The Federation Press

Lawyers in Australia


Lawyers in Australia is a wide-ranging and detailed examination of the legal profession. It contextualises the role, responsibilities and ethics of lawyers in contemporary Australian society and discusses recent trends and issues.

This 2nd edition updates the text with:

  • information about the National Legal Profession Project and a review of key provisions of the proposed National Laws and Rules
  • reference to relevant caselaw since the publication of the 1st edition
  • updated statistical information relating to lawyers and the legal profession in Australia
  • reference to recent studies and commentary in relation to lawyers and the legal profession in Australia revised discussion and research questions relating to each chapter.

In addition there are chapters about:

  • who lawyers are and what they do
  • legal education in Australia including trends and developments
  • the structure and regulation of the legal profession
  • legal culture, including demographic and sociological trends
  • the judiciary, focussing on accountability and the processes by which judges and magistrates are appointed
  • the changing nature of legal services delivery due to the development of a national legal services market
  • access to justice, including legal aid and pro bono services
  • equality before the law with specific attention to indigenous peoples and refugees
  • ethics and professional responsibility, including complaints and the disciplinary process
  • the lawyer-client relationship, covering the ‘retainer’, the duty to advise, the duty of competence and care, and the duty of loyalty
  • the lawyer’s duty to the court and the proper administration of justice
  • the future of the legal profession and legal services


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, Barrister - Law Institute Victoria - inPrint - September 2012 86 (09) LIJ, p.68

Review of previous editions: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, Vol 34 (10) November 2007

Table of Contents

Part 1 - The Sociological Context

Legal Education in Australia
The Development of the Legal Profession in Australia
Legal Culture
The Judiciary
The Delivery Of Legal Services
Access to Justice – Meeting the costs
Access to Justice – Equality before the law
Access to Justice – Indigenous Australians

Part 2 - The Ethical Context

Ethics, Values and Professional Responsibility
Conduct, Complaints and Discipline
The Lawyer-Client Relationship – The Retainer and the Duty of Representation
The Lawyer-Client Relationship – The Duty to Advise
The Lawyer-Client Relationship – The Duty of Competence and Care
The Lawyer-Client Relationship – The Duty of Loyalty
The Lawyer’s Duty to the Court and the Proper Administration of Justice
The Lawyer’s Duty to Other Members of the Profession and to Third Parties
Epilogue – 20/20 Vision


Of interest...