Friday, January 23, 2004

A farewell to articled clerks?

Yesterday’s Age carries a feature* (no URL) with a sub-heading to that effect. In fact, the guts of the article contains very little to substantiate the possible abolition of articles for wannabe lawyers – there is has been a review under way in Victoria since November 2003, apparently at the behest of Vic A-G Rob Hulls.

Hulls’ apparent keenness for the abolition of articles is curious. Despite having himself done his articles and his father’s law firm, Hulls says:

“Often the ability to get articles depends on your contacts, what school you went to, and whether you have relatives in the law.”

In my own case, my score on each of these three factors would be a zero, yet I managed to get articles at a large, prestigious law firm. How so, Rob? Believe it or not, my marks. But that’s just a small and insignificant detail, isn’t it, Rob? After all, making policy changes, so as to atone for a single person’s privileged ride (despite mediocre marks and later attainments) through life – now turned into boomer guilt? – is much sounder, no?

Just as misplaced as Hull’s crusade against lawyer’s nepotism (= himself, and presumed mid-life crisis), are some dubious comments on Gen X lawyers from a 40-something law-firm boss, Eugene Arocca, who actually fesses-up to getting crappy marks at uni. Which means that perhaps we shouldn’t be expecting too much of poor Eugene’s powers of observation. But as to where he gets this (below) from, I’m truly baffled (is there a Latin maxim to do with making shit up, when that’s the only way you have a hope in hell of sounding authoritative, or even convincing?) Here’s Eugene:

“Times have changed. When we’re looking for articled clerks we still look for a strong work ethos. But the Gen-Xers today require a little more care and understanding. The days of working 7am to 7pm are gone . . . We used to adopt the attitude of sink or swim. But the Gen-Xers . . . they have a different culture, a different mentality, a different hunger. They come in here and tell us what they want.”

* Misha Ketchell "A lawyer's lot" The Age 22 January 2004

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