An holistic view of a career in law
A career in law is no longer necessarily a linear progression from, for example, associate to partner. The profession has changed and there are many more routes available. We take an holistic view of the market and have experience of the variety of opportunities and career paths which are open to talented lawyers. We offer search and selection across a range of roles within the law firm and in-house market.
We have been active in the London Private Practice market since the early 2000s and have built long-lasting relationships and a strong reputation. At the same time, we have developed a deep understanding of what works, and what doesn’t.
We focus exclusively at the senior end of the market and have proven experience advising on lateral Partner hires, team moves, and those taking their first steps into Partnership.
For us, making an introduction isn’t transactional, it’s driven by relationships. We have a consultative approach, we listen more than we talk and work hard to achieve the best outcomes, providing candid advice along the way. We are committed to representing our candidates and clients authentically and are known for the consistency of our introductions.
Culture and values are as important to us as they are to our candidates and our clients. We aim to introduce lawyers who will remain with their firms for the long term, where they and their practices can integrate, progress and prosper.
We advise a range of individuals, from those taking their first steps into Partnership to established Partners seeking equity. We are there at each stage of the journey for both our candidates and clients, offering transparent advice, support and solutions.
We have over 40 years combined experience of working in the In-House market and recruit at all levels, including General Counsel, Head of Legal and Legal Director as well as more junior positions.
From our time within the market, we’ve built a strong network of candidate and client contacts and have worked on some very interesting and unique assignments. Whatever your requirements, it’s always worth having a conversation with us.
We work with clients of all sizes, from FTSE companies to start ups. We are also experienced in working on first time appointments - our industry experience provides invaluable insight to clients who are building out their legal function.
We’re passionate about undertaking a thorough process and delivering for our candidates and clients. We want our placements to be long term and successful for both parties. As a result, many of our clients instruct us exclusively.
Risk & Compliance
We are market leaders in the recruitment of lawyers for the General Counsel office and risk and compliance function of law firms, having placed our first General Counsel for a law firm over ten years ago.
Law firms are big, complex organisations and their legal departments are significant, so an in-house role in a law firm is an exciting career path to follow. We recruit for a range of roles including General Counsel, Deputy General Counsel and Director of Risk and Compliance, as well as roles for commercial and transactional lawyers.
Alternative Legal Service Providers
We were one of the first recruiters to work in this market and remain one of the only firms with our level of experience and focus.
The potential within ALSPs is huge. The market itself is growing significantly and, as Thomson Reuters reported in 2021, “this sector is now a critical part of the legal landscape”. ALSP roles are recognised as a viable third career choice for candidates alongside In House and Private Practice.
We have excellent client relationships with founders and leaders in ALSPs and a deep understanding of the different business models and their USPs. This is key in being able to match the right consultant to the right platform.
We keep up with developments in this sector by being in close contact with our clients and candidates and sharing market knowledge. It’s a hugely collaborative arena and empowers lawyers to work flexibly, setting their own earning potential.
A career in the alternative legal market is dynamic, exciting and evolving on a monthly basis. Do get in touch and use our market knowledge to understand more about the opportunities in this space.
Director of Risk & Compliance, Leading International Firm
I thoroughly recommend Chris Cayley and Cyan Partners to professionals looking for their next move or businesses looking to recruit talent which is aligned with their strategy and values. Chris invests his time in understanding the role for which he is recruiting, but also looks to align the values and aspirations of the person and the business. I worked with Chris over a number of years and he brought me an opportunity which suited my own personal goals and ambitions, and meant I'd be working with people who valued my individual skills and nature.
Head of Talent Acquisition, Leading International Firm
I have used Chris for multiple key senior legal roles in recent years. Chris really promotes a true partnership approach, taking time to understand the organisation, role and stakeholders involved. He is extremely thorough and maintains constant feedback throughout. With a thoughtful and pragmatic approach, Chris offers ideas and solutions to ensure the best shortlists, and produces insightful summaries that offer an honest comparison between candidates. I find Chris a delight to work with, have used him as a trusted sounding board on more than one occasion, and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend him to others looking for a professional legal recruitment partner.
Head of Department - Tax
Sarah, is an extremely motivated and energetic consultant with first class people skills. She leaves no stone unturned in achieving the very best result. Given too her breadth and depth of knowledge Sarah is a consultant of first choice
Chris is fantastic. He has a deep knowledge of the legal marketplace and is immensely well connected. However, over and above his deep sector knowledge and excellent skills as a recruiter, he is discreet, honest and a real trusted advisor. I recommend him without hesitation (and often do).
Andy Wintle worked diligently on my behalf and I felt he really listened, and understood what would best suit me and my practice over the long term. We discussed and considered a number of options throughout the process and his feedback and pragmatic advice was very helpful and delivered in a constructive and professional way.
We have worked with Sarah Coughtrie of Cyan Partners for the past couple of years and hope to continue our working relationship for many years to come. As a small to medium sized boutique law firm we recognise we do not have the prominence of some of the larger London law firms but know we have a lot to offer to the right candidate. We needed a recruitment specialist who recognised the benefits a boutique firm could offer employees and who bought into and engaged with our vision for the future. Sarah listened to our requirements, gave advice where needed and has worked tirelessly to introduce the right candidates. I would have no hesitation in recommending Sarah or Cyan Partners to anyone who is in need of a recruitment specialist.
