According to the Elias Legal Jobs Index, the end of 2017 saw a slight drop in legal hiring, with a 4.49 per cent decrease in legal jobs advertised from the first to second quarter of FY18.
The drop was felt stronger in certain practice areas. Most notably in the taxation practice area which recorded a drop of 60 per cent when comparing Q1 2018 with Q2 2018.
This was followed by the IP/technology/media, which recorded a 55 per cent decrease; property, which recorded a 46 per cent decrease; and employment law which recorded a 35 per cent decrease.
However, there were some practice areas which recorded strong vacancy growth across Q2 2018, when compared with Q1 2018.
Vacancies for the energy practice area increased some 400 per cent, followed by criminal with 200 per cent and pro bono with 100 per cent, according to the index.
In-house positions also enjoyed strong growth, with 30 in-house jobs advertised across company/commercial and corporate/M&A in Q2 2018. This marked a 200 per cent increase on the previous quarter, the index found.
“The energy sector was one of the biggest winners in the second quarter of FY18, with a jump from one position to five over the two quarters. This may reflect Australia’s shift to renewables as energy costs soar, with NSW now receiving one-fifth of its energy from renewable sources,” said Elias Recruitment’s Jason Elias.
“Increasing compliance requirements ahead of the federal government’s new National Energy Guarantee may also be bumping up demand for energy lawyers.
“In-house also made gains as companies, banks and the big four bulked up on internal teams. Banks represented 26 per cent of in-house hires in the second quarter of FY18. As an area consistently in demand, this will be good news for many lawyers currently in private practice.
“The upshot? With legal hires continuing to be steady despite increasing competition from NewLaw and the big four, it’s a promising market for candidates.”