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
Experience essential in more cautious market

Experience essential in more cautious market

Employers are looking for lawyers with like-for-like experience, including in the same industry and on the same systems, a new report has found.

The latest Hays Quarterly Report, released this week, found that lawyers in the construction, banking and finance and insurance sector are still in demand across the country as employers make strategic hires.

Director of Hays Legal, Darren Buchanan, said that employers are taking, on average, one week longer to recruit as organisations put in a business case to hire.

Within private practice, if the role is urgent or a strong candidate is available, Hays can turn roles around in three to four weeks, said Buchanan. For in-house positions or for roles requiring a lengthy attraction campaign, it generally takes between four to six weeks, but could take up to two months.

The report recommends candidates sharpen their existing skills and industry experience to enhance their value.

“It’s a good idea for candidates to take on extracurricular activities such as attending industry events and conferences and reading trade press,” said Buchanan.

Lawyers with a transferable book of clients are also highly attractive to employers since they present a low-risk way to increase business activity and they are able to generate fees immediately.

Such lawyers are rare, said Buchanan, but Hays has seen some sole practitioners, counsel and lawyers with transferable clients.

Filling the gaps

Construction lawyers and planning and environment lawyers are still sought in response to large infrastructure projects in the resources and mining industry, particularly in Western Australia, the report found.

Despite speculation that Australia’s mining boom has reached its peak and is on the downward slide, Buchanan said there is still a strong pipeline of work in the sector. 

“What we have seen is employers become more cautious, but it’s certainly not the end and demand is still there,” he said, adding that employers are now more cautious and more flexible in their hiring plans, but will still recruit a candidate with top and relevant experience.

Corporate lawyers, especially those with project finance experience or an energy and resources focus up to senior associate level, remain in high demand in response to activity within these industries.

Buchanan explained how the market is less specialised in WA, compared to the big financial centres in Sydney and Melbourne. In Perth, he said, lawyers are more likely to have a broader scope of experience and project finance is a big focus in roles.

“There are a lot of international firms, organisations with links to Asia and large corporate clients, all based in Perth. As a result, most firms prefer a candidate with experience on project finance transactions, even if that’s dealing with clients in Asia or in London,” he said.

According to the report, litigation lawyers are in demand given the general increase in commercial litigation.  Insurance lawyers are also sought following the natural disasters in Queensland in 2011, which continue to create litigation work.

The increased demand for labour in the resources and mining industry has also fuelled greater needs within the insurance sector.  

In terms of in-house roles, the report indicates that employers look for around three or more years of experience to ensure that a candidate has solid, basic technical-drafting skills.

Many in-house roles specify the need for experience and training from a leading law firm as an indication of a candidate’s technical ability.

Career paralegals are also sought; those with highly specific experience, skills and qualifications and who wish to remain a paralegal rather than progressing into a practising lawyer role.

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

Experience essential in more cautious market
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Dec 18 2017
Summer in the city
Across Australia, a number of law students have kicked off their commercial law aspirations with the...
microscope
Dec 18 2017
‘Exorbitant legal fees’ under government microscope
With the growing number of class action proceedings in Australia, the government is looking at how ...
Funds, money, cash
Dec 18 2017
Law Access WA receives welcome funding
Law Access Western Australia has received a grant from the state government to fund its pro bono leg...
APPOINTMENTS
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'...
opinion
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...
Help
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 & ...