Challenging BigLaw: Questioning the Dominant Discourse in Law Student Employment Aspirations

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review


This chapter discusses the Australian law student career aspirations using discourse analysis, with a focus on the apparent assumption by many students that the best possible outcome of legal education is securing employment with a large law firm. Claims by legal practitioners and media commentators that there are too many law schools graduating too many law students are sometimes difficult to reconcile with the inability by many members of the community to readily access legal assistance. ‘Doctrinal discourse’ privileges legal doctrine by locating it at the core of the legal curriculum and by emphasising its intellectual rigour, academic value, and social importance. However, it seems to be the case that for many law students, the plurality of career destinations is presented and discussed as a simple duality: a position with a large law firm or ‘something else’, with the second option positioned as the less desirable outcome.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCritical Legal Education as a Subversive Activity
EditorsHelen Gibbon, Ben Golder, Lucas Lixinski, Marina Nehme, Prue Vines
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781003175216
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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