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Careers GUIDE



Careers Guide 2018


Careers Guide 2018


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I Design, composition and cover photography: Joe Gordon


Publications and Engagement Officer


Careers Guide 2018



I moved to Canberra from Darwin to study Politics and International Relations and Law, because this is where the magic happens. When I first moved here it was with trepidation at leaving what and who I knew behind, but I was following my dream to become the first female Prime Minister. Between Julia Gillard snapping up history and my dual citizenship I don’t want to relinquish, it became apparent that a career in politics was probably not my future.

In first year you are often asked why you chose to study law, or what you want to do with your legal degree. For me the answers were always ‘to make a difference’ and ‘something I am passionate about’. I am lucky that I am now doing both. I work in the public service, something I never thought I would do, and am able to effect positive change in people’s lives and have a real desire to go to work in the morning. I still get asked what I want to do, or if I will stay in the public service. The truth is that I don’t know. Life is always evolving and in the future I may want to, or have to, try

something new and so I listen to the experiences of those around me about what they are passionate about.

University has been a rollercoaster of experiences and emotions, failures and successes and confidence and trepidation. Like a rollercoaster however you are not on this ride alone, there are tools and resources out there to guide you and help you navigate your own path. I would encourage everyone to ask questions, draw on the experience and knowledge of your peers and the academics and to reach out to Isaacs and UC Careers.

My final piece of advice is taken from Paulo Coelho, author of The Alchemist, which I recommend -

‘Whatever you decide to do, make sure it makes you happy.'

Claire Marron President, 2018

Isaacs Law Society School of Law and Justice

University of Canberra


Careers Guide 2018



The Isaacs Law Society (ILS) Careers Guide 2018 has been developed as a handbook to accompany the ILS Careers Fair. It is intended to provide students an insight into what’s required in beginning a career in law and related industries, as well as providing an opportunity to students to learn about their peers’ experiences and consider their advice.

The Guide is one of the Society’s foremost publications, instituted as a joint effort between the ILS Careers and Publications Officers.

I would like to thank our sponsors, Clayton Utz, King & Wood Mallesons, MinterEllison, ANU School of Legal Practice and The College of Law for their continued support - for which the Society is extremely grateful.

Thanks is also extended to our contributors, whose accounts of experience and advice is valued and appreciated.

I wish all students ongoing success and hope that the Guide is both a useful and insightful companion to the Careers Fair.

Joe Gordon Publications and Engagement Officer


Isaacs Law Society


Careers Guide 2018

 I Law Firms

I Australian Government

Clayton Utz

Griffin Legal

King & Wood Mallesons

Maxwell & Co

Mills Oakley


Proximity Lawyers

Australian Taxation Office

I Multinational Professional Services Firms

I University of Canberra

I PLT Providers

ANU School of Legal Practice

The College of Law

Careers UC

Isaacs Law Society

EY (Ernst & Young)

PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers)


With thanks to our sponsors



Careers Guide 2018


Careers Guide 2018

IV RESUME TIPS You may be a great person, but if you don’t look good on paper, you’re not getting an interview. Your resume is critical to your success in applying for work, so we’ve compiled a few tips to help you.

I Keep it to one page, if you can, maximum of two.

I Research the employer.

Find out what the firm stands for, their principles and the kind of work they do. The more you know, the better you can tailor your resume to fit in with how their teams operate.

I Network.

Employers are busy and they often receive a great number of applications for any given position. Succinct communication is key. No partner is going to have the time to read every single thing you write especially when they have another 20 resumes to read before their next meeting. Prioritise what’s truly relevant.

The best way to get ahead of other applicants in the race to an interview is to get to know your potential employer before they look through the mountain of resumes. Attend Isaacs events and bring an enthusiastic attitude. Employers are far more likely to remember students who go out of their way to leave a good impression.

I Present non-legal experience in a way in which a law firm will find useful.

I Have someone proof-read


Retail? Hospitality? Don’t worry, we all started somewhere! Use your non-legal experience to highlight your diverse skills and talents. For instance, you may have developed incredible customer service skills, can demonstrate the ability to effectively manage your time or highlight your strong work ethic.

your resume. Attention to detail is fundamentally important, and prospective employers will typically not accept applications which contain spelling or grammatical errors. It’s important to take care.



Careers Guide 2018


Careers Guide 2018

V YOUR INTERVIEW The idea of an interview may be daunting, however, with the right preparation and mindset, it doesn’t have to be. We’ve put together a few tips that may be of use in preparing your next application.

3. Look the part

I Tips

4. Be on time

1. Do your research

- Research the firm, know their -

history and understand the work they do

Consider how your attributes align with those of the firm

2. Prepare

- Prepare a list questions likely -



to be asked, and prepare answers to those questions

Prepare a list of questions that you’d like to ask about the position and the firm

Practice your interview with a friend

Provide copies of any application material required, including proof of qualifications and identification.

