2019/20 Annual Report
The Young Lawyers Committee (YLC) provides support and is a voice for junior members of the profession. This year the YLC decided it needed to better engage with Western Australian law schools and students to better fulfil that role. As the first step in that process, a representative of each Western Australian law student society now attends YLC meetings on a quarterly basis. There have already been robust discussions about recruitment practices, mental health, and supporting graduates transitioning to practice, and we look forward to further developing that relationship.
During the year the YLC provided a range of events focused on the junior segment of the Law Society’s membership, including:
- social events to promote collegiality, such as the Welcome to the Profession Breakfast and inter-firm sporting events (netball and volleyball);
- the Western Australian Golden Gavel Competition;
- the Practical Advocacy Weekend, including a preparatory seminar as well as a weekend of coaching sessions by judges and other senior members of the profession;
- raising awareness of legal issues affecting Aboriginal peoples through our Law Week screening of Connection to Country, a beautifully shot documentary by Tyson Mowarin that explores the relationship between Aboriginal peoples and their land and charts their struggles to have their connection to land recognised;
- informing junior lawyers about social justice career paths at the Social Justice Opportunities Evening;
- inter-profession networking opportunities, which allow junior lawyers the opportunity to build their professional networks with young professional bodies from other industries, including accounting, consulting and engineering;
- informal networking opportunities for lawyers in small or mid-sized firms through the Small Firms Network; and
- the annual Law Student Mentoring Programme, which again included law students from all Western Australian law schools and continues to increase in numbers.
In recognition of the increasing diversity of the profession, the YLC has increased its focus on supporting and being a voice for junior lawyers who have come to the profession later in life. In September 2018, we hosted a well-attended Later Lawyers Discussion and Networking Event. A new initiative formed to address the needs of a growing segment of members, being individuals who came to law later in life and do not identify with the traditional legal career progression, the panel focused on the advantages and challenges in coming to law later in life. We look forward to continuing this focus going forward.
In addition to these initiatives, the YLC also:
- conducted a survey of junior lawyers seeking feedback on issues facing junior lawyers and on the Committee’s activities;
- continued to connect with the Australian Young Lawyers Committee; and
- continued to welcome observers at Committee meetings.
Role of the Law Society’s Young Lawyers Committee
The Law Society’s Young Lawyers Committee works to deliver key support for new members of the profession, including:
- Networking and collegiality opportunities through social and sporting events
- Career support with a job register for graduates, mentoring scheme, 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
‘Young lawyers’ are members who are under 35 years old and/or have less than five years of practice.
Know Your Rights Guide: Law Graduates’ and Junior Legal Practitioners’ Pay and Working Conditions
Since early 2020, the YLC has been working on projects aimed at improving working conditions and employment practices in the legal profession. Unfortunately, the legal profession has not been immune from instances of underpayment and unfair employment practices, and sexual harassment remains a significant concern.
The YLC’s Know Your Rights is an informative guide for law students, law graduates and junior lawyers to increase their awareness of applicable workplace rights and entitlements, to help empower them to take action if they are not being treated fairly in the workplace. »Read the Guide here.
Of course, it is ultimately the employer’s responsibility to provide a safe and fair workplace. This is why the YLC is also developing guidelines for law firms – watch this space!
Keep an eye on YLC social media pages where we will be promoting the guide with an information campaign.
YLC Law Student Mentoring Programme
The YLC Law Student Mentoring Programme pairs emerging practitioners with current law students to provide guidance and support to the transition from student to law graduate and then to lawyer.
The Programme runs from May to November, commencing with a launch event and will wrap up with an end of programme event for all participants, as well as various touch points throughout the course of the Programme.
For students: This is your opportunity to gain insight into the profession, invaluable advice, skills and support during your studies.
For current practitioners: As former law students, we all know the importance of guidance and a helping hand from an experienced mentor. This is your chance to share your experiences from your first few years of practice and develop your mentoring skills.
To participate you must be a current member of the Law Society.
Applications for the 2021 Programme have now closed. Applicants will be notified of their mentor/mentee pairing and training options ahead of the Programme launch date of 22 April.
Advice for Students
Watch our video of our members sharing their insights and stories into the different areas of law and their advice on navigating life at university.
The Law Society’s Young Lawyers Committee hosts a wide array of social, sporting and educational events throughout the year for young lawyers, graduates, law students and the legal profession.
Our events include: Golden Gavel, Welcome to the Profession Breakfast, Inter-profession Networking Events, Mixed Netball Competition, Beach Volleyball, Law Week Events, Small Firms Network Drinks, CPD Seminars, Practical Advocacy Weekend, Social Justice Career Opportunity Evening, Careers Uncut and other ad hoc events to encourage collegiality, information sharing and support in the profession.
Young Lawyer CPD Programme – brought to you by legalsuper
The Law Society recognises the importance of customised legal education for restricted practitioners.
Our newest CPD Programme includes a Young Lawyers programme providing tailored content for junior practitioners in one place, from one provider.
The programme offers a great range of speakers and topics with special pricing for young lawyer members. View our legalsuper Young Lawyer Programme
Brought to you by:
The Young Lawyers Committee has a number of focus areas, which organise many of its initiatives.
Social & Sport
The group focuses on bringing events to young lawyers that encourage networking and socialising across the profession.
We ensure the young lawyers that work within small firms have the opportunity to participate in group social and sporting events. These activities also encourage young lawyers to build networks and friendships in order to work towards better mental health and a sense of belonging.
Education and Careers
The group contributes to the development and co-ordination of the YLC Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme.
Community Engagement and Social Justice
This group raises awareness and instigates debate about important human rights and social justice issues relevant to the profession. Its work demonstrates to young lawyers why engaging in human rights and social justice issues is valuable to the profession.
Mental Health and Wellbeing
Join the Committee
Membership of the Young Lawyers Committee is limited to members of the Law Society. To express an interest in joining the Committee, please contact the Committee Secretary on (08) 9324 8600 or email email@example.com.
The Young Lawyers Committee is composed of members appointed by the Law Society. The Committee also includes representatives of the Law Society’s Council and is represented on the Australian Young Lawyers Committee of the Law Council of Australia. The current Committee members are:
Corrs Chambers Westgarth
Bennett + Co
Office of the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions
Coraline De Zilwa
Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions for Western Australia
State Solicitor’s Office
State Solicitor’s Office
Mony De Kerloy Barristers and Solicitors
Dora van der Westhuyzen
Butcher Paull & Calder
Glen McLeod Legal