September and October had the most recorded partner moves in a single two-month period.
Legal recruitment specialist Edwards Gibson’s new report on law firm partner moves in London recorded 117 partner moves over the two month period. The numbers are 36 per cent up on the 86 recorded for the same period last year.
Speaking to City A.M. Christopher Clark, director at Definitum Search said: “This year has been very difficult compared to last year, as last year was so good. But I personally have seen more demand in September and October for hiring partners and teams.”
There was a surge in demand for legal services over 2022 which is why there was a near record 480 partner hires completed over that year, according to an Edwards Gibson report.
A weak and often uncertain economy this year has resulted in a softer market for legal services. However, the recent rise in activity is notable although the market has yet to recover from the downturn.
Scott Gibson, director of Edwards Gibson, told City A.M. that it is “slightly strange” but it seems that the legal industry is “resilient” to market conditions compared to other industries.
The “doom and gloom is starting to clear,” says Clark.
The report did note that the statistics are inflated by the collapse of Axiom Ince but those partner moves only accounted for 15 per cent of the total moves during that period.
Gibson stated that a lot of firms which don’t hire that frequently are hiring at the moment.
US firm Paul Weiss topped the list by adding the most lateral moves (six), followed by Addleshaw Goddard (three) and Collyer Bristow (three).
Clark explained that in the last couple of months there has been more appetite as law firms want to bring in “big name” partners. In the middle of August, Paul Weiss raided its fellow US rival Kirkland & Ellis for top private equity lawyers. One of these recruited was debt finance rainmaker partner Neel Sachdev.