It has reported that newly-qualified solicitors in Scotland employed in the large commercial firms have been able to claims starting salaries of up to £38,000; furthermore, junior partners have reported six-figure salaries and there has been a marked increase in the salaries commanded by lawyers between three and five years post-qualification throughout Scotland. Not to be left out or forgotten, in-house lawyers have also seen rises in various key sectors.
It is believed that the financial services market in Edinburgh, which has remained strong and has even seen an increase in activity over the past 12 months despite political turmoil in the UK and the US, may have contributed to the increase in lawyer salaries across the country.
The key sectors in which in-house lawyers have increasingly been in demand have been energy, manufacturing, biotechnology and technology. This has been particularly true of companies based in Glasgow.
It is not all good news, however, as the gas and oil market continues to face a slow recovery. This has resulted in many Aberdeen lawyers choosing to relocate further south.
In-house positions are proving a popular choice for lawyers in Scotland. Thomson Legal’s report states that one-third of lawyers intend to look for a move in-house within the next year; furthermore, it states that any Scottish lawyer considering a relocation who has experience within the sectors of corporate law, banking or finance law are likely to find many attractive opportunities. In particular, Magic Circle firms and US law firms that have a London presence continue to search for talented lawyers in these areas.
For lawyers who practise within a more specialist subject area, there are opportunities available; however, these are thinner on the ground.
Despite the employment opportunities in existence, Thomson Legal has reported that there is a general air of unease about making any moves at all in the post-Brexit referendum economic and political climate.
Accordingly, whilst many individual lawyers and some firms are undoubtedly very cautious in terms of new employment opportunities as a result of Brexit and the presidential election in the US, there remains a huge amount of positivity in the legal scene in Scotland. A number of Scottish law firms have taken strategic mergers and others are expanding their focus into new sectors. Far from the stagnant market that may perhaps be expected, there appears to be a genuine pool of talented lawyers in Scotland who are making opportunities happen.
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