LAW FIRM DIRECTORY

Legal Market

Freeze-stuff

There is a paradoxical situation on the personnel market: on the one hand, the market is oversaturated by experts, but on the other hand, partners of law firms note that it is quite difficult to find a lawyer who conforms fully to their requirements, especially the issue concerns a niche specialization. Despite certain activity, including emergence of demand for experts in transactional practices, the number of personnel transitions is still at a rather low level, and more than a half of the employees of law firms have not changed their place of work for the last three years

OLEKSIY NASADYUK

The portrait of an average "top" law firm has not changed during this year — it is quite enough to have a team of 25-30 lawyers to successfully conduct a legal business in Ukraine, and less than half of this figure will be sufficient to achieve success in a boutique specialization. At the same time, only three law firms said that they had more than 80 lawyers on their staff.

The companies included in the Top 50 leading law firms of Ukraine have an average of five or six partners. Two companies stated they have partnerships with more than ten partners. Nine is the number of partners at two law firms. Among the legal market’s participants there are also four teams with eight partners and six teams with seven partners. At the same time, eight teams with three partners, two teams with two partners and three teams with one par­tner are represented in the Top 50. The average ratio of partners to salaried lawyers is 1:6. It is close to the conditional optimum for medium-sized law firms — a category to which almost all participants of our legal market can be attributed.

According to the results of polling, 15 % of the total numbers of lawyers in the Top-50 are partners of law firms. At the same time, 1.6 advisors and senior lawyers, 2.5 — lawyers and 1.4 — junior lawyers account for one partner. These indicators correlate with the values of  general legal experience. For example, young specialists with experience of less than three years (this category often includes undergraduates) make up one fifth of the top segment of the legal market, which gives us grounds to claim that: they hold positions of junior lawyers in the vast majority of cases. This year this indicator increased a little, which confirms both the appeal of large law firms as employers (which quite often are the first place of employment), and readiness of law firms to invest in completing the education of promising young employees. There is quite serious competition for really talented young people.

62.5% of top lawyers have total legal experience of more than five years, 34% of them — more than ten years. But at the same time, just 11.9% of experts possess running to more than 15 years. That is, in general, the market is rather adult, but is actively fed with young specialists. It is obvious that the mutual migration of lawyers from the market to in-house and staffing of the authorities have affected such statistical distribution (at the same time, the number of practicing lawyers who have become judges of the Supreme Court, noticeable on the scale of this judicial instance, cannot be considered as significantly influencing the personnel situation in the legal market in general).

As for the loyalty of lawyers to their law firms, 56.5% of them have been working in their current place of work for more than three years, and one in every three of them — more than five years. 17.3% of them have been working in their current positions for less than 12 months.

The ratio of lawyers (including partners) and administrative personnel at law firms is also of great interest. At Top 50 law firms, an average ratio of lawyers and employees, who are not lawyers, is 3.1:1 and varies within a wide range: from 0.8:1 (there is more administrative staff than lawyers) to 7.2:1. In the small law firms segment, not included in the Top-50, this value can be even more — administrative functions are performed in addition to primary legal activities.