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  string(3680) "2015 marks my 9th year in legal recruitment, 7 years in London and 2 years here in Sydney. I have seen a number of trends over my time in the industry:
  • The evolution of the Legal Secretary;
  • Newly created jobs that firms never thought they would need to recruit for;
  • The various changes in titles for the same job;
  • Different educational requirements;
  • Various changes in the importance of certain aspects of a candidates CV’s; Partner’s names, variety of duties, a single focused role, reasons for leaving and even reasons for staying!;
  • Questioning over sick leave was a big trend at one point, now illegal in some countries; and
  • Change in ambition from the lower hanging fruit.
It fair to say that over the years more and more is expected of people. We have therefore trained our newest generation to exceed expectations, set themselves apart and strive to be at the top of their game and fair play! Who doesn’t want to feel accomplished? So what did we do to drive this change? We told them to go and get degrees because when you grow up everyone around you is going to have a degree and you’re not so therefore you won’t get a job and all your peers now will have degrees and fancy jobs. Most young adults get to the grand ol’ age of 18 and have no clue what to do next, so are then told to sign up for a Bachelor of Arts because it teaches great life skills! And of course, it definitely helps to understand the world we live in. Then a BA copped a bad rep for a bit of a ‘nothing’ course for people who just wanted to live it up for 3 years and get a degree at the end of it. So as time goes on, the BA becomes a not-so-cool subject to study because more is expected of you at the end of your degree! It is drilled in to you to be respected in life, to ensure continued personal development and smooth career progression. What screams class more than a Law Degree? So here we have it in NSW alone, 17,000 law graduates per year and 28,000 already practising Lawyers in NSW alone. It is as cut throat as ever. There are not nearly enough graduate jobs to go around. What are we left with? High calibre, educated and forward thinking Law graduates who perhaps never really wanted to be a Lawyer and thought studying law was the wise thing to do. However it turns out that the majority quite enjoy law but not enough to spend 15 hours behind a desk everyday submitting billable hours and completing work. We have established that these graduates enjoy law, know a bit about methodical problem solving and they want work/life balance (yes those buzz words)! The next natural path is a career Paralegal or Legal PA. And guess what, it happens! Let’s just embrace these clever souls and nurture them in to the best kind of support a Lawyer/Partner could ever wish for. Part of me feels that there will be a day and age in the future when it will be surprising when a Legal PA applies for a job and he/she does not have a law degree. So, do you believe a Law Degree is the new Bachelor of Arts? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.  " ["post_title"]=> string(41) "Is a Law Degree the New Bachelor of Arts?" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(178) "What are we left with? High calibre, educated and forward thinking Law graduates who perhaps never really wanted to be a Lawyer and thought studying law was the wise thing to do." ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(28) "law-degree-new-bachelor-arts" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(118) "http://www.coxpurtell.com.au/blog/work-life-balance-really-need/ http://www.coxpurtell.com.au/blog/top-10-resume-tips/" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2017-03-30 08:27:26" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-03-29 22:27:26" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(36) "http://www.coxpurtell.com.au/?p=2253" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "3" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" }

2015 marks my 9th year in legal recruitment, 7 years in London and 2 years here in Sydney. I have seen a number of trends over my time in the industry:

  • The evolution of the Legal Secretary;
  • Newly created jobs that firms never thought they would need to recruit for;
  • The various changes in titles for the same job;
  • Different educational requirements;
  • Various changes in the importance of certain aspects of a candidates CV’s; Partner’s names, variety of duties, a single focused role, reasons for leaving and even reasons for staying!;
  • Questioning over sick leave was a big trend at one point, now illegal in some countries; and
  • Change in ambition from the lower hanging fruit.

It fair to say that over the years more and more is expected of people. We have therefore trained our newest generation to exceed expectations, set themselves apart and strive to be at the top of their game and fair play! Who doesn’t want to feel accomplished?

