find the latest legal job
Banking Associate - 1-6PQE - Allen & Overy
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: United Kingdom
· Banking Associate - 1-6 PQE - Allen & Overy
View details
Academic Dean and Head of School of the TC Beirne School of Law
Category: Other | Location: Brisbane QLD 4000
· An outstanding opportunity · Provide educational, research and organisational leadership
View details
Senior Property Lawyer I Commercial Litigator
Category: Property Law | Location: Arncliffe NSW 2205
· Rapidly growing law firm, working with a highly experienced team in a high growth industry across all areas of property and strata law
View details
Senior Property Lawyer I Commercial Litigator
Category: Property Law | Location: All Sydney NSW
· Rapidly growing law firm, working with a highly experienced team in a high growth industry across all areas of property and strata law
View details
Senior Property Lawyer I Commercial Litigator
Category: Property Law | Location: Sydney NSW 2000
· Rapidly growing law firm, working with a highly experienced team in a high growth industry across all areas of property and strata law
View details
Profession under stress in regional areas

Profession under stress in regional areas

Principals of country firms are "extremely worried about the future of the profession in their regions"

The Law Council of Australia and Law Institute of Victoria's joint report into the rural, regional and remote areas lawyers survey, released this month, revealed the drastic state of the profession in Australia's regional areas.

"Lawyers in regional areas are experiencing increasing difficulties in attracting and retaining suitable staff," the report reads.

"The recruitment problems have a direct effect on the legal sector's ability to service the legal needs of regional communities."

This week, The New Lawyer has spoken to a string of regional-based lawyers about their experiences working in the outskirts of the country's major cities, and in rural areas.

Paul Boylan, a lawyer who has worked in regional South Australia for 30 years, says there is an inherent disregard for regional lawyers in the city.

Over the years he and other regional practitioners have been “banging their heads against a wall” trying to work out why people don’t come and stay at regional practices he said.

“Once they stay they can stay for a long time- It’s getting over that hump that has always been my problem, other practices find its attracting people that is difficult. Mainly because they are more remote than we are.”

Port Pirie is located a two and a half hour drive from Adelaide, and has a population of about 13,000. Contrary to the Law Council report, which claims many young lawyers leave regional areas to receive better pay at metropolitan firms, Boylan said his staff earn more than their city counterparts.

"I have had a lawyer leave – who was here for four years and then left to work in a city firm and took a pay cut. Pay is as good if not generally better- but lifestyle is so much better.”

He added: “One of my guys, who has been here for less than two years, is on $60,000 a year. That is more than the state award which would see him on almost $50,000. But we also work on a performance model where one third of what you bring in you get to take home."

Law Institute of Victoria president Danny Barlow has called for urgent steps to be taken to attract and retain legal practitioners in country areas.

“Lawyers provide a range of services to the local community and their loss will be keenly felt in the regions, more so than in the city,” Barlow said.

The report follows a nationwide survey of 1,185 legal practitioners in rural and regional areas. The principals who responded to the survey cited succession planning as their biggest concern, at 71 per cent, followed by concerns about attracting lawyers to the firm, at 58 per cent.

See The New Lawyer on Monday for more regional lawyers' experiences. If you are a regional lawyer and would like to share your experiences with us, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Like this story? Read more:

Book commemorates diamond milestone for WA law society

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

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

Profession under stress in regional areas
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Lawyers take to Twitter to share career stories
Jan 22 2018
Lawyers take to Twitter to share career stories
The #mypathtolaw hashtag has been embraced by legal eagles to swap stories with the Twitter communit...
Jan 22 2018
Legal body disappointed with DPP emails leaked to tabloid
The NSW Bar Association has expressed “profound disappointment” over leaked emails from the NSW ...
Gavel, legal book, criminal lawyers
Jan 19 2018
Three criminal lawyers named NSW magistrates
The NSW Attorney-General has announced the appointment of three new local court magistrates. ...
APPOINTMENTS
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'...
opinion
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...
Help
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 & ...