Although the Perth and Brisbane legal markets appear to have held the most promise for legal recruitment in 2010, the Melbourne market still has opportunities on offer. Briana Everett reports
Many Melbourne lawyers are currently staying put in their current positions as salary has become a less significant motivator to switch firms following favourable salary reviews in mid-2010.
However, there is still a substantial amount of recruitment activity within the Melbourne market according to Taylor Root's Melbourne group manager, Tim Fogarty.
"Generally there seems to be an increase in transactional recruitment requirements. The areas like banking are starting to pick up broadly now," Fogarty says. "[And] corporate has been humming along quite nicely for most of this year. Not every firm but some firms have been noticeably busy."
Fogarty says construction is also picking up, along with the commercial property sector which he says has been busy, at the senior end, for at least the last 12 months.
In contrast, Fogarty says there are few roles on the dispute side with low demand for lawyers in the commercial litigation space. "There have been intermittent roles throughout the year but from a critical mass point of view, it's just a little bit more unpredictable," he says, "whereas there seems to be a theme of broad demand across a number of firms on the transactional side."
The demand for transactional lawyers is coming from both the top and mid-tier firms according to Fogarty, but he says the mid-tier firms are particularly busy at the moment.
"[Mid-tiers are] looking opportunistically at the talent they might be able to pick up from the top-tiers. But the larger firms are coming back on board now [given] the hiring freezes are gone," he says. "I think we're getting candidate short now as the firms are setting the benchmarks pretty high."
And while salaries remain below those of Sydney, Fogarty says Melbourne salaries are only about 5 per cent less and he points out that the cost of living differential between the cities more than makes up the difference.