Law firms are less likely to take risks in relation to who they employ and recruitment processes have become more rigorous.
That being said, the employment market for lawyers both nationally and internationally is very much open for business. Most firms in Australia are actively recruiting but are looking to hire strategically into specific growth areas or to replace departing lawyers. Internationally, the story is very much the same, with top-tier firms in Singapore, Hong Kong and London open to recruiting Australian lawyers in targeted areas. However, the message for both national and international recruitment is the same – you need to be on top of your game to secure the role.
The first very important step is to make sure your CV is drafted appropriately to ensure you are presented as an obvious choice for the role. The CV structure must be uncluttered and all your essential information must be clearly presented. It is also important to present a concise description of matters you’ve been involved with, including facts such as deal value and the specific role you played. The idea of keeping a CV to two pages is simply a myth – it is much more important to ensure your CV is concise, sharp and provides the reader with strong and relevant examples of your experience to date. An appendix setting out your transaction list is a very effective way to draw attention to the key matters in your CV.
Thorough research is essential preparation for any interview. Be sure you have spoken to your recruiter about the specific role you are being interviewed for and gain as much information as possible about the partners, firm and department. Review external sites such as legal500.com and chambersandpartners.com and if the firm has a Twitter account make sure you look at this. In this market it is fairly common to be asked a number of technical questions to test your legal skills so make sure you are confident discussing the technical issues in any matter listed on your CV.
Above all, it is important to present yourself as professional, confident and commercial. Sell your experience and what you can bring to the firm. If you have exceeded billing targets or developed a strong relationship with a key client be sure to let the interviewer know. It is a highly-competitive market and you need to demonstrate why you stand out from the crowd.