The legal industry is one which is ever growing, and changes every single day – new legislation is passed, and the number of people requiring legal representation is expanding rapidly. However, as new generations graduate their studies and enter into the workforce, they are often deterred from certain industries due to general perceptions surrounding these sectors. Preconceived notions such as all lawyers being greedy and malicious have had major negative effects on the legal field, and young people are put off by the industry before even learning more about it.
In spite of this, members of these age groups – namely Gen Z – should be encouraged by older generations to consider work in the legal sector. The various roles which they can play are vital, and should not be ignored.
Gen Z as digital natives
Being a generation born into a more technological age, Gen Z are digital natives in a sense. Growing up learning to use various different software and hardware gives them a keen advantage in future employment. The technology used by law firms is still brand new and is used for specific purposes. This includes examples such as; legal research for cases, communicating with clients, dictating audio, and organisational databases. Learning to use these systems in the first place is often half the battle for current generations, however this problem is much less common for those born into the current digital age.
On a similar note, technology law and experts in this area are becoming increasingly needed – both by businesses and individuals. Contracts involving software licensing and data agreements are an obvious side of this, but as new technology is created, so too is the need for legal representation and regulation. A.I. and machine learning are just two great examples of this. Gen Z and other future generations will not only be key in progressing developments of this tech, but also in overseeing the use of such systems and ensuring that they are handled in legal and safe ways.
Environmental law is another great example of a field in which Gen Z will play a vital role. It is no secret that the planet is currently under great physical stress, due to climate change and other more natural issues. Prevention of further torment towards our environment is critical, however many do not feel the same way, and instead refuse to make any necessary changes to aid in solving such issues. Seeing as this generation of young people are the ones who will most likely be impacted by the current environmental shift, it is fundamental that they pave the way to creating changes for the better. Entry into the legal industry is one of the most effective ways to begin reducing the effects of climate change, and tearing down the obstacles that are preventing the planet from being saved. Environmental law specifically targets areas such as pollution, climate control, energy sources, and responsibility and accountability of destruction caused by massive corporations.
It would be fair to say that Gen Z as a whole are, thus far, the most inclusive generation born to date. People are gaining more self-acceptance of who they truly are, and of the aspects of themselves that they have been hiding from the general public. Representation is extremely important to so many in this generation, especially those within communities such as LGBTQ+ and other associations. However the process for such inclusion is slow going, and is still being challenged and influenced by older generations. For example, same-sex marriage was legalised in the United Kingdom not even 10 years ago, a fact which is frankly shocking. This discriminatory mindset is one which can only be opposed by those who are passionate about helping people, and want everyone to be represented in a fair and equal way. Gen Z and their inclusive mindset in general is something which would be a breath of fresh air for the legal industry. Free legal advice and representation for those who do not have the resources or facilities to pay for it is becoming increasingly common. Such work (known in the industry as pro bono) fits newer generations perfectly, as it allows for them to help people in incredibly effective ways, and change the general perception of the legal industry for generations to come.
My experiences in law as a Gen Z
Having studied towards a career in the legal industry for many years now, I feel that my own personal experience is one which could be quite beneficial for those seeking to do the same, and has provided me with clear evidence that Gen Z are perfect for law related occupations. For example, I have taken part in the program known as “Street Law” in which law students volunteer to travel to local high schools and teach pupils about different legal areas. The purpose of this program is to educate young people, and to encourage them to think about a career in the legal profession. Participating in this scheme has been an incredible experience, and it has played a major role in driving my passion for members of Gen Z to consider a line of work in the legal field. Observing the genuine enthusiasm from pupils to learn more about the law, along with listening to some of the creative views and understandings held by them, has been fascinating and is one of the strongest arguments I have seen for why young people should enter into the industry.
“Some of the best advice I can give to those aspiring to study law or work in the business in some way, is that it’s never too early and never too late.”
Preparing for your legal career ahead of time is something which is going to be beneficial for you in ways you can’t even imagine. Joining various law related clubs and societies at university or college allows you to gain first hand experience with how the industry works. It also gives you a great opportunity to network and build relationships with lawyers and other pupils before graduating. I myself have attended various talks from solicitors and advocates, and have even been presented with opportunities to shadow lawyers as they go about their day to day work life. Additionally, programs such as Street Law mentioned above are perfect for showing potential employers your dedication and interest in the industry. Preparing ahead of time is always worth doing.
That being said, no matter what stage of your life you are at, it truly is never too late to consider work in the legal field. Whether you go straight into university or college out of school, or if you are currently in a completely different trade; there is always an opportunity to follow your passion and meet your goals. Legal apprenticeships, online courses, work experience at law firms – these are all valid and realistic ways to gain access to the legal field. Dedication and commitment are all that someone really needs to be successful.
Entering into jobs in the legal sector can be daunting at first, especially due to the preconceived notions surrounding the industry. However, members of Gen Z should be encouraged by all to consider work in this area – not just to provide the necessary aid to those who currently need it, but to create an environment and legal system which is fair and safe for future generations.
Authored by Angus Eadie, Imagen Insights Gen Z consultant