A recent survey by the College of Law has revealed mature-age law students are relatively upbeat about the impact of legal tech, with 60 per cent ‘excited’ by the disruption taking place in the profession. Insights spoke to Ann-Maree David, Executive Director at the College about the results of the survey, and how the College is preparing its graduates for a changing profession.
“The speed and extent of change in the legal profession is enough to shake the confidence of even seasoned legal professionals,” said Ann-Maree. “However, for mature-aged people seeking to switch to a career in the law the overwhelming sentiment is optimism.”
The survey, which involved 73 participants across Australia, was prompted by the increase in the number of mature-aged students undertaking the College’s Practical Legal Training (PLT). The number of students aged 30 and older doing their PLT with the College has increased by 43 per cent in the last two years.
“Many of these aspiring lawyers come from industries that have already experienced wide-ranging disruption, such as the banking and health sectors. Many will be choosing to leave their existing field of expertise and enter the legal profession because they know there will be opportunities whenever an industry is disrupted.”
Indeed, of those surveyed, 15 per cent came from banking, finance or accountancy, followed by health-related professions (13 per cent). Education (10 per cent) and IT (10 per cent) were other common backgrounds.
“Career transitions are no longer unusual and are becoming the norm. This means careers paths are coming to resemble a ‘jungle gym’, with moves in and out of and across industries and professions. Employees can expect to build an arsenal of credentials including skills and experience which will facilitate their moves from job to job.”
Interestingly, the majority of PLT students were in their forties (60 per cent), followed by 32 per cent in their fifties, and 8 per cent studying PLT in their sixties. The majority undertook their studies alongside full-time work (53 per cent) or part-time work (19 per cent), reflecting an intense commitment to career change. According to survey, 93 per cent intend to practise upon completing PLT.
“Life-long learning is now an integral feature of all professional lives. With its broad range of short courses and professional programs, the College can assist lawyers at all stages of their careers. The College has also established the Centre for Legal Innovation to co-ordinate the legal profession’s response to the changes taking place in the industry,” said Ann-Maree.