Future prospects for law graduatesPosted: October 26, 2011
Neither solicitors nor barristers are immune to the grim realities of Ireland’s recession. The horizon has changed markedly for young solicitors. As recently as 2008 there was almost full employment amongst solicitors across Ireland, but the reality now, according to the Law Society of Ireland, is that there are between 1,000 and 1,300 solicitors who cannot find work in their chosen field, and many of those who have got jobs are restricted to part-time work.
Each year approximately 700 new solicitors qualify, exacerbating this problem. One of the effects of this has been a significant decrease in some rates of pay, as opportunities that law graduates would once have taken for granted have reduced substantially, leaving graduates carrying a significant debt burden if they cannot secure the right job. This is also an issue affecting newly qualified barristers. It used to be a rule of thumb that a barrister would have to wait between five and seven years before they recouped the costs of their education. However many now believe that this time-frame has been considerably extended and it is probably closer to ten years before expenses incurred during studying and devilling are covered.
Law graduates must be positive and proactive in their careers search, researching and engaging with potential law firms, but also looking outside the legal sector if necessary. Many non-legal firms are very keen to recruit law students onto their graduate programmes, as they recognise that the core skills that these students have make them ideal candidates for a wide range of roles across a number of sectors. To find out more about your options with a law degree, explore graduate profiles and to download our newly published sector guide, gradireland Law, visit the Law, legal services and patents section on gradireland.com.