The buck doesn’t stop with the ‘next generation’

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Dear lawyers and leaders,

You’ve given a lot to this profession. Countless nights, relationships, family and social lives have been sacrificed to establish the career you now (hopefully) enjoy.

But I’m here to ask you for more: a succession plan for the legal profession.

I’ve spent the past year working with universities to create and deliver session upon session to law students across Queensland. Topics ranging from the journey from law school to lawyer to the plethora of career pathways available to law students, post-law school. The purpose of these sessions has been two-fold: 1) to position QLS as a support for the universities and their students and 2) ‘debunk’ the following myths

  • the traditional pathway to private practice is the measure of success.
  • any pathway outside of big law is unconventional
  • Alternate career pathways are for people who  ‘just couldn’t cut it as a real lawyer.’

That’s the narrative law students and early career lawyers have been listening to for years. Perhaps you heard the narrative, too.

Nonetheless, you persevered. You worked hard to earn the privileges and positions you’re in, you put in the hours, the late nights, and the compromised social lives (if you even had one). You’ve worked hard to earn your seat at the table and as the giants whose shoulders we stand on today, I thank you.

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I thank you for the pathways you’ve created and the trails you have blazed. I thank you for your expertise and guidance, your support and encouragement. But most of all, I thank you for creating the profession that we’ve always dreamed of joining.

But the profession has changed – and rapidly changing still. The narrative needs to change too; and you have the power to change that narrative.

We’re all facing new challenges. Some of these challenges are generational – technological advances, innovative models. Some of them are circumstantial, environmental. We’re facing a global pandemic which has forced us into isolation; working from home, working online, using systems the traditional models just couldn’t survive. These changes are threatening the profession you created, but we want to help. We can help.

You have the power, position and the platform we don’t have (yet), but this profession needs our creativity, our innovation and for us to have a seat at the table. Let’s work together to save the profession we love and have dedicated so much of our lives to.

Ageism, sexism, bullying and discrimination in the legal profession are real, but you can help change that. You can use your platform to give voice to the marginalised groups who aren’t given a seat at the table because they believed the false narrative that told them they don’t belong.   

QLS is doing its part to change that narrative. That’s why we’ve established the Future Leaders Committee (FLC) to provide a platform for the next generation of legal professionals. The slogan for this campaign is ‘shape the future,’ – this call to action isn’t limited to the nominees, it’s for you, too. You have the power to shape the future, by empowering the future leaders of tomorrow. I urge you to encourage, nay, empower a future leader to nominate themselves today.

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You have the power to shape the future, by empowering the future leaders of tomorrow. I urge you to encourage, nay, empower a future leader to nominate themselves today.

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