As news comes out of King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) that the firm cannot guarantee to pay salaries beyond January and the business will now not be sold as one entity, many lawyers and support staff are already seeking new roles.

The positive news for business services staff is that there is currently considerable demand for their services.

“There is good demand for good people across all functions,” said Tim Skipper of Totum, which specialises in law firm business support recruitment.

“It’s a theme in the sector that law firms are upgrading the way they manage their businesses. They are looking for finance, HR, BD, marketing personnel. If they are good people, there will be demand for their skills.”

“There are more opportunities than great candidates, and I don’t see a situation arising any time soon where we have more demand [for jobs] than supply.”

The Lawyer’s Jobs site currently lists 459 legal support and 48 business support vacancies.

Among the vacancies for legal secretaries is a six-month contract supporting the General Counsel at a West London-based entertainment company.

Meanwhile, one of the magic circle is seeking a paralegal manager to run one of its paralegal teams.

On the legal side, there are 410 London-based vacancies for funds lawyers of all levels, 171 positions open for commercial real estate solicitors and 312 roles for litigators.

However KWM staff will likely be competing with CMS Cameron McKenna, Nabarro and Olswang staff for new roles after it emerged 850 support jobs at the combined firm had been put into consultation. This will result in the trio of firms shrinking their support staff by approximately 400 roles in total.

Firms move to rescue trainees as KWM teeters on the brink