Richard Given, 10x, General Counsel
I have known Chris for many years now and he has consistently provided me with excellent service and support. He has a deep understanding of the legal sector. He has a knack for identifying the right candidates for opportunities and the right opportunities for candidates. Chris is able to work across geographies and industries and recognises the importance of the long term in building people's careers and building relationships with employers.
Former in-house lawyer and Board Governance expert, London
Michelle is one of the best legal head-hunters I have come across. She is a lawyer herself, so she understands the challenges and demands in house lawyers face. Much more importantly, she gives clear career advice to lawyers at all stages of their careers making sure they make the right career moves. She also cares about the candidates she works with - a rarity these days.
Head of Resourcing
Andrew is well-connected in the legal recruitment market and I’ve known him for several years. He has an excellent grasp of the Partner landscape in London and takes time to understand his candidates and clients’ needs. He’s also a pleasure to deal with, and I continue to instruct him without hesitation.
Financial Services Partner
Sarah was fantastic in supporting me with my move from start to finish. At the outset Sarah really took the time to get to know me and set up interviews with the right fit firm. Sarah was very knowledgeable about the market, the firm's requirements and matching skills and personalities to the role. Nothing was ever too much trouble for Sarah. She was very supportive throughout the process, kept me regularly updated and was diligent in helping to prepare me for interviews. I would highly recommend Sarah!
It was a pleasure working with Andrew Wintle. He guided me through the process of securing partnership at an outstanding firm. Andy matched me perfectly with the firm and was always on hand for a chat, pre interview. We also met a number of times as (quite rightly) he needed to know me, the candidate, in order to promote me. I couldn't recommend Andy highly enough to both firms and individuals alike.
Paul Gilbert, Director LBC Wise Counsel
I have worked in the legal profession for thirty-five years. Recruitment, retention and resource planning are vital to creating a sustainable team and this is the foundation on which everything is built. There are very few recruiters I have met who I would unconditionally recommend, but Chris Cayley is one. He is of course excellent at what he does, but what stands out, always, is how much he cares about his clients and candidates. His professionalism, care, judgement and integrity are outstanding .
Lesley O'Leary, COO, Charles Russell Speechlys
We had a critical role to fill and Chris was our first port of call. He takes time to understand both the firm looking to hire and also the talent pool. He is considered, responsive, honest and has integrity in spades. His network is extensive and it is clear candidates respect him. Matching talent with the right opportunity for both parties is not easy and the personal and bespoke approach taken by Chris makes him and Cyan Partners stand out.
Bianca D. Junior candidate, Bristol
Michelle is everything you could want if you are going through the recruitment process. She is knowledgeable, personable and goes above and beyond to ensure all parties involved find a mutually beneficial match. She took the time to listen to what I truly desired from a role before guiding me to my dream role. I am grateful that she not only placed me in my role but took the time to check in prior to make sure I was happy and settled. She was a true pleasure to work with.
Marta P. Senior in-house candidate, London
From my own experience I can say that Michelle Corneby is one the best headhunters in her field in London. Michelle is a great communicator, assertive and always focused on the opportunities. She can connect easily with people and make things happen in a positive and professional manner.
Simon C, GC and Company Secretary
Michelle is one of those rare recruitment consultants who actually appreciate and listen to candidate’s needs. I was always informed where we were in the process, information and insight was appropriately shared and importantly if I called my calls were returned. Very few people share Michelle's understanding that candidates have needs in this process as much as employers and that today's candidate becomes tomorrow's employer. Personable, friendly and understanding. An excellent recruiter
Head of Department
Andrew invests the time to understand your business and the culture which is invaluable to helping find the best lateral hires. The results have been excellent.
I was working with several recruitment agents when I came across Sarah. She listened to my specific goals, aspirations, and focused her approach on what I wanted. Sarah was professional, accessible, and supportive in my relocation. She is experienced, friendly and down to earth. It is obvious to see how she has nurtured and maintained excellent relationships with many of the big players in the London law market.
General Counsel, Leading International Firm
I have valued Chris’ advice and investment in a long-term relationship with me as an individual. Chris has maintained contact over a number of years with valued feedback, discerning career progression advice and well targeted roles of potential interest. His stand-out quality of service, ethos and culture led me in turn to turn to him without hesitation when seeking a headhunter for senior roles in my own organisation, including within my own team. Highly recommended.
Litigator - Boutique Firm
Sarah is a down-to-earth, approachable, responsive and highly intuitive person. She was fantastic in helping find the right firm and role for me; she spent considerable time speaking with me before my interviews, she provided excellent advice and gave me the confidence I needed to be successful. She was also brilliant at the negotiation stage, liaising sensitively and diplomatically with me and the firm to ensure that both sides got a deal we were happy with whilst also helping us build a positive relationship. All in all, I felt that she was on my side; she displayed a great deal of integrity, honesty and even-handedness throughout the process and was always very upfront and genuine with me the entire time, which I really appreciated. I would highly recommend going to Sarah for anyone looking to secure their next legal role