find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
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
Oct 20 2017
Podcast: One of law’s most infamous alumni – in conversation with Julian Morrow
In this episode of The Lawyers Weekly Show, Melissa Coade is joined by The Chaser’s Julian Morrow....
Oct 20 2017
High Court overturns ‘excessive’ anti-protest legislation
Bob Brown’s recent victory in the High Court over the Tasmanian government was a win for fundament...
Oct 20 2017
Changes to Australian citizenship laws blocked
Attempts to beef up the requirements to obtain Australian citizenship were thwarted this week, after...
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 & ...