Employment in the legal industry has posed many challenges for law graduates in this day and age. With the dynamic shifts in legal profession and increase number of graduates entering the workforce each year, it has been a challenging time for fresh law graduates.
To this end, Deakin Law School (DLS) recently held an exclusive panel discussion titled ‘Improving your Job Prospects in a Crowded Market’ focusing on articulating ways to find a job in the legal industry. As such, DLS invited three senior members of the legal profession and its own, Dr Claudio Bozzi to participate in a panel discussion about improving employability in a difficult employment market. Panellists included The Hon. Judge Joshua Wilson, Mr Douglas Trapnell QC and Partner at Allens, Mr Matthew Whittle. The speakers were forthcoming with amusing anecdotes, their own interesting experiences and their vision for the future of law graduates. Of the ideas that were discussed, there were three key themes that stood out. These include:
Study is important
Good grades and further study will give you an edge. With the ratio of jobs per graduate being low, each job applicant will be competing against very good competition. Mr Whittle said that sometimes, grades as far back as first year, can make a difference. Also important are post-graduate qualifications. Not only will these put you ahead of the competition, but they can quicken the pace at which you traverse your career path and lead to higher recompense. DLS offers several Masters options including our internationally-focused Master of Laws (LLM) which will allow you to stand out from the crowd and build on your existing legal qualifications. By applying to study a LLM at Deakin, you could be eligible for a number of scholarships as well.
Additional, practical skills are required
Work experience counts. Job applicants who have job-ready skills such as the capability to meet with clients or an ability to write reports will have a definite edge. Employers can see more genuine attempts at developing work-ready skills. A single two-week placement, while valuable, will not be enough. Prolonged pro-bono work or legal assistance of some kind will be beneficial. This added experience could be obtained as part of the Deakin LLM in its new law clinics.
Aim for growth areas
Research areas of growth within the legal industry, as that is where new employment opportunities will be created. Areas with high growth, such as those based upon the ageing population in Australia (such as healthcare, estate and will settlement, etc.) are likely to provide a higher level of job progression, as are industries that are experiencing high levels of regulatory change, such as financial services or industries supporting international trade.