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Looking for a new job isn’t always straightforward. It can take some time to find a position that ticks all the boxes – something that challenges you and develops your career, while also aligning with your qualifications and at a firm that appeals to you. 

We’ve put together some helpful advice for legal practitioners on how to secure the ideal role, depending on your career stage.

Lawyers, Associates & Senior Associates

There is a lot of talk in the legal market about the high number of roles that are available at the moment, however, the volume of positions being advertised on traditional job boards like Seek is still far less than it was pre-Covid. 

It may surprise you to know that around 80% of recruits made by law firms are not actually advertised. This is partly because traditional job boards like Seek have more than doubled their prices since the beginning of 2020, while also becoming less effective at attracting talent as LinkedIn’s functionalities and headhunting tools have taken up market share across the professional services sectors. The result is that firms are no longer getting enough bang for their buck using the traditional tools to attract talent. 

Even though many jobs are not advertised, it’s still beneficial to explore the usual avenues for job advertisements such as Seek, Indeed and law firm websites. It’s also a good idea to speak to recruiters who are active in your field to see what non-advertised roles are available.

To put it in perspective, we are currently recruiting 19 Associate and Senior Associate level Corporate Lawyer roles in Melbourne – so far, only 2 of them have been advertised for on Seek. 

Senior Associates & Special Counsels

Senior Associate positions are more frequently advertised than Special Counsel positions. It’s generally rare for firms to specifically advertise for Special Counsel positions but that is often because they already have Special Counsels in the team who are next in line for promotion to Partner and they don’t want to ‘upset the apple cart’ internally. 

If you’re a Senior Associate who is looking to progress to Special Counsel, don’t assume that you shouldn’t apply for a Senior Associate role. 90% of the Special Counsel recruits we have made were initially briefed to us as a Senior Associate (or even Associate!) level role, so keep in mind that firms may be flexible and open to a variety of solutions. Recruiters are particularly beneficial in this situation as we are able to reach out to firms to gauge their openness to Special Counsel level candidates without breaching your confidentiality. 

Special Counsels & Partners 

If you are already a Special Counsel or Partner looking to move firms, it’s worth noting that these roles are almost never advertised for. Typically these recruits happen through a headhunting process initiated by a firm, or the SC/Partner putting together a business case to approach specific firms where they see an opportunity to leverage their clients to develop their practice. 

Again, enlisting the help of a recruiter to discreetly identify which firms would benefit from greater market share in your area of practice is invaluable to maintaining your confidentiality. 

The main takeaway is that if you’re in the legal profession and seeking a new role, it’s important not to limit your search purely to advertised positions. Identify organisations that appeal to you and seek professional assistance.