Know where the interview is being conducted

- Wear suitable clothing

- Have a tidy appearance

- Use open and confident body language

- Allow yourself enough time to arrive and compose yourself before the interview

I Potential Questions What motivates you to to join our team, and why would you be an asset to our organisation? What sets you apart from other candidates applying for this role? What area of law interests you, and why? What’s a particular legal issue that you’re interested in? Provide examples of your ability to prioritise tasks to meet deadlines. Do you have any interests or hobbies, and how do you effectively balance work and life commitments?



Careers Guide 2018


Careers Guide 2018




Careers Guide 2018

 I Who.

I Advice.

Amy George LLB / B ForSt

At the end of the day, you need to do what is right for you, and prioritise these things. Trying to balance work with uni and a social life shouldn’t be as hard as it may seem, as cliché as that may sound. It really is about finding a balance and recognising what should be prioritised, and following through on that commitment. While my work is incredibly important to me, as a full time student, I certainly prioritise my studies and allow time to grab coffee, or have dinner with friends.

I What. I’m currently working as a paralegal at Canberra Legal Group, and this encompasses a variety of tasks. From filing documents and administrative work to talking to clients and drafting affidavits, working as a paralegal has been a great way to start my career in law.

I Why.


So far, I’ve gained confidence in approaching assessments that I usually would be unsure of how to tackle. The experience has also made me more enthusiastic about what I’m currently learning as I’ve been able to apply my learnings in practical situations. It’s refreshing to know that what I’m actually learning in class is relevant.

Finding work experience can be difficult, but I cannot express enough how important networking is. Most law firms do look for students in their penultimate or final year of study, however, that is not always the case. Contacting firms to find out when they are likely to have an intake of clerks or just to familiarise yourself with the firm is always a good starting point.

Secondly, the UC School of Law offers practical electives that often


Careers Guide 2018 allow for some great practical experiences.

Amy is an Education Officer at the Isaacs Law Society.

I Who. Claire Osborne LLB

It's always best to take a step back, and look at what you are doing. Consider when particular things need to be complete and prioritise accordingly. Make sure that every day you have some time where you can enjoy your own company or take time out for yourself. You will always have people around you willing to help, don’t be afraid to reach out for it.

Claire is an Events Officer at the Isaacs Law Society.

I What.

I currently work in a law firm as an archivist and admin assistant, however I have just been promoted to become a paralegal.

I Why.

Working at a law firm has given me an insight and a certain level of depth to my studies. It’s helped in giving me real life situations to put my studies in context. I also learn more practical skills which aren't taught at university. Also, it’s nice to learn from friends I’ve made at work who are also studying.

I Advice.


Don't push yourself too much. My worst trait is over committing, and I always find myself overwhelmed and stressed which is counterproductive.

I Who.

James Page LLB

I What.

I currently work as a paralegal at Maxwell & Co Barristers and Solicitors. I assist the principal solicitor in business and litigation matters, and also assist with conveyancing and admin tasks.

I Why.

Working in the legal field while studying law has given me a lot of direction for my studies, since I encounter much of the topics and issues that I have studied. My job also motivates me to broaden my


Careers Guide 2018 knowledge of case law and legislation.

I Advice.

Finding the right work/study balance is always difficult, but it’s important to not let your studies fall behind while you work. I’ve always found that reserving some time to relax helps me keep a healthy balance between the two.

If you’re studying and looking for work experience, persistence is key. Keep applying for positions, and going to firms and organisations and handing out your resume.


James is an Events Officer at the Isaacs Law Society.


Careers Guide 2018

VII CLERKSHIPS I What is a legal clerkship?

A legal clerkship, or simply a clerkship, is a form of holiday work experience offered to students by law firms. It is a valuable experience through which successful applicants are offered the opportunity to train and practice in a range of legal fields, and experience how the firm operates first-hand.

Clerkships typically run over a three month period, beginning in November and ending in February.

I Why are they important? If you’re hoping to secure a graduate position at a law firm, completing a clerkship is often the critical first step.

Typically, firms will present priority offers for graduate positions to those who have completed any given firm’s clerkship program. Market offers may also be offered publicly, but this is less common.


Most importantly, clerkships provide participants with the opportunity to learn invaluable skills and gain exposure to the legal field around

them. They are also a great way to network with and learn from those within the industry whose careers are already established.

I How to apply.

Most firms will advertise their clerkships in the careers sections of their respective websites. Otherwise, you can typically find a number of these on websites like LegalVitae (

I Make an informed choice, but don’t be too fussy.

It is important to make an informed choice about the particular clerkships for which you apply. Ensure the particular firm is right for you and whether you can see yourself continuing to work for the firm in the future. Consider the areas of law practiced, the firm’s principles and its position in the wider community - ask yourself whether or not it is somewhere you’d love to work.

The application process is generally very competitive, law firms may receive hundreds of clerkship applications, so don’t limit yourself to your top choice only.


Careers Guide 2018

VIII DIFFERENTIATE YOURSELF Standing out from the crowd is important when applying for work, especially during clerkship or graduate program applications where there is considerable competition.

society. We also visited the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), set up to prosecute the leaders of the Khmer Rouge, as well as amazing landmarks and places in both cities.

We’ve compiled some ways in which you can differentiate yourself and stand out as a student with varied and insightful experiences.

