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With the ongoing rise of the mobile telecoms market, this fast-paced sector is an exciting place to work right now. But are there many opportunities for lawyers?
Absolutely, says Rachael North, a director at Laurence Simons.
“Due to the explosion of smart phones and other connected devices on networks, which represent a major new potential source of revenue, there’s been an increase in the number of opportunities in this area since the beginning of the year,” says North.
“The broader TMT market’s been busy through 2011 and the start of 2012, with many firms keen to bolster practices across various areas with experienced associates and partners,” says RedLaw Recruitment senior consultant Sarah Thompson. She adds: “With “headline-grabbing convergences and the rise of mobile apps, cloud computing and new technologies, this area should remain buoyant.”
For lawyers looking to move firms, Thompson stresses that you should always do your homework.
“In any market candidates should always do their research,” she says. “The firms with a specific telecoms focus are fairly finite and it’s important to consider those firms that are committed to this practice area, with better long-run prospects consequently on offer, and often with established relationships that can give rise to in-house secondment opportunities.”
There are plenty of in-house roles on offer for lawyers with all kinds of experience, according to North.
“Since January we’ve tracked seven different telecom companies, of which 11 are seeking to make new appointments of in-house counsel here in the UK,” says North. “These roles have ranged from three years’ post-qualification (at the most junior end) to senior legal counsel, which would fall into the 10-15 years’ post-qualification level.” For Thompson, the key to landing roles is to let your CV and in-house experience do the talking.
“Firms are keen to hire those mid-level and upwards lawyers who have a more detailed understanding of the industry, gained through secondments or permanent in-house employment,” she says.
As for general characteristics, demonstrable commercial knowhow is a major selling point.
“A key advantage for candidates is the understanding of commercial issues and developments that affect the industry and the ability to translate these into solutions for clients,” Thompson notes.
In the UK, the M4 corridor remains the top spot for telecoms lawyers, reveals North.
“It’s the location of choice for savvy in-house lawyers wishing to develop successful careers in the telecoms and TMT sector,” Thompson emphasises.
While the UK houses a large number of multinationals’ Emea headquarters, there are a number of locations across Europe that are also worth considering should you want a change of scene.
“There’s also strong activity from major players in mainland Europe, including Paris, the Netherlands and Munich, and to a slightly lesser extent in this sector, Switzerland,” Thompson reveals.
The number of telecoms jobs on TheLawyer.com (16 March 2012)
Lawyers registered for positions in telecoms on TheLawyer.com (19 March 2012)