find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Competition, Policy & Regulatory
Category: Other | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Work with a well regarded Partner · Sydney CBD
View details
Commercial Litigation Senior Associate
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Lawyers Weekly Australia Partner of the Year 2016, Insolvency
View details
MULTIPLEX Regional Legal Counsel (Vic) | 7 to 10 years + PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Career defining in-house role · Tier One international contractor
View details
Junior Lawyer - Personal Injury Law
Category: Personal Injury Law | Location: Parramatta & Western Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Highly specialized practice · Challenging role with great opportunities
View details
IR Advisor/Member Advocate
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: St Leonards NSW 2065
· Permanent (0.8-1.0 FTE) role in a developing team
View details
Legal shortfall threatens justice

Legal shortfall threatens justice

THERE IS potential for serious shortfall in the number of lawyers willing to do legal aid work in the regional and rural areas of Queensland. The problem, the Legal Aid Congress 2004 heard…

THERE IS potential for serious shortfall in the number of lawyers willing to do legal aid work in the regional and rural areas of Queensland. The problem, the Legal Aid Congress 2004 heard recently, is that young people coming into law are less interested in providing this sort of work than their older colleagues.

Keynote speaker Angela Longo, president and CEO of Ontario Legal Aid in Canada, told an audience of more than 200 people at the Congress this month that a decline in the number of young lawyers willing to accept legal aid work in Canada presents a challenge for the leaders of legal aid commissions there, and internationally.

Canada is much like Australia in this respect, Longo said. And Legal Aid Queensland CEO John Hodgins confirmed that Canada’s experience had already been witnessed here, particularly in rural and regional areas.

“Our organisation, along with most legal aid commissions in Australia, face increased challenges in retaining and attracting legal firms to take on cases in areas outside of our major capital cities,” Hodgins said.

In Canada, research suggests that those lawyers who are committed to providing legal aid services are older, with an average age of 49, Longo said.

“At the same time, we have seen a sharp decline in the number of new lawyers willing to accept legal aid work,” she said.

This is a “mixed blessing”, Longo said. “On one hand it is encouraging that senior lawyers are doing legal aid work, but on the other we are faced with a continuous balancing act as we try to recruit new lawyers to ensure we are able to provide services into the future,” she said.

Similarly, as Australia’s population ages, there has been a trend towards older lawyers being the main providers of legal aid services. Hodgins said this is an issue we need to remedy if we are to achieve quality legal aid in this country, and to disadvantaged members of our community.

Legal Aid Queensland is now taking steps to address the problem, including implementing the Regional Solicitor Program, which teams law graduates with regional law firms and offering competitive salary rates.

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

Legal shortfall threatens justice
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Human body, illegal organ trafficking, ALHR
Sep 22 2017
Australia poised to combat illegal organ harvesting: ALHR
The Australian Lawyers for Human Rights are calling for changes to the law so that organ trafficking...
Online service, barristers, BarristerSELECT, Stephen Foley
Sep 22 2017
New online service leverages barristers’ clerks to aid briefing
A new online tool has been launched to help NSW solicitors find the most suitable barristers for the...
NSW District Court judge, Tim Gartelmann SC, next appointment,
Sep 22 2017
Silk replaces outgoing NSW District Court judge
A barrister has been named as the next appointment to the NSW District Court, following the retireme...
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 & ...