Recruitment firms look to South Africa

UK RECRUITER Laurence Simons has formed an alliance with South African legal recruitment company Legal Personnel Services in a bid to help meet a growing UK demand for top notch lawyers.

Daniel Lewis, an international consultant at Laurence Simons International, said that the move was prompted by the fact that the Australian market, where the firm has links with two recruitment firms, is in danger of being “milked dry” of lawyers by UK firms.

Lewis said Australian lawyers had been “coming over in droves” for the past two years to satisfy the recruitment demands of top UK law firms. But he said that this had led to a drastic shortage of corporate lawyers in Australia. He said UK firms were increasingly looking to markets such as South Africa for their recruits.

Greg Abrahams, senior consultant at Quarry Dougall Recruitment, said he knew there was “quite a gap” developing in Australia between partner-level and lower ranks, because of the huge numbers of associates being poached by UK firms.

He said while this was “worrying” for Australian firms, he doubted that the stream of Australian lawyers coming to the UK would end. “UK firms will recruit one-year qualified associates or, if the boom continues, more lawyers working outside the Australian top five.”