JLU: Junior Lawyers' Union

Asserting the rights of junior lawyers, who have much more power than they realise.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The JLU and the LIV

The LIV does not represent lawyers -- it regulates them.

The Law Institute of Victoria and its counterpart bodies in other states are not concerned with lawyers' interests but, rather, have have fashioned themselves as regulators, existing to issue practising certificates, monitor compliance with token CPD (continuing professional development) requirements and generally ensure things run as they always have.

As such, the LIV is, in fact, a key plank of the legal establishment and is not interested in the genuine concerns of lawyers or the issues they face on a daily basis.

Where, for example, is the LIV on the systemic overwork of lawyers? What is the LIV doing about the glass ceiling that leaves lawyers with a choice between seeing their children and career progression? How is the LIV addressing a documented lack of job satisfaction, leading lawyers to abandon the profession in droves? Why isn't the LIV standing up for its members and working to guarantee improved conditions in the legal industry?

That some lawyers mistakenly perceive the LIV to be a representative body is evidence of a disturbing false consciousness. When combined with the absence - until now - of a genuine representative body, this becomes all the more insidious.

The JLU recognises that it is junior lawyers who possess the least bargaining power and who are most likely to find themselves exploited, even if they have been inured to believing that it's just the "nature of the industry". Where the LIV fails lawyers, the JLU will stand up for them.


Blogger Legal Eagle said...

The fact that the LIV does not stand up for young lawyers or try to improve workplace conditions was brought home to me last year, when I sought to bring a complaint about a firm on behalf of a younger lawyer who had been treated very badly by that firm. The LIV does not have anything in place to deal with these kind of situations. I wondered if it was interested at all.

What kind of action can we take to ensure that the rights of young lawyers are protected? This blog, of course, is an important step - stating our position and working out that we are not alone. I am wondering if we can lobby the LIV for change?

23 July, 2006 17:49  
Blogger Shop Steward said...

You are spot on, Legal Eagle. The JLU cannot, at present, be said to be truly effective as a union.

At this early stage of its existence, it aims to pierce the culture of silent acquiescence that persists within law firms by openly recognising the issues that confront junior lawyers and by offering a sense of community and a place to share frustrations.

If these frustrations are as widespread as the JLU suspects, the movement (backed by the broad support of junior lawyers) will be able to begin taking a more active role.

24 July, 2006 14:18  
Blogger I am the Queen of F*%&ING EVERYTHNG...OK!! said...

The LIV was NEVER going to listen to JL only the upper echeloens of the established partners and senior staff. It was never endorsed in a regalatory nor advoacacy role for lawyers but toothless tiger watchdog set up to placetate the people who had no recourse against the amoral of the legal fraternity.

24 July, 2006 14:56  
Blogger Shop Steward said...


24 July, 2006 16:31  

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