This guide has been put together by the Univeristy of South Australia Law Strudentsâ€™ Association (USALSA), to assist current students as well as recent graduates to find their place in the sometimes daunting legal field. We acknowledge and that individuals and organisations:
Shannon Guerin, Publications Director and editorin-chief of the 2017 Careers Guide. Nicholas Karalis, Publications Officer. Ella Cameron, Careers Director. Wilbur Jordan and Georgia McRae, both previous Publications Directors, and their teams who put together the 2015/2016 guide. Some of this content is reproduced in this yearâ€™s guide and we sincerely thank them for their hard work! The entire USALSA committee for their commitment to enriching the student experience. Jessica Punch for designing the front cover. Philippa Jones for editing. The sponsors of the Careers Guide, who make this publication possible. All of the contributors to the Careers Guide who generously provided their time and experience to assist students.
CAREERS DIRECTOR WELCOME The multiplicity of career paths available to law school graduates is often overwhelming and for some, that decision is a great challenge. Whether you have known which direction to take from your first day at university, or are a final year student still unsure about what you want to do, this careers guide aims to assist you in that decision. As we all know, law school involves a variety of obstacles, challenges and opportunities. This is what enables law students to develop an established set of skills. It is this body of attributes that enhances the employability of a law graduate. When deciding what career paths is right for you, it is helpful to be fully informed about the range of opportunities available. This careers guide is divided into four sections. First, there will be specific advice about how to land your first job (and keep it)! Second, this guide contains feedback from various members of the legal profession to provide law sudents with some useful and relatable information about life after law school. Third, there is advice on how to stand out and gain a competitve edge. Finallly, there will be discussion of potential avenues for further study. The guide additionally aims to provide insight into applying for clerkships, volunteer work and legal practice. On behalf of USALSA, I would like to wish each of you the best of luck in your studies and in the first chapters of your career. Ella Cameron Careers Director University of South Australia Law Studentsâ€™ Association
CONTENTS PAGE THE APPLICATION
FIND YOUR PATH 32
STAND OUT! FURTHER STUDY
DEAN’S WELCOME UniSA Law’s mission is to produce outstanding graduates with a combination of legal knowledge and practical skills which make them competitive and prepared for a range of legal and legally-related sectors. More than half of Australia’s law graduates will enter legal practice in some form, whether that be in private firms, working for the Crown or the DPP, or entering practice via an associateship in one of our courts. However, somewhere between 40-50% of law graduates will not enter legal practice but will instead choose to work in business and management, government policy, industrial relations, the community sector, education or areas including the media or international agencies. The great thing about a UniSA Law degree is that we know it provides an excellent foundation for an array of professional careers. The School is committed to providing a diverse and supportive learning experience, relatively small class sizes, flexibility through the trimester system and the opportunity to engage in practical experiences including through the Legal Advice Clinic. Law has relevance for every aspect of society and a UniSA law degree provides an intellectual foundation combined with professional skills that are highly regarded in numerous fields. Our graduates are distinctive and highly employable. The question is, how to match your own unique skillset and personality with the right role in law. Hopefully this publication will help to shed some light on the career paths that are open to you and where you might find the most rewarding opportunities that play to your individual strengths. I highly recommend a thorough read of this Careers Guide and commend USALSA for putting it together for the benefit of law students. I also encourage you to familiarise yourselves with the services provided by UniSA Careers Services – services that will be available to you well beyond graduation day. Good luck in finding your own path! Professor Wendy Lacey Dean of Law University of South Australia School of Law
Throughout law school and your career, you will need to apply for jobs, clerkships, internships and more. The skills to ‘sell yourself’ to potential employers are invaluable.
It all begins with perfect proofreading and attention to detail. This guide will help you to write a stellar CV, with a powerful cover letter. It will also run through the basics of interviewing, as well as finding out about jobs (even in the so-called ‘Hidden Job Market’)
CLERKSHIP DATES The South Australian Law Studentsâ€™ Committee Uniform Clerkship brings together many of the largest firms in South Australia to make it easier for you to apply. Participating firms are: - Cowell Clarke - Fisher Jeffries - Minter Ellison - Wallmans 2017 CLERKSHIP DATES Applications close: Monday 24 July5pm Interviews from: Monday 31 July 9am Offers released: Monday 28 August 9am Acceptance due: Tuesday 29 August 9am
Insight from an LK Senior Associate I started at Lipman Karas as a winter clerk. What immediately struck me about the firm in my first week still rings true as a Senior Associate eight years later. LK stands apart for three reasons: the quality of the work, people and culture. Work LK is an exciting place to practice law. As a lawyer at LK you have the opportunity to work on some of the most complex, challenging and interesting litigation projects in Australia and internationally. These cases require in-depth legal analysis and the distillation of large amounts of factual data. Young lawyers at LK work directly with principals, as well as counsel and independent experts, on all aspects of their projects, with leading national and international firms acting on the other side.
approachable. They understand that the best results are achieved by working as a team where everyone participates. Each member of the teamâ€™s contribution is valued and recognised. Culture The culture at a law firm, like any place of work, is extremely important. LKâ€™s culture is open and community oriented. The firm has an active social and community programme, with regular social gatherings, fun walks/runs and community initiatives. The firm regularly undertakes pro bono work. Junior lawyers are encouraged to contribute to the direction of these programmes, which in turn offers them an insight into the role and functioning of a law firm beyond our core practice of law.
LK takes a genuine long term interest in its lawyers. It has a strong training programme but more importantly, it treats its lawyers as individuals. After clerking at LK for six months, I took a leave of absence to undertake an associateship with Justice Vanstone in the Supreme Court of South Australia before returning to the firm after wards. The firm was also supportive in my undertaking part-time postgraduate studies. I recently took a period six months of unpaid leave to travel and have recommenced in the firmâ€™s London office. Other young lawyers at LK have pursued similar paths.
The practitioners and support staff at LK are experts at what they do. They are dedicated, intelligent and resourceful. LK offers unrivalled opportunities for work and to learn from leaders in their field.
As the firm has grown, LK has remained an exciting and rewarding place to practise law, steadfastly maintaining its high standards in relation to its projects, people and the opportunities offered to staff.
But the LK experience is not about technical and strategic acumen only. The people that work at LK are friendly and
Lucas Arnold Senior Associate
Within eighteen months of being an Associate at LK, I found myself assisting in court in the appeal Westpac v The Bell Group Limited, which was at the time the largest civil litigation action in Australian history. Other junior lawyers at the firm get similar experience, working on major projects in Australia, Hong Kong, England, the US and several other Asian and offshore jurisdictions.
Lipman Karas is a specialist legal practice representing corporate, government and private clients.
A career at Lipman Karas provides opportunities and experiences that are unrivalled in South Australia.
With offices in Adelaide, Hong Kong and London, our team has an exceptional track record of consistently outstanding results in some of the most challenging, complex and high profile commercial litigation in the Asia Pacific region and internationally.
