Country lawyers face a number of unique challenges in comparison to those who work in an urban environment. Western Australia is the largest state in the country, encompassing some of the most remote locations and greatest distances to travel to our capital city.
Issues of travel, accommodation costs, and isolation can make it more difficult to attend meetings in Perth and to Continuing Professional Development seminars. Despite the occasional difficulties, being a country lawyers can be extremely rewarding with many enjoying a strong bond with their local communities and close relationships with clients that may elude those working in city practices.
Country Practitioners Committee
The Law Society of Western Australia’s Country Practitioners Committee represents and engages with country lawyers on the issues most relevant to them.
It tackles issues such as recruitment and retention, the availability and effective use of video link technology and the particular effects of country life and practice, such as isolation, on practitioner mental health.
Rural, Regional and Remote Law
Rural, Regional and Remote Law is an initiative of the Law Council of Australia. It gives current and aspiring legal practitioners an insight into what life is like in rural, regional and remote Australia by breaking down myths and highlighting the exciting opportunities available across Australia.
It is funded by the Australian Government as part of a broader project on recruitment and retention of lawyers in rural, regional and remote areas undertaken by the National Association of Community Legal Centres Inc.
The Law Society of Western Australia acknowledges the unique position of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Peoples of Australia. We recognise that, as the peak body of the legal profession in Western Australia, we have the opportunity to affect real change through raising awareness of our commitment to reconciliation.
Indigenous Legal Issues Committee
The Law Society’s Indigenous Legal Issues Committee seeks to encourage and support Indigenous lawyers, law graduates and law students. Indigenous and non-Indigenous members of the Law Society are welcome to apply to join the committee.
Reconciliation Action Plan
The Law Society’s Reconciliation Action Plan sets out a strategy to achieve a profession where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander law students, graduates and practitioners feel valued and respected. The Law Society promotes a community in which members understand and show respect for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures through building relationships and laying the foundation for increased opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
View the Report on Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan Actions
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student Mentoring Programme
The Law Society and its Indigenous Legal Issues Committee offer a mentoring programme for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander law students from Western Australian universities.
In-house and Government Lawyers
In-house and government lawyers have workplace environments and professional needs which differ to those of practitioners working at large law firms. In-house and government lawyers are, of course, subject to the same ethical responsibilities as other lawyers, yet there may be certain additional restrictions or considerations to take into account.
Government lawyers, for example, are arguably held to higher standards of integrity than their counterparts in the private sphere, due their role as guardians of the public interest. In-house and government lawyers are placed in the unique situation of being wholly reliant upon a single ‘client’, their employer, for all of their work. This can lead to ethical pressures as practitioners attempt to balance their employer’s commercial interests with their paramount duty to the court and the administration of justice.
In-house / Government Lawyers Committee
The Law Society of Western Australia’s In-house / Government Lawyers Committee promotes and supports the specific needs of in-house and government lawyers. The Committee meets on a monthly basis and has members drawn from Local, State and Federal Government; the university sector; the not-for-profit sector, resources and construction companies as well as Legal Aid, Director of Public Prosecutions and State Solicitor’s Office.
Sole Practitioners and Small Firms
Lawyers working for small practices may enjoy closer relationships with their colleagues and have more opportunities to get to know their clients and their legal issues in greater depth.
Sole practitioners are able to enjoy a higher degree of flexibility when it comes to working hours. Sole practitioners are also able to take on the rewards, risks and responsibilities that come with being self-employed.
Small firms and sole practitioners who are members of the Law Society of Western Australia experience a number of benefits:
- Attend free information and networking forums especially tailored for Sole Practitioner and Small Firm lawyers, held three times a year
- Capped professional liability through our Professional Standards Scheme (formerly Limitation of Liability Scheme)
- Generate business through registering for our Find a Lawyer service
- Access free resources and guidelines to help you lead the way in professional practice
- Influence the agenda through membership on one or more of our 40+ committees and nominate for Council
- Have your voice heard nationally and internationally through the Law Society’s constituent membership of the Law Council of Australia
Increasing the proportion of women lawyers in positions of authority and retaining women in the profession are among the top priorities of the Law Society of Western Australia. This is reflected in our strategic campaigns for 2015/16, which include supporting lawyers through dealing with gender bias.
The Law Society has actioned a number of recommendations from the Women Lawyers of Western Australia’s 2014 20th Anniversary Review of the 1994 Chief Justice’s Gender Bias Taskforce Report. Chapter two of the Review is focused on the career paths for women in the legal profession. It contained 18 recommendations directed towards the Law Society.
The Law Society actioned 12 of these recommendations immediately and convened a working group to develop initiatives for the remaining six, as well as to support the profession in meeting the recommendations made for it.
The Law Society has worked closely with the Law Council of Australia on a national action plan in response to its National Attrition and Retention Survey of the profession. The Law Society has also endorsed and adopted the Law Council’s Diversity and Equality Charter.
Joint Law Society/Women Lawyers of WA Committee
The Joint Law Society/Women Lawyers of WA Committee is a liaison group between Women Lawyers of Western Australia (Inc.) and the Law Society. Members include representatives from the Law Society’s Young Lawyers Committee, the Western Australian Bar Association’s Council and the Law Council of Australia’s Equalising Opportunities in the Law Committee, all of whom report on local and national issues pertaining to women in the law.
- Closing the Gender Pay Gap Report, 2017
The Male Champions of Change Pay Gap Report offers a number of useful tools for successfully uncovering and addressing aspects of the gender pay gap.
- Final Directions Paper, August 2016
The Law Society of Western Australia’s response to the Women Lawyers of Western Australia’s 20th Anniversary Review of the 1994 Chief Justice’s Gender Bias Taskforce Review.
- 2015 Women’s Report Card, Government of Western Australia
The Women’s Report Card provides a snapshot of the lives of women in Western Australia in 2015. Containing nearly 90 indicators and more than 500 statistics, the report shows how far women have progressed in terms of leadership, economic independence, safety and justice, and health and wellbeing.
‘Young lawyers’ are members who are less than 35 years old and/or have less than 5 years of practice.
Life as a young lawyer can be both challenging and rewarding. No one else is more understanding of what it takes to make it as a young lawyer, than other young lawyers who have walked in your shoes.
The Law Society’s Young Lawyers Committee works to deliver key support for new members of the profession.
- Networking and collegiality opportunities through social and sporting events
- Career support with a job register for graduates, mentoring scheme, specific CPD events, LawCare WA, Vacation Clerk Recruitment Dates
- Keep informed with newsletters, Facebook, LinkedIn
- Representation of Young Lawyers: your issues and concerns discussed at a state and national level
The Young Lawyers Committee, in conjunction with the Law Society, hosts a wide array of events throughout the year. See the events page for details on upcoming events.
YLC Law Student Mentoring Programme
The YLC Law Student Mentoring Programme provides students with a contact in the legal profession, prior to joining it themselves. The mentor helps guide the mentee through the transition from student to law graduate to lawyer.
Advice for Students
Watch the video of members sharing their insights and stories into the different areas of law and their advice on navigating life at University.
Read The Law Guide 2017-18 published by GradAustralia in partnership with the Law Society of New South Wales. The guide is the first of its kind and is a comprehensive look at the different options people have with a law degree in Australia– including delving into the separate practice areas in private practice and into the other areas of law including criminal law, academia, family law, public policy, human rights and much more.
Need more info?
For career questions or any information about the support available for young lawyers please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Interstate and foreign young lawyers
The Law Society has reciprocal agreements in place with our interstate Law Societies. Foreign young lawyers, please contact email@example.com