UK law firms may need to hire more US-qualified lawyers to compete in the post-Brexit landscape, specialist recruiters have predicted.
A report on the implications of Brexit for banking lawyers states that US law may become more widely used in European transactions, especially when they involve acquisitions by US companies using US law firms.
‘To compete, UK law firms could end up needing to have greater numbers of US-qualified attorneys,’ the report by Laurence Simons and Vacancysoft states.
‘This bodes well for US-qualified lawyers living in the UK, as well as EU-registered competition lawyers.’
Investment banks have started activating contingency plans, the authors say, adding: ‘This is, however, to be expected and not necessarily a cause for concern for those working in London.
‘These institutions would have this kind of backup plan in place by default, and whilst a lot has been made of this in the press, there has been no mass exodus yet and the market seems keen to apply a business-as-usual policy to keep things on track.’
Goldman Sachs currently employs one-sixth of its staff in London. Deutsche Bank has 12,000 employees in the UK.
‘We will have to wait to see whether political pressures to repatriate banking jobs in institutions such as BNP Paribas play out,’ the report says.
‘If this were the case, then our Paris office will certainly be very busy, and this will only add to the surge in demand for lawyers in France this year to date.
‘As a result we are anticipating a significant increase in hiring for lawyers in the banking sector across Europe this year, with Paris likely to be the big winner as French banks repatriate jobs.’
In June it was reported that the EU was preparing to move its London-based European Banking Authority from London following the referendum result.
The authors predict that financial services regulatory lawyers will be in demand wherever the authority ends up being located.