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Young lawyers disheartened by career promises

Young lawyers disheartened by career promises

Young lawyers are entering the workforce with unrealistic and misguided expectations, writes Claire Chaffey, leading to dissatisfaction and poor retention rates.An investigation undertaken by…

Young lawyers are entering the workforce with unrealistic and misguided expectations, writes Claire Chaffey, leading to dissatisfaction and poor retention rates.

An investigation undertaken by Lawyers Weekly revealed that while post-GFC statistics are hard to come by on the rate of young lawyers leaving the profession, anecdotal evidence suggests that many firms continue to struggle to retain them.

"This is an issue that really is plaguing various parts of the junior lawyer ranks, for different reasons," said Pouyan

Afshar, president of the New South Wales Law Society Young Lawyers Association.

According to sources contacted by Lawyers Weekly, a common theme as to just what is behind the trend of young lawyers leaving the profession early in their career appears to come down to a great divide between expectations and actuality.

"Retention rates are an issue because ... people have high expectations or wrong expectations. They don't appreciate the type of work they will do and they get disheartened," said Afshar.

Former lawyer turned recruiter, Jason Elias, of Elias Recruitment, believes he knows one reason for why many young lawyers have skewed expectations.

"I call it the Ally McBeal theory," he said.

"People who don't know what law is like in practice rely on popular media. They have certain expectations, and when they get into the legal environment - particularly private practice - if it doesn't match those expectations, they leave."

To read the full article in relation to this issue, get your hands on a hardcopy of this week's edition of Lawyers Weekly, or check out the full report online next week.

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