find the latest legal job
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
Legal Inhouse / Lawyer / Company Secretary
Category: Other | Location: Brisbane QLD 4000
· Fantastic Company · Potential to be Part Time / Flexible Work Pattern
View details
Part Time Risk & Compliance Officer
Category: Other | Location: Brisbane QLD 4000
· Brisbane City · Flexible Part Time Hours
View details
More lawyers head to the Bar

More lawyers head to the Bar

The number of young lawyers joining the NSW Bar has jumped significantly over the last two years, leaving many junior barristers scrambling for work.Statistics provided by the NSW Bar…

The number of young lawyers joining the NSW Bar has jumped significantly over the last two years, leaving many junior barristers scrambling for work.

Statistics provided by the NSW Bar Association show that the total number of readers completing the Bar Practice Course each year has jumped from 60 in 2008 to 83 in 2010, equating to an increase of 38.3 per cent, while the total number of barristers currently at the NSW Bar is around 2100.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR), however, have indicated that the number of barristers across Australia has increased dramatically, with a growth of almost 64 per cent over the last two years. The statistics also reveal that there are approximately 4200 barristers currently practicing in NSW - over half the total number of practicing barristers in Australia.

According to Alastair McConnachie, deputy executive director of the NSW Bar Association, the ABS and DEEWR statistics are way off the mark.

"There is an increase, but nowhere near the magnitude of that suggested by the Department," he told Lawyers Weekly.

"It could be that the Department has fallen prey to an old chestnut - in NSW, solicitors who do advocacy work are allowed to call themselves 'barristers and solicitors', even though they're not members of the Bar. Perhaps the Department has factored in these people as being barristers, when they're really solicitors who do some court appearances."

McConnachie added that while the numbers in each practice course have been up and down over the past few years, there is nothing to indicate any consistent pattern of increase.

"The overall numbers at the Bar have remained remarkably steady at around 2100," he said.

But according to one anonymous Sydney-based barrister, the recent increase in young barristers - even if not as dramatic as inferred by the government statistics - has been noticeable and has led to difficulties for many junior barristers in finding work.

"It's really quiet. I have been at the Bar for three years and the first two-and-a-half years were really full on," she told Lawyers Weekly.

"The last six months have been very quiet. Many civil cases have settled. My friends who do crime have the big problem of empty diaries ... [and] in that case, the barrister is left very broke."

She also speculates that the comparatively large numbers of new barristers are directly related to the global financial crisis (GFC).

"[During the GFC] firms stopped hiring and many lawyers returned from overseas jobs, especially in London, and because they couldn't get work, they came to the bar," she said.

"Too many juniors equal not enough work. And when silks are quiet, which they are, there is less work for juniors."

Claire Chaffey

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

More lawyers head to the Bar
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
LCA welcomes religious freedom panel
06:04
LCA welcomes religious freedom panel
The Law Council of Australia says the establishment of a panel which will examine the human right to...
Law Society launched a new website, legal politics and lawmaking
06:00
Law Society launches project to engage young Aussies
The Law Society of NSW has launched a new website to engage young Australians in legal politics and ...
recognised for human rights work
06:00
LexisNexis executive recognised for human rights work
A LexisNexis executive has been announced as a finalist in a global awards program for women in busi...
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 & ...