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Job openings: Vacancies at real estate legal teams expand quickest in the City in 2014 as legal job market grows

In an indication of the legal job market’s growing strength, research analysing vacancy rates at law firms has shown that job openings across England and Wales were up by 48% in 2014 compared to a year earlier, while real estate teams grew fastest in the City.

The research, which was conducted by Vacancysoft, swept law career portals for new vacancies daily between 1 January 2013 and 31 December 2014, discounting those reposted, to gain an indication of the number of job openings being offered by region, sector and firm. The results shows regional growth in England and Wales at 55%, quicker than London’s 39% – though the capital grew more in absolute terms.

In the City, the fastest growing sector was real estate with a 60% increase in vacancies in 2014 compared to 2013 closely followed by tax and commercial practices. Job openings for banking, M&A and litigation teams also all grew by over a third.

But not all sectors saw growth, insurance was among those going backwards with the number of job openings dropping by nearly a fifth. Technology, media and telecoms, and regulatory also both saw a decline in the number of vacancies.

Regionally the picture was rosier as all sectors saw increases. Insurance reversed its London position to be the fastest growing with double the number of vacancies in 2014 than 2013 while real estate kept up its strong performance with second place. There was also strong growth in corporate, disputes and tax while employment was the worst performing sector with an increase of just 8% in job openings.

Vacancysoft’s numbers were also broken down by which firms had the highest number of new vacancies with Eversheds coming out on top, although the number of openings at the firm fell on 2013. Duncan Lewis came second in the list followed by Pinsent Masons, DAC Beachcroft, TLT solicitors and Osborne Clarke. Linklaters was the only Magic Circle firm in the top 20 at eighth place while Baker & McKenzie saw the largest growth compared to 2013 rising 87 places to 17th in the table.