Reversing the legal brain drain

THE brain drain sucking talent away from WA appears to be slowing and, in some cases, even reversing.

Legal recruiters and law firms are starting to record more expressions of interest from people looking to move to WA.

Some are expatriates who have gone interstate or overseas in search of broader experiences, while others are lawyers from other countries looking to immigrate to WA.

The focus on safety post September 11 is believed, in part, to be causing the return to WA.

However, the quality of living in WA, added to its healthy economic performance and the high standard of law being practised here, further add to the State’s charms.

And the major law firms are again looking to hire more staff.

They had imposed hiring freezes towards the end of last year, due in part to September 11, the Federal election and general economic gloom of the time.

Deacons is likely to be the big hirer with moves to double its workforce within two years, but other major law firms are also hanging out the ‘staff wanted’ signs and Blake Dawson Waldron has under-gone a 40 per cent expansion over the past three years.

However, the bulk of the vacancies are in areas requiring from two to five-years’ experience.

Premium Personnel consultant Rahima Banner-man said few law firms wanted juniors but there was a big demand for people at the senior associate level.

“We’re also finding a lot of people are coming to Perth. It’s not a flood but it’s enough to notice,” Ms Bannerman said.

WA is proving popular with lawyers from the UK, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Robert Walters Dunhill consultant Michelle Stead said recruitment was picking up.

“The big firms are starting to ramp things up,” Ms Stead said.

Minter Ellison managing partner Sean Larkan said it was becoming easier to get people from the eastern states and overseas to relocate to Perth.

“We had one person leaving us to go to London who promised to return within one year. It’s unusual for a firm to get that sort of promise,” Mr Larkan said.

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