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CoLegal Professional Market Update Feb 2024

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CoLegal Professional Market Update Feb 2024

2024 has started strong in terms of hiring and job activity. The pace has been slightly impacted by hiring managers being on holiday and enjoying the sunshine, and who can blame them really? This is a temporary slowdown and already we are seeing the momentum pick up following the string of long weekends.

Property Sector

With summer in full swing, there has been a noticeable surge in the buying and selling of residential properties nationwide. Consequently, the residential conveyancing space has experienced a resurgence after a relatively quiet year in 2023. There is a heightened demand for Senior Commercial Property lawyers, particularly those with expertise in subdivision and property development, as employers seek individuals capable of immediate contributions. We anticipate increased hiring activity within general practice and regional firms compared to the previous year when it had been quiet.

Resource Management Act (RMA)

The recent transition in government has brought about anticipation regarding the impact of RMA reforms. Despite uncertainties surrounding potential repeals or amendments, the recruitment and demand for experienced lawyers in this field remain high. Factors such as lawyers transitioning in-house, relocating overseas (but those with this skill-set not returning), or a lack of lateral movement, continue to drive the need for skilled professionals in RMA-related legal roles. This is consistent across major cities in NZ.

Corporate / M&A

Corporate restructuring and advisory work continue to be reasonably steady or strong, albeit with M&A and deal flow being patchy, as influenced by cautious economic confidence and deal closure challenges. Candidates with over three years of experience in this area remain sought after, largely due to the trend of mid to senior-level professionals seeking opportunities abroad. However, demand for junior corporate and commercial lawyers has been low, as firms have graduates to fill skill gaps at this level.


Litigation work remains robust across multiple levels, with notable demand for skill sets in insolvency, construction, and insurance litigation work. Litigators at the 2+ year level will be in demand.

Family Law & Relationship Property

Strongest demand is at the 4+ year level where, in particular, relationship property work is growing. Increasing complicated family structures, defacto relationships and intergenerational wealth have been contributors.

Employment Law

Work in the employer restructuring space has increased and so has a demand for employment lawyers at various levels compared to this time last year – we expect this to continue into 2024.

Salary Trends

In recent months, several top-tier firms have completed their salary reviews across different lawyer year groups, with expectations of salary band increases at all levels. Conversely, salary movements within smaller and mid-sized firms are yet to be observed, with potential adjustments anticipated later in the year.

The overall market sentiment remains optimistic in the legal sector this year and the expert legal recruiters at CoLegal are here to assist in your recruitment needs. Give Anand or one of the team a call.