LAWYERS should “rise above the utilitarian” and look broadly to legal colleagues in conducting their work, Queensland’s top judge has told new entrants to the state’s profession.
In a speech at the admissions ceremony yesterday, Chief Justice Paul de Jersey welcomed newcomers to “a vibrant profession”.
He urged the new legal professionals to “always remember the essence of your newly acquired professionalism”, as well as its embrace of the ideal of public service.
De Jersey said new lawyers should “recognise the critical importance of continuing legal education” and “suffer no dereliction in your dedication to the highest ethical standards”.
He said the profession had responded well to “quite substantial changes in approach” in recent years, including embracing the mechanisms of alternative dispute resolution and the consequent “retreat from adversarialism”.
The state’s top judge said new lawyers should participate in pro bono and voluntary community endeavors, as well as recognise that “every human being, to survive and flourish, depends on the support of others, especially so with professionals subject to the pressured demands of contemporary life”.
His comments come after The New Lawyer revealed yesterday that law students suffer depression at a greater rate than in the profession itself.
According to the Brain & Mind research Institute, a University of Sydney-established research centre, 41 per cent of law students will suffer from psychological distress sever enough to justify clinical assessment at some point in their career.
Verity Doyle, president of the Australian Law Students Association (ALSA) linked the depression and pressure law students experienced to the pressure they felt to join large law firms.
She said law firm sponsorship of law school societies means those firms can have a massive impact on the inner-workings of the various societies.
“So that can mean the main career opportunities which are promoted through law student societies are those going through the clerkship process and going into the top firms,” she said. See more of Doyle’s comments here.