find the latest legal job
Corporate/Commercial Lawyers (2-5 years PAE)
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Specialist commercial law firm · Long-term career progression
View details
Graduate Lawyer / Up to 1.5 yr PAE Lawyer
Category: Personal Injury Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Mentoring Opportunity in Regional QLD · Personal Injury Law
View details
Corporate and Commercial Partner
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Full time · Join a leading Adelaide commercial law firm
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Sydney NSW
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
Demand sees salaries jump in resources capitals

Demand sees salaries jump in resources capitals

Strong demand in Perth and Brisbane is giving lawyers there a healthy pay rise, while firms in Sydney and Melbourne are adopting a ‘replace rather than grow’ hiring strategy, a new salary survey has revealed.

At a breakfast at the Hilton Hotel in Sydney on 1 August, Mahlab Recruitment unveiled the results of its Reshaping the model: The push to go global survey of salary and market trends in the legal profession.

Recruitment in Sydney and Melbourne has remained steady compared to last year, with new hires often replacing departing lawyers, the survey revealed. This contrasts with high demand for lawyers in Perth and Brisbane, where salaries increased by 13 and 10 per cent respectively.

The divide in income growth between the resources capitals and the rest of Australia is simply a case of supply and demand, said John Egerton, manager of corporate recruitment at Mahlab.

“It is a tight market for mid-level lawyers, especially with resources experience, and this is putting upward pressure on salaries.”

Perth and Brisbane lawyers may boast the fastest-growing salaries, but partners, senior associates and general counsel in Sydney are still the highest paid.

The most common income for partners at Sydney’s main firms was $1.44 million, ahead of Melbourne on $1.34 million. Overall, partner income increased by 3.6 per cent compared to 3.9 per cent the previous year, with the rate of growth highest in Perth at 4.5 per cent.

Mary Horniblow, manager of private practice recruitment at Mahlab, told attendees that income has become “highly variable among partners in the same firm” because most equity partners are rewarded under a hybrid model. Many blend a base income with bonuses based on competitive criteria (such as individual and supervised billings) and practice development, which is widening the income gap, she explained.

Nationally, salary bands for legal professionals at all levels increased by 0.5 per cent. This does not mirror the dramatic shifts in Australia’s legal market since the entrance of global firms, said Lisa Gazis (pictured), Mahlab managing director.

“We are witnessing an unprecedented pace of structural change ... this is an increasingly fluid, fast-moving market,” she said.

Horniblow added to Gazis’ comment, stating that these alliances have “not so much increased the size of the pie, but reshaped who gets what”.

She explained that there has been a reallocation of legal work at the top end and the subdued economy is “masking a more profound shift in market share”.

International tie-ups have not impacted the mid-tier firms in terms of them missing out on work, according to Mahlab, with some opening new offices.

“Major firms are dropping practices like insurance, traditional property and other more operational areas of law [and] there has been some fallout as these practices settle into mid-tier firms,” the report stated.

To see graphs with detailed statistics from this survey visit our Pinterest page.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Demand sees salaries jump in resources capitals
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Dec 14 2017
International arbitration and business culture
Promoted by Maxwell Chambers. This article discusses the impact of international arbitration on t...
Papua New Guinea flag
Dec 14 2017
World-first mining case launched in PNG
Citizens of Papua New Guinea have launched landmark legal proceedings against the country’s govern...
Dec 14 2017
Punishing offenders twice pointless, politicians warned
The president of the Law Society of NSW has warned legislators from other states about adopting cont...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...