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Transport is a sector that offers a wealth of opportunities both for legal roles and puns, with government cash setting in train high-profile schemes and getting projects motoring.
According to Red Law senior consultant Christopher Clark: “Transport has picked up considerably, a result of government investment in projects such as HS2, but also the rise in market confidence. The aviation sector has been active in the associate market, with roles not only in finance but also in commercial and insurance.”
Crossrail and HS2 have sent demand for legal advisers soaring across a range of roles. Mandates are flowing in, ranging from bids to provide rolling stock to big PPP financings.
According to Noble Legal consultant David Crollick, however, rail is not the only option.
“We’ve seen demand for lawyers specialising in aviation, shipping and rail finance,” he says.
It’s not all about high-cost government schemes either, with the super-rich’s shopping habits producing a niche for yacht finance lawyers.
“This is usually combined with other trophy assets and is a sign of the presence of the oligarchs and the super-rich in London,” says Crollick.
Clark comments: “One of the hottest roles is to work with rail partner Tammy Samuel at Stephenson Harwood – access to market-leading clients and working with one of the best specialists on the market.”
The magic and silver circle firms are also hirers in this field.
Shilton Sharpe consultant Jeremy Mead comments: “Most opportunities for lawyers in the shipping, aviation and rail sectors are with the mid-sized UK firms. Many of these firms have niches in one or more of the ‘big three’ transport sectors and enjoy embedded clients and repeat instructions as a result.”
For lawyers wanting to head in-house there are fewer opportunities.
“The transport and logistics sector was hard-hit by the downturn and recruitment has yet to return to pre-recession levels,” says Shilton Sharpe Quarry associate Ellie Price.
Crollick adds: “We’ve seen very few in-house opportunities recently and when they do arise competition is fierce.”
But unlike other sectors transport offers a number of roles at NQ level.
“These are relatively niche markets and firms are keen to take on junior lawyers who can develop and grow as demand in the sector increases,” says Mead.
Lawyers with more experience are in with a chance too though, and Crollick says: “Our most recent placements have been around the two to five years’ PQE mark. Magic circle firms have been instructing us on more mid-level roles than others. Outside this, other City practices have been more willing to look up to six to seven years’ PQE.”
The transport sector may have hit the hiring brakes in the past few years but now it’s full steam ahead.