21 Jul BAU (Brisbane as usual, almost)
Queensland maintains their title as “The Smart State”, leading the country in terms of management of the spread of COVID-19. They currently have low levels of COVID cases, including only one current hospitalisation in the whole of Queensland.
While the Queensland border is open, there are significant police checks in place and a massive barricade in Coolangatta to ensure sneaky New South Wales residents are not able to avoid the usual coronavirus checks. In other words, there continues to be a smart strategy in place allowing the state to conduct business as (almost) usual.
With a number of lawyers (and wider work force) still working from home, the Brisbane CBD certainly does not have the buzz that we are used to. That said, we have observed a gradual increase in activity and anticipate this to continue over the next few months.
Consistent with our other major cities, the Brisbane law firm and in-house legal team’s appetite for recruitment is more strategic than anything else at the moment. While there are recruitment freezes at some of the major law firms, the entrepreneurial and opportunistic boutique and global firms are looking to take advantage of the general recruitment slowdown.
In terms of areas in demand, we have seen increasing briefs for disputes lawyers, from general commercial litigators to construction focused lawyers, in addition to an unsurprising increase in insolvency and insurance (including cyber) related positions. In addition, employment lawyers remain highly sought-after, on par with pre-COVID levels.
Strategic hiring can also be seen in transactional areas, due in part to the movement of partners to competitor firms.
Next three months
We anticipate a continued slow and steady uptick in position briefs as the Brisbane legal sector, and indeed wider sectors, return to normal. A lot will hinge on the continuation of the state’s strong COVID enforcement measures.
There are certain encouraging signs that we will be back to BAU sooner rather later, you just have to observe the fact that Brisbane Airport Corporation has opened the $1.3 billion second runway!