MORE THAN a quarter of lawyers in NSW are considering leaving the profession, and almost a quarter of these are under 35, according to the NSW Law Society’s annual survey of solicitors.
Most say they are considering a change for ‘lifestyle’ reasons. The next biggest reason is retirement, followed by the desire for a career change. Only 7.7 per cent say a better salary is why they want to leave the profession, only a little more than those who said it was due to a lack of work (6.7 per cent).
Of those looking at moving on, a quarter are likely to do so in the next one to two years and another third of them in the next three to five years.
The majority of those considering leaving are over 50 (38.3 per cent) or have been admitted for more than 30 years (51 per cent) but 23 per cent are younger lawyers under 35.
“There were differences among respondents who were considering leaving the profession according to location and employment sector,” the report said.
“Higher proportions of country practitioners were considering leaving the profession than their counterparts in Sydney. Within Sydney, suburban solicitors were more likely to consider leaving than those practising in the CBD.”
But practitioners under 35 working in the Sydney metropolitan area were more likely to consider leaving than those of a similar age in country areas (24 per cent compared with 18 per cent).
‘Lifestyle’ was the was the most common reason for a change of career, with 40 per cent nominating this, followed by retirement for 32 per cent of those surveyed and career change for 27 per cent.
Fifty-one per cent of women compared to only 33 per cent of men nominated lifestyle as a reason for change.
While lifestyle was the biggest impetus to get out of the profession for private practitioners, with 40 per cent nominating this reason, a career change was more important for non-private practitioners (41 per cent). Only 22.3 per cent of private practitioners gave career change as a reason for leaving the profession.