JLU: Junior Lawyers' Union

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

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Gadens Part II - How the LIV let us down

The Junior Lawyers Union's post about the allegedly dodgy hiring practices of Gadens was picked up in the Fin Review on Friday. Here's the article from the Legal Hearsay section in case you missed it:

"Last week The Australian Financial Review looked at the "intensifying of the war" to capture the best legal graduates. It now seems that the war may be turning dirty. Already, Allens Arthur Robinson has been caught out breaking the Law Institute of Victoria guidelines by sending out offers early.

And now the website of the Junior Lawyers Union, which describes itself as "asserting the rights of junior lawyers", has run a story alleging that at least one firm has breached the guidelines for making offers to law students.

According to the story, during the recent 2007 round of graduate recruitment, Gadens Lawyers acted outside the LIV guidelines, including putting one candidate under significant pressure to sign a contract and demanding another offer be accepted within a 24-hour period.

The LIV said it had made some inquiries about the allegation and Gadens said that as far as it was aware the protocols had been followed. The LIV said that without a formal complaint it could not take the matter further."

In fact, the JLU believes that up to eight informal complaints were made to the LIV about Gadens' recruitment drive in 2007. What is truly frustrating about this situation is that it is impossible to expect an article clerk candidate to make a formal complaint against a sizable law firm. By making a formal complaint, they risk being labelled an upstart and a whinger before they even start a career in the law. Surely eight informal complaints deserves a formal investigation where the complainants have so much to lose from having their identities revealed.

The LIV must rise to this challenge.

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Blogger Legal Eagle said...

Sorry to be a cynic, but the problem is that even if the guidelines are followed there will still be nepotism and unfairness. A friend of mine said that for the last few years, all of the new articled clerks at his firm had just happened to also be children of people who had positions at major clients of the firm. Now tell me there's not something a bit suss about that!

Sadly, failure to follow the LIV guidelines is not the most serious problem. Firms can treat articled clerks in ways which would be totally unacceptable if a lawyer treated a client in this manner. The LIV doesn't care. And firms which should not be allowed to continue taking on articled clerks are able to do so. I have previously suggested a Register of firms which should be banned from being taking on articled clerks and a proper discrimination, sexual harassment and bullying advisory service, where young lawyers who are being bullied or discriminated against can get in touch with professional advice.

The LIV is a toothless tiger - it's not willing to do anything about the various problems faced by young lawyers. No wonder there is a dearth of lawyers at around the second year level. And no wonder I'm not a practicing solicitor any more...

01 April, 2007 16:21  
Blogger Pious Cant said...

What a familiar sounding story ... the entire contents of which could quite accurately apply to 2006 also.

Everyone knows that Gadens are serial offenders in terms of the pressure that they place on summer clerks to sign up ahead of the agreed timetable.

They're all dodgy brand, and no substance. You'd have to be pretty desperate to want a start in law with the Gadens whackos.

19 April, 2007 20:42  
Blogger I am the Queen of F*%&ING EVERYTHNG...OK!! said...

So I've heard PC, but some other roads are far worse than Gadens.

26 April, 2007 14:41  

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