Saville's Shout

Feb 17, 2014

Saville’s shout: few law jobs … work from home … setting a scene …

There are far more law graduates than jobs in the legal profession at the moment, with law school grads being encouraged to choose another profession. Plus other bits and pieces.

Margot Saville — <em>Crikey</em> Sydney reporter

Margot Saville

Crikey Sydney reporter

The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers. Recent news in Fairfax papers that the number of Australian law graduates has doubled over the past decade should strike fear into the heart of any graduate hoping to pay off his or her HECS debt and earn a living. More than 12,000 lawyers are graduating from law every year, into a profession that currently stands at around 60,000 members. Most of the that growth has come in the area of post-graduate law, the numbers for which increased from 1635 in 2001 to 7036 in 2013.


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4 thoughts on “Saville’s shout: few law jobs … work from home … setting a scene …

  1. Dogs breakfast

    “One of the most fundamental problems for lawyers is the downgrading of legal work from a noble profession imbued with special characteristics to that of a legal services factory in which success is judged solely on money”

    Yes, alas, lawyers having to join the rest of the world.

    Whenever someone informs me that they will be studying law, these days it is a boast, given the need for ridiculously high marks, I invariably ask them if they shouldn’t consider an honest profession as an alternative.

    There was a time when I thought lawyers were intelligent people, and perhaps they were, but I have now been exposed to a sufficient number to realise that as a group, they are in fact less intelligent than your average tradie (no, that’s not a put-down yo elitist scum, it is to say that they are moderately intelligent, at best)

    Of course a tradie is a hugely useful person who by the minute, hour and day actually solves real problems and gets real things done. No such luck from our highly paid lawyerly lot.

    I now find them increasingly dim, heavily over-invested in their egos, but most compellingly, hugely and hopelessly locked in linear thought, and unaware that linear thinking is really quite straightforward, as the phrase suggests. And it should be no surprise, because reading words on a page and deciphering their meaning isn’t actually that astounding an intellectual feat!

    Any out of the box problem will flummox them completely, creative or original thought is beyond them, analysis is another planet entirely.

    Oh I am having fun, you can’t see how much my tongue is in my cheek, but that isn’t to say that I believe every word I have just said.

    Good day.

    And go and find an honest profession, you blaggards

  2. Chris Hartwell

    I’m almost scared to hear your thoughts on engineers Dogs Breakfast.

  3. Dogs breakfast

    Dear Mr Hartwell,

    Be afraid, be very afraid!!!!! 🙂

    I kid you not, I have worked in a number of industries, and Lawyers and Engineers are the stand-outs in terms of other-worldly mindsets.

    But at least Engineers are useful.

  4. Thomas McLoughlin

    I agree the profession should be a profession. And it must be an honest one. However there is a really big issue with the angle on this story of a so called over supply.

    The NSW Law and Justice Foundation in recent years showed with compelling statistics that 8 million adult Australians have unmet legal service needs. Hello. This is a huge ‘market’ that has convinced itself they can never afford a lawyer, the way many cannot afford a dentist, with an under supply of service providers. Virtually every person I meet has a legal problem that needs real legal work.

    Probably like DB above, before I did real legal work I thought anyone could get the right legal information and provide the right legal advice and strategy. However this is just not the case. We live in a really big complex social contract and it’s no personal failing to not be up with the intricacies of that contract in every diverse situation – including just walking down the street.

    A real lawyer weeds out the useful primary materials and guideline judgements from secondary materials, swims in an ocean of commentary and precedent to the island of safe reliable principles, throws a safety line and buoy to the client and shows them how to avoid the sharks of prison or bankruptcy – if only by carefully outlining why they don’t have a winning case so go find – as suggested above – an alternative often non legal approach.

    But why is there such a mismatch of need to service provision? This is the real story we need written. Please investigate and write on this – professional indemnity insurance is a barrier to start ups, cost of CLE ongoing training is arguably excessive, clients themselves are frightened by the overpriced rates based on the tv legend and indeed big corporate reality of big city overheads and lavish lifestyles of the mere 5% CBD sector.

    In reality most lawyers in NSW are sole practitioners – well over 50% as I understand. If they can reduce overheads via laptop and open source software (eg back up software via major geeks website), open office suite compatible to microsoft word etc then they are on the road to the real challenge.

    The real challenge is providing a pursuasive induction to needy clients that they can actually afford sound legal asistance which empowers them, but at present think they are priced out of that service. Yes, to pay for a low priced but effective lawyer might mean going without take away coffee for a month but good legal advice saves alot of time money and trouble too.

    Just like a dentist – who charges alot more usually.

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