“Permanent” but pressured: junior academics within Australian law schools

Angela Melville, Amy Barrow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Junior legal academics represent the future of teaching and research in law schools, and are vital in shaping the future of the legal profession. However, while research has focused on academic staff appointed on casual contracts, we know very little about junior academics who have obtained permanent employment. This paper examines the biographies of 700 junior academics within Australian law schools. It reveals that junior academics face many challenges. The opportunity for junior academics to gain a permanent post within an Australian law school is diminishing, and those that do gain permanent employment face unprecedented pressure. They often need to undertake doctorate studies at the same time as they carry a full academic workload. Many bring professional experience, but this experience does not appear to be well-valued within an academic environment. Female junior academics face even further barriers, which have a detrimental impact upon their research performance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-141
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of The Legal Profession
Issue number2
Early online date30 Oct 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Oct 2021


  • academia
  • Junior legal academics
  • Australian law schools
  • tenure


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