Of the 826 graduates hired by 16 firms in 2007, 85 of those work in Perth and 93 in Brisbane, while Sydney has 341 and Melbourne 271.
The number working in Perth is impressive for many reasons, not least of which is the fact that half of the firms surveyed — Baker & McKenzie, Ebsworth & Ebsworth, Gilbert + Tobin, Holding Redlich, Maddocks, Middletons, Piper Alderman and TressCox — have no office in that city.
The number of first-year lawyers based in Western Australia also reflects the boom the legal industry is experiencing on the back of surges of commercial activity surrounding energy and resources.
According to Joseph Germano, principal of Germano Legal Consulting, Perth offices are recruiting more graduate lawyers because of transaction work linked to the Asia-Pacific region, along with a tendency for all of the offices of national firms to pool their resources.
“It’s no longer Sydney- and Melbourne-centric anymore, which we used to see all the time,” he said. “Each firm is becoming more of a team environment, so the transactions are being shared more.”