World media pronounces the battle of the century – Greece vs. Germany: the strength of the Greek left wing against the formidable engine room that is the efficient German centre. Pragmatism versus Mediterranean flair. While this makes for an excellent analogy for the present economic malaise in Europe, more importantly it is the prelude to a cracking quarter final of Euro 2012 this weekend.
Many reading this will wonder what sport has to do with the legal recruitment market. The fact is, a sporting victory such as that by the English football team in the European Championship, Bradley Wiggins in the Tour de France, Andy Murray at Wimbledon or an overall triumph in the London Olympic games could give the UK the positive kick it needs to set its sights beyond the ongoing turmoil in Europe and reinvigorate the economy. There is nothing quite like the stirring of English pride and patriotism, such as that demonstrated by the nationwide reaction to Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee, to help Britain rise above the Eurozone’s economic troubles and rebuild.
That said, despite the constant barrage of negativity coming from most media sources, the situation in the UK is not quite as dire as we have been led to believe. In the legal market, our major clients have continued to be busy, frequently looking to hire outstanding Australian and New Zealand lawyers in an increasingly broad range of practice groups.
Further, turnover at the major firms has mainly remained strong this year, in addition to very high utilisation rates. This has led to a situation where lawyers in the UK are very busy, but not making the level of lateral moves expected. This change will come over the next few months as the bonus ‘silly season’ triggers a spike in staff turnover. In light of this expected exodus, many of our clients are gearing up for a short term burst of hiring to replace these movers before the Olympic cauldron is lit.
Finally, contrary to what many would expect, many firms have paid out very solid bonuses this year and in addition, have reviewed their base salaries up for the first time since the Global Financial Crisis. Combine this with the fact that London is a relatively cheaper place to live compared with Sydney and Melbourne and the financial appeal of London work is rising. We will shortly be releasing a detailed cost of living comparison guide for Sydney, London and New York, which backs up our longstanding contention – supported by a recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald – that London is a far more economically attractive place to be compared with Sydney.
So what does this mean for Australian and New Zealand lawyers? Well, as always, Banking and Finance lawyers are in demand at many Magic Circle and US Firms across London. The same can be said for Projects and Construction lawyers at the moment. Our clients also have holes in their Employment, Litigation, Derivatives, Oil & Gas and Competition teams and are actively seeking Australian and New Zealand lawyers to fill these gaps. For Corporate Lawyers, unfortunately the market remains quiet in London, but the odd role has come up with some of our US clients. The old story of needing to be opportunistic with these roles is therefore more relevant than ever.
To find out more about the London market contact Michael Bromley or Maciek Motylinski on +61 2 9266 2900 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.