Lipman Karas offers lawyers commencing their careers with a chance to work with recognised leaders in their field on litigation projects, investigations and inquiries that are unique in both magnitude, complexity and geographic reach. Clerkship applications close Tuesday, 18 April 2017. For information on the application process please visit lipmankaras.com.
Best International Firm for Work Life Balance 2014, 2015, 2016
WRITING YOUR COVER LETTER A good cover letter showcases who you are with the intention of impressing the recipient, so that they’ll remember you. A cover letter is probably the first point of contact between you and your potential future employer. It needs to be engaging and show the employer that you have the skills to do the job, by addressing in particular what it is the job is asking for. You want to show the employer that YOU are what they are looking for. In your letter: - Include a brief introduction about yourself and why you are applying for the job. - Highlight your relevant skills, qualifications and experience. You can do this by relating these skills to the specific requirements of the role. - Provide some real life examples. - Make sure your letter is specifically about the role you are applying for. - Importantly, don’t be afraid to inject your personal style into your writing. Make yourself stand out! Given that your cover letter is designed to summarise the highlights of your résumé and statement addressing selection criteria (if required), it should not be written until you have completed these documents. That is, even though the cover letter appears first in the list of documents that you submit, it should be the final document written.
General structure of a cover letter: Purpose of your letter If you’re replying to an ad, include the job title and reference/job number (if you have one). Sound enthusiastic about wanting the job to capture the employer’s attention. Writing a cold contact letter (letter of enquiry) should target organisations you are interested in working for. Include (briefly) your current career or study circumstances and any specialized professional skills. Be specific about the type of job you are interested in being considered for. Why you want the job Explain how your qualifications and career plans match the job. You should show that you have done your research and understand whatthe job entails, and address what the company is looking for. Try to use your own words. Specialist (and relevant) skills Identify the employers needs and address the value you can bring to the organisation and what you can offer. Describe your skills, qualifications, experiences and achievements. These are your selling points, so make sure they are relevant! Back up your claims with examples. If you’re still studying, briefly describe your course (include a finishing date), majors, specialisations, and any strong academic results.
General (and relevant) skills Now list your general skills, such as communication, teamwork, initiative, problem solving, organisation, self management etc. Give examples to support these. Group projects, community activities, voluntary work, etc. Closing your letter Refer to your resume and any attachments. Say you are interested in an interview and list when you are available. Re-state your phone number or email address, whatever is your best method of contact. Thank the employer for their time. Sign the letter at the end – if sending via email or uploading on a website, use an electronic signature if possible! Format and style - One A4 typed page with margins not too narrow - 10-12 point standard fonts (eg Times New Roman, Arial) - Plain business English (avoid abbreviations, jargon and slang) - 100% accurate spelling and grammar - Short concise sentences (avoid chunky paragraphs) - Clear structure - one main idea per paragraph - A positive tone (do not include your weaknesses) Accurate spelling and grammar is crucial! Employers receive a lot of job applications, and it is common practice for them to shorten the pile by immediately dispersing with a letter as soon as they find a mistake.
Your Name Your Address Date of Contact Name of Contact Position Title Address Dear (Ms, Mr etc.) Surname Paragraph 1 If replying to an advertisement, state the position you are applying for (if it’s a Government position then include the Position Classification and Number); and where you found out about it. OR If you’re contacting an employer about working for them even if they haven’t advertised a job vacancy, state the reason for writing and describe the type of work you are seeking, then why you are interested in working for the organisation. This sentence/s should combine your knowledge of the organisation with your experience, skills and goals for the future. Paragraph 2 Your qualifications for the position and any other relevant facts and figures. Paragraphs 3-5 Choose your three main selling points relevant to the Selection Criteria (if there are any) or advertised job description, or general skills if you have no leads as to what is required for the position. Dedicate a paragraph to each skill as follows: • What the skill is; • How you have demonstrated it; and • How it would be useful to the organisation. Paragraph 6 List the documents you have included in your application package. State the action you require – an opportunity to discuss your application in more detail, when you’re available for an interview and how you can be contacted. Yours sincerely, Signature Type name
PERFECT YOUR RESUME/CV A resume is your chance not only to show off your past work history, but also achievements and voluntary experience. It can highlight your strengths and show employers you’re qualified for the job! 1. Get the basics right There are some common sections you should cover, including: personal and contact information; education and qualifications; relevant work history and/or experience; relevant skills to the job you’re applying for; your interests; your achievements and hobbies, and references. 2. Presentation A successful CV is always carefully presented, and printed on crisp white paper. The layout should always be clean and well structured (when it comes to design remember - less is more). Your CV should never be crumpled or folded, so use an A4 envelope if you’re posting your applications.
every necessary point without waffling on. You don’t need excessive pages full of every little detail you think your employer needs to know - keep things short and sweet. A CV is a reassurance to a potential employer, and it’s a chance to impress them. Employers receive multitudes of CVs all the time so it’s unlikely they’ll read each one cover to cover. Most will make a judgment about a CV within the first few sections, so summarise and sell yourself straight away. 4. Understand the job description Read the job application from start to finish. Take notes and create bullet points, highlighting everything you can satisfy and all the bits you can’t. With the areas you are lacking, fill in the blanks by adapting the skills you do have. 5. Tailor the CV to the role Much like your cover letter, you need to establish what the job entails and match each of these requirements. Create a CV specifically for that role. Remember, there is no such thing as a generic CV. Every CV you send to a potential employer should be tailored to that role.
The trick to page design is that the upper middle area of the first page is where the Creating a unique CV for every job you reader’s eye naturally falls. Make sure you apply for doesn’t mean having to re-write include your most important information the whole thing. You can simply adapt the here. details so they’re relevant. 3. Keep it short A good CV is clear, concise and makes Page 12
6. Making the most of your interests
7. Making the most of your skills
Under interests, highlight the things that show off skills you’ve gained and the things an employer would look for. Describe any examples of positions of responsibility, working in a team or anything that shows you can use initiative. For example, if you ran your law school’s amazing student magazine or if you coached a successful football team.
Under the relevant skills section of your CV don’t forget to mention key skills that can help you to stand out from the crowd. These could include: communication skills, team working, problem solving or even your ability to speak multiple languages. Make sure to provide examples. You’re expanding on what you’ve already mentioned in your covering letter.
Include anything that shows how diverse, interested and skilled you are. Make 8. Making the most of your experience. yourself sound interesting whilst also being truthful. Use assertive and positive language under the work history and experience sections, such as “developed”, “organised” or “achieved”. Try to relate the skills you have learned to the job role you’re applying for. For example: “The work experience TYPICAL CV STRUCTURE involved a lot of team work and team building exercises,” or “This position • Career Objectives involved organisation and leadership as I was responsible for a team of people”. • Education History or Qualifications • Key Skills • Relevant Employment History • Other Employment History • Achievements & Awards • Interests • References For more information, see https://beyondlaw.com.au/
Really think about the skills and experience you have gained from past work and activities. 9. Including references References should be from someone who has employed you in the past and can vouch for your skills and experience. You can also ask a lecturer or tutor to act as a referee or to provide a written reference as to your character. Try to include at least two. It is good etiquette to confirm with your references that they are happy to act as referees, before forwarding your CV to potential employers. Remember to keep your CV updated and current.
Mike Ross Harvey Specter’s Shadow Phone: New York City, 10003 Email: NY Linkedin:
Career Objective (optional) • State specifically what position you are looking for (e.g. an internship, work experience etc.) • Give a brief explanation of any experiences or skills which are suited to the position Your career objective should only be one or two sentences, so choose your words carefully and precisely.
Key Skills For each skill you list, give examples of what you can do or have done already. • Legal Research: Familiar with looking up Australian legislation and legal academic journals through databases such as Westlaw, Austlii and Justis • Leadership: Competent in leading small and large groups and can improvise effectively and efficiently if necessary • Communication: Fluent in four different languages: German, French, Chinese and English
Relevant Employment Organisation Name (Dates you worked there) Position: e.g. Volunteer, Assistant, Intern, Secretary
Key Responsibilities • What was your role in the organisation? • What responsibilities will be relevant? • Were there any responsibilities which were unique or different?’
Key Achievements • Give examples of success stories (e.g. were you part of a group which accomplished a particular achievement?) Provide as many employment details as you wish but remember they must be relevant to the position.
Other Employment Use this section to provide any other employment which showcases your key skills.
Qualifications • Do you have any qualifications which are relevant to the position you are applying for?
Achievements & Awards • List any awards or achievements you have received in the last 3 – 5 years. It’s unadvisable to go further as anything beyond that time frame may not be relevant.
Interests • List your hobbies and personal interests. • You can also list any clubs or groups you are associated with (e.g. Photography Club or Botany Group). This is an opportunity to show your potential employer the type of person you are. Think about the organisation you are applying for and take notice of what kind of image they promote (e.g. Google has a playful and innovative image while Microsoft is generally seen as more serious and structured).
References Professional References Name Position Contact Number Character References Name Relationship with reference e.g. neighbour, teacher, family friend, club member Contact Number It is good etiquette to contact your references to ask them if they are comfortable acting as a referee, in order to prevent them being put on the spot unexpectedly. This should occur before you send out your CV to any potential employers.
NAIL THE INTERVIEW It is not unusual to feel pretty nervous about interviewing for jobs; concerned you might be caught out ‘on the spot’ or say the wrong thing. However, with a bit of preparation, you can not only survive the interview, but see it as a great opportunity! Laszlo Bock, People Operations at Google and author of the book Work Rules! recently shared his top tips for preparing for a job interview. Importantly, Bock notes a study from two American psychology students which finds that judgments made in the first 10 seconds of an interview could predict the entire outcome of the interview. According to Bock, 99.4% of the time in an interview is spent trying to confirm whatever impression the interviewer formed in those first 10 seconds. Bock states that most of us don’t know how to interview well, but goes on to call this a “huge opportunity”, because “weakness lets you control the encounter”. Utilise the following tips when preparing for a job interview: 1. Predict the future You can anticipate 90% of the interview questions you are going to get. Three of the most common include: tell me about yourself; what is your greatest weakness; what is your greatest strength. Other questions may include: why do you want this job, or what’s a tough problem you’ve solved. Search online for “most common interview questions.” Write down the top 20 questions you think mayarise. 2. Plan your attack For every question, write down your answer. This may be hard and frustrating, but it makes it stick in your brain. You want your answers to be automatic, and you want to avoid being put on the spot. You don’t want to have to think about your answers during an interview. 3. Have a backup plan Try writing down three answers for each of the questions. Why? You need to have a different, equally good answer for every question, just in case the interviewer doesn’t like your story. This way you can answer again differently if they repeat the question, or you can save it for your next interview.
4. Prove yourself Every question should be answered with a story that proves you can do what you’re being asked about. “What makes you a good negotiator?” should be answered with “I’m a co-operative but assertive advocate. During such and such time...” Always tell a story or have facts to prove you are what you say you are. 5. Read the room Because you’ve predicted the questions and prepared your answers, suddenly you have time to freely consider the situation. Look around. Focus on the interviewer. In the first ten seconds, is there anything in their office, or about them, you can notice and use to forge a connection? A book on a shelf? A family photo? Read the interviewer: is their body language open or closed? Are they tired and should you try to keep them interested? Most importantly - do they like your answer or should you veer in another direction? 6. Practice Practice your interview questions and answers out loud, until you can tell each story smoothly and know them by heart.
POSSIBLE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS Why are you interested in joining this organisation? What do you regard as your most important accomplishment?
What do you believe you can contribute to this company?
Can you give us an example of your use of initiative – either in starting a new venture or doing more than was required in a particular activity?
What are your major strengths? Why did you select ____ as a career?
What does teamwork mean to you? What would you describe as your weaknesses?
What do you regard as your most important accomplishment?
What are the biggest obstacles you have overcome and how did you overcome them?
TRY THE STAR APPROACH Situation – set the context for your story. Say what happened, how it happened and lead into what came next. Task – what was required of you. Outline your responsibility and what you needed to do to get the situation back on track. Activity – what you actually did. Detail what you did to find a solution and keep whatever the issue was from spiralling out of control. Result – how well the situation played out. Reflect on how well your activity assisted in rectifying the situation, detail the results and the outcomes you would use for the future. Then seek to explain briefly what you learned from the experience.
CLERKSHIP TIPS Go the extra mile
Piercings are a grey area; if Finally, some tips for making Show interest in the firm. Be you don’t wantto take them the most of your clerkship: punctual. Be enthusiastic. Ask out, at least use a plastic requestions. Putting in extra tainer (you can buy these at 1. Be confident research and going beyond most body modification shops). what has been asked if you 2. Be open to learning will pay off in the long run. Be Be respectful organised. Save a copy of 3. Carry a pen and a pad of everything you find and Smile and be polite to paper with you, everywhere everything you write, everyone you meet. Avoid preferably in a well organised office gossip. Interact well 4. Pay close attention to what’s and easy to access folder. with, and respect otherclerks, going on around you Keep good records of your regardless of how instructions, and if you don’t pretentious you think they are. 5. Take every opportunity know, ask how much time you In saying that, don’t be caught presented should spend on a task and standing around chatting to when it’s needed by. your new mates like you would 6. Network! Get to know in school; it makes you look everyone you can! Ask for help! lazy. Be sociable whenever it is appropriate. Talk to your 7. Be flexible Approaching a supervisor for colleagues. Go to Friday night assistance can seem terrifying! drinks. Go to functions if you’re 8. Have an open attitude But it’s a sign that you’re willing lucky enough to get invited. towards all the different areas to learn, and it’s better to get Don’t get stupid drunk. of law things right than wrong. Relax, and be yourself! No one expects you to be perfect and know everything, You may think of lawyers as but they do expect you to being super serious. All the try your hardest. And despite lawyers I met while clerking what your tutors may have you where actually quite chill, and believe, not every legal while I spent 4 weeks super question has an answer! busy, I also enjoyed joining in a bit of the office banter. Dress appropriately Embrace who you are. It sounds wrong but ask a junior or clerk you will be judged on your appearance and general presentation. Pay attention to small details, such as making sure your shirt is ironed and your shoes are polished.