The trip was an unforgettable experience. I have grown a strong interest in human trafficking, particularly the enforcement of antitrafficking laws, and seen first-hand the connection between law in theory and real legal problems such as human trafficking.

I Study Abroad.

I Who. Matt Aldridge LLB / BCom

I What.

I would recommend this trip to anyone pursuing a career in law and wanting to enrich their university experience.

Our group was introduced to NGOs that do remarkable work in the space of human trafficking, assisting some of the most vulnerable members of Cambodian

I What.


In July 2017 I went on the a Faculty Led Program to Cambodia as a part of the Current Legal Issues unit at UC. I spent one week in the capital, Phnom Penh, and another major city Siem Reap.

I Who. Joe Gordon LLB /

B Bldg&ConstrMgt

I travelled to the USA in July 2017 to complete a short course in International


Careers Guide 2018 Litigation, Arbitration and Alternative Dispute Resolution at Michigan State University (MSU).

This was an incredible opportunity to experience and learn from an expert in this field, Professor Mary Bedikian, and continue to develop my understanding in this interesting area of law.

The three week program involved a series of lectures accompanied by excursions including a visit to the Michigan Supreme Court in Lansing, combined with practical group work in which we were able to practice our skills in a meaningful and useful way.

Studying abroad was also a great way to make friends and network with students, faculty and professionals who come from a range of interesting backgrounds.

It was a highly advantageous program that allowed me to develop professional legal skills in a diverse environment and create long lasting relationships. I value the experience greatly, so much so that I am undertaking further studies abroad at the University of Oxford this July.

I would encourage all students to consider these opportunities!

I Practical Electives at UC in 2018.

Practical law electives are a great way to tailor your learning to the areas of law that you enjoy and are passionate about.

Practical electives available at UC this year include;

I LLB WINTER TERM 2018 7053 Student Law Internship

8749 Law in Action Project

8892 Legal Advice Clinic

SEMESTER 2 2018 8685 Mooting
 8749 Law in Action Project

8892 Legal Advice Clinic
 I JD WINTER TERM 2018 8075 Law Internship PG
 8750 Law in Action Project PG

9999 Legal Advice Clinic PG

SEMESTER 2 2018 8075 Law Internship PG
 8686 Mooting PG
 8750 Law in Action Project PG

9999 Legal Advice Clinic PG 


Joe is the Publications and Engagement Officer at the Isaacs Law Society.



Careers Guide 2018


Careers Guide 2018

IX AFTER LAW SCHOOL I So you’ve finished law school. Now what?

In addition to completing a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) or Juris Doctor (JD), the next step in order to be becoming a lawyer, is undertaking a Practical Legal Training (PLT) program which results in the award of a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (GDLP).

In Canberra, we have access to two exceptional providers of these programs;

I The College of Law; and I ANU School of Legal Practice. PLT develops practical legal skills and will help you learn about working in a firm or organisation as a professional lawyer. The programs include aspects of coursework and work experience and are generally offered in both full and part-time modes to allow for flexibility for those working full-time.

More information about these programs are available at the following links.

I The College of Law programs/plt/c-24/c-78

I ANU School of Legal Practice gdlp

I Admission

Having completed a LLB or JD and received a GDLP, prospective lawyers must then be admitted to the Supreme Court in their relevant jurisdiction in order to practice law and represent their clients in court.

Following admission, an individual is eligible for admission throughout Australia’s states and territories, either directly or through policies of mutual recognition.

In the ACT, details regarding admission can be found at the link below; supreme/practitioners/admissions

Remaining Admission Days for 2018 (ACT) 13 April 15 June 17 August 19 October


7 December


Careers Guide 2018 Jurisdiction

Admitting Authority


Australian Capital Territory

Legal Practitioners Admission Board

Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory

New South Wales

Legal Practitioners Admission Board

Supreme Court of New South Wales

Northern Territory

Legal Practitioners Admission Board

Supreme Court of the Northern Territory


Queensland Legal Practitioners Admission Board

Supreme Court of Queensland

South Australia

Legal Practitioners and Education Council

Supreme Court of South Australia


Board of Legal Education

Supreme Court of Tasmania


Council for Legal Education - Board of Examiners

Supreme Court of Victoria

Western Australia

Legal Practice Board

Supreme Court of Western Australia

I Notes:

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Careers Guide 2018




Careers Guide 2018




Careers Guide 2018

X ISAACS 2018 I Executive President




I Competitions Portfolio
 Competitions Officer


I Careers Portfolio





I Publications Publications and Engagement Officer


Careers Officer


I Events Portfolio Events Officer


Events Officer


I Education Portfolio Education Officer






Careers Guide 2018

I Notes: _____________________________________________ _____________________________________________ _____________________________________________ _____________________________________________ _____________________________________________ _____________________________________________ _____________________________________________ _____________________________________________ _____________________________________________ _____________________________________________ _____________________________________________ _____________________________________________ _____________________________________________ _____________________________________________ _____________________________________________


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Careers Guide 2018

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I Contact ILS Publications Joe Gordon Publications and Engagement Officer


ILS Careers Guide 2018  
ILS Careers Guide 2018