Law and legal graduates can work in a wide variety of organisations including government departments, small and large legal firms, large corporations, or as solo contractors.
Since the Global Financial Crisis in 2008, the law and legal industry have faced challenging business conditions, including a decline in demand for services, a lack of new product development and fewer mergers and acquisitions. However, this appears to be changing, with new statistics released by the Australian government predicting strong job growth for law and legal professions and a rise in employment levels.
Unfortunately, there are still more law and legal graduates than there are jobs in these fields, which means competition for graduate and summer clerk positions is very intense.
Those with double degrees are favoured for graduate positions, as are those who have managed to gain part-time legal experience.
To be considered for a position at a large, corporate law firm, graduates need to have something that makes them stand out from other applicants, such as excellent grades, extracurricular activities or work experience.
Many large firms hire law and legal graduates through vacation clerkships, which involves students in their second last year of study spending a summer or winter break interning at an organisation. The expectation is that, if a student performs well, they will be offered a graduate position at the end of their clerkship.
Large firms in capital cities, such as Melbourne and Sydney, each accept around 20 clerks per year out of an estimated 1,200 applicants.
The industries that are major employers of law and legal graduates are:
A law or legal degree is considered an asset by many companies and the majority of law and legal graduates find work outside the legal sector in jobs including: