Are You Underutilised or Under The Pump?
The local private practice market is becoming patchy in mid-2012. At EA International, we are finding that where one firm may be experiencing a downturn, another is frantically busy and keen to recruit – both in the same area of practice.
Portents of doom in the media have dented confidence and many lawyers are starting to see the pressure in the market. This is somewhat ironic, as the Australian economy is currently in its twentieth year of consecutive growth. But conflicting messages seem to be the order of the day and the two-tier economy is causing some confusion. The result is that, in the current market, some lawyers are finding themselves underutilised in previously busy teams whilst others are under the pump and finding the relentless hours difficult to sustain.
Some overarching trends can be discerned from the mess. For example, in the top-tier, there are strong opportunities in firms with good Energy & Resources client bases. Funds Management is also an area of strength. Locally – it’s all about where the money is going. The mid-market is experiencing growth again as clients assess the cost of legal services. As such, there are some great opportunities coming through for mid-level lawyers in M&A, Property and Litigation at the moment. Partnership movements continue for those with a strong practice wishing to reposition themselves – often as a result of client demand for fee flexibility.
However, these trends are merely indicative and the market is far more complex. Navigating yourself through a difficult market where there is both fear and pressure with fluctuating workflow can be tricky. Morale in teams experiencing less work can drop quickly as high performing people enjoy a frenetic environment.
Making sure you stay abreast of opportunities in the busier practice groups is critical. Keeping a close relationship with a leading recruiter enables you to take control of your career management in such times. It can hedge you against the risk intrinsic to making a quick move under pressure and ensure that you are kept informed of good progression opportunities when they come about.
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