Some large corporations employ a ‘futurologist’. During any available downtime, such professional soothsayers may consider helping out those considering a career in the law. As was clear at the Gazette’s roundtable for junior lawyers, today the profession’s new entrants are often forced to juggle hefty debts with uncertain prospects.
Once their outlook centred on the prospect of partnership. Now their attention is just as likely to be focused on the chance of a training contract, or avoiding redundancy. Some aspiring lawyers’ minds may even turn to banking instead – is it really that bad out there?
Fortunately, this is not the whole story. Kent County Council’s legal head Geoff Wild insists that the opportunities a profession in flux present means there has never been a better time to begin a legal career. Wild has a point. The ‘innovator, explorer, change agent, problem solver’ he wishes to be known as is a figure with a thoroughly rewarding career.
But to allow decent and exceptional lawyers to fulfil that promise, the profession must address those pinch points that otherwise exclude non-wealthy aspirants. Debt is certainly a problem, and the commitment to examine multiple entry points must be made good. Otherwise, we will not be embracing the future but regressing to the past.