A recruitment expert has set up a new firm looking to match lawyers with companies in the Midlands.

Charlotte Stokes, previously with international headhunting firm Hudson Global Resources, has launched Charlotte Stokes Legal, after a recession that has seen an aalmost unprecedented pressure on employment at law firms.

Ms Stokes said: “We are in a very interesting and challenging recruitment market. Most firms have continued to recruit strategically during the recession, particularly at partner level, with the expectation that it will accelerate their business out of the downturn. Emergence from recession will only provide further opportunities for candidates and clients alike – with increased confidence in the candidate population and firms’ increased ambition for strategic growth.

“In response to the shift in the market, recruiters have had to dramatically rethink their approach to their role in the recruitment process in order to be successful. Strength and depth of relationships at the right level within a business coupled with strategic insight have never been more important to identify opportunities for both clients and candidates.

“I am passionate about the legal market, particularly here in the Midlands, and I am looking forward to making a positive contribution as Charlotte Stokes Legal to its future growth and continued success.”

Ms Stokes, a well-known figure in the recruitment market, has more than 15 years’ experience working in the sector in the Midlands.

She set up and managed the largest legal recruitment team in Birmingham for many years at Hudson.

She said the new organisation would offer strategic recruitment, executive search and advisory services to the legal market.

“The central philosophy of the new business is to work in partnership with clients and candidates to offer a bespoke and flexible recruitment service to achieve the right result,” she added.

The legal market has been hit hard by the recession over the last two years, as the drop in corporate activity and the real estate market particularly meant less work for law firms.

A number of companies in Birmingham had to cut positions at either a trainee or full-time level. The most recent job cuts to come in the city were at Anthony Collins Solicitors, where 20 redundancies were made last month.

Research last year said the number of professionals and managers claiming unemployment benefits had more than doubled over the preceding year. The Local Government Association said more blue collar jobs had been lost in the recession, but white collar job losses were rising at a faster rate.

The number of managers and professionals claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance jumped by 154 per cent over the year from 46,700 to 118,700.