Australian graduates believe the current legal curriculum is failing to prepare them for ‘the real world’ when they graduate according to a broad cross section of recent graduates and young lawyers who participated in Part 2 of InfoTrack’s Legal Education Roundtable Series.
The academic focus on developing analytical thinking was felt to be too theoretical and removed from the reality of the modern legal landscape. Roundtable participants believe more time should be spent on building practical skills and work presentation methods as these are prerequisites for securing a role and succeeding at work.
While it is an industry-accepted practice that employers will train graduates around admin, search, technology and practice management, many graduates would like a basic understanding of these concepts while in University so they don’t feel like they are behind when they begin work.
The struggle to stand out in a very competitive market is serious and stressful for graduates, especially as employers look beyond qualifications in the current recruitment process.
InfoTrack’s first roundtable with academics and legal practitioners showed clearly that employers were not looking for High Distinctions but rather wanted a broad knowledge, cultural fit and a demonstrated passion outside of the area of law. However, graduates are unclear as to how to demonstrate their cultural fit in a measurable way.
The biggest takeaway for InfoTrack chief executive, John Ahern who moderated the session, was that graduates do not see a single role for lawyers in their future. “What is very interesting is that graduates believe they need to be a ‘lawyer-plus’; that is a lawyer and project manager, lawyer and data analyst, lawyer and marketer, or a lawyer and people manager. They want to move away from being a cost-centre to a valuable stakeholder in the business and offer not just a legal opinion but a commercial solution to any query whether in-house or at a firm.
“It is obvious that the role of the lawyer has changed significantly for graduates and that workplaces are adapting to that. What hasn’t changed is the education system”, he added.
The Transitioning to law in the digital age: The Graduate Perspective eBook is available at:
It explores the views of new and recent Australian legal graduates on the changing role of the new lawyer in the digital age, the technology gap between academia and the workforce and makes recommendations to improve the transition of graduates to the workforce.