The Australian legal world got a big shock from news outlets lately when statistics allegedly recorded a total of 12,000 law graduates will be entering the profession this year. This may not seem like much for any other profession, but lawyers find the situation a cause for concern.
Fortunately, the College of Law and established legal firms such as Creech Wightman Lawyers tried to explain this figure. It is a lumped figure that the media did not bother putting into context. The 12,000 can be broken down into three categories: bachelor’s degrees (5917), masters degrees (5448), and Juris doctors (635). Less than 6,000 of the total number will actually be new lawyers, as the rest are already pursuing additional studies, and only 5,500 of those will pursue careers as lawyers.
The real numbers look a lot more realistic, but the controversy did highlight a matter that is concerned the legal world for some time now. Are there too many lawyers?
Times are definitely tough in the legal industry. It is harder for professionals to find work, as even the courts are starting to get a little crowded. According to Graduate Careers Australia, the legal industry posted a record low in employment rates with 78.5%, which means one in five lawyers could not find a job.
If that percentage remains, the same that means there will be more than a thousand law graduates who will not find a job this year. Even though it is unclear whether everyone studying law intends to pursue a career in the courts, there will definitely be more than a few who will have to consider working outside the profession.
One of the biggest reasons for the sudden surge of law students is that the number of law schools dramatically increased over the years. More law schools provide more opportunities for students to enter the profession, creating this deluge of hopeful lawyers-to-be. Whether or not that would be a good thing, only time will tell.