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Legal Lowdown – What’s Trending in the Market

Legal Iconic Insights – Q1 2024

What are we seeing in the market. 

  • Most legal firms based in Scotland this year have been focused on retaining their newly qualified in 2024 with numerous firms being able to retain a large percentage. This is due to firms being able to offer NQ’s opportunities in their chosen specialism which has meant the number of roles hitting the market has been significantly reduced over previous years. A growing trend we are seeing is when firms encounter gaps or struggle to hire associates with 3-4 years of PQE, they have been filling these gaps by hiring their Newly Qualified (NQ) lawyers.
    • To attract and retain top talent, firms must offer competitive salary packages and flexible working arrangements. Additionally, demonstrating clear plans for investment, growth, and long-term commitment is crucial for maintaining a competitive edge in the market.
    • The Scottish legal market is experiencing a notable slowdown in salary increases, attributed to a combination of economic uncertainties and heightened cost pressures on law firms. Despite a robust demand for legal services, firms are exercising caution in their financial commitments. This trend has led to more modest salary increments compared to previous years where firms were competing over talent. Industry analysts suggest that while firms are keen to retain talent, they are balancing this against the need to maintain profitability in a competitive market. As a result, legal professionals are facing slower wage growth, prompting some to seek opportunities elsewhere or to renegotiate terms to better align with their career expectations and financial needs.
    • A significant development in the in-house legal market has been related to remuneration levels. With substantial increases in Private Practice salaries, many in-house legal teams are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit from this sector, despite often offering better work/life balance. Some in-house teams simply cannot compete with top-tier law firms on salary. Consequently, recruitment has become increasingly difficult as the talent pool has narrowed. This has prompted in-house teams to reconsider the required PQE levels and adjust their remuneration packages to attract and retain talent effectively.


Job of the Month:

 In-House Construction Lawyer – Glasgow or Edinburgh

We have a fantastic opportunity for an experienced construction – Solicitor to join this highly regarded global renewables business due to continued growth and expansion of this team. The role is hybrid and can be based in either their Edinburgh or Glasgow office.


Skills in demand:

  • Rural Property at all levels, Corporate at Senior Associate, Director or Partner level, Energy and Infrastructure at 3yrs + PQE, Construction both Contentious and Non-Contentious, Planning and Personal Injury are all areas that continue to be busy with opportunities at various levels.


Quotes of the month:

Well, I don’t know as I want a lawyer to tell me what I cannot do. I hire them to tell how to do what I want to do.

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