find the latest legal job
Corporate/Commercial Lawyers (2-5 years PAE)
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Specialist commercial law firm · Long-term career progression
View details
Graduate Lawyer / Up to 1.5 yr PAE Lawyer
Category: Personal Injury Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Mentoring Opportunity in Regional QLD · Personal Injury Law
View details
Corporate and Commercial Partner
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Full time · Join a leading Adelaide commercial law firm
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Sydney NSW
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
Law students question value of their degree

Law students question value of their degree

A growing number of law students are concerned their law degree is a revenue-raising exercise for the universities, a leading student body has claimed.

Marie Iskander, vice-president of the Australian Law Students’ Association (ALSA), suggested students feel their degrees are now less valuable, despite costing more.

“Students are concerned about the quality of the law degree and whether it is a degree which has value for money or whether it is being used as simply raising revenue for the university, while the revenue is being invested into other areas such as science and medicine,” Ms Iskander said.

“These concerns are heightened with some students indicating that their universities have introduced online law degrees, which will be relatively inexpensive to facilitate and will bring in a significant amount of revenue for the university.”

Graduates are facing a highly competitive job market, she said, a situation set to worsen as law schools increase their intake.

“ALSA are of the position that there is still an oversupply of graduates because of the increasing sizes of law schools and the duplication in the number of law schools across the country, as well as the tightening job market which is a result of a myriad of factors such as funding cuts to the public sector, a reduction in the number of grads that law firms are taking and so forth,” she said.

“Many who have undertaken the Juris Doctor particularly expressed concerns in their survey responses, highlighting that they undertook the postgraduate law degree to further their job prospects. Instead, they are facing the worrying reality that there are fewer jobs available for law graduates as well as the fact that they are completing their degrees with a sizeable student debt.”

ALSA is currently seeking submissions to its national advocacy survey, which will examine law student attitudes towards their degree and the legal profession.

Initial survey results reflect the concerns raised by Ms Iskander, with almost 90 per cent of respondents so far indicating they believe there is an oversupply of graduates.

One student reported their fear that “too many law students [graduating] devalues my degree”.

Another indicated that the tight job market “added exponentially to the amount of stress I feel”.

“It greatly affects my work/life/study balance. Ironically, this also impacts on my grades,” the student wrote.

To address the over-supply of graduates, ALSA is campaigning in the universities to provide students with more information about their job prospects, including offering alternatives to the big firms.

The organisation is pressuring the government to increase public sector funding, as well as to provide incentives to lawyers to head to rural or regional areas.

“ALSA is of the strong belief that the funding crisis affecting the public sector and community legal sector is having an adverse impact on our law graduates as well as the broader community who are desperately in need of legal advice, assistance and representation,” Ms Iskander said.

Other issues raised by students include proposed higher education reforms and current fee structures, including the cap on Fee-Help precluding JD students from accessing funding for practical legal training.

The pressure to take on internships and unpaid work was also flagged by a number of students.


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

Law students question value of their degree
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Scales of Justice
Dec 15 2017
Timing ‘critical’ in unusual contempt of court ruling
A recent case could have interesting implications for contempt of court rulings, according to a Ferr...
Dec 14 2017
International arbitration and business culture
Promoted by Maxwell Chambers. This article discusses the impact of international arbitration on t...
Papua New Guinea flag
Dec 14 2017
World-first mining case launched in PNG
Citizens of Papua New Guinea have launched landmark legal proceedings against the country’s govern...
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 & ...