Macfarlanes is looking to recruit a solicitor with two to four years’ UK post-qualification experience to join our derivatives and trading group.

About Macfarlanes

We are an independent London-based law firm with a high profile client base from around the world. We are known for the quality of our work, both in terms of our ability to handle the full range of corporate and commercial matters, and the fact that we can advise our clients on their private affairs. We handle work of the highest quality and complexity on a wide range of matters.

Our size and partner-led approach enable us to give our clients a more personal service underpinned by the highest standards of commitment and care.

As well as that, our independence allows us to choose precisely the right lawyer or firm for our clients' needs in any jurisdiction in the world.

What this means for you

Offering a partner-led service enables our solicitors to learn and develop through working closely with a senior member of the team. Our size means that you will often be very close to the front line, gaining a greater insight into the issues facing our clients. You might be surprised at just how significant your contribution is.

We expect all our solicitors to work closely with clients and assume real responsibility, as well as to participate in client and business development activities. That means wider exposure for you.

Our matters often have a cross-border element, so our solicitors frequently liaise with global businesses and specialists in overseas jurisdictions.

The importance we place on the development of our associates’ legal and commercial skills has allowed us to develop the excellent reputation we have for producing strong lawyers – we believe our education and training programme is second to none.

We all work together as part of a cohesive and supportive team, with the firm recognising, appreciating and rewarding the efforts of its employees.

Practice overview

Our derivatives and trading practice consists of two partners, one FX & derivatives negotiator, 10 solicitors, two trainee solicitors and five 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.

Further details about our derivatives and trading group, the work we do and examples of recent deals can be found on our website.

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 practice areas.


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 practice area.

The candidate

We want to recruit a lawyer that trained in the UK and 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.

Preferably will have completed at least one seat within derivatives, finance or funds during their training contract.

Strong academic qualifications from A Levels, with a minimum 2:1 degree (from a highly regarded university) and commendation or above in the GDL and/or LPC (or equivalent).

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.

The ability to instil confidence to the client by delivering clear, efficient and robust advice in a derivatives context.

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.

Our commitment to inclusion

At Macfarlanes we place value on an inclusive culture and have identified the continued development of inclusivity as a key priority. We are committed to fostering a broad and diverse culture throughout the firm, from entry level to partnership. Our goal is to recruit, retain and promote all groups in the firm fairly, and we continually review our processes to ensure that all of our people enjoy the same chance to develop and advance. We believe that an inclusive, forward-thinking culture is both intrinsically important and enables us to provide innovative solutions to our clients.

We welcome applications from people of all backgrounds, bringing different perspectives and experiences, making Macfarlanes an exciting and stimulating place to work. We seek to recruit the best candidates, regardless of gender, race or ethnicity, background, religion, physical abilities, sexual orientation or any other characteristic.

Key people

William Sykes


Will is head of our derivatives and trading practice, and advises investment and hedge funds, banks, pension funds and insurers, high-net-worth individuals and corporates on a wide spectrum of trading, hedging and financing transactions. This covers the full range of derivatives, as well as prime brokerage, repo, commodities and clearing.

Will has a broad experience of trading, custody, brokerage and clearing agreements for derivative products, repos / stock lending and physical commodities. He advises sell- and buy-side clients across a wide range of asset classes, and on the associated regulations and issues of market-practice. He has a particular focus on buy-side trading arrangements for investment managers and has clients in the US, the UK, Europe, Hong Kong and Australia. He advises on global trading issues, and has extensive knowledge of local requirements in markets such as India and China.

Like most of the derivatives and trading practice at Macfarlanes, Will has spent time in-house in leading financial institutions, spending six months at The Royal Bank of Scotland and ten months in the Securities Division of Goldman Sachs International.

He acts for many of the largest pension funds, hedge funds and asset managers in the world, and advises a leading global prime broker on its client documentation.

Christopher Acton


Chris advises hedge funds, managed account platforms and proprietary trading houses, on prime brokerage, derivatives and derivative regulation in Europe. He acts for the buy-side only.

Chris' clients cover a broad range of strategies including equities, equity long/short, special opportunities and distressed debt, global macro, commodity trading advisors, emerging markets and fixed income.

He advises on all aspects of his client's counterparty trading relationships including prime brokerage, custody, repo, securities lending, margin foreign matters, FX PB and intermediation, exchange traded and OTC derivatives and central clearing generally.

His practice also covers debt and claims trading having advised clients on the diligence, structuring and negotiation of numerous debt trade transactions and on a number of master confirmations arrangements for loan or trade claims total return swap transactions.

Chris' clients are primarily based in London, Europe and Hong Kong and he has developed close ties with local counsel who are able to provide local regulatory advice and market colour.

Direct applicants only, strictly no agencies.