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Bid to lure solicitors Down Under in recruitment drive

Solicitors with a sense of adventure are invited to practise Down Under as parts of Australia experience a shortage of legal professionals.

Alex Ward, the president of Australia's Law Council, said it was difficult to recruit young Australian lawyers to work in country areas.

On a visit to Northern Ireland as a guest of the Law Society, Mr Ward said: "We are worried that country firms will close in five to 10 years time because there is no-one there to take them over."

Solicitors in Northern Ireland, meanwhile, are experiencing a shortage of opportunities thanks to the economic downturn.

Work in Australia would entail magistrates hearings, will-writing and other 'bread and butter' legal work. "It's everything which is needed to keep access to justice in country areas," Mr Ward said.

Mr Ward's rallying cry to Northern Ireland's lawyers is being backed by the Law Society.

Law Society president Brian Speers said: "This is just one of a number of initiatives which the Law Society is taking to develop skills of members."

He said there were strong similarities between the two jurisdictions. "It's the same language, court system and legal vocabulary."