Your growth is our growth. Your success is our success. Our lawyers become innovative thinkers, strategists, and tacticians. As one of our lawyers, you'll be part of an elite team.
2017/2018 clerkships Our clerkship program gives you the opportunity to experience first-hand what it is like to work at MinterEllison. This eight week program includes: • • • • • •
social activities technical and client service skills development in-house training seminars firm-wide professional development opportunities sessions for junior lawyers opportunities to participate in community work with the Housing Legal Clinic and JusticeNet.
As a summer clerk, you can expect to: prepare advices, undertake legal research, draft legal documents and attend court, counsel briefings and client meetings. You will receive continual guidance and feedback from supervisors and other lawyers, who take a genuine interest in your learning. Many of our summer clerks are offered graduate positions within the firm, or, if they have not yet graduated, are retained on a part-time basis while they complete their studies.
Candidate attributes When considering clerks we look for a number of traits, including curiosity, confidence, empathy, clarity of thought, ability to see the bigger picture, ambition to grow personally and professionally, and a passion for a career in commercial law.
Summer clerkship applications MinterEllison participates in the South Australian Law Students' Council Uniform Clerkship Scheme, which prescribes the following dates: Applications open: Applications close: Interviews from: Offers made: Responses required:
9.00am, Monday 3 July 2017 5.00pm, Monday 24 July 2017 Monday 31 July 2017 9.00am, Monday 28 August 2017 9.00am, Tuesday 29 August 2017
To find out more about our clerkships and how to apply visit graduates.minterellison.com
CLERKSHIP FAQs Feeling a bit overwhelmed about the clerkship process? Just starting your law degree and not even sure what these famous ‘clerkships’ are? Here we answer some commonly asked questions about clerking and clerkships. If you have any other questions, USALSA or a lecturer may be a good place to direct them! WHAT IS A CLERKSHIP? A clerkship is a short-term opportunity offered by a firm. Usually, it is a structured program where students are invited to work at the firm for a certain period, often 4 - 6 weeks full-time over summer. Clerkships are generally completed in your penultimate (second to last) year, however there may be some flexibility with this. WHAT WILL I BE DOING? This depends on the firm. However, generally you can expect to conduct legal research tasks, as well as drafting legal documents and attending meetings. Some administrative tasks (such as photocopying) are also to be expected. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS? There are many benefits. Firstly, it is a great ‘foot in the door’ to firms, and many lawyers (and even partners) start off as law clerks! Even if you do not get a job in the end, it is still a great opportunity to grow your experience, skills, and professional network. HOW DO I CHOOSE A CLERKSHIP? You should choose a clerkship by first considering what you want. Clerkships serve as a reat opportunity to “try out” legal practice, so it is fine to try a different area of law if you are undecided. However, if you have a career goal in mind, it is best to
apply for clerkships that will assist you in that career.
writing. Don’t forget to thank them for the opportunity.
Other considerations may include the practical, for example how they fit in with your employment and studies. If you are not sure about an area of law, a shorter clerkship may be better, while a longer clerkship can offer more exposure to different areas of law and you can follow the progress of matters.
WHAT IF THE FIRM I WANT TO WORK FOR DOES NOT HAVE A CLERKSHIP PROGRAM? This is not unusual. Many firms do not have an official, structured clerkship program. One way to approach it is to look at the ‘employment’ section on the firm’s website for tips.
CAN I APPLY INTERSTATE? Absolutely. Adelaide is quite small, so clerkships can be very competitive. You can increase your chances (and experience!) by applying at interstate firms. Have a look at page ## for one UniSA student’s experience interstate.
Otherwise, it is appropriate to email the HR person (or similar) to enquire as to whether there are any opportunities. Even firms that do have a clerkship program may nonetheless take on clerks at other times of the year. It is well worth keeping an eye out for opportunities.
SHOULD I APPLY FOR MORE THAN ONE? It is up to you, however it is almost expected that you will have applied for multiple, so it is not discouraged. You can widen your chances of being successful if you do apply for more than one, however, it is always preferable that you are actually interested in those that you apply for.
WHAT IF I MISS OUT ON THE CLERKSHIP? Don’t panic! Plenty of lawyers do not begin their careers with clerkships. There are many other ways to gain experience - have a look at this guide for some tips. You can also directly contact firms to ask if they have any opportunities or advice.
HOW DO I TURN DOWN A CLERKSHIP? If for some reason you wish to turn down a clerkship (e.g. if you have more than one clashing offer), you should approach the situation in a professional manner so as to avoid burning any bridges. A phone call is often a more personal way to notify the firm, however they may ask you to follow up with something in
WHAT IF I GET A CLERKSHIP? Awesome! Good on you. Make sure to check out page 18 for some tips from a previous clerk. Being a clerk can be difficult - it may be a steep learning curve, but it will be well worth the effort.
IMPORTANTANCE OF CLERKSHIPS AND COMPETITIVE APPLICATIONS I have been asked to write about clerkships – the importance of clerkships and why their importance should not be understated. I recently completed a summer clerkship with MinterEllison and was fortunate to be offered an ongoing position. My summer clerkship was a great time – I met a bunch of great people, made friends, received opportunities I never thought I would and learned a lot. I really believe clerskships are a great thing, but why? Clerkships Are Important! Clerkships are very, very important. While your fledgling career is not doomed if you are not offered one, you may be disadvantaged, especially if you want to work in a top tier firm. Do not think that a clerkship for a firm is just a nice way to spend the summer and pad out the résumé - they are often the only way into a firm’s graduate program. A clerkship is also a way for you to focus your career direction and learn valuable skills. You will do real legal work for real clients, and meet many practitioners who are keen to help you learn. You get exposure to different areas of law which helps you decide what avenue you want to pursue. For example, I worked for the financial services, insurance and corporate departments at various times in my summer clerkship at MinterEllison. The next question is, obviously: ‘How difficult is it to be offered a clerkship?’ The answer to that is very. For a clerkship at a top tier firm in South Australia, the average amount of applications range between 150 200. These applications are seeking to gain one of the 6 or so clerkships on offer. It is simply that competitive - there are so many students armed with law degrees that every position becomes a contest. The firms hire on merit, extra curricular activities, and how you fit into the firm’s business culture, so your application needs to show all of these if you wish to be a competitive applicant. Much of the battle for a clerkship is getting an interview. If you manage to get into first round interviews for a clerkship, then you are the master of your own destiny and good luck!
