The Impact of Brexit on Legal Recruitment
I, like so many, woke up on Friday certain that we would maintain our place in Europe and achieve a level of status quo that would ensure currency stability and the continuance of an upward trend in the commercial environment. The collective nation spoke and no matter the foundation on which that leave vote was based, leave won the day and so we drift inexorably towards a separation from the EU. Whilst it is hard to envisage the precise terms of any subsequent trade agreements we may make with Europe it is almost certain that those terms won’t prove as favourable to those that we have now (why would it).
What we have seen (admittedly still in the early stages) is downgrading of the UK ‘s credit rating and a weakening of the Pound to levels not seen for some time. History would suggest that initial reactions will temper and the immediate big hits will become more balanced. Though, truth be told, the outcome is uncertain and perhaps until we see the manner in which exit negotiations proceed it will be just as hard to plot appropriate commercial reactions.
So what will be the impact on law firms and in turn their recruitment needs?
Again, the future is unclear but that is not to say that it is all bad news. Leaving Europe will take time and the interim period will mean, to some extent, business as usual. To the extent that change is required, the UK has always been at the forefront of adapting and changing and without question we will remain so. Change and the need to assess impact will create opportunities for lawyers and law firms.
The more immediate impact is most likely to affect the transactional side of the market across banking, corporate and real estate perhaps more with an investment focus where currency fluctuations are most likely to stall deals whether in the short term or completely, something we have already seen.
The larger firms with a wider international reach will almost certainly be fielding the greatest number of enquiries as their teams deal with financing and commercial agreements with a pan-european dimension.
From what we have seen on the ground, the impact has been minimal. By its nature change results in certain degree of caution and so we are less likely to see more speculative hires but overall the shock waves of Brexit (however big or small they may be) have not been significantly felt.
Change will also create opportunity. Businesses will continue to need legal support and as the legal landscape shifts to accommodate any new rules and regulations then lawyers will move with it, adapt and provide the necessary advice. In years to come we may have teams emerge with focus around our trade and dealings with Europe in its new guise.
Having lived through the credit crunch I am all too aware of the British public’s ability to talks ourselves into a recession and I hope that we find our footing, accept where we are and (if there is indeed a defining British trait) make the best of it.
Whilst on a personal level I am sad to see us depart from Europe the only way is forward. At worst I can always marry my Cypriot rescue dog and attain a European passport that way – I think that’s allowed???
Paul Warburton (& Tasha)
Director – firstname.lastname@example.org