Scheme to get 1,000 lawyers back to work
MORE THAN 1,000 unemployed Irish solicitors are being offered 200 job placements for the first time -- to get them on the employment ladder.
There are currently 1,100 solicitors on jobseeker's allowance in Ireland, with a further 500 working outside their profession, and 400 who have gone abroad to look for opportunities, according to the Law Society.
Redundancies in property conveyancing and a lack of opportunities for new graduates are thought to be the main reasons for the high number of unemployed solicitors, according to Keith O'Malley, Law Society's Career Development Advisor.
There are currently around 8,500 practising solicitors in Ireland.
And a lot of qualified solicitors have had to take up jobs as paralegals, teaching assistants and clerical administrators to make ends meet.
Annette O'Regan, Head of Law Society Professional Training, said the Law Society was forced to start a career support service in 2009 to deal with employment challenges in the profession.
But Islamic Finance, personal injury litigation, debt recovery litigation and funds management are areas where the Law Society is confident jobseekers will find opportunities in the recession.
"It's a challenge, as it was for the graduates in the 80s, and it's not as easy as it has been for the last few years. The Law Society established the career support service in 2009 and it was purely to support jobseekers and provide them with training, and help them with drafting CVs, and finding out where there is work for solicitors.
"A number of the unemployed solicitors are newly qualified and also come from the area of conveyancy or related sectors. So it's a combination of people who were made redundant and newly qualified solicitors.
"The first three courses in compliance and regulation, funds management, and Islamic finance will train 50 unemployed solicitors and place them in employment in the hope that they seek employment.
"About 150 solicitors will be put in work placements in social policy, litigation and in-house as legal officers. By the end of December we hope to have trained 200 unemployed solicitors and place them in work placements in the hope of getting employment."