Law students irked by job posting for gov’t position

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Law students irked by job posting for gov’t position

“An intermediate-ranking government employee is not a suitable job for someone with a license to practice law.”

“The identities of those applying for this job should be made public to all.”

These are just two of the dozens of postings by law school students on the online community Lawinus (www.lawinus.net) which has over 5,600 law school students in the country as members.

The site enforces strict guidelines for membership, requiring members to upload copies of their law school tuition receipts.

The Busan Metropolitan Government seeks to hire a law school graduate with a license to practice law as an intermediate-level city government worker.

After word spread in academia about the city government’s job search, dozens of posts strongly opposed to applying for such a job, some in a warning tone, filled the site as many community members deemed the job fell far short of their standards.

Postings such as “any applicant will disgrace the entire legal community,” or “before applying for the job, think about the consequences it would have for people in the legal profession,” were also seen on the online bulletin board.

Some contrary comments, such as “it is one’s freedom to choose a job” or “it is so arrogant that law school students wish to be treated well in the job market just because they have a specialty license,” were also posted, but in a much smaller number.

The city government is befuddled by the backlash from law school members.

“Other local government offices have already recruited law school graduates as similar-level public employees,” said an official at the Busan city office, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

“During the recruitment process, many with a law license didn’t get a job due to their lack of qualifications. We figured an intermediate-level position is appropriate.”

The unfriendly response reflects growing anxieties and concerns over job prospects among 2,000 students at 25 law schools in the country.

Once only reserved for the privileged few, the legal profession has become increasingly saturated.

Every year around 1,500 law school graduates under the three-year, Western-style system hit the legal market, on top of 1,000 lawyers produced under the old law school system, who have graduated from the Judicial Research & Training Institute after passing the national bar examination.

National Assembly data showed that the first batch of graduates in February 2012 from the 25 law schools nationwide saw an employment rate of 81.7 percent.

“Having a license to practice law does not automatically guarantee competence,” said Kim Myung-ki, director of the Korean Association of Law Schools.

“In accordance with the objective of establishing a law school system, law school graduates should actively pursue a job career that fits their specialty in law.”


By Kim Ki-hwan, Kang Jin-kyu [jkkang2@joongang.co.kr]

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