Young Lawyers' Survey

The future of the legal profession: what are young lawyers looking for?

Young lawyers are the future leaders of the profession, and it is in the best interests of the profession that talented individuals stay working in the profession so they may contribute to the advancement of the law and upholding the rule of law. However, young lawyers (in various sectors) may also have concerns and priorities inadequately addressed by employers, which could result in them leaving that employer, or even the profession. What young lawyers experience and how their interests are managed will undoubtedly affect their future at their workplace, the legal sector in which they work and the legal profession more generally. The Legal Policy & Research Unit have worked with the IBA Young Lawyers’ Committee on a research project focusing on the interests of young lawyers around the world. This project forms part of the Young Lawyers Committee’s ongoing work of identifying, discussing, and promoting issues involving young lawyers across the global legal profession.

‘The young lawyers of today are the senior leaders of tomorrow, so understanding their concerns today will help to shape the profession for the future. Relevant across the globe, this research should be carefully considered with action in mind.

Horacio Bernardes Neto
President, International Bar Association (2019-2020)

Through a survey, data has been gathered on the collective interests, priorities, and concerns of young lawyers (those aged 40 and under) across the globe. We hope to use this data, and any trends that may appear, to generate a dialogue between young lawyers and the current leaders of the legal profession and encourage positive changes (where necessary). The Young Lawyers’ survey, available in English and Spanish, was open from April to August 2020. 3,056 responses were obtained from a variety of countries. The Young Lawyers’ survey was developed in collaboration with consultancy firm Acritas (part of Thomson Reuters).

In the IBA Young Lawyers’ Report, the IBA Young Lawyers Committee and the Legal Policy & Research Unit analyze the data from the survey responses and explores the issues affecting young lawyers, including factors influencing a decision to move workplaces, impacts on career progression, and the effect of technology and artificial intelligence in the workplace. Workplace bullying, sexual harassment and mental health are also covered as part of the IBA’s continued commitment to addressing these issues in the legal profession. Those who took part were also invited to share their experiences concerning the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. The report outlines seven areas for action and future focus with the aim of achieving positive change. Download the report.