Law firm drops fee to take on graduates

AAP

An Adelaide law firm has dropped plans to charge graduates an up-front fee of $22,000 in return for a job after a review of the proposed program by the Law Society of South Australia.

The society wrote to directors of the adlawgroup in June, expressing concerns over the program which was initially proposed to start in July.

That review was completed last week with society president Rocco Perrotta writing to the adlawgroup to outline its remaining concerns.

Mr Perrotta says the group has since responded indicating it no longer plans to charge participants the $22,000 fee in a significant departure from its original business model.

The fee would have secured the graduate a position for two years after which they would qualify for an unrestricted practising certificate.

"It also appears that adlawgroup will operate more as an employment agency rather than a law firm and source employment for lawyers in law practices," Mr Perrotta said in a statement on Monday.

He said the society had little information about the new structure and intended to work closely with the adlawgroup to examine the integrity of the proposed changes.

In documents posted online earlier this year, the adlawgroup said its concept would fill a critical gap in the employment market for graduate lawyers.

It said its offices would be staffed predominantly by new lawyers who would work under the supervision of senior practitioners.

The concept proposed to help overcome what it said was the classic Catch 22 situation where graduates needed experience to get an unrestricted practising certificate at a time when most law firms were unwilling to employ graduate lawyers without experience.

In a statement adlawgroup said it believed the Law Society had not fully understood its business model.

But it said it would not launch until it could provide participants with complete confidence in the program.