Job Watch: Offshore

Offshore is always a popular area, and never more so than in the current legal climate.

“Offshore firms have consistently hired in the past 12 months across litigation, corporate, finance and funds,” comments James Franklin of Robert Walters.

Although firms are recruiting for all kinds of experience, certain levels are particularly in demand right now, according to Ricardo Bonegio of Garfield Robbins.

“While there are some roles for junior and more senior lawyers, most are targeted at two to six year-PQE associates,” says Bonegio.

The market in the Channel Islands has been particularly buoyant, according to Pro-Legal’s Kirsty Lawrence.

“The Channel Islands have been a hive of activity,” she says. “In terms of vacancies and need, we’ve seen an increased requirement for funds, corporate and commercial, litigation and corporate lawyers.”

There are also more opportunities further east, notes Edward Strickland of Glass Consultancy.

“The Far East’s booming, so there are opportunities there, although litigators with rights of audience are still in demand throughout the offshore market,” he comments.

“Most leading offshore firms are looking to grow significantly their Asian presence, with firms opening in mainland China and Singapore as well as beefing up their Hong Kong practices, not only with lateral hires and general recruitment, but also by relocating senior partners there.”

The surge of office openings in new jurisdictions worldwide has also had an impact on the offshore market, reveals Anya Smith at Laurence Simons.

“Due to the upshift in both international deal activity and office openings,” she says, “there are several interesting areas of growth for offshore lawyers, in particular Singapore, Dubai and Moscow.”

Mergers have had a big impact on recruitment, comments Lawrence.

“Last year’s merger of Collas Day and Crill Canavan is an interesting example,” she adds. “Mergers of this magnitude will have a knock-on effect on recruitment, predominantly at the senior level.”

Mergers have also stimulated the trend for associates to move overseas, says Joanna Yardley, a consultant at DMJ Recruitment.

“These markets are much busier than some UK firms and associates want to be busy,” she explains.

As for in-house roles, they are few and far between, says Bonegio.

“The main area where we see in-house roles is in fiduciary services, where businesses are often linked to, or form part of, a major offshore law firm,” Bonegio says. “There are some other roles, especially in the financial services sector, although there seems to be a preference to use external lawyers.”

However, lawyers should not be deterred from entering the offshore market, stresses Taylor Root offshore consultant Graham Blyth.

“While this is a somewhat limited market, and it can be difficult to penetrate with no experience,” he says, “we see in-house roles for corporate, funds and private client lawyers.”