Where can you see yourself next?

The 2022 year in review

The 2022 year in review

I do this weird thing occasionally when I write notes to myself in the future and tuck them away in places I know I’ll find them after I’ve forgotten I wrote them.  (It’s actually not the weirdest thing I do!).  Anyhow, in early January 2022, I was putting the Christmas decorations away and I wrote “is Covid still ******** things up?” on a piece of paper and dropped it in the bag.

Last week I found the note from “Matt’s Ghost of Christmas Past”, and it made me wonder what other notes I could’ve written to myself this year that “Matt’s Ghost of Christmas Future” would find interesting in 2023.  Here are my top five:

  1. Are three-year lawyers being paid $200k yet? Obviously, a key feature of the legal recruitment market this year has been the runaway train called “market rate”.  We have seen salaries offered that have truly made us wonder where this is all going to end.  As an organisation that commits to producing an accurate salary survey each year, we’re currently considering replacing the detailed numerical analysis with the words “more, just more” to ensure we’ll be right every time.
  2. Did anyone end up getting a pay rise in July 2023? Against the backdrop of this year’s record raises and a potentially declining global economy it’ll be very interesting to see what firms end up doing next year and whether there’s any chance they can keep pace with the expectations that lawyers, particularly juniors, have begun to think of as normal.  The supercharged salary reviews of 2022 will be very hard to maintain particularly if the market shifts and retention starts to fall off the front page.
  3. Is London still a thing? This will be interesting in light of the exodus that’s taken place this year as Australian lawyers flocked to the UK.  Many will have been quickly greeted with a concerning economic outlook, a deceleration in active recruitment, energy crises, political turmoil, the end of Neighbours and a war on the doorstep.  Will the volume of recruitment undertaken when we believed the good times were to stay see a backlash now it looks like the good times have been re-classified as “having some electricity”.
  4. Are interest rates at 27% yet? They are, aren’t they. I knew it.
  5. Who’s currently top of the “most-wanted” list? The last 18 months or so have been dominated by the demand for corporate lawyers and projects/infrastructure lawyers.  The appetite for these people has been insatiable and lead to some of the hardest fought battles for their attention.  The end of 2022 has seen the hunger for corporate lawyers slip slightly, with demand for banking, disputes, and restructuring lawyers taking the lead.  It’ll be interesting to see if this trend continues and who’ll be getting all the love by mid-next year.

So, I might write a few additional notes to myself including “Has Elon gone full Bond villain yet?”, “Please tell me they’ve pulled that Katy Perry Menulog ad” and “Maybe dry January just isn’t for you” but there’s no question 2023 is certainly looking like a bit of a roller coaster just now.  It’ll be interesting to see how this article has aged in 12 months’ time (hey, future Matt! *finger guns).


Matt Harris

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