Despite political uncertainties around the globe – from sanctions and tariffs to populist movements – the private equity market continues to run at full steam. Investors are under pressure to make their client’s money work and capital continues to be deployed. If you can find one, just ask any junior associate from a well-respected PE practice. The summer slowdown didn’t arrive.

Invest Europe’s annual study reports the total equity amount invested in European companies in 2017 increased by 29% year-on-year. At €71.7bn, this is the second highest amount on record and only 4% below the peak in 2007.

All this is good news for law firms. Private equity work is technical, demanding and most importantly – for the firms at least – high grossing. Clients will pay to get the work done quickly and by the right people.

Despite this increase in deal flow and law firms’ desire to pick up as much of this work as possible, there has been a lack of headline grabbing lateral partner moves this year.

That’s not to say the market for all lateral hires is quiet – demand for mid-level associates is extremely strong and the pay wars are having a serious effect. Lawyers have read the headlines and want to be paid. Opportunities are being seen at the 3 PQE to 5 PQE level particularly with the US firms in the City who are seeking out the talent. There’s a need at this level to keep up with client demands and as a consequence of some US firms’ larger cohorts of trainees now coming through to fill more junior positions…

Ardent is instructed by several leading US and UK firms for private equity positions. Please contact Philip Kennedy on 07498 257 968 or phil.kennedy@ardentrecruit.com.