Our experience working in legal recruitment for private practice law firms located nationally around Australia spans over twenty years. During this time, we have seen the legal recruitment space change drastically and are constantly evolving our approach to meet the needs of law firms and legal professionals. Our private practice client base is made of up international law firms as well as those from Australia's top and mid tier. We also have clients within non-profit organisations and in-house legal departments.
Based in Sydney, our core Australian legal recruitment is within our home city. Sydney is the busiest of all legal markets in Australia and has experienced drastic change in the legal space in recent times. Many law firms from the top and mid tiers have entered into mergers with global firms, eager to provide a more personalised service to their Asia Pacific clients. These mergers have created a greater level of competition and made law firms take a look at how they will distinguish themselves by offering clients a modern and innovative approach to legal service.
Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth are legal markets we offer extensive experience recruiting within. Our client base remains the same as Sydney and our candidates are made of locally based individuals as well as those looking to relocate or return home from time spent working overseas.
The Middle East
The Middle East is a popular destination choice for lawyers, legal secretaries and legal business service professionals alike. A move to the Middle East often provides the opportunity for lawyers to practice on a more broad and general basis with high exposure to multi-jurisdictional work. Legal support staff are relied upon heavily in a role that is a true amalgamation of PA and technical secretarial skills. An increase in the sophistication of the legal market in recent years has seen international firms continue to set up in the region. Those who have a long standing presence have continued to expand their teams and as such, we have seen an increase in business services role such as HR, Business Development / Marketing and Finance which were previously run through their London operations.
There are a range of locations to consider when looking at a move to the Middle East. We have extensive experience providing recruitment services for clients in the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. With many firms hosting offices in either Dubai, Abu Dhabi or both, the UAE continues to be the most populated legal market in the Middle East North Africa region for western expats.
Dubai is often the first destination that comes to mind when thinking of the Middle East. This is largely due to the very deliberate and specific plans of Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai, to promote Dubai as a tourist destination as well as a business and cultural hub. Essentially the legal centre of the region, a large percentage of the international law firms headquarter their Middle East practice from Dubai, many of whom are located in the Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC) and also the nearby Emaar Square.
Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates, housing the federal government offices and is home to the Abu Dhabi Emiri family and the President of the UAE who is from this family. In recent times, Abu Dhabi has stepped up its self promotion as a top tourist destination and has become a true competitor to it’s sister city of Dubai. With attractions such as the Formula 1, the Yas Island Ferrari World experience and the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi is now also able to offer something from the city of old and new. With increased infrastructure Abu Dhabi is now a much easier drive of only an hour and a half from Dubai, however law firms in each city do not promote commuting between the two for safety reasons.
Legal work in Abu Dhabi has a strong local and government focus and the city was thought to bring extensive amounts of legal work back in 2008. Post global financial crisis, the picture is looking a little different. Due to the saturation in the market of international firms and a limited amount of work available, many law firms have removed their official presence from Abu Dhabi as the work has decreased.
The United Kingdom
A move to London for any Australian lawyer or legal secretary has long been a rite of passage. Many candidates will enter the industry at graduate level with their sights firmly set on London when the time is appropriate. For lawyers qualified in Australia or New Zealand, that time is usually from around the 4 year PQE mark. Australian lawyers are discounted two years of practice in the London legal market due to not completing a two year training contract under the Australian legal system. Waiting until your experience is within the 4 – 6 year PQE range will see more opportunities open up. With many international law firms setting up here in Australia, experience gained abroad within global firms bolsters the CV of any Australian returning home.
Legal secretaries tend to move to London from about two years experience or more. Previous experience within a mid to top tier law firm in Australia is held in the highest regard by London firms. Expat legal secretaries from Australia and New Zealand are often in high demand by the Magic Circle and Silver Circle firms in London. We have extensive experience assisting secretaries leaving from Australia and New Zealand embarking on a working holiday in London, in search of legal jobs. Most will travel on a Tier 5 Youth Mobility visa which will be valid for two years. Previous restrictions to this scheme have been lifted and candidates are now eligible to work for one employer for their entire stay. This means opportunities are available as a temp, contractor and permanent employee.
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