The legal industry has kicked-off the year with restored confidence and high demand for staff across all levels and practice areas.
The Hays Quarterly Report for January to March 2011 shows that the first quarter of the year is expected to be an active one, as employers focus on securing staff in response to improved market conditions.
"Candidate levels will rise in the first quarter of 2011," said Darren Buchanan, director of Hays Legal. "As well as the traditional mentality of seeking a new role in a new year, more people are now far more confident in the market's ability to present them with a solid career-advancing opportunity."
Although there has been an increase in confidence amongst candidates, Buchanan points out that the demand for certain specialist skills will not necessarily be met.
"The shortage of these skills will remain a challenge for employers even as candidates move and employers recruit, creating a busy, tight market," he said.
"There's no doubt that we're very quickly returning to a state of candidate shortage and will continue in this direction as more organisations experience growth."
According to the quarterly report, the private practice market has experienced sustained levels of high demand for lawyers across almost all practice areas as firms expand their teams to cope with the increasing workload. The level of demand is now close to that seen pre-global financial crisis.
The report indicates that corporate and banking and finance are the areas experiencing the highest demand, followed by property, construction, litigation and IP/IT. Banking and financial services lawyers are still highly sought after, particularly by the top-tier and international firms, due to increased transactional work.
For the in-house market, demand is concentrated at the mid to senior level for lawyers in mining, oil and gas and construction.