Aug 24, 2015

For $22k, law firm will mentor grads to practising certificates | The Australian

A legal firm will offer graduates the chance to buy themselves a job for $22,000 once a review into the business model is completed.
Adlawgroup, an offshoot of established Adelaide commercial law practice WBH Legal, will offer two-year placements for newly admitted lawyers later this year.
The firm says an upfront fee of $22,000 must be paid by successful applicants to cover the cost of supervision, mentoring and education programs, leading to an unrestrained practising certificate.
In South Australia, admitted lawyers must do two years of supervised work on a continuous full-time basis before they can practise independently.
The Australian revealed last week that the Supreme Court has raised concerns about a lack of regulation or guidance for new lawyers in South Australia.
WBH Legal partners say the idea for Adlawgroup came after it was inundated with unsolicited applications from law graduates.
They say there are more than 2000 law graduates in South Australia “who have no immediate employment prospects”.
New lawyers operating under the model will earn money through the fees they generate and will be expected to bring in their own clients, but will not be paid a base salary.
The lawyers would be supervised by experienced practitioners.
The Fair Work Ombudsman has inquired into the unorthodox business model but is taking no action.
Law Society of South Australia president Rocco Perrotta said he expected a review into the business model to be completed within weeks, noting the society had no regulatory powers and could not prevent the firm from proceeding with its plans.
University of South Australia third-year law student Georgie McRae said she would be unlikely to consider such an option, having secured experience through a traditional clerkship program.
“I think I would be confident that I could sell myself through my skills without taking that route,” she said.
The Australian Services Union, which represents lawyers in South Australia, has written to the partners of the law firm opposing what it says is a “highly exploitative” business model.
Adlawgroup project manager Tina Hailstone said the initiative was designed to help inexperienced talented graduates, with about 25 applicants ready to begin once it was approved by the Law Society

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