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LIV President's Blog 2012

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Changing gears: How to get support when law is your second career

Changing gears: How to get support when law is your second career

The legal profession is welcoming increasing numbers of later lawyers. People are entering the law for many different reasons and different stages of their life. However, the journey for a later lawyer can be a lot different to that of a high school leaver. Many later lawyers go to study law whilst juggling other responsibilities, such as raising children, a full-time job and a mortgage. Later lawyers’ learning and development will benefit from networking with other second career lawyers.

Law School
A traditional law degree can often be tricky to incorporate when working fulltime. Classes are often held during the day, and these can be difficult to attend. Further career services at universities are often geared towards school leavers. However as the number of later lawyers is increasing the services are now broadening.  

Traditionally career advisors at law schools are well versed in providing information about seasonal clerkship positions and mainstream graduate positions. However the unique position of a later lawyer means that career services at law schools may be not be as well equipped to advise about other career paths, or how to can combine their past career with their legal career.

Learning and development
However, this is not to say that later lawyers do not share the same challenges that high school leavers face during law school and finding a job. Later lawyers are still required to achieve good grades and compete with many other law graduates for legal jobs. What the differences highlight, is that the learning and development phase can take on a different approach for later lawyers as opposed to the high school leaver, both at law school and in the legal profession.

Later Lawyers Network Committee
The underlying objective of the Later Lawyers' Network is to assist law students and lawyers who come to the law later in life or as a second career to develop networks and professional skills to enhance their career in the law. It is also the stepping stone into the broader YLS and its many Committees and activities.  The Committee hosts a number of social events to assist later lawyers connect with each other and to the broader legal community. The Committee also holds regular meetings to discuss how the LIV can assist later lawyers with their concerns about their employment prospects and legal professional development.

Get involved & get supported

It can be daunting to enter a new career, especially if you have previously been quite successful in chosen field. Networking will be beneficial to your learning and development for many reasons:

  • By networking with other later lawyers you will soon realise that you are not alone. Other later lawyers can assist you successfully negotiate the obstacles that can be unique to later lawyers.
  • Networking will assist you to learn from other later lawyers about study techniques, career opportunities and working as later lawyers.
  • Some later lawyers may believe that their opportunities are limited by their age and past experiences. Meeting other later lawyers who are in different areas of the law will give you a broader perspective on career paths and lifestyle choices.
  • Networking with other later lawyers can assist your learning and development by helping you realise the value that your unconventional background can bring to the legal profession.  In a competitive job-market, speaking with other later lawyers can often help you understand that having had a first career can be a genuine advantage.

For more information about the Later Lawyers Network Committee and how you can be involved, please contact the Young Lawyers Section via email or phone: 9607 9370.


Author: Joseph Carbone and Geoff Rossiter are the co-chairs of the Later Lawyers Network Committee 2015.

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Luke Stanistreet
Happy to discuss coming to the Bar with any later lawyers if it would assist.
24/02/2015 4:39:15 PM

Michael Galbraith
Great article. I look forward to being involved in the later lawyer events this year. It would be godd to see a law firms perspective on later lawyers and any tips they may have for career success.
20/02/2015 1:03:45 PM

Michael Galbraith
Great article. I look forward to being involved in the later lawyer events this year. It would be great to see a law firms perspective on later lawyers and any tips they may have for career success.
20/02/2015 1:01:30 PM

Thank you. The thoughts processes and feelings seem to be different throughout your time.
20/02/2015 3:33:31 AM

I agree with this post. This profession has no age limit and everyone is allowed to enter the legal world as long as you have the ability and talent. Thanks for sharing!
19/02/2015 1:38:11 PM

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