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Employers need a rethink on young lawyers

Employers need a rethink on young lawyers

The legal profession needs to adapt to the needs of young lawyers, the president of the Law Council of Australia, John Corcoran, said recently, because young lawyers have few qualms about…

The legal profession needs to adapt to the needs of young lawyers, the president of the Law Council of Australia, John Corcoran, said recently, because young lawyers have few qualms about leaving one employer for another if it will aid their careers.

During his "State of the Profession" address at the 36th Australian Legal Convention in Perth last month, Corcoran said that the legal sector needed to appreciate the career perspectives of young lawyers to fully harness emerging talent.

"Unlike generations that have gone before them, today's law graduates see the world as one, large, ever-shrinking market," he said. "They don't feel restricted to working in one jurisdiction and have few qualms about moving their career within Australia or around the world."

Jonathan Augustus, president of the Australian Law Student's Association (ALSA), told Lawyer2b today that the association fully supports such comments, agreeing that there is a need for law firms to adapt to the changing demands of the next generation of lawyers.

Augustus said that, while the economy has reduced the current prospects for law students in finding graduate jobs, "for the most part students will still see their short-term employment as not just an income, but also an opportunity to gain skills".

Augustus said he believes the best way for employers to adapt to the changing needs of students would be to recognise that even if a new graduate left the firm within five or so years, if such graduates were well equipped and trained they would still provide for a useful alumni of networks in the future - whether they moved in-house, to another firm, into government, or even to a diplomatic post overseas.

"If they do happen to leave the firm within five or six years - and that's a common occurrence, based on anecdotal evidence and feedback from law firms - they want to be leaving knowing not only that they had a good experience and enjoyed it, but also that they walked out a better lawyer," he said

- Angela Priestley

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