Publication Details

Kennedy, A., Mundy, T., Nielsen, J., Hart, C., Coverdale, R., Mortensen, R., Smith-Ruig, T. and Macken, C. (2014). Educating law students for rural and regional practice: embedding place based perspectives in law curricula. Legal Education Review, 24 (1), 6-27.

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Legal Education Review


The attraction and retention of professionals generally in rural and regional Australia is an on-going concern. Recent attention has focused upon the recruitment of lawyers and legal professionals to rural and regional areas, where the proportion of lawyers practising has steadily declined over the past twenty years. While the precise extent of the decline is difficult to assess, and the causes of recruitment and retention issues for lawyers in rural and regional areas are nuanced and can vary from region to region, it is clear that concern about attraction and retention is a national one. A national survey conducted in 2009 by the peak national representative body of the Australian legal profession, the Law Council of Australia, revealed that 43 per cent of law firm principals in rural, regional and remote areas believed they had insufficient staff to service their existing clientele. In addition, the survey identified difficulties in filling vacancies and forecasted that the retirement of experienced law firm staff over the coming years would further exacerbate this problem, as 42 per cent of the current practitioners surveyed indicated they would retire within five to ten years. Moreover, 30 per cent of the younger lawyers surveyed indicated that they intended to remain in rural, regional or remote practice for only around two years before exploring employment options in larger centres.