Advice For Getting An Interview So what can you do to maximise your chances for an interview? Well, it comes down to your CV, for the most part. Look at your CV strategically as it often points out gaps in your employability - if your CV does not suggest that you are a worthwhile employee, you need to ddress that. Your application and CV should show that you are a balanced individual (academically and practically), have outside interests, and are motivated to succeed. There are a variety of things you should aim to accomplish. The first is competitive grades sorry. While by no means the be-all and end-all, the simplest way to cut down 200 applications into something manageable is a competitive GPA. This does not mean you need a High Distinction average, but you cannot be falling over the line with every lesson. Conversely, showing that you can improve your GPA is also impressive: it shows perseverance and a desire to succeed. You definitely need to participate in extra-curricular activities, of which I will make a few suggestions. You will see a key theme throughout the following suggestions: I cannot recommend mooting competitions highly enough, especially national competitions. It says a lot about the student if they can work in a team representing the university in a highly competitive environment arguing niche areas of the law. Cut your teeth on the USALSA moots, practice whenever you get the chance, and aim to win. The hard work will pay off in more than just a positive reaction from recruiters. Lawyers also like writing; so participating in essay competitions is a good way to show that you can research and write at a high level. If you really like writing and manage to get yourself published in an academic journal, or mentioned in a paper as a research assistant, that is also great. Good writing and research skills are highly sought after for clerks - if you lack in either, work on improving not just for a clerkship but also for your career in general. Getting involved in student and community organisations like USALSA
or charities show an awareness about the world that many students lack just make sure you get involved for the right reasons, not just to fill your CV. If you are lucky enough to get legal work before applying for clerkships, whether as a barrister’s research assistant, or volunteer work at a suburban firm, then absolutely mention that. If you can hit the ground running as a clerk, it is a valuable advantage, and reduces the workload of your supervisors. Networking is also critical in today’s tight job market - doing your best to meet people in different firms is important as you do not know who will be deciding yes or no to your application. It means being yourself, dressing respectably, acting politely and attending networking events with the intent of at least having people put a face to a name. Lastly, your cover letter needs to show you have thought about the firm and how you would fit in to the firm’s culture. A cookie cutter cover letter is obvious to a recruiter and suggests laziness. Spend a few days researching the firm, and writing a corresponding cover letter. Ensure that there are no typos, or bad grammar. Show that you have knowledge of the firm and why you are interested in working there. I have a strong interest in financial, corporate and international commercial law - all of which I mentioned in my cover letter to the firm I currently work at. If you show a strong knowledge of their business and how you could see yourself contributing positively to the business, you are ahead of most applications already. A good tip is to have someone else read your cover letter and CV and get feedback - this proofreading will save you the embarrassing moment of submitting an application only to notice a typo or error after submitting - I am guilty of this! Good luck, guys. Put hard work into your applications and you will have much more of a chance than someone who is content to coast through. Approach your applications and professional development with the same level of diligence, hard work and effort as you would be expected to in the workplace and you will not go wrong. If you apply this method, you will have a much higher chance of striking gold with a clerkship.
By Travis Shueard
FROM CLERK TO LAWYER In 2014 I began my penultimate year of law with the same anxieties as most final year students: should I start looking for work experience now? Is this the right time for me to be applying for a clerkship program? And above all, is the legal profession the right career for me? Fortunately, I decided to take the plunge and applied for the summer clerkship program at Cowell Clarke and I have never looked back. Fast forward to 2016, I am now a Lawyer in the firmâ€™s commercial litigation team. I have found Cowell Clarke to be the perfect professional environment to assist me in developing my own legal skills. The firm has given me a well-rounded taste of what is to come, three main reasons being; the structure of the clerkship program, the support and mentorship of the solicitors and the culture of the firm. Clerkship Program 2016 is an exciting time to be applying for Cowell Clarkeâ€™s clerkship program. Cowell Clarke will be accepting applications for Summer Clerkships in association with the South Australian Law Studentsâ€™ Council Uniform Clerkships scheme. Applications for PLT placements are also currently being accepted for 2016. When clerking at Cowell Clarke you will carry out work in our litigation practice groups including commercial litigation, insolvency & reconstruction, building & construction and employment & industrial relations. You will also rotate through our advisory practice areas which include corporate advisory, capital markets, banking & finance, IP & IT, energy & resources, property, environment & planning and tax & revenue. This wide exposure to different areas of law and different people within the firm is essential for law students making
the transition to lawyer, as it will ssist you in deciding in what area of law you will ultimately practice.
environment. The firm provides opportunities for young lawyers to thrive and to feel part of the team.
Support and Mentorship Our solicitors, ranging from junior lawyers to senior partners create an environment that promotes creativity and a strong work ethic, and encourages your overall development which means it is an exciting place to work and learn.
Friday night drinks are always a hit and our Social Club Committee organises events ranging from Go-Karting to historical walks (pub crawls) and movie nights on a regular basis. Cowell Clarke also facilitates programs such as fitness boot camp, yoga classes, the City to Bay, and supports us attending networking and professional development activities. These activities are always well attended and I enjoy participating in them.
Unlike other clerkship programs where you might be assigned to a single practice area, Cowell Clarke will give you the opportunity to experience a variety of work and to work with a range of lawyers. This will allow you not only to be involved in different areas of law, but it will also provide you with the opportunity to observe the array of different working styles of the solicitors at our firm. Each solicitor is happy to assist you in developing your own professional skills such as research techniques, drafting and communication skills, which I was greatly unfamiliar with before stepping foot into a law firm. As a law clerk you will have the opportunity to work side by side with partners on challenging and rewarding matters. While I was a law clerk, I assisted lawyers in the litigation team with tasks such as legal research, drafting pleadings, letters of advice and correspondence with clients (not to mention an odd sprint or two to the Courts to file documents which is a rite of passage). I was also regularly able to attend court, mediations and meetings with clients and barristers. Even in such a short time working at Cowell Clarke, I found our solicitors went out of their way to impart their wisdom and advice regarding the profession, which has been an invaluable tool for me. Culture Cowell Clarke prides itself on fostering an enjoyable working
Many of the solicitors I work with, including a partner of the firm, have started their legal careers as a law clerk at Cowell Clarke, and their longevity is a testament to our clerkship program and wonderful work environment which will allow you to bridge the daunting gap between student and lawyer. Hope to see you soon!
LINKED IN TIPS & TRICKS Linkedin is a fantastic, free resource in your job hunt. Linkedin is growing rapidly in Australia, as employees and employers alike realise its value in growing your professional network and seeking out opportunities. SET UP YOUR PROFILE The first step is to register at linkedin.com and set up your profile. Make sure that you fill in all the fields, so that your profile is 100% complete. Linkedin is a live resume, so should be current and relevant. you change jobs, win an award take on a volunteer position, try update your profile right away.
it If or to
When filling in your profile, keep in mind “search engine optimisation” (SEO). Try to use words that you think will be searched for recruiters and employers. Also make sure to create a “vanity URL” with your name. linkedin.com/ janesmith is a lot more interesting and memorable than linkedin. com/2735e8. Choose a nice, professional and recent photograph of yourself to accompany your profile. CONNECT, CONNECT, CONNECT Find people to connect with. Linkedin, like many websites, has a helpful “find connections” tool, however you will need to give it access to your email address book. Other people to connect with include lecturers, fellow students, colleagues and other professional contacts. Personal contacts are fine as well. You may like to ask these professional connections to “endorse” you for a skill, or even better, leave a reference.
