Immigration Law has not always been the busiest of areas in terms of recruitment within the London market, with many firms seemingly content to have some form of small offering in the area to assist Corporate and HNW Private Clients. That may all be about to change in 2019.
An increased interest in Immigration Lawyers is something that has been mooted since the Brexit referendum in 2016, however with the 29th of March fast approaching, the severity of the spike in demand has been altogether quite unexpected. Towards the latter part of 2018, and more noticeably since the publication of the Government’s White Paper on changes to immigration rules following the UK’s exit from the EU, firms have become more and more proactive in their search for individuals who can assist in further developing what may become an essential service for clients in the resulting aftermath of Brexit.
The breadth of opportunities in the market is also an interesting factor, with Midtown and West End firms experiencing increases in enquiries from HNW individuals and SME clients keen to ensure compliance with new legislation following Brexit, through to major International practices keen to ensure that Blue Chip corporate clients are adequately serviced in this area. We have already seen several of the recognised Immigration practices in London begin to show interest in increasing capacity at Associate level in recent weeks.
Unsurprisingly, most of the interest from smaller practices remains focused on Partners with established followings in this area, however, more and more firms are becoming open to the prospect of Senior Associates with some degree of following who can mine existing networks to create a fully-fledged immigration department. This presents an interesting opportunity to senior individuals facing a bottleneck at their current practice and are confident in their ability to strike out on their own merits with a high degree of autonomy and support from firms keen to increase their capacity to deal with Immigration matters.
Immigration lawyers are now in a position of being able to cherry-pick the opportunities that most appeal to them and will give them the freedom to either develop an offering in their own image or to step up into a larger and higher-profile department for this area of work. With wrangling over legislative changes, the setting up of new Immigration systems following Brexit, and compliance with same, it is likely that Immigration lawyers will find themselves highly sought-after for some time to come.