With Sandra D'Souza, director, national private practice team, Dolman
Whilst the international market recovers, there are plenty of opportunities within Australia for lawyers looking to further their careers.
You need to consider the following factors:
Your area of speciality: It may seem obvious but there are likely to be more opportunities for an energy lawyer in the resource-rich states of Queensland and Western Australia than in New South Wales and Victoria. Similarly, a debt capital markets (DCM) lawyer may find more positions within the larger financial centres of Sydney and Melbourne. This isn't to say a DCM lawyer won't find a role in Perth or Adelaide, just that the pool of potential employers will be smaller. Thus there has been a strong return for corporate and finance lawyers in Sydney and Melbourne, whilst Perth and Brisbane are again seeking energy lawyers at pre-GFC levels.
Your level of experience: Lawyers who move interstate need to have at least two years' experience to be competitive with those in the local market. Any more junior and you will be coming up against graduates on the ground already. More senior candidates, who perhaps see themselves returning to their home city after a few years in Sydney or Melbourne, should also be wary of leaving their run too late. Opportunities tend to taper off as you move past the eight year level.
Your reasons for moving: People move for many reasons - to get a better quality of work, to follow their partner, for a change of lifestyle. You need to be clear about your motivations and be committed to a move. Researching and visiting your chosen city (knowing about accommodation, travel etc) are essential. Making yourself available to meet in person again shows your commitment.
Lawyers who fancy a change of environment should note positions exist across most practice groups. Whether it's the opportunity to step out of the rat race or to move out of a sleepy town, there are certainly good roles to be found in a variety of places.