Having wrapped up the first quarter of 2012, it is time to look and see where the opportunities lie for those wishing to make a move into the in-house legal market.
In Perth and Brisbane, the market is continuing to thrive with the resource boom still underway. Industries such as mining, construction and infrastructure are all obviously busy, but the knock on effect extends outwards to include companies servicing the boom such as transportation or service companies, amongst others.
In Melbourne and Sydney the market is steady, predominately in the IP and technology related sectors. There are, however, certain industries that are suffering, with retail and associated industries down due to the much documented decline in the profitability of the leading retailers. Also well-publicised has been the shedding of jobs at the big four banks, with the reality being that lawyers looking for an in-house role in banking and finance are likely to have difficulty in the current market.
The irony of the downturn in certain industries is that in-house teams across the board are extremely busy. However, with persisting concerns surrounding market volatility, in-house legal teams, particularly in international companies with offshore head offices, are having difficulty getting approval for headcount.
For the rest of the year however, the outlook is positive. International market unpredictability is settling as Greece heads towards a solution in Europe and as the United States shows signs of economic improvement. In New South Wales, a raft of planned government infrastructure projects are expected to increase market activity and result in headcount freezes being lifted within the construction and infrastructure sectors. With these teams already stretched, we anticipate that a little increased market confidence and activity will culminate in a tipping point, resulting in a strong demand for in-house lawyers. The experience level required will predominately be at the 2-7 year level, as is standard.
If you are considering making such a transition, please get in contact with one of our in-house consultants on +61 2 9266 2900 for a confidential discussion about your career.