One of the main challenges facing law graduates and junior lawyers in the current employment market is to land a job in their preferred area of practice. Competition for jobs in the legal industry is fierce. Jobs are scarce and securing an interview can take months. Only those graduates who have worked hard to stand above the rest through a combination of excellence in academic performance and industry-related experience will enjoy the luxury of carving their own career path.
Traditionally, lawyers have sat outside the core operations of a business, far removed from the everyday processes and nuances that feed into legal issues that businesses have to deal with. It has never been expected for lawyers to live side-by-side other business departments, however – in a highly competitive market – the benefits associated with closer collaboration are becoming plainly obvious to businesses looking to gain a competitive advantage.
There is no doubt among those in the legal industry that the traditional law firm model will eventually become a thing of the past. Digital and technological ‘disruption’ and innovation are responsible for unprecedented change across the professional services sector.
To accelerate your career in law, you must stay true to why you chose this professional area in the first place. Often people embarking on a legal career have done so in pursuit of ‘making a difference’.
Despite the stereotype of the law being a ‘cold and distant’ profession, those aspiring to be lawyers and those working as legal practitioners, know that the law offers an opportunity to help people achieve life goals or find resolution when experiencing a difficult time. This is true for lawyers working for a big business as it is for those practising law in the community sector.
In a highly competitive job market, junior lawyers willing to refine their technical skills and personal attributes will have a better chance of being shortlisted according to the recent report ‘How to get a job in 2017’ by Hays. Nick Deligiannis, Managing Director of Hays in Australia and New Zealand, notes that while 2017 may see new positions up for grabs, the focus for prospective employers will be on ‘securing the most useful person’ through a much more discerning recruitment processes.
Millennials will reshape the future of corporate in-house practice and potentially the overall practice of law according to a recent survey by Thomson Reuters. If you were born after 1983, you are in the millennial generation (also known as ‘Gen Y’, ‘Gen Me’ and ‘Echo Boomers’). There are a number of key traits that set millennials apart from their predecessors ‘Gen X’ and baby boomers.
In an increasingly regulated business environment, the skills and knowledge that commercial lawyers bring to the corporate sector highlight their potential as the next business leaders. Given that international markets and emerging business trends tend to impact the way local business is conducted, lawyers looking to enter the world of corporate leadership will need to identify their strengths and weaknesses, and upskill accordingly.
In today’s competitive employment market, LLMs are increasingly viewed as a viable option to secure a first job or move up the corporate ladder. According to Graduates Careers Australia, about 20 per cent of Bachelor degree graduates immediately transition to further study.
For law graduates and practising lawyers, an LLM provides an opportunity to specialise in a specific area of the law. For those who want to move out of legal practice, doing an LLM can open up a diverse range of law-related jobs across industries where legal knowledge and experience are assets.