Latest graduate lawyer statistics – yay!

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article summarising some of the statistics around law graduates’ opportunities to get into private practice.

Some updated figures have just been released as part of the Australian Financial Review’s semi-annual survey of law firms, and the results show some positive signs for those who graduated in 2015.

To quote the AFR’s article:

‘The number of graduate positions at the top law firms increased by a robust 8 per cent in the year ended June 2015’.

Calling an 8 per cent increase ‘robust’ shows just how bad things have been lately!

However, as I outlined in my last article on this issue, over-supply is still an issue as even an 8 per cent increase in the uptake of graduates will still mean that there are many more out there that still are unable to secure a role.

Oh, hey look, they have statistics on Senior Associates now, which was something that I couldn’t find in the last article I wrote on these results. Now, let’s see what is going on in the Senior Associate / Passed Over for Partnership group of lawyers.

The AFR results show that there was 2,731 Senior Associates in the 50 law firms surveyed in July 2015, and a 5% or so decline to 2,592 in January 2016.

Those that ceased being Senior Associates didn’t all get put up to partnership either, as the same AFR results show that there was 2,929 partners in the 50 law firms surveyed in July 2015, and a 1% or so decline to 2,887 partners in January 2016.

I should note that the above numbers are skewed as some firms that reported in July 2015 did not report in January 2016 – makes it hard to make meaningful conclusions. Apples with apples and all that jazz. More data required sorry.

HOWEVER, my thought is that some of the Senior Associates have moved into positions in their firms at the start of 2016 that are above the Senior Associate level, but not at the Partnership level. I know some firms have introduced roles such as ‘Directors’, or ‘Executive Counsel’, to go along with that weirdest of legal roles, the ‘Special Counsel’. I haven’t seen any data that suggests a huge exodus of Senior Associates to sole practice or in-house but will continue to look for data into this.

And to end, here is a photograph of a cute pug from behind, just to try and cheer everyone up a bit. Pugs always make me happier:


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