Australian lawyers masters of many trades
While Australia may not be a hub for any particular area of law, its high-class lawyers are often sought overseas for a variety of matters, according to a legal recruiter.
While some jurisdictions around the world are known for particular areas of legal work and expertise, Taylor Root partner and head of Australian recruitment Tim Fogarty said Australia is not.
“The London market has always been strongly driven by the dominance of the city as a financial hub. Many of the largest firms operating in London derive a significant portion of their revenue from the financial sector,” Mr Fogarty told Lawyers Weekly.
“Meanwhile, Singapore acts as a hub for all big-ticket work in south-east Asia. Particularly well-known practice areas include arbitration, projects and project finance, corporate M&A and banking.”
Mr Fogarty went on to say: “Australia is a full-service market without being known as a specialist hub for anything”.
The range of clients in Australia, from ASX-listed and privately owned businesses to multi-national companies, means that Australian lawyers are well versed in a wide range of practice areas, according to Mr Fogarty.
“There’s an increase in major infrastructure projects nationally, which feed many of the larger firms with strong practices in these areas. Not much in the way of big-ticket corporate takeovers, but there is some IPO work. There is also a view that some of the residential apartment tower development and sales work will level off.”
Mr Fogarty said top-end Australian lawyers are of world-class quality and are often called upon for matters outside of Australia.
“Some [Australian] offices are instructed on matters in the Middle East and continental Europe, for example, being preferred over locally based lawyers,” he said.
“There may be an element of cost (lower value of the AUD versus USD) but no doubt the calibre of lawyers running these matters are at the top of their game.”
Many Australian lawyers are also being drawn overseas by the lure of specialist hubs such as London for finance and regulatory work.
“There is a shortage of the highest-quality lawyer candidates [in London] who are capable of securing roles within the global firms, and this is the reason that we see relatively high numbers of foreign lawyers working within the London market,” Mr Fogarty said.
“The London market definitely slowed in the run-up to the recent EU referendum. It is still unclear how the decision to leave the EU will affect the legal market, but certainly in the medium term, exiting the EU will produce a huge amount of regulatory and advisory work.”