Lawyers in Australia is a wide-ranging and detailed examination of the legal profession and its ethical framework. It contextualises the role, responsibilities and ethics of lawyers in contemporary Australian society and discusses recent trends and issues. It has continued to be a popular text for the teaching of legal ethics courses since the first edition was published in 2007.
Its detailed examination of the legal profession, its make-up and its ethical framework, access to justice and consideration of future issues confronting the legal profession, all make it of interest and relevance to academic, student and practitioner alike.
Key changes to the new edition include:
- revised structure with content about the ethical, professional and sociological aspects of the legal profession organised into easily identifiable sections;
- updated and expanded use of case law including cases decided in accordance with the Legal Profession Uniform Law;
- up-to-date coverage of the various legislative regimes that regulate entry to the profession and the conduct of those within it;
- refreshed commentary on the delivery and regulation of legal education, the development of a national legal profession and future issues facing the profession; and
- revised teaching resources in the form of updated discussion and research questions relating to each chapter.
About the Authors
Table of Cases
Table of Statutes
Part I: The Legal Profession
2. Legal Education in Australia
3. Legal Culture
4. The Judiciary
Part II: The Ethical Context
5. Ethics, Values and Professionalism
6. Regulating “the Profession” in Australia
7. Admission to the Profession
8. Conduct, Complaints and Discipline
Part III: The Professional Context
9. The Lawyer-Client Relationship – The Retainer
10.The Lawyer-Client Relationship – Costs and the Duty to Account
11. The Lawyer-Client Relationship – The Duty to Advise
12. The Lawyer-Client Relationship – The Duty of Competence
13. The Lawyer-Client Relationship – The Duty of Loyalty
14. The Lawyer’s Duty to the Court and the Proper Administration of Justice
15. The Lawyer’s Duty to Other Members of the Profession and to Third Parties
Part IV: The Sociological Context
16. Access to Justice – Meeting the Costs
17. Access to Justice – Equality Before the Law
18. Access to Justice – Indigenous Australians
The Monash Survey Results
“An invaluable resource for the profession. Comprehensive and very readable. Keep this book within arm’s reach.”
Michael Devitt, Honorary Senior Fellow, School of Law, University of Wollongong
Law Society of NSW, Accredited Specialist – Property Law
Reviews of previous editions:
I used an earlier edition of Lawyers in Australia in 2011 to teach undergraduate first-year law students. It was a good introduction to ethics and the role of lawyers for undergraduates, which provided stimulating research and discussion questions at the end of each chapter. The third edition does not disappoint. It has been redesigned, updated and well edited to reflect recent changes in the law, including the introduction of the uniform laws governing the profession, and challenges such as the wellbeing of lawyers, increasing globalisation, mega firms and commercialisation.
This new edition will be a useful resource for practical legal training courses because it discusses admission requirements in the context of a critique of the law and its place in society. The collection of materials not only covers black letter law but goes deeper by presenting a range of perspectives and insights that might shape the way new lawyers think about their role. For example, it examines the culture of the profession and the challenges facing new entrants, including the uncertainties of legal practice and the different aspects of the law in the context of professional duties and justice. It also presents materials on judicial office, policy making, legal practice and the role of law in society.
The materials include diverse references and excerpts, which will make not just entry-level and undergraduate law students think more deeply about their obligations and identity as lawyers, but will also challenge experienced lawyers to re-engage with recent changes and re-visit the core principles of the legal profession. The text unravels the significant shift to strengthening ethical requirements for conduct led in recent years by Supreme Courts and regulators, and introduces the Australian Solicitors Conduct Rules. It is an accessible text and a good reference for those who need a refresher. The epilogue provides information about recent inquiries into the profession, access to justice and questions about the future of the practice of law. Its plain English style and discourse make it also a good read for non-lawyers seeking to better understand the vital role lawyers can play, have played and continue to play in the community.
Liz Curran, InPrint, Law Institute Journal Victoria, November 2015
This textbook, primarily intended for undergraduate law students, considers the legal profession and its role as an aspect of the concept of law. The authors in Part I address various topics concerned broadly with the sociological context of the legal profession. In Part II, they turn to the more particular ethical context in which the legal profession operates, as part of an analysis of the broader context in which members of the legal profession conduct their business, and the skills, values and ethics which they apply. In this third edition, the current authors have incorporated the latest developments in both law and contextual issues, and have added coverage of the new Legal Profession Uniform Law and associated Rules.
Queensland Law Reporter – 16 October 2015 –  40 QLR
There is a great distance a student must travel between graduating from law and practising it. Unfortunately there is no app to navigate it. There is, however, the second edition of Lamb and Littrich’s Lawyers in Australia which offers to contextualise the practice and responsibilities of becoming a lawyer. Practitioners who already have the first edition may be interested in the updates on the National Legal Profession Project.
The authors have experience both as practising lawyers and in training lawyers for legal practice at the University of Wollongong. Lamb has experience as a lecturer at the Leo Cussen Institute and in development of the Bar Admission Course in Ontario, Canada. …
Many of the topics covered are the subject of longstanding academic and social debates. There are topics which new lawyers may need guidance in, such as pursuit of work–life balance and the role of legal aid.
This text would be ideal on the primary or recommended reading list for legal practice courses or professional responsibility courses. It would be a useful reference tool for law trainees and new lawyers as well as a go to resource for the office or chambers.
Tasman Fleming, InPrint, Law Institute Journal Victoria, September 2012
This textbook is an enjoyable read. The authors divide Lawyers in Australia into a sociological perspective and an ethics section.
I found the part on the sociological context particularly interesting. The authors provide a historical and comparative understanding of the legal profession in the Australian, United Kingdom, Canadian, and the United States jurisdictions. They discuss the proper use of the term “lawyer” and the very important historical distinction of “barrister” and “solicitor” as well as the educational requirements and standards needed for entering our profession.
This makes Lawyers in Australia a recommended read for law students wanting to know what the legal profession is about other than getting a set of letters (i.e. LLB) behind one’s name. Read full review…
Alexis N Gage, Hearsay, Queensland Bar Association, December 2011
Students completing their bachelor of laws in jurisdictions where the study of ethics is compulsory (this is not the case in WA), and all graduates completing admissions courses, will find the section on ethics a very useful summary. It deals with ethical codes, the client-lawyer relationship and the lawyer’s duty to the court, to other members of the profession and third parties. The client-lawyer relationship incorporates detailed analysis of the retainer, the duty to advise, the duty of competence and care and the duty of loyalty. This section is also a primer for lawyers who wish to enlarge their understanding of the law underpinning professional conduct rules and the law relating to professional privilege and lawyer liability.
The sociological context covers the definition of a lawyer and legal work, the development of the Australian profession and professional institutions like law societies, fidelity funds and public purposes funds. There is a broader discussion about the role of the judiciary, the legal culture, the costs and delivery of legal services and access to justice that is general background for any lawyer or student preparing to undertake specific law reform analysis.
To a certain extent the authors create for law students a tempered but nevertheless heroic context for their future practice of the law, emphasising what the law can do. The book would be a useful addition to a firm library, particularly if that firm engages winter and summer clerks and articled clerks and graduate trainees.
Law Society Journal of Western Australia, November 2007