Law Looks Lean

GABRIELLE SMITH

With the end of the year fast approaching and a new batch of university students preparing to graduate, the pressure to secure jobs in an increasingly competitive job market is mounting for thousands of young students across Australia.

Graduates are 'struggling' to find jobs. Photo taken by Gabrielle Smith

Graduates are ‘struggling’ to find jobs.
Photo taken by Gabrielle Smith

While Australia did not suffer as severely as other countries in the Global Financial Crisis, the effects of our country’s economic slump is still apparent.

The job market has become highly competitive with the number of university graduates increasing and many highly educated immigrants moving to Australia.

Leanne Mezrani from Lawyers Weekly Australia recently published an article that highlighted the difficulties of finding jobs in the law sector for law graduates.

Mezrani spoke to Elvira Naiman, the managing director of Naiman Clarke, one of Australia’s top law recruitment agencies, who said many law students who finish at the top of their class failed to find employment after graduation.

“In some ways, they are the ideal graduate candidates … and for no other reason than bad luck they don’t get into a grad role,” she said.

Due to the competitive nature of universities, more and more are offering law degrees, many with over 200 students in each cohort.

Many students graduating are under the pretence that they will be able to practice law the first year out of university.

Naiman confirmed law graduates worst fears.

“It is the worst time in living history to be a law graduate,” she said.

Brisbane law student J Storey, who is in her penultimate year of study, is facing the prospect that even with her various extra curricular activities.

There are hundreds of others just like her struggling to be accepted into clerkship programs and

Law student J Storey. Photo taken by Gabrielle Smith

Law student J Storey.
Photo taken by Gabrielle Smith

trying to find employment in the legal sector.

“Of course I’m concerned when I hear friends who are graduating this year express how stressed they are because they don’t have a job to go into,” she said.

“These are people that I know would make excellent lawyers and appear to be prime candidates, the ‘well rounded’ candidates that everyone is supposedly after.

“I can understand that students are probably freaking out and that it would be incredibly frustrating to go spend years studying law, and aspiring to be a lawyer, only to come out and find that the market can’t accommodate that dream.

“That’s not really my perspective on it though.”

Despite facing a less then desirable job market, Storey managed to stay optimistic about future opportunities and was realistic in her approach to her studies.

“Yes, next year I will be graduating with a law degree, like hundreds of others,” she said.

“I have heard people say that they think it is a problem that there are so many graduates and so few jobs …. I don’t however necessarily agree with the argument that LLB intake should be reduced.

“Access to education is a very positive thing,.

Photo by: Gabrielle Smith

Photo by: Gabrielle Smith

“I think it is a privilege to be able to learn about the law and I’m happy that it is more accessible now with more universities offering the degree.

“I think there is a bit of a misconception that doing a law degree makes you a lawyer, it doesn’t.

“I’d love to become a lawyer and I plan to, grad job or not, do my PLT and get admitted. ”

At the start of the year the Australian Workforce Productivity Agency released data that industry demand for those with higher education qualifications is set to soar with growth rates of between 3 and 4 per cent every year to 2025.

Hopefully this is case for students who have undertaken several years of study and have focused on building their resume, and deserve the end result.

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