As we come into Autumn there seems to be mixed reports of doom and gloom but is it borne out by facts?
Earlier in the year a quarter 3 recession was the fear. It may still be a technical recession if the economy retracts over 2 successive quarters. However…
This month: Recession is it a reality in law?
What are the facts? The property market is slowing and steadying but is still set to rise at a faster rate than average, based on the last 5 years. Demand is slowing but it is still 25% above the 5 year average and at a similar rate to this time last year. (Zoopla reports). Steadying conveyancing rates back to something like normal seems to be the dream for most residential conveyancers at the moment! So hopefully this will play out and take some of the pressure off the residential property departments who have been so over worked these last few years.
Almost all top 50 law firms have seen their revenue and profits go up by varying degrees according to their annual reporting. Where we talk to firms, we are hearing the same thing. Firms are busy across all departments, work is very much there for taking and the biggest bottle neck in many cases is the recruitment of solicitors and legal professionals to pick up the work and get it done.
Many factors account for the lack of people available for roles, one is the number of people qualifying. A straw pole on our database shows that from 2019-2021 we had around double the people qualifying into law than we did in 2022. This year saw a 50% drop off in NQ’s. Looking at 2023 we are seeing signs of recovery but still we look to be around 60-70% of the numbers qualifying in 2023 compared to those earlier years. The profession needs more lawyers!
Our client firms are hiring and we are seeing more flexibility from them in terms of getting people on board. That might be thinking more broadly about PQE or experience and whether someone can be developed into the lawyer they are looking for. Or it might be in terms of part time working or flexible hours/ place of work where preferences vary from person to person.
The cost of living crisis will have a impact on individuals across society but legal services are often born out of necessity where as luxury items will be the first thing to be reigned in during hard times.
It looks as though the end of the year will continue to be buoyant for the legal market, your career might benefit from a move whilst firms are flexible to really gain the best position that you are able to.
With the bottle neck around the lack of numbers of legal professionals out there, you really do hold the upper hand. With changes to the SQE now in play, here at Clara Rose Consultancy we are really hoping that this means more people qualifying to allow firms the growth that they are looking for.
More on that next month with an event that can help you understand the changes coming up later this year!
In the meantime we feel safe (enough!) to say recession… what recession?
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