LONDON LAW firms will now consider a broader range of candidates from Australia than they have done in the past, when it comes to recruiting lawyers. But they still want the best talent available for the job at hand — and they want their recruiters to find it for them.
Firms are now willing to look at lawyers from highly regarded mid-tier law firms in Australia, and are taking people with less experience than they would normally look at, but elements such as academics are still a top consideration.
And those who don’t have those credentials, or who come from a less than conventional legal background, are better off packing up and going to the UK to commence their job search, rather than asking a recruiter to do it for them.
“People who do have unusual backgrounds, or who wish to change practice areas, or make some sort of manoeuvre like that, are often better to do it themselves, rather than through an agent, to be honest,” Louise Leecy, recruitment consultant at First Counsel, said.
“Firms expect agents to provide them with candidates who have the level of experience they are looking for.”
She said law firms pay agents to find them the best talent available. They might, however, be prepared to consider a bright candidate with a lot of potential, who has worked in a relatively unknown firm or wants a change of direction, where they are not paying a recruitment fee. The lawyer may also be required to enter the firm at a more junior level.
Leecy said she made the move herself as a young lawyer, from one practice area to another, but did it through contacts. “Those sorts of moves are not impossible, but they are very tricky to do from Australia. You have to be on the ground in the UK, and often they are the sorts of moves that you have to use your own contacts for.”
She said recruitment agents are ideal for lawyers who are working in Australia’s top 10 or 15 firms, and looking to make a conventional move within their practice area.
“But for people out there who are trying to change their lives or practice areas, it is going to be more challenging, and they have to do that themselves.”
See this week’s supplement, The London Report