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Career intentions survey released


Cite as: September 2015 89 (9) LIJ, p.10

Income, prestige and status drive men to become lawyers while women go into law because they are interested in social justice and enjoy debating.

These are among the findings of a survey conducted 2013-2015 by the Women Lawyers’ Association of NSW (WLANSW). The report was launched in July by patron acting Justice Jane Mathews.

Of 1403 law graduates of all university law schools and the College of Law in NSW surveyed about their career intentions, 61 per cent said they intended to practise as a lawyer, 28 per cent were not sure and 11 per cent said they did not intend to practise.

The top 10 reasons for remaining a solicitor and not becoming a barrister were:

  • not having the skills/personality;
  • not enjoying public speaking;
  • not enough information to make a decision;
  • the Bar is not family-friendly;
  • high risk working for yourself;
  • want to practise outside metropolitan areas;
  • too much stress/pressure;
  • want to travel/work overseas;
  • lack of ethnic representation; and
  • hours too long.
  • Women nominated too much stress/pressure (38 per cent) and not having the required skills (37 per cent) as the top reasons for not going to the Bar.

    According to WLANSW, the Career Intentions Survey is the first study in Australia with the capacity to measure and address the effectiveness of initiatives targeting diversity, retention of talent, and leadership in the legal profession. “When considered in the context of the current employment market for law graduates, the Career Intentions survey report points to a real need for initiatives, policies, practices and programs to be reviewed, starting from when students are studying law at university,” WLANSW president Lee-May Saw said.

    A report on the survey is available at survey.


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