You can also reach out to people you would like to know more about, either by message, asking a mutual contact to introduce you, or by requesting to be a connection (note: if you take this approach, don’t just send the generic request. Explain why you would like to connect with the person). SIGN UP TO GROUPS Groups are a great place to “join the conversation” on Linkedin. You can join the University of South Australia group, as well as groups dedicated to law, and particularly areas of law which are particular interest to you. The Australian Law Students Association has a great group here: If you can’t find a group that you would like to join, you could even consider starting one and opening it up to other interested professionals. You can join in the discussion in these groups, which brings us nicely to the next tip. JOIN THE CONVERSATION Like all social media, Linkedin is more than just static content. While the tone is more professional than other social media platforms, it is similarly a conversation. Many firms, as well as experts, regularly publish content either on their personal Linkedin profile or in groups. You can show your interest in this by either liking or commenting on the posts. You can also add in your own content, however remember that it is a professional tool, not Facebook!
– Careers @ Cowell Clarke — Cowell Clarke are commercial law specialists. Our clients look to us to create value and manage risk. Our lawyers provide legal services, commercial advice and support to clients in all sectors of business and industry, across Australia and internationally. We offer summer clerkships, ongoing part-time law clerk positions and PLT placements.
— Summer clerkship applications Cowell Clarke participates in the South Australian Law Students’ Council Uniform Clerkship Scheme, which prescribes the following dates: Applications Open
Our programs are an integral part of the commencement of a career
9am — Monday 3 July 2017
in law. They can also lead to a full-time position as a graduate
solicitor. Our clerks experience the broadest range of practice
5pm — Monday 24 July 2017
areas, with rotations through property, corporate & commercial, and our various dispute resolution teams. While the focus is on variety, we are also happy to accommodate particular areas of interest. You will have access to and work with senior lawyers who are recognised as being the best in their fields. You will have direct
Commencement of Interviews 9am — Monday 31 July 2017 Offers of Clerkship 9am — Monday 28 August 2017
client contact. An element we believe sets us apart from other law
Communication of Decision
firms is the focus that our partners have on creating a supportive
9am — Tuesday 29 August 2017
and enjoyable work environment. You won’t be expected to work 16 hours per day. We recognise that it is not the time you spend at work, but rather what you do when you are there.
For further information about our clerkships and career opportunities at Cowell Clarke visit www.cowellclarke.com.au/careers
Professional Development – the Cowell Clarke way Nicholas Cardone, Flinders University Law Graduate When I think of the Careers Fair, I think of two things: 1.
The countless supply of stationery, merchandise and food on offer; and
Most importantly, the defining chat I had with lawyers from Cowell Clarke.
In 2014, I was two years away from completing my university studies and began mapping out where I wanted my law degree to take me. With experience as a rounds clerk in another Adelaide law firm, I knew I wanted to work in the legal profession. However, I was unsure whether it was too early to apply for a clerkship, or whether I had the ability to succeed as a clerk. One fateful evening in April sealed my fate. After talking with two lawyers from Cowell Clarke about their clerkship program and the firm’s culture, I knew that I wanted to be a clerk at Cowell Clarke (or a ‘Cowell Clerk’ as some might say). I applied for the summer clerkship program at Cowell Clarke and completed a four week placement in December 2014. Fast forward to 2017, I am a full time law clerk (and soon-to-be Lawyer) in Cowell Clarke’s financial services team. Cowell Clarke is the perfect professional environment for a clerk and junior lawyer for three main reasons: the summer clerkship program is perfectly structured, mentorship and support is continually offered by all staff, and the firm’s culture and forward-thinking mentality is exceptional.
Clerkship Program 2017 is an excellent time to be applying for Cowell Clarke’s summer clerkship program. Cowell Clarke will be accepting clerkship applications in association with the South Australian Law Students’ Council Uniform Clerkships scheme. Applications for PLT placements are also currently being accepted for 2017. Cowell Clarke’s summer clerkship program is structured so that you will complete two rotations. The first rotation is in our litigation team, which includes practice areas like commercial litigation, insolvency & reconstruction, building & construction and employment & industrial relations. The second rotation is in our advisory team, which includes corporate advisory, capital markets, banking & finance, IP & IT, property, environment & planning, and tax & revenue. These rotations give you exposure to a broad range of work, and will help you decide which areas of law you enjoy and could see yourself practising in the future. During my summer clerkship, I assisted various lawyers with legal research, client correspondence, drafting court documents (e.g. affidavits) and drafting commercial documents (e.g. trust deeds). Having this broad variety of work was invaluable as it helped me develop skills in a number of key areas, and gave me the opportunity to observe an array of different working styles within the litigation and advisory practice groups.
Support and Mentorship Being a summer clerk is tough – you will be asked to work on challenging matters with senior lawyers and partners, often not knowing what you are doing or whether you have done a good job. Cowell Clarke is unlike other firms in that all staff create an environment that supports creativity and personal development. Mistakes are seen as an opportunity to reflect and develop your skills, and each lawyer within the firm goes out of their way to impart their wisdom and provide advice about the legal profession. There is also no shame in asking a lawyer for help – every lawyer at Cowell Clarke is happy to assist you in developing your research, drafting and communication skills, or even clarifying your misunderstanding of a task you are working on. Cowell Clarke also values and supports your mental health. I was fortunate enough to have been offered a continued clerk role after my summer clerkship, however, I had to work this around my full-time university schedule, while at the same time completing my honours thesis. The firm was happy to work around my schedule and supported hours that prevented me from ‘burning out’.
Culture and Forward-Thinking Mentality Cowell Clarke prides itself on fostering an enjoyable working environment. Friday night drinks are always a hit and our Social Club Committee organises events ranging from Adventure Rooms to ten-pin bowling on a regular basis. Programs such as yoga classes, boxing classes and the City to Bay are offered and there is support to attend networking and professional development activities. The firm has also developed Cowell Clarke Connect, an online platform that delivers legal services through non-traditional technological means. This is an exciting new development in the legal industry which displaces many of the ‘traditional’ approaches to the practice of law. Being involved with such an innovative project has broadened my perspective, and has set me up well for the future of legal practice once technology develops further. Many of the solicitors I work with, including a partner of the firm, have started their legal careers as a law clerk at Cowell Clarke, and their longevity is a testament to our clerkship program and wonderful work environment. Don’t pass up the opportunity to start your career at Cowell Clarke – you will not regret it!
