International Spotlight On: New Zealand

Considering legal jobs in New Zealand? The Thomson Legal team can help you find an in-house role or a position at a law firm. We will help you throughout the process!

International Spotlight On: Legal Jobs in New Zealand

The economy in New Zealand has remained strong and stable over the past couple of years and so, the legal market has followed suit. Consistent activity has been reported across a number of sectors.

Private Practice

As is commonly the case in New Zealand there is a large demand for top quality lawyers to take on roles in corporate, M&A, banking and finance at the large national firms. However, there has also been a growing number of boutique firms specialising in these sectors. In order to find the skilled, qualified lawyers to fill these positions, recruiters are looking to foreign lawyers who would like to further their career in New Zealand and ex-pat New Zealand lawyers are thinking of returning home.

On the whole, there has been a large demand for;

  • Intermediate to senior level lawyers with experience in property
  • Employment lawyers
  • Private client lawyers

Though those with experience in construction and litigation law are in less of a demand than they were previously, employers are still seeking those skilled in these areas.

There is the most demand for lawyers with 3 to 9 years experience, there is a shortage because most lawyers who qualify in New Zealand tend to seek employment overseas. However, the market for graduate and junior level lawyers is extremely competitive. There are large numbers of candidates competing for few roles within private practice.

Which areas of New Zealand are there the most opportunities?

Auckland currently has the most opportunities and biggest demand. And though Wellington’s private sector is largely contracted, there remain jobs for those with skill and experience! If you are would like to find a role out with the major cities, there are legal jobs across New Zealand; especially in the regions of Queenstown, Tauranga, Plymouth, Dunedin and Hamilton.


In terms of the in-house market, 2017 saw the emergence of several companies who started to offer flexible and on-demand in-house legal services to companies who were in need of additional support to their existing team or needed help with one particular matter or transaction. Though it is predicted that this will continue to be popular in New Zealand, there are still companies (mainly in Auckland) seeking permanent, highly-skilled lawyers to fill in-house counsel roles.

The Future

The outcome of New Zealand’s most recent election means there is now a centre-left coalition government and an uncertain future. This new government will possibly result in an increase in lawyers working in the public sector – benefitting those in Wellington. It is likely that there will continue to be a need for non-contentious lawyers, but those with experience in environmental/resource management, public, regulatory and family law may be more in demand than previous years. As has been the case for many years is it probable that New Zealand will continue to have a secure and steady legal sector.

legal jobs in new zealand

legal jobs in new zealand

Information for the New Zealand market has been provided by our associate office; Inside Recruitment, New Zealand.

Legal Jobs in New Zealand

Please continue to follow our Spotlight On series to find out more about other international law markets and your opportunities for making a move Overseas.

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