Pay freeze melts to stimulate legal industry

by |
Allie Sanchez

Pay increases for lawyers may be coming unbound as the Australian economy turns a corner, according to a report from legal recruitment firm Mahlab.

The firm found that the average Australian lawyer in private practice enjoyed a 3.8% pay increase; while in-house lawyers saw their paychecks grow by 3.4%.

In addition, more bonuses were handed out in 2016 year to date in the law firm segment, Mahlab revealed, with payouts ranging from 5% to 20%. Further, in-house lawyers saw more bonus payments as the pay freeze melted.

“The majority of employers are reporting the end of salary freezes, although there is strong consensus that increases are still conservative,” the report explained.

Also, Mahlab NSW managing director Lisa Gazis observed, "I haven't heard of any firms maintaining pay freezes. Salary rises will continue in the sector. They are more conservative than they were pre-(global financial crisis), but they are still quite healthy and bonuses will be utilised for high performers."

Meanwhile, Gazis reported that demand for lawyers was strongest in corporate and commercial law, infrastructure and public private partnerships, and employment.

Additionally, Hays Australia & New Zealand managing director Nick Deligiannis said that “knowledge workers” are in great demand in the legal industry, with technology savvy, along with highly honed skills and extensive experience becoming a necessity in the workplace.

"The construction boom is driving demand for candidates with top-tier backgrounds for in-house roles in large infrastructure and development companies, while law firms want property and construction law specialists, both front end and back end," Mr Deligiannis said.

Related stories:
Women in law still earning far less than male colleagues
Industry strength trickles to junior lawyer salaries

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