Valuing Graduates and Students

Posted 28 March 2017

It is not uncommon to hear law students and graduates sharing the belief that the legal market is saturated, and where only the best of the best have any chance of getting over the hurdle of that coveted first legal job.

According to 2015 data from the Council of Australian Law Deans, of the 7,583 Bachelor of law and Juris Doctor graduates nationally, 2,944 were graduates from NSW or the ACT. Further, in a recent article by Lawyers Weekly ‘Elite have ‘overwhelming’ advantage in legal recruitment, data shows’ it was shown that more than 50% of graduate applicants had graduated from the top 10% performing schools in Australia, with further data suggesting that students outside of this demographic may be dissuaded from even applying for graduate processes due to the perception of not being competitive.

Statistics like these can paint graduate employment opportunities in a grim light, or even deter aspiring students of law from starting or completing their studies. However, employers of law graduates are embracing change that views and values aspiring lawyers in a different light.

Top tier firms such as Allens and KWM are increasingly using data mining and alternative algorithms proven effective in the UK legal markets to identify attributes outside of good grades that can indicate potentially strong lawyers. This demonstrates to students and graduates that firms are thinking more critically about what they value in their prospective employees.

Earlier in the year a number of the top tier firms hosted an event Resilience@Law aimed at giving their new clerks as well as existing staff the tools to be more mentally and psychologically resilient throughout their legal careers. This further shows a commitment to a change towards law graduates and students being valued for the contributions that they can make and the unique skills and attributes that they can bring to a practice.