A recent report by the Law Society of NSW has found that Australian law students are highly anxious about finding employment after graduating, but has determined that there is no reason to set a cap on law student numbers.
While the Law Society suggests that more accurate data should be gathered to fully assess the lack of employment opportunities, it questioned whether the job market is in fact in decline, and if all law graduates intended to work in the field.
The report suggests that universities should work more closely with students to assist them in finding a job.
Professor Lesley Hitchens, Dean of the Law Faculty at the University of Technology, Sydney, said that while the economy may not be where it was, students can take comfort in the fact that in 2013, 78.5% of law graduates were employed full time.
“Students have worked towards a goal of graduating and gaining employment for three to five years, within an economy that is not as robust as previous years, and I think it is normal and understandable that they may feel anxious about their future job prospects. And that goes for most graduates, not just law graduates,” she said. “I think it is fair to say the opportunities are still there, but it is a competitive market.”
The report attributes many factors to the perception of a lack of jobs for graduates, including economic and new technological factors, and found no reason to limit the number of students into degrees as a result.
Professor Hitchens agreed, saying that there are many employment opportunities open to law graduates, outside of practicing as a lawyer.
“The nature of a law degree is that it opens up many opportunities and students should think broadly about their employment prospects,” said Professor Hitchens.
“Given the current information we have, which is limited, I do not see a need for limiting the number of law students. More importantly I think prospective students, together with their friends and family, are in the best position to make a decision around their own studies and eventual job prospects, rather than a quota being applied.”