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The role of the Lawyer in Brexit

by Ellen Shone | 3 January 2018

On Thursday 23 June 2016 the UK voted to leave the European Union causing much upset across Europe, despite 51.89 percent of Brits who voted voting to leave the EU. Since the vote headlines have been marred with empty promises made by the ‘Leave’ party and even many of those who did vote to leave are worried about what the future holds for the UK. 

However, despite the uncertainty I do believe there are some positives to the UK leaving the EU. Since the decision was made, central government has seen a significant increase in the employment of civil servants. There have been thousands of jobs created due to our pending exit from the EU, with over 3,000 civil servants already employed to handle the logistics of Brexit. A further 3,000-5,000 specialists are also forecasted to be employed through HM Revenue and Customs to deal with Brexit. Although the government are recruiting across the board, it is said that lawyers have and will benefit the most. 

Since the result was broadcast, 300 lawyers have already been employed to deal with the aftermath of Brexit into central government. This number is anticipated to grow as further negotiations between EU and the UK get underway. Changes in legislation and policies mean that the number of lawyers needed is increasing. There is talk that the Brexit process could take up to 10 years, meaning that the need for lawyers will not just be short-term.
Although there are many challenges to Brexit, for lawyers it is a chance to be involved in some of the most interesting work for decades. A great deal of the policy work regarding Brexit will come from Brussels and I believe as a result of this there will be an additional surge in workload for lawyers working within central government. Some of the work in which lawyers will have to advise on will include; trade, EU funds, UK regulations, employment and migration policies.
The opportunity Brexit is providing for many lawyers is unique. Many legal professionals will never get another chance to work on something so important, current and complex, and it is great to see the market responding to these needs so quickly. As a Recruitment Consultant who focuses on recruiting legal professionals into central government I have seen this surge first hand. Not only am I noticing the number of roles available increasing, but also the number of legal professionals vying for a role that relates to the changes Brexit might bring.

In my opinion central government will continue to get busier, and I expect a surge in roles as negotiations continue over the next 12 months. We have also noticed that the workload is beginning to dramatically increase for our candidates currently working within central government, which will also lead way for interim staff as well as the permanent lawyers currently in position. 

The uncertainty surrounding Brexit is also giving us a great opportunity and opening up contract positions for many lawyers. As a result there as many new and exciting opportunities and I would urge any legal professional with an interest in Brexit to get in touch as soon as possible. Although, ideally they want to recruit lawyers with public sector experience, my clients are also open to lawyers that have a strong interest in Brexit and have the right transferable skills from elsewhere. A lot of the roles are advisory; however, the whole of central government is getting busier, for example in the immigration teams. This giving a chance for lawyers to get into government roles.

I believe that now is the perfect time for lawyers to be involved in some of the most fascinating work of the past decade and probably for years to come. Even if Brexit is going to be challenging for the UK, the jobs and work that I being created as a result of it is encouraging. 

If you would like to discuss your career needs and how you could get involved in Brexit teams get in touch by calling 0203 741 8180, alternatively you can email me on ellen.shone@sellickpartnership.co.uk.

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