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Taylor Root Salary Survey 2012 for West End, Niche and Boutique Law Firms
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Taylor Root Salary Survey 2012 for West End, Niche and Boutique Law Firms


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West End, Niche and Boutique firms

West End, Niche and Boutique firms

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  • 1. UK Private PracticeWest End/Niche City Firm Salary Survey 2012
  • 2. West End /Niche City Firm Salary Survey 2012SummaryThe first six months of 2012 was slower than many firms would have hoped as the predicted economic recovery failed tomaterialise. Although the UK entered into a double dip recession, following several years of cost-cutting and caution, mostfirms are now much better placed to cope with these difficult economic times and the general feeling is that things arebeginning to improve.Growth across the West End and niche City market was slow but steady during 2011 and this pattern continued into 2012.Most firms have been reluctant to grow their teams and instead, the recruitment focus has been predominantly on replacinglawyers who have left. 2012 has also seen many firms increase salaries for the second consecutive year.Review of 2011There was disparity in the sizes of the West End and niche firms that we surveyed, but there was still an element ofconsistency in terms of 2011 recruitment, with over a third of firms recruiting between 3 – 5 solicitors over the course ofthat year.Just under 30% of firms hired in excess of 5 solicitors and around 20% hired only 1 – 2 solicitors over the same period.Although there has been a wide range of sectors that firms have been recruiting into, unsurprisingly, in most cases there hastended to be a focus on the key historical areas of strength. The top five areas of recruitment for West End and niche firmsduring 2011 were corporate, commercial property, commercial litigation, employment and IP. Family and private client werenot far behind.It is worth comparing these responses to the larger City firms who have, in general, been busier than their West Endcounterparts. Although the appetite for recruitment is still nowhere near the levels that were reached during the heights of2007, there has been consistent recruitment across the board.Outcome of 2012The results of our survey conducted at the beginning of 2012 showed that almost 65% of the firms we spoke to anticipatedrecruiting between 3 – 5 solicitors over the course of 2012 – an increase of 30% on the figures for 2011 and the clearestexample yet of optimism starting to return to the market. A further 20% of firms expected to hire at least 1 – 2 solicitors overthe same period. So far, in most cases, it looks like these predictions are on course to being met.Interestingly, we predicted that there were going to be some unexpected changes to the top five busiest areas of recruitmentfor West End and niche firms during 2012, with banking and private client joining commercial property, commercial litigationand IP as the most likely areas of recruitment. These predictions have proved to be correct, although banking has not beenquite as prominent as we anticipated. However, employment has been a key growth area and one of the busiest recruitmentsectors.Broadly speaking, the NQ market has been extremely difficult and competitive for most candidates. Retention rates haveincreased but lots of firms have preferred not to recruit external candidates and this has resulted in fewer NQ jobs onthe market for candidates leaving the firms where they have trained. There has been an unprecedented number of qualitycandidates on the market and this presents firms with a unique opportunity to recruit some outstanding lawyers. Surprisingly,NQ growth appears to be in some of the more niche practice areas including construction, planning and IP
  • 3. West End /Niche City Firm Salary Survey 2012Salary & benefitsFor the second consecutive year, salaries have increased at most of the firms surveyed. On average, the salary increases havebeen between 3% - 5%. This is an indication that not only is confidence beginning to return to the market, but also that firmsare keen to ensure that they do not get left behind by their competitors.Some firms are now starting to move away from ‘bandings’ and are focusing on a meritocratic approach that allows them moreflexibility depending on the strengths of a particular lawyer. We anticipate that this practice will become more commonplaceover the next couple of years. West End Niche City NQ £40,000 - £55,000 £45,000 - £60,000 1 £44,000 - £60,000 £50,000 - £65,000 2 £46,000 - £65,000 £55,000 - £70,000 3 £48,000 - £70,000 £65,000 - £75,000 4 £50,000 - £75,000 £70,000 - £80,000 5 £52,500 - £77,500 £75,000 - £85,000 6 £55,000 - £80,000 £80,000 - £95,000 7 £60,000 - £85,000 £85,000 - £100,000 Junior Partner £75,000 - £115,000 £110,000 - £150,000 Assistants/associates recruited in the last 12 months Assistants/associates envisage recruiting in the next 12 months 0 14% of respondents 0 14% of respondents 1-2 22% 1-2 22% 3-5 36% 3-5 64% 6-10 22% 6-10 0% 11+ 6% 11+ 0% Holiday entitlement offered to new joiners Benefits offered to new joiners? 26-28 days 15% Pension contribution 86% 23-25 days 85% Private Health Insurance 86% Permanent Health Insurance 50% Life insurance 100% Discounted Gym Membership 29% Season Ticket Loan 100%ConclusionSo far, 2012 has seen a slight dip when compared to 2011. However, the second half of the year has started positively andthere is optimism that the feel good factor from the Olympics will filter through and encourage a strong end to the
  • 4. For more information please contact a member of our team on +44 (0)20 7415 2828Nick Smetana Louise Carlton Gemma HamsharSenior Consultant Consultant gemmahamshar@taylorroot.comEstablished in the 1980s, Taylor Root is now widely recognised as being one of the world’s leading legalrecruiters. Operating out of offices in the UK, Dubai, Asia and Australia, we are ideally placed to assistlaw firms, banks and companies with their legal recruitment on an international basis. Taylor Root hasa strong track record in the recruitment of: Heads of Legal and legal advisers; law firm associates andpartners; contract/locum lawyers; paralegals; company secretaries and compliance professionals.Taylor Root is a member of The SR Group. The SR Group is a specialist recruitment consultancy dedicatedto raising standards in the business environments that we serve. The sectors we cover include tax, legal,human resources, marketing and executive search, dealing with a substantial number of the world’sleading professional partnerships, multi-national corporations and international banking groups as well assmall to medium sized developing organisations. London Dubai Hong Kong 95 Queen Victoria Street Suite 614, Liberty House DIFC 1918 Hutchinson House London EC4V 4HN PO Box 506739 10 Harcourt Road , Central, Hong Kong T: +44 (0)20 7415 2828 T: +9714 448 7770 T: +852 2973 6333 Singapore Melbourne Sydney Level 21 Prudential Tower Suite 4.02 Level 12, 25 Bligh Street 30 Cecil Street 520 Collins Street Sydney Singapore 049712 Melbourne, VIC 3000 NSW 2000 T: +65 6420 0500 T: +61 (0)3 8610 8400 T: +61 (0)2 9236 9000 Taylor Root is a member of The SR Group