FIND THAT JOB Having a brilliant CV, comprehensive cover letter and impeccable interview skills is, of course, only useful if you have actually found the job you want to apply for! Sometimes, this may not be as easy as it sounds, so check out some of our tips for finding job opportunities. Subscribe, stalk and follow! Legal firms and organisations often promote job vacancies on their websites, through their social media and to their email databases. It’s a good idea to make a list of the firms/organisations that you’re interested in and subscribe to their mailing list, like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter and LinkedIn and stalk their websites regularly. Job opportunities can come up really quickly and disappear again in the blink of an eye, so it’s important to check back often. Online job boards There are a number of legal websites that provide online job boards. These sites are like gold because they take all of the hard work out of it for you. Some good ones are: Beyond Law:
Law Society of South Australia: www.lawsocietysa.asn.au The College of Law: www.collaw.edu.au Rural, Regional & Remote (RRR) Law: www.rrrlaw.com.au These jobs boards are updated frequently.
Employment and recruitment websites It’s a good idea to register to receive regular job notifications from employment websites. Tip: Set your notification for jobs containing the words ‘law’, ‘legal’, ‘lawyer’, ‘solicitor’ etc. and you will be notified any time a new job is posted which fits that description. Easy! Seek – www.seek.com.au Job Search – www.jobsearch.gov.au CareerOne – www.careerone.com.au Recruiters Legal recruitment firms may be able to assist with finding legal work, particularly as a paralegal or legal secretary.
UniSA Career Hub Jobs and graduate positions are often advertised through the UniSA Career Hub. By signing up you will gain access to career information and a personalised job search, with weekly email notifications of all new jobs fitting your search criteria. www.unisacareerhub.unisa.edu.au Your own network There is a very large percentage of jobs that are never even advertised. The only way to find out about these jobs is by talking to people. Don’t be afraid to let people know that you are looking for work (but don’t be pushy). You’ll be surprised at how fruitful these relationships can be.
BALANCING YOUR HEADSPACE
By Travis Shueard
It’s no secret that law school can be a difficult time. Between balancing readings, assignments, part-time work and extra-curricular activities, it is easy to lose sight of how important your mental wellbeing is.
Fellow students, be aware. Be aware of the reat-unseen enemy of law students and lawyers alike. This foe is unseen, and is truly unknowable until you deal with it. It gets the very best of us, and it is one that needs to be taken notice of by all the people of Australia, not just students of our great Law School: Ill-mental health. Looking after your mental health as you go through the stress of a high-intensity degree like Law is critically important, and it is unfortunate that many students forget this as they (ideally) plough through hundreds of pages and cases a week. With the immediate desire to keep up to date with their reading and attain the best grades, students forget that, ultimately, it is your mental well being that is more important. After all, if you cannot sleep, raise a smile or just do not want to get off the couch, you are unlikely to do the best you can in your degree. Lawyers are not immune to mental illness, and this has been illustrated in the headlines recently when a well respected Federal Court judge, Justice Shane Marshall, opened up publicly about the dangers of depression. Justice Marshall has been on the Federal Court for 20 years, and explained recently that one of the greatest dangers to mental health in the legal profession is the attitude that you should ‘never show any weakness’. Unfortunately, the stigma in the legal profession, and community at large, is that depression, anxiety, etc. are signs of weakness. Mental illness is no different to physical illness. For a broken arm, you see a doctor. For an ill mind, you see a doctor. There is no difference.
When a recent study showed that 35% of law students have experienced depression during their degree, this attitude has never been more archaic or counter-productive. It is up to students, practitioners and the community in general to reverse this silly attitude. An American study, ‘The Role of Law School in Producing Psychological Distress Revisited’, showed that between 30,000 – 60,000 of their nation’s 150,000 law students suffered from depression in their degrees, and Andy Benjamin, J.D., Ph. D., of the study, has stated that ‘law students and lawyers remain at the greatest risk for succumbing to depression, more so for any other profession.’
“Mental illness is no different to physical illness. For a broken arm, you see a doctor. For an ill mind, you see a doctor.. There is no difference.” Life is not Suits. Life is not House of Cards. The fools who think otherwise will find it catching up with them at some point. You are not expected to be a fortress of solitude and suave calmness throughout your life. Certainly, resilience and a tough skin are valued in the law. But it does not mean one should simply dismiss constant thoughts of sadness or anxiousness by saying ‘I need to toughen up’. As a Law student, rather than a qualified psychologist, I cannot give you any specific medical or psychological advice. But what I can say from personal experience is that the key to keeping in fit mental shape is to keep on top of it. Keep on top of it. Be proactive in the welfare of your mind. Every student will, at times, go through the stage of ‘ah screw this!’ and take the foot off the pedal for a bit. This is normal. What is not normal is when this becomes more than just a passing stage, and starts to dominate your life. Be aware, and be in control.
Exercise, social activities, reading (that isn’t a textbook…), personal hobbies, these are all good ways of giving your mind that critical ‘me time’ that lets it vent, de-stress and reset for another day. It may feel like you do not have time for these things, and no doubt at some point in your degree (like the week of that impending Constitutional Law moot) you will not have time for anything else other than being intimate with textbooks. But, for the most part, make time for these things. Law School is not just textbooks, moots, contracts and essays. It is meant to be the greatest time of your life, and no doubt for the most of us it will be. But the pressures of this degree are well known to be able to pull down even the best of us. If you feel like you are constantly upset, lethargic, angry or anxious, take that step to say to yourself, ‘I will speak to someone’. It is the best thing you can do.
“If you feel like you are constantly upset, lethargic, angry or anxious, take that step to say to yourself, ‘I will speak to someone’. It is the best thing you can do.” If you are going through a tough time at home, such as coping with the illness or death of a loved one, speak to the University counselors to get some advice. Grief can very easily escalate into something worse. If you are finding yourself seriously anxious and stressed from the pressures of constant intense study, it is perfectly OK to take a day or two off from University where you spend time walking in the sun, hanging with friends, speaking with family or just watching a funny movie on the couch. There are plenty of books, articles and websites on how to keep mentally strong. Think of your mind like a muscle. The more you exercise it, the stronger and resilient it becomes, no different to your physical body. Just like your body however, sometimes your mind needs a rest, a recharge, a detox. Over-exercising it too much with the pressures of study and every day life will cause it to burn out, and this is when your mental welfare suffers.
Support services such as BeyondBlue have a wealth of knowledge and experience with helping young students through terrible times in their life (www. beyondblue.com.au) The University has some great people you can speak to who will help get to the bottom of what you are experiencing. Your loyal friends at Law School are also critically important. Confide in them, and do the same for them when they need you. Finally, it is OK to ask ‘Are you OK?’ If you notice someone is not their normal self and haven’t been for a while, ask those three words. These may be the best words you’ll ever ask someone. Mental well-being is important. We want everyone to enjoy his or her time here. Look after yourselves. Stay happy. www.beyondblue.org.au
HOW TO APPLY FOR A
JUDGE’S ASSOCIATESHIP This information appears courtesy of the Australian Law Students’ Association and other sources as acknowledged in the text. Tips for prospective Associates
HIGH COURT OF AUSTRALIA
• Consider why you’re applying with a particular Judge.
