So you have low-level legal process work that you need completed, but with clients demanding more for less, you’re finding it uneconomical to have your junior lawyers do the tasks. What is the solution? One solution lies in the use of offshore Filipino lawyers.
Tell me about Filipino lawyers
The Philippines was a colony of the USA for 15 years and as a result, its education systems and universities are based on those in the US. The Philippines’ law degree is therefore quite similar to an American law degree. Students have to complete an undergraduate degree before being eligible to commence their law degree and once they obtain their degree, they need to sit in the bar exam. Failure rates for the bar exam are very high and in a typical year, only 20% to 25% of students will pass.
There are 105 law schools in the Philippines, with the quality of graduates bearing dramatically between them. There are more than 5,000 graduates from these combined law schools each year.
How good is their English?
Law in the Philippines is taught in English and therefore, the quality of both written and spoken English is very good. In addition, English is spoken in the Philippines generally by 94% of the population and in some areas is the primary language.
What are their salaries?
A fresh graduate who has passed the bar exam, depending upon their results and which school they have graduated from, will typically be paid between $750 and $1,000 per month. A graduate who either has not sat or passed the bar exam will cost in the order of $500 to $750 per month.
Senior lawyers with five or more years’ experience are likely to cost between $2,000 and $2,750 per month.
What is the quality of work?
As is the case anywhere, the quality of the work performed by a particular person will very much depend upon their level of training, experience and ability. With the right education, the right attitude and the right training, Filipino lawyers have the ability to perform high-quality legal work.
Can I hold them out as a lawyer in Australia?
No – the Philippines’ law degree is not recognised in Australia and as such, you cannot hold out a Filipino lawyer as a lawyer in Australia. They can, however, work as a paralegal or a law clerk.
We are currently establishing partnerships with a number of the Philippines’ leading law schools to provide us with ongoing access to high-quality Filipino law school graduates.