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Corporates scoop legal talent

Corporates scoop legal talent

Lawyers up to the partner level have been keen to "try their hand" outside the law firm environment, a new survey has revealed.

LAWYERS up to the partner level have been keen to "try their hand" outside the law firm environment, a new survey has revealed.

And as lawyers turn their backs on the law firm experience, government and in-house departments are growing.

"As is often the case in an economic downturn, government departments, agencies, and corporations across the board have increased their internal legal teams across a variety of industries," the 2009 Mahlab Recruitment survey shows.

The survey shows that despite a cautious corporate market, in-house opportunities are rising with a view to reining in external legal costs.

In Sydney, there has been an increase in demand for lawyers in infrastructure and the IT sectors, with several mid level to senior roles arising with high profile international organisations. Opportunities in health, pharmaceutical, environment and energy sector also arose, the survey showed.

In Melbourne, roles at the senior end of the market, including in greenfield role, came up. Even in the financial sector, lawyers with specific skills sets were being sought. There were also opportunities for mid-level lawyers in IT, energy, manufacturing and property.

There has also be a noticeable increase in the number of high profile government and public sector opportunities, the survey found.

Lisa Gazis, managing director of Mahlab Recruitment, told The New Lawyer: "Senior level candidates are coming forward and looking for government opportunities. Yes, we had lawyers moving into senior government roles, but not the same level of interest. It seems to be a higher level of interest in government work."

Lawyers are being lured by job security and the quality of work, said Gazis. "[They want] the opportunity to have exposure to management, which they might not have in their general line of work," she said.

But despite these opportunities the corporate market is still very much an "employer's market", the survey found.

"There is now a larger number of quality candidates at all levels competing for the roles that are available.

"Lawyers who have recently been made redundant in both private practice and in-house as well as a considerable number of foreign-based Australian lawyers looking to return home have added to the pool of available talent for the corporate market."

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