find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Insurance Lawyer (3-5 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Dynamic organisation ·
View details
Legal Counsel
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: North Sydney NSW 2060
· 18 month fixed term contract · 3-5 years PQE with TMT exposure
View details
Big-name regional firms face hiring drought

Big-name regional firms face hiring drought

Even with the brand power of large law firms, offices in regional areas are struggling to attract and retain high-quality lawyers.

Charlie Martel, a partner at HWL Ebsworth’s newly acquired Alice Springs office, has said the firm’s biggest challenge is recruiting talented lawyers.

“To try to attract and retain good staff is very difficult – not just in Alice Springs, but in any country town and even in Darwin,” Mr Martel said.

“Getting people out of the bigger cities is very difficult. I'm not sure how you can motivate them to do it, other than try to sell them the lifestyle.”

His view lines up with results from a 2009 Law Council of Australia report, which found 43 per cent of country practice principals do not have enough lawyers to serve their client base.

In Mr Martel’s experience, the recruits who tend to last have family or other ties to the area.

“The people we've had that have been good have been the people who have wanted to come to Alice Springs for a different reason,” he said.

“We need to try and sell it better, especially given the opportunities that are there.”

The Alice Springs office has been part of HWL Ebsworth since February 2015, when the national network acquired two-office firm Cridlands MB.

In Mr Martel’s view, being part of a national network offers distinct advantages over other rural firms.

“We've got access to 24-hour IT support, 24-hour secretarial support and everything else that goes with being in a large firm, including access to any sort of lawyer with any kind of expertise all over the country,” he said. “It's not the same as working in a small firm in a small country town.”

However, he was unsure if the national network model could be effective in many other regional markets.

“I don't know that I can see any of the bigger national firms going to regional centres, like your Dubbos or Tamworths,” he said. “The charge-out rates are lower in those towns and they would probably not have the numbers to justify being part of the bigger firm. There are some bigger centres like Wagga, but I don't know that national firms are interested in a presence in those marketplaces yet.”

From his personal experience, he is baffled why so few lawyers are interested in country practice.

“I understand it's pretty hard to get a job as a junior lawyer in the city and the question is why those people don't look beyond the city to work in the country,” Mr Martel said.

“More people should. I don't know why they don't.”


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

Big-name regional firms face hiring drought
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
LCA president Fiona McLeod SC
Aug 17 2017
Where social fault lines meet the justice gap in Aus
After just returning from a tour of the Northern Territory, LCA president Fiona McLeod SC speaks wit...
Marriage equality flag
Aug 17 2017
ALHR backs High Court challenge to marriage equality postal vote
Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) has voiced its support for a constitutional challenge to ...
Give advice
Aug 17 2017
A-G issues advice on judiciary’s public presence
Commonwealth Attorney-General George Brandis QC has offered his advice on the public presence of jud...
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 & ...