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
Cast your net wider

Cast your net wider


There are opportunities in places that you may not have thought of looking: it’s time to cast your net wider to include the small-medium firms, writes Joanne Glanz.

For the past four decades, the large commercial law firms have represented the 'holy grail' for many aspiring young lawyers. Whether it was the calibre of clients, quality of work, training or lucrative career path, the major law firms offered it all.

All these factors still hold true. So what has changed come 2015?

In the years after the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), law firms were forced to closely examine their businesses and adapt by restructuring and weeding out practices they no longer considered viable.

And while the larger law firms were adapting to the new environment, the smaller and mid-tier firms were undergoing their own regenesis. These changes have created a range of quality opportunities for graduates.

Here’s why small to medium firms should be on your radar:

  • Firstly, the 'beefed up' mid tiers:

The relocation of a number of large firm partners to the mid- tier firms, transporting not just their clients but sometimes also their teams, has proved a win-win situation for all – for the firm, the client and prospective employees.

The client continues to receive the same high-level technical skills it has come to expect, often with the added advantage of more competitive pricing. For the firm, it bolsters their brand, expands on their areas of expertise and grows their client base.

And for you, the prospective employee? You can take advantage of the quality training and exposure to the same calibre of clients and work you would receive at a major firm.

  • Secondly, the new generalist and specialist boutique practices:

Some larger firm partners and senior associates opted to open their own boutique or specialist practices (for example, in areas like IT/telco, construction, employment and tax law), offering their former clients the same high-level technical know-how and expertise. View these firms as an excellent opportunity to develop specialist skills in a key practice area.

  • Thirdly, the emergence of the 'NewLaw' business model – a truly exciting development in this 'start-up' era and you don’t have to move to Silicon Valley to get on board!

NewLaw is essentially innovative and alternative models for delivering legal services. Think along the lines of online firms, the use of crowdsourcing to find a lawyer, and even virtual counsel. The NewLaw world also encompasses flexibility in terms of hours, where you work (e.g. from home or at the client’s premises) and how you charge (flat fees that do away with time sheets). Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull recently told the Knowledge Nation Summit: “In the five years to 2011 alone, 1.4 million new jobs in Australia were created by firms aged less than three years old…. [and] that trend has been accelerating.”

The small to medium market is developing at an incredible pace, changing the legal landscape as we know it. And as these firms grow, they will continue to look to the market to recruit.

The opportunities are out there …You just have to know where to look.

Joanne Glanz is the manager of career services at UNSW Law.


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

Cast your net wider
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Scales of Justice
Aug 16 2017
Urgent criminal law reforms can prevent ‘unwarranted acquittals’
Concerns about unfair prejudice arising from the use of tendency and coincidence evidence are mispla...
Aug 15 2017
Press Control-S on your firm
Promoted by BHL Software It’s now a truism that when your IT systems stop working, so does you...
Aug 15 2017
The Importance of Leadership Skills for Aspiring Lawyers
Promoted by LHD Lawyers Even the most prominent lawyers of our age (or ages past, for that matter...
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 & ...