Law firms shift focus on holistic compensation packages over salary

The Australian legal market has been seeing an overall decline in the intensity of salary competition, with law firms focusing more on their compensation packages.

Promoted by nrol 04 June 2024 Big Law
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Talent attraction and retention have become increasingly competitive in the Australian legal market, and law firms are shifting their focus on benefits they can offer instead of solely competing through salary.

In nrol’s latest Australian Private Practice Salary & Market Guide, it was reported that “law firms are offering a wider range of benefits than ever before,” which has become a key trend in the legal market. Aside from flexible working arrangements, parental leave, bonuses, and insurance & retirement plans, law firms are also offering tuition reimbursement to assist lawyers who want to pursue higher education alongside their practice.

Professional development is also an area focused on by law firms as they invest in mentorship programs, training courses, and conferences to help their employees develop their skills and advance their career. Moreover, they empower their legal team by leveraging on technological advancements, such as AI which assists in boosting productivity and reducing long working hours.

Digital transformation and technology law

The shift from aggressive salary bidding wars to offering a wider range of compensation packages is in line with the trend among legal professionals preferring remote work to enjoy better work-life balance.

According to nrol’s Salary & Market Guide, 20% of lawyers leave their jobs due to dissatisfaction with work-life balance, and 30% of them seek flexible working arrangements. By finding new ways and widening the range of benefits offered, law firms strive to remain competitive in attracting and retaining top-tier talent.

Freelancing is also increasing among smaller and larger firms, allowing them to increase team’s efficiency and reduce costs.

nrol’s Director Jesse Shah also provides insights on the integration of digital transformation in the legal industry. Specialised units are created within law firms, given the increased needs for legal services in cybersecurity, data privacy, and intellectual property.

With the need for associates who are proficient in AI and legal technology, smaller firms are forced to adapt the practices of larger firms to remain competitive and attract tech-savvy legal professionals.

In-demand practice areas

In Sydney, the market sees a growing demand for lawyers specialising in technology and data privacy, while still being strong in the areas of corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, and commercial litigation.

Similar practice areas are seen to be in-demand in Brisbane, in addition to the legal market’s active recruitment opportunities for construction, infrastructure, and environmental law. Lawyers who specialise in renewable energy projects can also explore opportunities in Perth as expertise in energy law has become increasingly valuable.

Meanwhile, top-tier firms in Melbourne offer highly competitive salaries that stand out in the market, especially to lawyers in lucrative fields such as energy, projects, and banking law.

The overall outlook for the Australian legal recruitment market is positive and is expected to remain active in the next 12 months. With the evolving ways and challenges in the market, law firms need to adapt to these trends to retain talent and remain competitive.

If your law firm is seeking advice on your recruitment needs, get in touch with nrol and expect tailor-based solutions.

Similarly, if you are a lawyer planning your next career move, reach out to nrol and be informed of the range of opportunities offered by the dynamic legal market. Be connected with firms that align with your aspirations and lifestyle.

Download nrol’s Salary & Market Guide and stay ahead of market trends:

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