find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Climb the ladder with postgraduate study

Climb the ladder with postgraduate study

Employees are increasingly opting to undertake postgraduate study in order to build on their expertise and further their career. Briana Everett looks at the value for lawyersAs the number of…

Employees are increasingly opting to undertake postgraduate study in order to build on their expertise and further their career. Briana Everett looks at the value for lawyers

As the number of people with bachelor degree qualifications continues to grow, candidates are increasingly undertaking postgraduate study to gain a competitive edge.

But while postgraduate study is valuable across many professions, work experience and problem-solving skills still rank highly in terms of career success and progression.

The latest graduate survey by GCA demonstrated a pay differential of up to $18,000 between those with previous experience and postgraduate qualifications and those without the previous experience.

"This shows that employers are still willing to pay a premium for relevant experience, even when an employee has postgraduate experience," Graduate Careers Australia (GCA) research manager Bruce Guthrie said.

Freehills people and development manager Liz Henry notes that candidates in the legal industry often undertake postgraduate study to better equip themselves for a particular specialisation, which she says the firm supports, but with recruitment, Henry says entry level qualifications are still an important part of the selection process.

"We don't have a preference for what other degrees our graduates have completed, but we want to see demonstrated strong academic performance," she explains, "but [postgraduate] qualifications can stand them in good stead."

According to Henry, Freehills has seen a slight increase in the number of lawyers with postgraduate qualifications, with more lawyers now seeking such qualifications at an earlier stage. She has also seen an increase in newly qualified lawyers going offshore to study to boost their stocks in the marketplace.

University of Sydney Associate Dean (postgraduate coursework) Roger Magnusson says enrolments in their postgraduate law units have increased by 28 per cent over the last five years and over the last three years, enrolments in the Master of Laws (LLM) have grown by 20 per cent.

"Our experience is that the LLM, or another specialist coursework degree, is increasingly seen as a part of career development," Magnusson says.

"Today's lawyer is not a 'jack of all trades' but a specialist who uses their enrolment in a Master's degree to consolidate in their area of expertise, or alternatively, to bridge the gap and to branch outwards towards a new area of practice. In both cases, the degree builds professional confidence and expertise."

With many lawyers undertaking degrees such as an LLB in order to build upon their expertise, those wanting to move into management also have the option of a Master of Business Administration - a decision which Freehills managing partner Gavin Bell made.

"I think I had seen that my career would, in the long term, be in management at Freehills," Bell says. "By learning about project finance and people management, by the time I was in full-time management, I could see how useful my MBA had been."

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Climb the ladder with postgraduate study
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Scales of Justice
‘Ego status’ compelled ex-lawyer to defraud $2.97M, court told
Debarred lawyer John Gordon Bradfield told an NSW District Court that he was driven by “ego status...
Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA), Queensland’s new industrial manslaughter legislation,
ALA welcomes ‘tough’ Qld manslaughter laws
The Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) has welcomed Queensland’s new industrial manslaughter legisl...
Legal podcasts, tune in, microphone
Legal podcasts you have to tune in to right now
The rise of the internet has hailed in a new dawn for storytelling. Here’s our top pick of podcast...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...