Sir Bob Jones

Go back four decades and there were few, if any, more interesting careers than law. Then the world changed, law became the domain of huge firms and specialisation turned it into a career for dullards.

Nowadays every man and his dog has a law degree, God only knows why.

My company is hammered by young lawyers desperate to flee from their plight for a more interesting career.

I’ve argued, with university bosses that they have a duty to warn law aspirants of what lies ahead. These days the majority are young women. As a result we’re awash in lawyers, as the figures show. Forty years back there were 3,800 lawyers in New Zealand. Todays there’s over 14,000 holding a practising certificate. Unsurprisingly, a disproportionate number by a country mile, can be found in Wellington.

The argument that studying law is useful for other careers is nonsense. Only studying history has that value.

While women now dominate the profession, statistics show they’re significantly less likely to become a partner and flag it quicker than their male counterparts, probably because of motherhood, or, alternatively, greater wisdom.

The root of this problem lies in the unfortunate reality that unworldly teens are obliged to choose a career at far too young an age.

For example, as with law, to a bright 16-17 year old, journalism sounds exciting. By the time they’re in their mid-thirties they awake to the cruel reality of their relatively low paid observer function which explains their bitterness towards successful people and desire to pull them down.

So too architecture. To a 17 year old with Sydney Opera House visions, too late they wake up to the reality that most of their work is a kitchen extension and the like.

It would be interesting for a study to be done of say the percentage of 50 year olds still engaged in the career they opted for at 17 and gained university qualifications for.

I suspect as many as a quarter will have jumped ship for something more interesting. We all know of such individuals.

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Law – The Ghastly Profession
Bob Jones

Bob Jones

Sir Robert ‘Bob’ Jones — now New Zealand’s largest private office building owner in Wellington and Auckland, and with substantial holdings in Sydney and Glasgow, totalling in excess of two billion...