Adelaide based law firm to charge new lawyers $22,000.00 for legal supervision

phdfindajobA few months ago, I wrote this post speculating on the proposal by a new Adelaide based law firm, Adlawgroup to charge newly admitted Lawyers $22,000.00 for a job. At that stage, I was speculating on the remuneration structure, but it has been confirmed that the Lawyers would not receive a base salary, but rather a commission.

In this article which was posted a few days ago, The Australian has confirmed that the Fair Work Ombudsman has inquired into the business model but is taking no action. Further, Law Society of South Australia president Rocco Perrotta is quoted saying that he expected a review into the business model to be completed within weeks and that the Law Society had no regulatory powers and could not prevent the firm from proceeding. Apparently 25 applicants are lined up and ready to begin. (more…)

Lessons learned in my first 3.5 months as a Lawyer

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Hello to my new legally inclined followers, thank you so much for signing up. My previous article on this topic took off on Facebook after it was shared by the awesome site, Survive Law. I thought I would continue the theme and follow up with 5 more lessons learned as I make my way up the ‘new lawyer learning curve‘. (more…)

Lessons learned in my first 3 months as a Lawyer

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Today marks the end of my first three months in private practise so I thought I’d mark the occasion by reflecting on some lessons I’ve picked up during this time. Despite probably having been taught some of these concepts during my practical legal training, it wasn’t until I had experienced working in a law firm myself that these lessons revealed themselves to be so critical.

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A Break Down of the Insurance Coverage in my Twenties

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I was looking at my budget and realised that after the mortgage payments and utility bills, insurance premiums were my next largest expense. I thought it would be a useful exercise to consolidate the various policies and tally up the premiums to put things into perspective and to show what my breakdown of insurance coverage looks like in my twenties. (more…)

Claiming MBA fees as a self education expense on your tax return

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My tax return has never been anything special. I vary between owing $500 to the Australian Tax Office (ATO) or having $500 credited to me, meaning that generally my employer has withheld the right amount of tax and I haven’t had any major deductions.

I had always used HECS-HELP (a loan scheme to help eligible Commonwealth supported students to pay their student contribution amounts through a loan or upfront discounts) to pay my university fees, which is not deductible for tax purposes regardless of whether you pay upfront or not. Therefore, I foolishly assumed that my MBA fees were also not tax deductible. Luckily, a friend of mine set me straight over dinner recently. 

Because my MBA fees are covered by FEE-HELP rather than HECS-HELP (I have blogged about the difference here), they are eligible to be claimed as self-education expenses provided that the following criteria is met: (more…)

After 5 years, I’ve lifted my self imposed Credit Card ban. Here’s why.

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For the last four to five years, I have been proudly credit card free. Similarly, my partner has been credit card free for at least three years now. I had terrible experiences with credit cards as a young adult, starting from being approved for multiple credit cards at age 18, not really understanding how exorbitant the interest rates were and proceeding to live from pay-check to pay-check with a large credit card debt. When I began to become more financially aware, I paid off all of my credit cards at the first opportunity and avoided them like the plague. I understood that there were benefits in having a credit card, if you used them as a financial tool, and with restraint. For example: (more…)

Are you an ‘average young Australian’ when it comes to personal finance?

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Although I don’t believe in ‘keeping up with the Jones”, now and then I do like to compare how I am tracking financially to the average Australian, whether it is salary wise, savings or spending. It helps to give me perspective and motivation and is an interesting benchmarking exercise. So here are some average balances I have compiled, to help Gen Y Australians see how they’re tracking. I’ve compiled the balances from several sources, since they all differ due to the underlying assumptions, inclusions or exclusions in the data.  The numbers I have included cover averages Australia wide, in addition to breakdowns by age.  (more…)

A 20-something’s thoughts on trauma insurance

As the regular readers of my blog will know, I’m about to turn 27 soon which means that I have been mentally preparing to turn 30 for the last 6 months. Part of this mental preparation involves ensuring that I get my financial house in order. My early twenties were about getting rid of consumer debt, developing basic financial habits such as budgeting and salary sacrificing into my superannuation to make the most of compound interest. My partner and I also bought an apartment last year and since then I have been trying to build up 3 months worth of savings again. I haven’t quite yet gotten on the investing bandwagon outside of superannuation, but I can’t get trauma insurance out of my mind. I know, it’s a weird thing for someone in their twenties to say. I also would like to start this blog by stating that I do not work for an insurer and this is not a sponsored post, I’m just a twenty-something who happens to be passionate about trauma insurance (this is concerning even to me).  (more…)

Unemployed New Lawyers – Would you pay $22,000 for a Job?

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The problem

In Australia, law graduates are required to either complete a supervised workplace training program (generally with a law firm or an in-house legal department), or a practical legal training program offered by an accredited educational institution in order to become admitted to practise law, i.e. It’s the next major step after graduation to qualify as a lawyer.  Supervised workplace trainees are paid a graduate salary, whilst practical legal training trainees pay around $10,000.00 in course fees, though there are also hybrid arrangements. Once admitted, new lawyers, particularly those who completed a practical legal training program and therefore may not have accumulated significant experience with a potential employer, face the challenge of seeking supervised employment. A newly admitted lawyer must be supervised for two years as a condition of their restricted practising certificate.

It is well-known that there is an oversupply of law graduates and new lawyers in metropolitan Australia, significantly increasing the competition when it comes to supervised workplace training programs and subsequently, first-year positions. It has been estimated that Australia is producing 12,000 law graduates a year, however there are only 60,000 working lawyers in the country. Of course, this includes students studying double degrees and post graduate degrees etc. who may not necessarily have ambitions to pursue careers as lawyers; however the number still leaves me incredulous.

I experienced this competitive environment myself during practical legal training in 2013; the proportion of trainees that had secured legal roles was definitely outweighed by the proportion that hadn’t. It is indeed a catch 22. Most positions advertised sought a lawyer with 2-3 years post admission experience yet graduates couldn’t get their foot in the door to rack up the same. Even now at the current firm that I work at, I was told that there were over 300 applicants for 1 supervised workplace training position. First year lawyer positions are even more of a rarity. Clearly, it is a buyer’s market and the firms have all the bargaining power when it comes to having graduates and new lawyers jumping through hoops and being able to select those who are perceived as being the cream of the crop.

A controversial ‘solution’

With this in mind environment in mind, I was amused however not surprised when I came across this article about a new Adelaide based firm, Adlawgroup, proposing to charge newly admitted lawyers $22,000.00 for a two-year “employment and mentoring program“. (more…)