Derivatives and trading NQ to 2 years' PQE

We are looking to recruit a solicitor between NQ to 2 years’ UK post-qualification experience to join our derivatives and trading group.

About the team

The group comprises two partners, one senior counsel, one FX & Derivatives Negotiator, six solicitors, two trainee solicitors and two paralegals.

The group represent hedge funds, corporate treasuries, financial institutions, managed account platforms, asset managers and high-net-worth individuals in structuring, negotiating and executing complex and bespoke derivative instruments. Our team works alongside our specialist lawyers in financial services, regulatory, capital markets, tax and dispute resolution and is able to advise on both the day-to-day trading requirements of our clients, and the most complex derivative and structured product transactions in both transactional and contentious roles. The team prides itself on not only knowing the legal issues inside out, across a broad spectrum of standard form and bespoke documents, but also on understanding the strategies, risks and operational issues that affect the clients.

Our team advise on a wide range of products including repos, stock loans and all kinds of derivative, covering interest rate, fixed income, currency, commodity, equity, credit, basket and index underliers. The team routinely advises on matters such as, prime brokerage and clearing, and issues around rehypothecation and segregation, custody and collateral, securities lending and margin financing matters, repos, structured products, exchange traded derivatives, central clearing including OTC clearing under Dodd-Frank and EMIR, cash equities and cash bond trading under broker terms of business and electronic trading arrangements.

Our client base is also global; we act for managers in the UK, the US, Europe and the Far East (with a particular concentration of clients in Hong Kong) and we have daily experience negotiating for these clients with the international offices of the leading US, Asian and European banks and broker dealers.

The issues we face are global. We routinely advise on practical issues of trading in the US markets, on structuring offshore derivative instruments accessing the Chinese, Indian and emerging markets and on dealing with multiple regulatory regimes.

The role

Duties will include:

  • The role is predominantly transactional, negotiating a broad spectrum of derivative and trade documents between broker-dealers and/or hedge funds, and managing the document and execution process for fund launches and businesses as usual transactions.
  • Day to day advisory work for our predominantly buy-side client basis will also be required. A good working knowledge of current regulatory issues is therefore useful, although we carry out extensive training in this regard.
  • Creating and/or diligencing innovative structures for our clients and colleagues in other departments.
  • Supporting wider firm transactions with hedging queries and related collateral and regulatory issues.
  • Researching new products and regulations around the world, whenever our clients wish to trade.

This job description encompasses the main duties of the role and is by no means exhaustive. It is anticipated that duties may vary from time to time according to the needs of the department.

The candidate

We want to recruit a lawyer that fulfils the following criteria:

  • Experience gained from a Magic Circle, Silver Circle, leading US firm or a recognised investment bank trading desk, including work on some or all of OTC Derivatives and ETDs, prime broker and custody agreements, collateral arrangements, clearing and repos.
  • Strong academic qualifications from A Levels (or equivalent), with a minimum 2:1 degree in Law (or equivalent) from a highly regarded institution.
  • Articulate and confident to deliver at the highest standard within a team of highly competent solicitors. 
  • Ambitious, with a genuine commitment to develop both their professional and legal skills and the profile of the group.
  • Willing to take on responsibility.
  • Be committed and motivated.
  • Possess excellent interpersonal skills at all levels. 

The team is known as being very friendly and collegiate, and so the right person would need to fit well within the group and, for example, be willing to pitch in with transactions that others are working on, if required to help relieve workload pressures.

Why choose Macfarlanes

We believe Macfarlanes is a smart alternative to the US and Magic Circle firms, offering real opportunity for ambitious lawyers to develop and work closely with quality clients on difficult and rewarding transactions. Our Derivatives and Trading Group has a proven reputation for producing strong lawyers who feel part of a cohesive, friendly and supportive team, and whose efforts are appreciated and rewarded by the firm.

Breadth of work

We encourage our associates to cover all areas of the group’s practice – no solicitor just works for one partner. We encourage some specialisation as associates become more senior but all our associates and partners cover a wide range of the team’s areas of expertise.

Teams are partner led and lawyers are not left in the lurch to fend for themselves. That said, we want to stretch our associates and they are given as much responsibility as they can handle. We staff projects with lean teams so all team members get real involvement in a project.

Client secondments are common and secondments to overseas law firms may be possible. We also encourage our associates to participate in our client and business development activities.

Education and training

We strive to provide our associates with long-term careers and have a career development programme in place which is designed to support each of our solicitors’ aspirations, enabling them to enhance their legal and commercial skills, and to reach their full potential. We believe our Education and Training programme is second to none. We also provide significant wider training on development, such as presentation skills, building a network, managing time efficiently and operating as a modern day lawyer.


We expect the candidate will be concerned to know about partnership prospects. These are very real. We aim to grow the team organically over the next few years. We will consider candidates with partnership aspirations, as well as those looking for a long-term career at a senior level but without the responsibilities of partnership.

We see this as a fantastic opportunity for a lawyer to thrive in a fast-growing, entrepreneurial yet supportive environment.

Apply here