Niche: The raft of changes to industrial and employment law is resulting in significant demand for employment lawyers nationally, both in-house and in private practice. We are seeing a strong demand for banking and finance and corporate and commercial lawyers in Auckland and to a lesser degree in Wellington and Christchurch. Given the number of cranes on the Auckland skyline at present, and the government’s focus on housing and urban development, it is no surprise that there is a strong demand for property and construction lawyers in Auckland. In Wellington there is consistent demand for litigation lawyers. While the size of public sector teams seems to have stabilised, there is increased demand within the growing regulatory sector. Many small firms located throughout the country are keen to hire but they are finding that the new generation of lawyers are not attracted to private client work. What levels of experience are most sought-after at present?
Olivia Murphy, Robert Walters: 2-6 years’ PQE, with any specialist experience. New Zealand lawyers are well respected overseas and the desire to travel is still strong.
This leaves New Zealand skill short at this level. Kiwis can offer overseas law firms and clients a wider breadth of experience which is invaluable. This is due to their exposure to a wide variety of clients, transactions and work experience at an earlier stage of their career. Because of their desirability overseas, New Zealand lawyers have the potential to earn a higher salary, which means it can be harder to secure talent at that level in New Zealand. Elizabeth Butler, Momentum: 3-6 years’ PQE. Kirsty Spears, McLeod Duminy: I would definitely say 4-7ish, typically senior solicitor level at a lot of firms but, again, there is demand across a broader range and we have been placing people from about 2 years’ PQE through to partner over the last 12 months. Niche: Intermediate lawyers 3-6 years’ PQE continue to be the most sought-after group for law firms across the country. Unfortunately for the firms trying to hire within this elusive PQE range, it is the group most likely to be on their “OE”. Three to six years is a crucial period in a young lawyer’s career. If they are happy in their current firm they will be knuckling down, consolidating their experience and eyeing the pathway to partnership. They will look to move if they feel they are being underpaid, underutilised 47