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Overview of the legal recruitment market in Ireland

Posted by: Laurence Simons 19/04/13

In-house legal recruitment in Ireland

2012 saw an increasing number of in-house opportunities arising particularly in financial services and the technology and energy sectors. We witnessed opportunities at the mid and senior level which varied from 2011 where there seemed to be a higher level of senior level roles. There has also been a significant increase in the number of contract roles where the organisations requirements are for a specific project or maternity contract. Increasingly organisations are looking to hire candidates who have previous in-house experience and are not as open to candidates coming direct from private practice. From the candidate side, as a result of the current economic climate where career progression is not meeting expectations, there remains a strong demand from private practice lawyers to make the transition in-house particularly at the senior associate level.

Due to the preference and demand from lawyers to move to in-house salaries have remained relatively stagnant with bonuses being paid out. Benefits include pension, health cover, share-option scheme and car allowances. We expect to see the number of in-house roles continue to increase throughout 2013.

Private Practice legal recruitment in Ireland

Overall recruitment in private practice remained relatively consistent throughout 2012. Demand continued in the areas of funds, banking, asset finance, insolvency, litigation and IP with a greater desire for lawyers at the mid-level. Recruitment requirements remained mostly within the larger firms. Equally we continued to see candidates at the two to four PQE level moving to London and Offshore, following the demand for talent among Magic Circle, Silver Circle US and Offshore firms. There remains a strong desire from the mid-level associates to move out of Ireland due to the current economic situation and seize the opportunity to gain international experience and exposure to larger transactions. We also saw a demand for partners in banking, funds, insurance and asset finance.

Salaries did not change dramatically throughout 2012. It is still the case that in areas such as banking, aviation finance and funds, firms continue to pay outside the standard salary bands as a measure to retain and secure talent in a consistently competitive market. Bonuses are being paid but largely on merit, rewarding those when particular targets have been met.

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