2015 has witnessed an upswing across several sectors that has resulted in a shortage of candidates across certain practice areas. The most in demand areas of practice within the top-tier, mid-tier and highly rated boutique firms are: (in order of demand)
- Banking & Finance
- Corporate M&A
- Construction – both front & back end
- Commercial Property
These shortages have been exacerbated due to a lack of junior lawyers being pushed through certain practice areas such as Banking & Finance, and Corporate M&A post the GFC, in conjunction with the opening up of off-shore markets. This has resulted in a shortage of high calibre lawyers within these sectors, particularly at the 3-5 year PAE level.
With the upswing in M&A, major infrastructure projects (such as the $multi-million Sydney metro project) and construction generally, there is now a real demand from the firms to attract and retain the best legal talent in these areas.
However, whilst we are still not yet back to the heady pre-GFC it would also be a misnomer to state that the Sydney market has become a lawyer driven market per se: rather, it has become candidate driven in certain practice areas and only across the leading law firms where they are unwilling to compromise on their stringent hiring criteria. These law firms are now competing for the same legal talent, albeit in a limited pool.
Law firms have sought to alleviate this candidate shortage by attracting off-shore and inter-state lawyers, plus luring back their overseas alumni with the promise of generous relocation packages and in some instances attractive sign on bonuses.
For high calibre Sydney lawyers thinking about a move, now is definitely an opportune time to explore your options.
For advice on the Sydney private practice market or to discuss your options please contact in strictest confidence Kirsty McNay, Sydney Manager on 9216 9080, 0426 834 852.