Law firms no longer chasing HD graduates
Graduates who aced university with high distinctions are not the be-all and end-all for law firms anymore, with employers preferring their young guns to have broad knowledge, soft skills, passion and be a good cultural fit, new research has found.
InfoTrack recently hosted a roundtable of academics, practicing lawyers and legal human resource directors on ‘How to Educate Lawyers in the Digital Information Age’.
A key finding from the discussion is that high distinctions are no longer a pre-requisite for securing a job in law firms. Big bosses are increasingly looking for graduates who have a broad knowledge base and curiosity, and fit in at the firm, with many noting that a person who matches this criteria is now the ideal candidate, over those “top of the class” graduates.
Attendees of the roundtable also noted that a double-degree should not be a pre-requisite for graduates, saying that a “demonstrated interest in technology or other sectors is a good enough starting point and does not need another formal qualification”.
In addition, the roundtable revealed that undergraduates should be focusing on their degree and “build technological experience in their post-degree careers”.
“Where suitable candidates are not identified, firms will not hire rather than take on graduates that don’t fit their needs, so it’s crucial that both education providers and students are preparing for industry entry,” according to a statement from InfoTrack.
“However, while education providers are offering double degrees and electives that support the practice of ‘NewLaw’, there is no move to widen the current core curriculum due to accreditation issues and the wide range of end-careers that the curriculum must serve.”
Commenting further on the roundtable, InfoTrack chief executive officer, John Ahern, said: “We understand the restrictions educational institutions have but we also see a widening gap between the traditional law graduate and what the legal industry is looking for.”
“With less graduates securing jobs every year, we as an industry need to work in partnership with the education sector to give our graduates the best chance at a career,” he said.
“Every semester sees great advancements in the legal industry so we need to explore how we can prepare graduates for our rapidly changing world.”