Latest news – Backing for RRR areas; ‘Breadcrumbing’ leaves bad taste; Top Australian law unis revealed

[Australasian Law Management Journal,General Management,People Management(HR),Strategy & Leadership] March 19, 2021

Law Council plan supports country communities

The launch of the Law Council of Australia’s Rural, Regional and Remote (RRR) National Strategic Plan 2021-2023, heralds the profession’s reinvigorated commitment to RRR lawyers.

Speaking at the Cooma Court House, Law Council President Dr Jacoba Brasch QC said while close to 30 per cent of Australians lived in RRR areas, only 10.5 per cent of the country’s solicitors practised outside an urban centre, limiting the options for those needing legal services.

“RRR communities are diverse and dynamic, and the kinds of legal needs experienced within vary substantially, from water rights allocation to environment and planning restrictions, to farm succession planning, and laws which have special relevance to First Nations people,” Dr Brasch said. “Access to justice is undermined when there is a critical shortage of suitable legal representation in particular regions. Many RRR communities are particularly vulnerable to cycles of natural disaster, such as fires (and) drought. Emergencies generate particular areas of legal need for people who are ineligible for publicly funded legal assistance and emergencies also exacerbate existing legal problems and directly trigger others, including in relation to credit, debt or insurance.”

Dr Brasch said there was a clear disparity between remote and urban justice, “which means people in difficulties living in RRR communities are missing out”. “The COVID-19 pandemic has no doubt exacerbated access to justice for RRR communities, with court hearings cancelled, difficulties in travelling to obtain legal services or attend court was made significantly more difficult or even impossible by few flights and state and territory border closures.”

The Law Council’s National Strategic Plan focuses on five key areas for action: building awareness, recruitment, retention and succession of lawyers, technology, and the promotion of RRR legal practice in education and advocacy.

Australian universities rank well in global study

Six Australian universities have been ranked in the top 50 for the best places in the world to study law and legal studies.

The QS World University Rankings report for 2021 examines about 1350 universities based on 48 subject areas. The top-rated law schools are then determined based on reputation, citations per paper and h-index citations.

The University of Melbourne is the highest-ranked Australian university, sitting in 11th place (down from 10th last year). The others in the top 50 are UNSW in 13th spot (up from 14th), University of Sydney in 14th place (down from 13th), the Australian National University in 17th spot again this year, Monash University in 40th (down from 35th) and The University of Queensland in 43rd place (down from 39th).

The top 3 universities overall in the ranking for law and legal studies are Harvard University in the United States and the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.

‘Breadcrumbing’ a recipe for recruitment failure

Research from recruitment agency Robert Half suggests that job candidates are increasingly concerned about being “breadcrumbed”, or strung along, by employers.

One-third of senior managers surveyed said their company was taking more time to hire in the current environment, despite having access to a deeper talent pool. When asked to reveal how they keep candidates engaged during the hiring process, common responses included scheduling multiple rounds of interviews, conducting skills testing and keeping applicants busy with online training.

“By stretching out the hiring process, companies waste critical time and resources and may lose out on the best talent,” says Paul McDonald, senior executive director at Robert Half. “Employers who are transparent with candidates and move efficiently through the process will create a positive experience for potential hires and gain a recruiting edge.”

In a separate Robert Half survey, 62 per cent of professionals said they lost interest in a job if they did not hear back from the employer within two weeks – or 10 business days – after the initial interview. That number jumps to 77 per cent if there is no status update within three weeks.

Workers also revealed what they would do if they felt they were being breadcrumbed by hiring managers:

  • ghost the employer and drop out of the process (49%)
  • blacklist the company and refuse to consider them for future opportunities (41%)
  • vent about the experience using personal social media accounts (27)
  • leave a negative comment anonymously on review sites (26%).