According to the Council of Australia Law Deans, some 7,500 students graduate from law degrees each year. Some join large commercial firms, some move into the public sector, some focus on legal specialities, such as criminal and family law, and still others use their law degrees as a stepping stone towards careers in other areas like media and consulting.
Nevertheless, though a law degree can take you to many places, it’s still the traditional employers of new law graduates that dominate this year’s GradAustralia Top 100 Graduate Employers Survey. The highest-ranking was Allens in 33rd place. It was followed by Herbert Smith Freehills (55), King & Wood Mallesons (61), Clayton Utz (65), and Minter Ellison (67). In other words, each of the Big Six law firms made the Top 100 (with Ashurst at 79).
Notably, the top-ranking law firms are all from the field of commercial or business law. Graduates may be attracted to them for various reasons: the prestige they offer, the promise of a stable career path, and, perhaps most of all, the allure of a high graduate salary.
In good news for the firms, law students are ready to give as much as they expect to get when it comes to pay: they anticipate working 50 or more hours a week, more than survey respondents from any other discipline. Sixty-seven per cent of them is ready to make sacrifices in their personal lives if it leads to career advancement.
‘Our research shows that, to most law students, the larger and better-known law firms continue to have an unrivalled appeal,’ says Geoff Adams, co-founder of GradAustralia. ‘However, it’s important to note that many ambitious law graduates will choose alternative careers in fields such as consulting and policy development.’
The definitive list of the Top 100 Graduate Employers can be found on the GradAustralia website. 50,000 books were distributed to university students around Australia – the Top 100 Guide includes 400 pages of comprehensive employer profiles, sector information, insider tips on how to get hired as well as real-life stories from graduates on the job.