Jobs research first of its kind in Australia

Extensive research, believed to be the first of its kind in Australia, gives voice to 1300 practitioners, Queensland Law Society CEO Rolf Moses says of the Job Readiness of Graduates and Newly Admitted Solicitors report.

QLS partnered with Bond University to conduct research on the job readiness of law graduates and entry level solicitors in private practice. The results are now available on the QLS website.

Rolf said the aim was to open a dialogue on the current requirements for admission to the legal profession. The project was conducted between 1 October 2020 and 1 December 2022. 

Rolf Moses
QLS CEO Rolf Moses

“Discussions with QLS members suggested that while some employers are happy with the quality of entry-level lawyers and the shorter period it takes to become eligible for admission (since the 2004 changes), many others lamented the demise of articles of clerkship and felt graduates and newly admitted lawyers lacked many of the skills expected,” he said.

“It is now close to 20 years since the change in admission requirements in Queensland where articles were replaced by the practical legal training regime (and the less used supervised traineeship).

“Given the significant disruption faced by the profession, QLS decided to conduct formal research into the profession’s views of the job readiness of new lawyers.


“QLS is aware the Council of Australian Law Deans (CALD) and the Australian Professional Legal Education Community Ltd (APLEC)  are currently undertaking a review of their syllabuses, including prescribed learning content, competency frameworks and practical legal training.”

Given the context in which concerns about job readiness have arisen and that about 70 per cent of those holding practising certificates from QLS are in private practice, QLS selected readiness for private practice as the focus of the research.

The Bond University Centre for Professional Legal Education research team was commissioned by QLS to conduct an independent survey of the profession and facilitated targeted focus groups.

While perceptions were positive in relation to several areas – particularly in respect of core values – numerous missing skills were identified in the research results.

About 80 per cent of survey respondents considered that, overall, law graduates and entry level solicitors are not yet equipped with the necessary skills for entering private practice. This result was consistent across all groups, experience levels, firm size and location.

Also 51 per cent of respondents considered that law graduates and entry level solicitors in private practice have foundational understanding of substantive law areas relevant to private practice.


And 70 per cent of respondents indicated their firm engages in training of law graduates and entry level solicitors to address any gaps in their skill sets coming from legal education.

“The clear message from the research is that law graduates and entry level solicitors require more practical education and training, both at university and after graduating but prior to admission. Further education post admission also featured in the responses,” Rolf said.

“The absence of important subjects from the Priestley 11 was also a strong theme throughout the research.

“Overall, the research results indicate a call for greater practical learning and assessment and a longer period of supervised work experience before admission.”

Given the gap between employers’ expectations and the skills displayed by graduates and entry level solicitors and the need for employers to offer additional training, the gap in salary expectations between employers and graduates also emerged as a theme of the research.

He said overall, the research results indicated a call for greater practical learning and assessment and a longer period of supervised work experience before admission.


“We appreciate that any solution to the issue of job readiness of law graduates and entry level solicitors requires a holistic and tripartite approach to reform the current requirements with the involvement of the higher education sector, practical legal training providers and the practising profession,” Rolf said.

“We also appreciate this is the first research project of this kind that we are aware of in Queensland and there is therefore no earlier data with which to compare the research findings. It should also be noted the review of admission requirements from time to time is a normal and necessary process and the timing of the release of our survey results has been ideal to contribute to the current review.

“We have provided the research findings to all stakeholders nationally involved in the regulation of admission requirements for solicitors including the Law Council of Australia. Our focus now is to ensure this significant body of research which represents the voice of the profession is utilised to inform the current reviews of admission requirements.”

To view the research, click here

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