Threat of recession drives City law firm hiring spree

Threat of recession drives City law firm hiring spree

City law firms are seeking to capitalise on the looming recession by bolstering their M&A and financial restructuring teams.

Vacancies for City lawyers specialising in banking, leveraged and real estate finance, capital markets, and derivatives surged 38.7 per cent over the first seven months of 2022, figures from legal sector recruitment firm Tenhaven show.

The surge came as law firms sought to profit on the back of the boom in mergers and acquisitions caused by the economic chaos reaped by Covid-19.

In recent months, law firms have sought to bolster their corporate departments as they seek catch the end of the boom by getting these deals past the line.

Akshay Nayak, Managing Director at Tenhaven, said: “The recessionary clouds gathering over the economy represent both a challenge and an opportunity for law firms and their clients.”

“Those firms who’ve been helping companies with mergers and acquisitions in the wake of the pandemic will be racing to get deals completed before the economy turns, and these firms need all hands on deck right now.”

Law firms are also anticipating a further uptick in financial restructuring and M&A activity as companies driven to the brink by recession seek out help or merge with other firms.

“Astute firms are also preparing for what a prolonged recession could mean for Britain’s totemic finance sector,” Nayak said.  

“If the economy does turn, many businesses will need help with restructuring and a battening down of the legal hatches, and acquisitive clients will be seeking investment opportunities among the companies whose value is adversely impacted.”

The high demand for corporate lawyers has caused salaries to soar over the previous seven months in an upwards shift that has seen pay for newly-qualified lawyers jump significantly in 2022 to heights of up to £179,000.

“With salaries soaring and legal firms jostling to secure the best talent, it’s clear that London’s top lawyers expect a busy, unsettling time ahead for the City’s financial engine room,” Nayak said.

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