The University of Newcastle’s Law School will hit the road this week in a bid to encourage students from rural and regional New South Wales to pursue a career in law.
The Lawyers of the Future Roadshow, run by Newcastle Law School lecturers and student mentors, will leave Newcastle this Wednesday (13 October) and will visit high schools in a number of areas including Taree, Chatham, Wingham and Kempsey.
Australian Law Council statistics show the number of law professionals working in rural and remote areas is declining, impacting on the community’s access to vital legal services.
A 2008 Law Council survey found that:
- 42 per cent of rural and remote lawyers intend to retire within five years
- younger lawyers (20-29 years) in rural and remote areas indicated that they only intended to practice in these areas for less than two years
- 71 per cent of lawyers in rural and remote areas state the biggest concern facing their practice is who will take over from them, followed by attracting additional lawyers (58 per cent) and attracting lawyers to replace those who leave (51 per cent)
- 43 per cent of legal practices do not have enough lawyers to service the legal needs of their rural and remote communities.
Director of Curriculum Katherine Lindsay said the Roadshow, created to help address the professional shortage, was inspired by her visit last year to Georgetown Law School in Washington DC.
“Through Georgetown’s Street Law program, law students connected with high school students from the roughest and most unlikely schools in the district and inspired them to become the next generation of lawyers,” Mrs Lindsay said.
“The Newcastle Law Roadshow seeks to develop similar links between rural and remote students and the student mentors from the Newcastle Law School.
“Through the Roadshow we will provide encouragement, information and support for students who may consider attending law school or are interested in pursuing a vast range of careers which are open to law graduates.”