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2024 Salary Guide Release

2024 Salary Guide Release

This month saw the release of our 2024 Australian Private Practice Salary Guide, which was compiled by our team of consultants with input from over 3,000 lawyers in Sydney, Melbourne Brisbane and Perth.  Our guide provides current salary data for lawyers in all types of law firms from top-tier right through to boutique.   Here’s our outlook on salaries for the coming financial year.

Early indications are positive! 

Last year was all about uncertainty. Despite war being an overarching threat, it was the rapid increase in interest rates and global economic uncertainty that stopped individuals taking risks and law firms’ never-ending quest for transactional lawyers. Whilst recruitment carries on whatever the weather (insolvency lawyers were last year’s hot ticket), 2023 was slow – much slower than during the pandemic.

The market shifted throughout 2023 and clients re-evaluated their hiring outlook, emphasising urgent needs and high-quality, experienced candidates. They became more discerning in their interview processes, looking for precise fits. 2024 has started with a more positive outlook on the recruitment front. Firms across all tiers are actively looking in areas that were quieter last year, namely, corporate M&A and banking and finance as well as real estate. Notably, sponsorship for overseas candidates coming in to the Australian market remains a lowly second for most firms. Local talent is always the top preference.

In 2023, lawyers faced challenges in pursuing international career moves, particularly compared to the previous two years. Since the beginning of 2024, we have noticed offshore firms, especially in London and Dublin, showing an increasing openness to recruit legal talent from Australia. However, the relocation of candidates to other key financial centres like the United States, Hong Kong and Singapore remains notably lower than in the pre-COVID
and pre-Brexit era, due to the current economic climate.

In contrast to last year, 2024 has opened with a good deal more positivity with opportunities arising across Australia. Writing this in mid-March, we have seen a notable increase in the demand for corporate/M&A and banking lawyers, the cornerstones of ‘everything is ok’. February saw a return to market of two Australian top-tier firms who largely sat out the whole of 2023, having retreated completely from hiring new staff. Although the traffic is slow for now, we’re hearing consistent reports of Australian lawyers securing jobs

in London. In-boxes are hard to keep up with, candidates are emerging from hibernation and, with talk of interest rates falling, it appears opportunities are going to abound again shortly.

It’s too early to predict what’s coming, but recruiters tend to see the first signs of trouble as well as recovery and there is a growing rumble being heard across the market. After a period of uncertainty, the recruitment market returns fast and hot – so far, 2024 is shaping up to be the year that lights the fires again.

Click here to download a copy of the 2024 Montgomery Salary Guide and compare your salary to the current Private Practice Legal Market.

For more bespoke, granular information relating to your particular circumstances, do not hesitate to give us a call.

Laura Lal
Director | Private Practice & Partner Search
+61 0407 346 944

Laura Lal

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