Global In-House Market Report 2019: UK

Sarah Ingwersen Market Insight, Career Advice, Salary Guide...

The 2019 Global In-House Report is an overview of hiring trends from a variety of sources, from the local knowledge of experienced consultants to our regional salary guides through to general market sentiment derived from interviews with senior contacts.

Below is an extract from the UK section. The full report contains market insights for Germany, BeNeLux, Italy, the Middle East, Turkey, South Africa, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, North America and Australia.

The UK Legal Market

Despite the current political climate around Brexit, the UK in-house legal market continues to remain buoyant.

The UK in-house legal market has grown extensively over the past two decades; with the majority of FTSE100 companies having substantial in-house legal teams and small to mid-organisations continuing to build up their legal functions to cover the increasing regulations, legal risks and the cost of external counsel.

The highest levels of recruitment activity in the in-house UK market has been in Fintech, Tech, Asset Management, Regulatory, Insurance, Media and Energy. With the most notable instructions for commercial, IT, IP, corporate, funds and regulatory lawyers. The hiring landscape continues to be increasingly candidate driven across the corporate and financial services space. The majority of recruitment activity is for junior to mid-level lawyers with a large number of instructions for both newly created positions and replacement roles being between 2-8 years’ PQE.

An important development over the last few years is the noticeable difference in the increase in private practice salaries, which continue to outstrip in-house salaries. Magic Circle and US firms in particular, have significantly increased their base salaries with newly qualified lawyers in US firms being paid £120,000 - £145,000. This can be challenging for companies looking to recruit the top talent into their legal teams. This has led to many in-house organisations taking on legal graduates and paralegals and supporting them through to legal qualification.

The UK in-house legal market has seen three significant trends over the past 12 months. The first is the increase in first in-house legal appointments. This can be seen in the upward trend of companies who are conscious of their risk level, who have secured a funding round or who have reached a high level of spend on external counsel. These roles remain highly sought after amongst lawyers in the UK as they allow lawyers closer access to the senior management teams, more autonomy and a broader breadth of work.

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