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Law Council of Australia

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Talent Attraction and Retention

Speech delivered by Law Council of Australia President, Mr Greg McIntyre SC at the 34th Presidents of Law Associations in Asia Summit, Hong Kong, 7 June 2024.

"Good morning.

It is a pleasure to be here with you today and to be discussing the Keys to Sustainability of the Legal Profession.

The topic I have been asked to speak with you on – Talent Attraction and Retention – could not be more topical or timely in terms of the Australian profession.

A survey last year of the Australian profession, by Thomson Reuters, found talent retention and attraction is a major challenge for three in five legal professionals.1

Perhaps most concerning about the findings of this report was how quickly the level of difficulty in attracting and retaining talent has increased.

In the 2023 survey, 71 per cent of respondents cited retaining and attracting talent as a priority. This was up from 50 per cent just a year earlier.

To put it bluntly, we now have a war for talent.

So, what can firms do?

Back in 2022, the International Bar Association released its Young Lawyers Report.2 It found that in the next five years, half of young lawyers are somewhat likely, or highly likely, to move to a new workplace, a third to a new legal profession and a fifth to leave the legal profession entirely.

Reasons for this exodus include work-life balance, workplace culture, mental health, and a desire to work overseas."

Read full speech below.


1 Thomson Reuters, Tech & the Law 2023 Report (2023) <https://insight.thomsonreuters.com.au/legal/resources/resource/tech-and-the-law-2023>.
2 International Bar Association, IBA Young Lawyers’ Report, <https://www.ibanet.org/document?id=IBA-Young-Lawyers-Report-2022>.

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