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Australia-Europe ties for young lawyers

Briefs

Cite as: (2007) 81(12) LIJ, p. 17


Law Institute of Victoria (LIV) Young Lawyers’ Section acting president Will Hammond represented Australia at the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe Conference in September.

Mr Hammond submitted a paper on the similarities between the Australian and European legal professions, which organisers selected to be delivered at the Poland conference.

The paper particularly focused on efforts made in both continents to harmonise legal education, regulation and practice standards.

“There are many similarities between Australia and the European Union,” the Middletons commercial lawyer said.

“Although there are language and cultural barriers, Europe really has a focus to create a legal market and profession that recognises legal practitioners from other countries.”

Mr Hammond said the adoption of the Bologna Process in both Australia and Europe was a major step towards both legal professions harmonising pre-admission legal training.

Europe introduced the Bologna Process in 1999 in a move to establish a single European Higher Education system by 2010.

The system allows students, including law students, to complete their studies at different universities in various European countries.

Fourteen Australian universities agreed to participate in a similar scheme called the Australian Diploma Supplement, federal Education, Science and Training Minister Julie Bishop announced in January this year.

Ms Bishop said the Supplement meant Australian education qualifications would be better recognised overseas and would help increase students’ mobility.

Mr Hammond said Australian law students and young lawyers, including himself, were eager to venture to Europe.

“The path to European practice is now a tradition for young [Australian] lawyers,” he said.

“The conference was important to investigating how Australian young lawyers are perceived overseas, and looking at future processes that could make a continental European experience less complicated for Australian young lawyers.

“Many law firms are now seeing the benefits of a European experience for their young lawyers by implementing new methods of delivering a European experience through short-term leave periods and secondments.”

The LIV Council funded Mr Hammond’s attendance at the conference.

Mr Hammond thanked the Council and said the funding highlighted the LIV’s willingness to support and improve opportunities for young lawyers.

For more information on the LIV Young Lawyers’ Section, see http://www.liv.asn.au/members/sections/younglawyers.

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