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By Adam Wakeling


Ethics and professional reputation

We have started 2016 with the important topics of ethics, etiquette and professional reputation. Looking to the future, there are three things that are important to me which I would like to see the YLJ and blogs address over 2016: career development, volunteering and mental health.

This edition focuses on ethics, etiquette and professional reputation. We all do subjects on ethics at university and in PLT and lawyers are required to complete an ethics CPD point every year. But making ethics work in reality can be a challenge for new solicitors. And there is little in formal education that covers the related and critical topics of professional etiquette and building and protecting your reputation. To make it easier for you, this special edition of the YLJ discusses these issues.

Career development

Helping law students and young lawyers develop their careers will always be a critical part of our mission. But at the same time, we must accept that many graduates will never practise law and most of those who do will not follow the traditional clerkship/traineeship route. I am among them – I was rejected for every clerkship I applied for, but I now have an interesting and rewarding job in the governance, risk and compliance sector.

I have been pleased to help my organisation develop a relationship with Victoria University and Swinburne University Law Schools, and we have benefited from having the students do research for us. Other organisations, particularly those that do not have formal clerkship and traineeship programs, could likewise benefit. If you work in an organisation that employs lawyers, could you run a placement program with a law school or PLT provider?


Being a volunteer can benefit you as much as it helps society. Aside from serving on the Editorial Committee of the YLJ, I am a volunteer at the SES Footscray Unit and at the Mental Health Legal Centre. I’ve learned good skills, met great people, and most importantly, had a lot of fun along the way. Volunteering can benefit your career, and joining an LIV committee is a great start. But I would also like to see the YLJ promote other volunteering opportunities, particularly for law students and lawyers. Do you have ideas?

Mental health

Lawyers and law students with mental illness still face many challenges. As a lawyer with bipolar disorder I have experienced many of them. While progress has been made there is still work to be done in education, acceptance of mental illness in the profession, and building business models that are conducive to good mental health.

Adam Wakeling, Senior Compliance Adviser, State Trustees and Chair, YL Editorial Committee.

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