Legal Recruitment in Dublin
Christopher Rafferty, Recruitment Consultant09 December 2019
A few months back I was presented with the opportunity to cover the Dublin region with our legal recruitment services. The truth be told, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy but at the same time I couldn’t wait to get started! The distance and different legal jurisdictions are things I’ve soon adapted to. And having recruited for Human Resources and Business Support hires to lawyers at every level right up to Partner, I’ve plenty of experience under my belt.
Insight into the Irish market
Naturally, the first thing I needed to do was reach out and speak to law firms to offer our recruitment services. By doing this, I started to quickly gather much-needed insight into the Irish market. And once I had a bank of positions to go out and recruit for, it soon came to light that filling these roles was not going to be quite so straightforward. The reason for that is while there are plenty of legal vacancies across Ireland, with firms crying out for staff, there’s simply not enough candidates across the country. The demand for quality legal professionals far outstrips the current supply.
Really get to know firms
To better understand what firms need and the difficulties they face securing hires, I travelled to Dublin with Interlink’s Managing Director Louis Rosenthal. We wanted to offer a personal service, to have face to face discussions and properly understand the culture of the different firms we are working with. This is important to help us search for not just the very best candidates in terms of experience and technical skill, but those who will blend in well with the firm's culture and way of working.
Confidence is low as talent is limited
As I mentioned previously, there is a notable skills shortage across the legal sector in Ireland. And it’s not just legal that’s facing this issue. It’s the same for accounting and finance, marketing, retail and even IT. But, the lack of talented legal professionals is driving low confidence across Irish law firms, despite profits and revenues being healthy across the majority of firms. The last year or two has seen an increase in UK and international firms arriving in Dublin. Some are creating a base through mergers, while others are establishing a new presence outright. Many of the big US firms have set up shop in Ireland and in doing so, have snapped up a lot of the Irish talent from local law firms. There appears to be little slowdown in the number of firms arriving in Dublin, which is only increasing the competition for talent. Firms are having to look to new solutions for their recruitment as much as place great importance on how they will retain their best staff.
Irish lawyers relocating
Go back to 2008 and Ireland was hit hard by the recession. The economy downturn led to the collapse of the Irish property market which in turn saw a big exodue of property lawyers to other countries. This impacted other areas of legal services - with conveyancing being non-existent at the time, family law and probate also suffered. There wasn't any work for those skilled in the profession, so they sought it elsewhere. But, Ireland is booming and the market is on the rise again. With an abundance of new firms appearing in Ireland, Irish lawyers feel confident about returning home to continue their careers.
The practice areas for which there’s high demand for staff is mostly on the Corporate Banking side of things. Aviation finance is huge, as well as Investment funds and taxation. But many firms have a variety of roles they want to fill, which is why they are asking us to help them source Irish lawyers keen to relocate back home.
Compete for the best
As always where there’s not enough talent to meet demand, competition steps up. Irish lawyers are coming back to their home country with plenty of options. So, it will come down to which firms are offering the most lucrative opportunities. Those law firms offering international reach and high-quality work will always prevail. The remuneration offered may want to be negotiated, especially as talented lawyers find themselves with several offers on the table. But, as much as that, lawyers will look for those firms which deliver the best training, development and career progression. Not just for legal skills, but to improve other skills such as commercial knowledge, management and business development.
And, how will firms support them with decisions outside of the workplace? Will there be flexibility for those looking to start a family, or who already have a good work/life balance with their current firm? There’s a lot for firms to consider, to make sure they secure the best hire. That’s why working with Interlink helps, as we can bring forward the right level of candidate, with the right cultural fit to minimise the competition.
We are proactive in helping Irish law firms fulfil their recruitment solutions. The tools we use and our international reach, helps us source those practising Irish lawyers who might otherwise be difficult to find. If you are a lawyer with the qualifications to practise in Ireland and would like to return to working in Ireland, contact Chris Rafferty to talk through your current circumstances and the options available to you.
Send Chris an initial email to, firstname.lastname@example.org.