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Desk in Focus: OJ Legal

12 December 2017

by Jessica Williams

Led by two respected figures within Oliver James, our legal division places professionals in the highly competitive in-house and private practice spaces. The team works adeptly to navigate a market in flux, where economic uncertainty following Brexit has had a transformative effect on recruitment practices. Jamie Howard, Associate Director, provides some insight on the commercial context his consultants are facing…

“Since the referendum, the value of the Pound is relatively weak, so conditions on the UK exchanges aren’t an attractive means of exit to companies looking for an IPO. Private Equity and Private M&A are becoming more favourable transactions, where we are seeing a large increase in Private Equity and Private M&A deals within the UK corporate legal space. Conversely, public M&A and ECM transactions are becoming less frequent.

“This is having a clear impact on hiring attitudes, as many of our US, Magic and Silver Circle and large national clients are seeking legal professionals with Private M&A or Private Equity backgrounds. The demand for talent is fierce, and there is a general lack of candidates who can demonstrate they have played a key part in corporate M&A transactions. Now is the time for candidates with this experience to come to market, because gains in transaction value, salary and promotions are ripe for the picking.

“At present, we build specialist knowledge one practice area at a time. Currently in UK private practice, we have two consultants working on corporate M&A. We plan to hire a further two consultants by early 2018, with the intention of replicating this successful model through a separate team for banking and finance.”

 Jamie Howard, Associate Director, +44 203 861 9177,

Overseeing a team of four, Jamie has 12 years’ recruitment experience, 10 of which he gained at OJ. After setting up the Risk and Compliance team in 2012 – one of the highest-performing permanent teams in Oliver James history – Jamie has driven our presence in the UK legal sector, where he places everyone from Qualified Associates to Equity Partners. His tenure at OJ has been motivated by the company’s desire to rise above all others through a culture that commends progression and innovation. Ever looking forward, Jamie plans for the team to target the major growth areas of technology, media, telco, financial services and insurance in 2018.

 Paul Francis, Associate Director, +442038619188,

Our resident legal (re)insurance expert, Paul places qualified lawyers into both in-house and private practice roles. Paul joined the business in 2007, bringing almost 20 years’ experience and niche expertise that would help us enter into new markets with great success. For him, Oliver James represents the opportunity to contribute to an entrepreneurial, risk-taking business and the aims of Oliver and James – both of which align with his personal aspirations. Paul will continue to develop our legal discipline to reflect the priorities of our private-practice clients, while offering more routes for candidates wishing to move in-house.

 Laura Sarsfield, Associate Consultant, +442038619133,

Laura is the legal desk’s newest recruit, having recently completed her Philosophy degree at the University of Edinburgh. She came to Oliver James in search of a career path that would facilitate strong learning within a friendly yet professional culture. To Laura, the legal desk represents an opportunity to earn big, progress quickly and build on her core skills as a recruiter. In placing corporate M&A candidates, she hopes to achieve her first promotion by early 2018.

For a confidential conversation regarding your requirements, please contact Jamie Howard today on +44 203 861 9177

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