A lawyer requires years of education and a couple years more of training so that they would be able to practice law. However, there is some fear that the job market is currently saturated with graduating law students as well as some independent or both recent and long term unemployed lawyers that are struggling to scrape by. As such, one would not be blamed if they steer away from the legal profession especially if they value job security and available.
However, the reality is far from the truth. In fact, lawyers are among the highest paid positions in Australia right now. Also, there is a demand not only for home grown lawyers, but for those who come from other nations as well. With the shifting demands in various industries within the country, here are the types of lawyers that will be in high demand in the coming years.
The Legal Job Market
There are over 15 thousand law firms that are established in Australia, although that number has somewhat constricted slightly over the years. Of these law firms, the biggest names in the field include:
- Allen Linklaters
- Mallesons Stephen Jaques
- Herbert Smith Freehills
- Clayton Utz
- DLA Piper
While other large to medium sized firms exist, these are considered as the top-tier ones, with several others existing with a smaller workforce number. The majority of lawyers can be found in larger cities such as Sydney and Melbourne, although a lot can be found in locations such as Brisbane and Perth, as well. In addition, there is also a demand for foreign lawyers, particularly Australians who have worked abroad as well as New Zealanders who, under mutual agreement by both nations, are automatically eligible for work in the country.
However, it would seem as if in-house demand is much higher than for those who work in law firms. Different industries require lawyers that specialize in respective fields. Mid-level and senior lawyers are much desired for direct hire, with salaries being very competitive and are expected to rise. Requirements for paralegals and even private lawyers remain high as well.
High Demand Lawyer Jobs
General Counsel Lawyers
General counsel lawyers are also known as Chief Legal Officers, and they are in very high demand not only for private businesses but in the government sector as well. General counsels can fetch up to 550,000 Australian dollars a year, rates that are even higher than General Managers, CFO’s, and other senior executive manager positions based on national averages.
Construction and Property Lawyers
Construction and property lawyers are in high demand due to the boom in infrastructure development, primarily in the central business districts as well as in various mass transportation and railway projects. Companies such as Clayton Utz and Herbert Smith Freehills are just some of the big law companies who have acquired contracts to advise on these projects, and they are looking for the right manpower to take on these responsibilities.
As construction booms, so will the real estate industry. As property is sold and bought for residential and commercial use, conveyancers are in much demand to process documents pertaining to real property transfers. In this regard, paralegals that specialize in properties and real estate are also highly sought after. With the real estate market prices surging in the past couple of months prior to the COVID 19 outbreak, it can be expected that the trend will continue after the pandemic has passed and, with the aggressive development of lands in the country for residential, commercial, and public use, it can be expected that lawyers such as conveyancers that excel in the field of real estate to be of very high demand. In some cases, environmental lawyers may also take advantage of these trends.
Banking and Finance Lawyers
The government is currently also enforcing stricter guidelines with reference to taxes, securities and investments, and consumer security. As such, the country will also experience an increase of need for lawyers that specialize in banking, finance, and class action suits. Experience in these fields will certainly be an advantage especially for those who work in corporate business or government sectors.
With a population of 15 million people as of 2020, Australia has had a steady growth over the years, with an annual population increase of around 1.18% per year. With the median age at around the mid-thirties and with the population slowly becoming older, legal services with regards to marriages, divorce, and even wills will be on the rise. Family lawyers, thus, would never be out of style when it comes to demand. Specialists in wills and estate management would likewise be very much needed. While self-employed general practice lawyers can be found, private or employed lawyers that specialize in this field will be the ones that will be more needed in the coming years and foreseeable future.
Soft Skills Also Required
While technical skills are required of lawyers, research shows that, to hiring managers, soft skills are equally important. Being able to adapt to technologies, for instance, are sought after qualities at any level of seniority. Strategic thinking skills and the ability to blend seamlessly with the organization culture are also highly desired and may even be at par with lawyers with several more years of experience when it comes to employability. As it seems, the ability to adapt to technological advances and the needs and changes within and outside the organization are what may set you apart from other candidates vying for the same position.
While the competition is tough for both fresh law graduates as well as experienced professionals, the need for lawyers in Australia has not dried up. There are still a lot of vacancies available in various fields, and all it takes is a little research and polishing of your resume to highlight your marketability. Of course, being a lawyer that specializes in high demand industries will not hurt as well. With the influx of development within the country, there will certainly be no shortage of work in the legal industry, especially for those who can provide additional value and a high level of expertise to the organization.