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‘No better time than now’ for lawyers to move jobs

Those thinking about changing roles should do so sooner rather than later, as conditions are “not likely to improve or be more in your favour than they are at this point in time”.

user iconJerome Doraisamy 02 November 2022 Careers
‘No better time than now’ for lawyers to move jobs
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While a recession in 2023 may not impact legal salaries, there may be a closing window for lawyers to secure a new role in optimal circumstances — especially if the said recession shifts the balance of power away from being a “candidate’s market”.

That window may be shut soon, with Lawyers Weekly’s sister brand, Investor Daily, reporting yesterday (1 November) on whether Australia is on the cusp of financial distress.

In conversation with Lawyers Weekly, Burgess Paluch Legal Recruitment director Paul Burgess advised that lawyers who are thinking of a move in the next 12 months, and who are in a position to move now, “then you should consider it”.


“The conditions are not likely to improve or be more in your favour than they are at this point in time,” he warned.

Reflecting on the ongoing market turbulence and uncertainty, Mr Burgess said that the market has seen and analysed the effects of the dot-com crash in 2000, the global financial crisis, and recessions over the years.

“When it comes down to it, those lawyers with quality experience, clean CVs and honed skills will always be in demand,” he said.

“However, if you are thinking of a move, then there is no better time than now.”

As previously reported by Lawyers Weekly, both BigLaw and boutique law firms should be preparing for a looming recession. There will also be an impact upon recruitment for in-house lawyers.

Perhaps in response to the headwinds shifting away from candidate-friendly conditions, Taylor Root head of Australia Hayden Gordine said that law firms would be looking for lawyers to step up and keep themselves busy by generating more work themselves.

“Lawyers, therefore, need to position themselves and actively seek out work,” he suggested.

“Lawyers could benefit from a period within counter-cyclical practices such as M&A to corporate restructuring or a taking on more contentious workflow over non-contentious if you are a construction or real estate lawyer.

“Essentially, make yourself indispensable.”

Another practical step that lawyers can take, Mr Gordine continued, is identifying a good “partner mentor”, either in a formal or informal capacity.

“Partners today would have worked through the Great Recession; that knowledge and wisdom of that difficult time could come in very handy,” he outlined.

Both candidates and employers will, Empire Group partner Alison Crowther submitted, have to “remain current”.

“For candidates, be aware of the market and where the vacancies are. A good CV and smart career moves will always be current,” she said.

“Employers should retain flexible working practices and keep seeing staff as individuals. Think laterally about moves and what can be a solution if the ideal candidate isn’t available.”

Moreover, she added, candidates can and should “connect and stay in contact” with a recruiter that they trust.

“We are here to assist with career progression and direction,” she posited.