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Young leader seeks better skills set

Briefs

Cite as: Jan/Feb 2011 85(1/2) LIJ, p.17

Improved career development opportunities and the wellbeing of young lawyers and law students top new Young Lawyers’ Section (YLS) president Jonathan Elliot’s to-do list for 2011.

Mr Elliot said while law graduates emerged from university with the necessary substantive knowledge to become lawyers, anecdotal evidence suggested some firms were not good at teaching the “soft skills” needed to grow a legal career. As a result, he wants to see more mentoring programs this year.

“The nature of the legal profession means that most young lawyers are put under the pump a bit and, depending on the culture of individual firms, we want people to know that they can find help if they feel overwhelmed,” Mr Elliot said.

“It is a challenging and pressurised profession and the earlier young lawyers understand that the better. Mentoring provides ‘soft skills’ – like networking and marketing yourself – that are not always taught in school. Career development is always going to be important to young lawyers.

“Depression is something discussed across the profession as a whole and the more skills learned early will only help decrease this as a whole.”

Mr Elliot said that the YLS would hold more information sessions and seminars to help young lawyers identify the skills they needed to move up the ranks.

He said he had been fortunate to come through his articles with a principal lawyer – former LIV president Andrew Scott – who was very interested in training him and always had time and great understanding.

“I had – and am having – such a great experience, I just thought that was how it was everywhere,” Mr Elliot said.

“But talking with other young lawyers, they don’t always get that opportunity and I believe there is a great need for it.”

Mr Elliot holds Bachelor of Law (Hons) and Bachelor of Commerce degrees from the University of Melbourne and undertook articles at Moores Legal. He currently works for Gadens Lawyers’ corporate advisory team.

Mr Elliot said he would also endeavour to increase engagement between the YLS, young lawyers and the broader community during his tenure and expand the use of social media tools used by the YLS.

“My broader theme will be raising the profile of the Section; that we are engaged with our members and relevant to them and they know who we are and what we offer. There are great opportunities in YLS to develop skills and help others and get assistance if needed,” he said.

“I would love to hear from any young lawyers who are keen to get involved or have ideas to further opportunities for young lawyers around the state.”

For more information about the YLS, see Young Lawyers under the membership section at www.liv.asn.au.

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