International demand for kiwi lawyers hits all-time high

by Samantha Woodhill12 Feb 2016
Legal recruiter Taylor Root placed more kiwi lawyers in international firms in 2015 than it has in any other year and they anticipate continued demand in 2016.

Taylor Root consultant Catherine Davies said international demand for lawyers, particularly at the 2-4 year level, is high as a result of a lowered intake of graduates following the GFC.

“It’s not down specifically to something that Australian and kiwi lawyers are doing, it’s simply a demand problem,” she told NZ Lawyer.

“Internationally, there are is lack of candidates in the market for roles.”

Taylor Root has seen a spike in hiring in London, mainland Europe, US, Middle East and Asia. 

Davies said that while knowledge of the local language in Asia is beneficial, many firms are now more focused on hiring an exceptional lawyer, rather than someone with Mandarin and Cantonese language skills.

The New York market is still looking to recruit in the banking & finance, corporate and funds space but landing a job in a Wall Street firm can be competitive.

“They will only consider candidates who have at least four years post qualification experience and it is very much the case that firms are looking for the crème de la crème,” Davies said.

The Middle East is experiencing growth and looking for lawyers with strong corporate, banking, construction and projects experience.  But for the ultimate sea change, banking & finance, funds and insolvency/ restructuring litigation lawyers should look to the Caymen and Channel Islands, Davies said.

“We find it hard to place lawyers who specialise in real estate, insurance, family, immigration, competition and employment,” she said.

“While we are experiencing an increase in success with many kiwi candidates, many kiwi lawyers will often move to a reputable top tier firm in Australia to increase their overseas employment opportunities.”