In the next quarter, law firms will be expanding their practices to pre-2008 levels, leading to more vacancies through newly-created positions.
According to the latest Hays Quarterly Report for July to September, there will be more vacancies in the coming quarter at the entry level up to newly-promoted senior associate level as firms expand their practice groups to pre-2008 levels.
In the private practice space, the Hays report reveals that corporate lawyers with significant M&A transactions experience are currently in demand as law firms see a large increase in the volume and complexity of transactions as economic activity approaches pre-financial crisis levels.
"This activity is focused largely around the banking and financial services industry as the banks are starting to provide higher levels of financing for their institutional clients," the report states. "Thus, demand is also up for banking and finance lawyers working on advisory and transactional matters."
Insolvency and restructuring lawyers are also in demand, according to the report, as businesses continue to tie up outstanding issues resulting from the global financial crisis.
Demand is also up for project lawyers, with a focus on construction, energy, resources and mining projects. This increased demand is not just within Western Australia and Queensland, but also in New South Wales where some Sydney-based firms are being engaged for larger resources and infrastructure projects across Australia.
Within the in-house market, commercial lawyers with significant experience drafting and negotiating IT and software licensing agreements are sought in response to a large increase in transaction volume, while banking and finance lawyers with a strong transactional focus in the funds, structured finance and equity transactions areas are also in demand.
With the existing skills shortages in private practice (and in-house), the report states that top-tier firms have become open to candidates with international experience and are more willing to sponsor good candidates, particularly those from the UK.