find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Insurance Lawyer (3-5 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Dynamic organisation ·
View details
Legal Counsel
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: North Sydney NSW 2060
· 18 month fixed term contract · 3-5 years PQE with TMT exposure
View details
Importance of higher qualifications increasing

Importance of higher qualifications increasing

Neville Carter, College of Law

Young lawyers looking to advance their career are increasingly turning to higher qualifications such as a master of laws to do so, according to the College of Law.

Speaking with Lawyers Weekly, College of Law CEO and principal Neville Carter (pictured below) said the legal profession has traditionally not placed much emphasis on continuing education.

“Historically, the legal profession has been the learned profession – past tense, the learning's over,” he said.

Nowadays, however, lawyers are much more interested in higher qualifications, he added.

“There's definitely something happening: the mood of practising lawyers is much more about how they use education strategies, and other strategies, to advance their career,” he said.

Mr Carter said the importance of higher qualifications is increasing as the economic fortunes of the profession diminish.

“With the tougher job market, people are seeking ways to differentiate themselves, to deepen and broaden their professional skill set,” he said.

It is also not necessarily just graduates who benefit from having a master's degree, but lawyers who have been practising for several years and want to take the next step up the career ladder.

“I don’t think newly-licensed lawyers really differentiate themselves in the marketplace by a master's qualification, but I think at that all-important stage – two, three, four, five years out – it starts to become an increasingly important instrument of intelligent career planning.”

Mr Carter said the weight that law firms place on employees holding a master's degree or other higher qualification is highly variable, not just across firms but across disciplines too.

“In the family law jurisdiction for example, I think master's programs are of significant advantage to a young person seeking first and subsequent stages of appointment,” Mr Carter said.

“In other areas, more heavy-duty finance and banking commercial areas, they may be of a different weight depending on firm size, type of practice – so it's highly variable.”

The College of Law started its master's programs because of market demand.

“We did a very large multi-state survey back in 2007 and we asked the profession, 'What's missing from your portfolio of professional development?' They came back to us and said, 'We want programs that lead us towards a formal academic qualification but we want them to be really practically based and relevant to our career',” he said.

“We were astonished by that; we did not expect that the legal profession would be interested in higher qualifications in the same way other professional groups are.”


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

Importance of higher qualifications increasing
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
LCA president Fiona McLeod SC
Aug 17 2017
Where social fault lines meet the justice gap in Aus
After just returning from a tour of the Northern Territory, LCA president Fiona McLeod SC speaks wit...
Marriage equality flag
Aug 17 2017
ALHR backs High Court challenge to marriage equality postal vote
Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) has voiced its support for a constitutional challenge to ...
Give advice
Aug 17 2017
A-G issues advice on judiciary’s public presence
Commonwealth Attorney-General George Brandis QC has offered his advice on the public presence of jud...
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 & ...