Legal eagles with hedge fund expertise needed

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Recruiters report an upturn in demand for lawyers with hedge fund experience.

"The hedge fund market has been picking up," says Jane Fry, manager of the legal financial services team at recruitment firm Badenoch & Clark. She adds: "Law firms are looking to expand their hedge fund teams, and the larger hedge funds are interested in employing in-house legal counsel."

Law firms such as McDermott Will & Emery, Wragge & Co and Jersey's Mourant du Feu & Jeune have already added hedge fund expertise this year. With smaller hedge funds set to remain reliant on private practice for advice, Fry says others are looking to follow in their footsteps.

At the same time, she says some of the 10 or 15 largest hedge funds are interested in hiring in-house lawyers, in adding to existing one or two man teams.

Unfortunately, increased demand is not matched by an abundance of hedge fund talent. "There's a shortage of lawyers who know about hedge funds," says Fry. "And those lawyers that do have transferable skills are not always willing to move across as hedge funds are perceived as being risky places to work."

Hedge funds are having to offer above average salaries to entice lawyers to work for them, says Fry. However, she would not be drawn on the amounts on offer, saying only that they vary substantially.