Three Myths About the Legal Industry

by Jacqui Brauman

Three Myths About the Legal Industry

by Jacqui Brauman

by Jacqui Brauman

A couple of weeks ago I did “three myths about lawyers”. Today I want to talk about three myths about the wider legal industry.

By dispelling some myths about the legal industry, hopefully it makes it less intimidating and mysterious for you. 

The first myth is that it’s posh and glamorous. It isn’t, mostly.

American TV perpetuates this. I think some people in the legal industry like to hide behind the fact that there is some posh and glamor. Some firms in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane pay a lot of money for beautiful spaces but, reality is, the majority of the industry is not posh and glamor.

There’s a lot of people who work in government, in legal aid, in not-for-profit, in small to medium business, and there’s a lot of hustle. 

On American TV a lawyer has one file at a time and that they get it in court and resolved all in the one week. Reality is that we often have 50 to 150 matters at any one time, and files get quite big and can take a long time – so not so posh or glamorous.

The second myth is that we’re in Court a lot.

Not so much.

Those who work in crime are often in court at least one day a week. But most solicitors, if they’re running a varied caseload, might have 5% of their matters in Court. 

For example, I’ve got 100 matters, and maybe 5 of those are in some form of court case. I very, very, very rarely go to court. Barristers, because they are advocates and tend to do a lot more court work, are often in court more than one day a week. Solicitors, we work with clients, we do the work behind the scenes, we do the transactional work, we do the prep work, we prepare the documents – not in court very much.

The final myth is that the legal industry has a magic wand and we can heal social injustice. 

Unfortunately, no, again, not the case. 

The majority of solicitors don’t even work in some form of social justice area with individuals. Many lawyers work in banking, contracts, all sorts of corporate and company sort of areas, mergers and acquisitions – not much social justice in any of that.

It’s funny that my specialty is families, and wills and estates, and while we’re in the pandemic, random people were sort of saying to me, “Is what is happening with lockdowns legal? You’re a lawyer, you should be out there overturning this.” And I’m like, “Sorry, I’m not a social injustice warrior. I don’t know much about constitutional law except what I studied 15- nearly 20 years ago.”

So no, we can’t wave a magic wand and make social injustice disappear. 

It would be nice if more of us worked in human rights areas but the fact is that there’s a whole lot of work just getting people through their daily lives.

If you want to know more about having to interact with a lawyer or work with a lawyer and find and hire the right one, let me know. Reply to this email and I can put you either in contact with someone about where to start, or refer you on to a short course that I have.

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