So what did we do to drive this change? We told them to go and get degrees because when you grow up everyone around you is going to have a degree and you’re not so therefore you won’t get a job and all your peers now will have degrees and fancy jobs.

Most young adults get to the grand ol’ age of 18 and have no clue what to do next, so are then told to sign up for a Bachelor of Arts because it teaches great life skills! And of course, it definitely helps to understand the world we live in. Then a BA copped a bad rep for a bit of a ‘nothing’ course for people who just wanted to live it up for 3 years and get a degree at the end of it.

So as time goes on, the BA becomes a not-so-cool subject to study because more is expected of you at the end of your degree! It is drilled in to you to be respected in life, to ensure continued personal development and smooth career progression.

What screams class more than a Law Degree?

So here we have it in NSW alone, 17,000 law graduates per year and 28,000 already practising Lawyers in NSW alone. It is as cut throat as ever. There are not nearly enough graduate jobs to go around.

What are we left with? High calibre, educated and forward thinking Law graduates who perhaps never really wanted to be a Lawyer and thought studying law was the wise thing to do.

However it turns out that the majority quite enjoy law but not enough to spend 15 hours behind a desk everyday submitting billable hours and completing work.

We have established that these graduates enjoy law, know a bit about methodical problem solving and they want work/life balance (yes those buzz words)! The next natural path is a career Paralegal or Legal PA. And guess what, it happens!

Let’s just embrace these clever souls and nurture them in to the best kind of support a Lawyer/Partner could ever wish for. Part of me feels that there will be a day and age in the future when it will be surprising when a Legal PA applies for a job and he/she does not have a law degree.

So, do you believe a Law Degree is the new Bachelor of Arts? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.

 

Tags: Cox Purtell | Cox Purtell Blog | Law Degree | Legal | Legal PA | Legal Secretary |

3 thoughts on “Is a Law Degree the New Bachelor of Arts?

  1. This is so true. As a law graduate, I left university unimpressed by the lack of sleep, long hours and stressful lifestyle the Solicitors who I worked for led. It doesn’t appeal to me. There is such a thing as a work/ life balance. Being a career Paralegal or Legal Secretary both of which I have been for the past 2-3 years has allowed me to practice what skills and knowledge I acquired at university without sacrificing a social life and my sanity.

    Personally, I think it is a huge advantage to work in these roles having had a legal education. Both to the employee and employer. You rightly point out that there are not enough lawyer jobs around for everyone who graduates, and with competition fierce; these positions can be reserved for the best of the best and the support roles can be acquired by they who actually want a life! Like myself.

  2. I think you’ve definitely highlighted the trend that I’ve seen emerge in the past decade. I am part of the cohort of students who left school, did a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Psychology and then had a change of heart about pursuing psychology and threw myself into a part time law degree working full time in the legal industry in various paralegal roles.

    My happiest role is definitely my current role which is in-house, and away from the cut throat private practice patterns. If private practice could create the same environment that in-house has created for lawyers then the work-life balance wouldn’t be the same stretch that it is that is forcing lawyers to choose positions as support personnel. For me personally, I would ideally like to move forward in my career as a graduate solicitor and have no desire to have a law degree and remain in a support role.

    I do however think that the legal industry as a whole would greatly benefit from support personnel having a legal studies background as I have worked with many support personnel without, and have found that they tend to lack some understanding of legal concepts that drives the “how” and “why” to do things in particular ways. Great thought-provoking piece Farah! Thanks!

  3. Kelly – Thank you for your comment. You’re 100% right that those graduate positions that are available are reserved for those with impeccable university grades, a prestigious high school education and usually personal connections!

    Samantha – Thank you for your comment also. I truly believe that those with a legal education could allow all firms – Niche to Top-Tier – to be even more competitive in their service to their clients. Employing support with a greater understanding will allow the client to feel looked after from all angles, allow the Partners/Lawyers to engage in more valuable activities and giving support staff greater variety offering them subsequent job satisfaction and therefore reducing turnover.

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