You should write directly to the Justice with whom you would like to work. If you are interested in working for any one of the Justices without any preference then write to the Chief Executive and Principal Registrar, who will raise your interest at a meeting with the Justices. Include a current CV and an academic transcript with your letter.
• Every application should be individually tailored and include that information. • Get to know your prospective Judge through eading media written about them and their prominent decisions. • Apply well in advance, unless a particular time-frame is specified.
Generally there are no specific closing dates for applications to the High Court, but Justices commonly appoint their associates two – three years in advance.
• Don’t send an application by e-mail unless specifically asked.
Your application should indicate the years you are available for appointment.
• Give the Judges’ current associate a call and ask whether the Judge is hiring for the year you are seeking a position. This may save you hours of effort if they aren’t.
Competition for appointment is very strong, and there can be up to 200 applications for vacancies at any one time. The normal expectations for an associate for a Judge of the High Court are:
How to correctly address a Judge
• That they have graduated with first class honours;
Etiquette is crucial when conversing with a Judge. Unless otherwise requested or explained in the Court’s website:
• That they (preferably) have some kind of research experience;
• When addressing a Judge, begin your letter with “Dear Judge [name]/Chief Justice [name]”
• That they may have some experience working for a law firm, university or another court.
• End your letter with “Yours Sincerely or Yours Faithfully”, and your signature.
Candidates with postgraduate qualifications in law and prior experience as a Judge’s Associate will generally be preferred.
• Envelopes should be addressed to “The Hon Full Name (including postnominals)” with “Justice of the <court>” following. • If you’re invited to an interview, always refer to the Judge by “Judge/Chief Justice” unless requested to do otherwise.
FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA The Federal Court offers a number of sought after Associate positions each year. Associates are employed as part of the personal chambers of a particular Judge. They provide legal research, in-court duties and other ad hoc support. Positions are generally not advertised and the selection of Associates is conducted directly by each Judge. You can download an information package from the Federal Courts website: www.fedcourt.gov.au/ about/employment/informationpackage To apply for an Associate position with the Federal Court of Australia you need to: • Choose a court registry you would like to be considered for; • Prepare a CV, academic transcript and a general application. You should also indicate any periods where you are particularly available; • Forward your application directly to the Judge or to the District Registrar in the appropriate registry. These details through the Court’s website. • Make sure you address in your covering letter or CV a statement against every criteria provided for the position. Consider listing each criteria as a heading, and then following with a description of how your qualifications and work experience have enabled you to satisfy that criteria NB: The following information is relevant to South Australian Courts only. If you wish to check out how to apply for Associates positions in other Supreme Courts, please visit the ALSA Judges’ Associates Guide.
THE SUPREME COURT OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA Supreme Court Associates serve as a professional member of the Judge’s personal staff. They undertake legal research, accompany the Judge into court in whichever jurisdiction the Judge may be sitting and call on cases, maintain record books, and various administrative functions. They also attend in chambers on interlocutory and other applications and maintain records. Prospective applicants should be aware of the following: • Judges prefer to employ people who are admitted or who are not completing Practical Legal Training or any undergraduate or Port Admission Training Courses, but a particular Judge might, in an individual case, man an exception in relation to the undertaking of PLT outside working hours. • Associates may not engage in any other employment or practice in any profession, whether for remuneration or not, without the permission of the Chief Justice. • Supreme Court appointments are generally for a one-year contract, as personal staff to the appointing Judge Applications can be lodged throughout the year. Vacancies occur at various intervals. Please include CV, qualifications and academic record. You should also include a copy of your admittance certificate. Applications for Associate positions within the Supreme Court of South Australia should be addressed to: The Honourable [name] Judges’ Chambers Supreme Court 1 Gouger Street Adelaide, SA, 5000
THE DISTRICT COURT OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA An Associate in the District Court of South Australia acts as a personal, confidential and professional assistant to a Judge to whom they are assigned. An Associate provides a comprehensive legal and research service to the Judge and assist both in and out of court, including managing files, case outcomes and exhibit returns. The Associate is responsible to the judicial officers to whom they are assigned for chamber, legal research and in-court matters, and to the Registrar of the District Court through the Manager for Judicial Support, for personal and administrative matters. Associates liaise with the judiciary, legal profession, litigants, witnesses, court staff and the general public. An important feature of the work is travelling to attend country circuits which require overnight absences for up to three weeks, with capacity to return to Adelaide on weekends. Applicants must have completed their Practical Legal Training. Associates may not engage in any other employment or practice in any profession, whether paid or not, without the permission of the Registrar. District Court appointments are generally for a one year contract, with the option of a second year subject to mutual agreement. Do not send individual applications to each Judge. Email your application to: firstname.lastname@example.org including CV, qualifications, official academic transcript, or send by post: Attn: Office Co-ordinator The Registrar District Court of South Australia GPO Box 2465 Adelaide, SA, 5001. Source: www.courts.sa.gov.au/ Employment/OngoingOpportunities/
MAGISTRATE’S CLERK A Magistrates Clerk determines the priority in which to call on matters in court, record the orders made by the Magistrate, perform data entry tasks whilst in the courtroom and record proceedings using digital recording equipment. Out of court duties include typing transcript, preparation of court files and related documents as well as PA tasks for Magistrates. The following conditions apply to the role of Magistrates Clerk: • An initial training period of at least 3 months in length consisting of classroom, one on one and incourt instruction; • Work at any court sitting place or business unit on a temporary or ongoing basis as directed by the Manager, Magistrates Clerks Branch; • Undertake work related intrastate travel, which may require long distance driving or flying in small planes as well as overnight absences; • Work in all jurisdictions of the Magistrates Court and the Youth Court, including all Specialist Courts; • On occasion may be required to work outside the normal hours of work i.e. during the lunch break and/or after 5pm on weekdays, dependent on court sittings. To register your interest in a Magistrates Clerk role you should submit a CV/Résumé (inclusive of referees) as well as a covering letter of no more than 3 pages in length explaining the reasons why you are the best candidate for the role. You should make reference to the following in your covering letter: • Your experience in providing a high level of administrative support services; • Your experience in data entry, copy and audio typing; • Your ability to manage competing priorities, use initiative, organise and accurately complete work within set timeframes in a demanding and diverse environment; • Your ability to work calmly under pressure and to simultaneously perform multiple tasks. Forward registration of interest to: email@example.com and quote ‘Expression of Interest Magistrates Clerk’ in the subject line of the email. Source: www.courts.sa.gov.au/Employment/OngoingOpportunities/
University can be an intimidating time. Not only is the study of law academically challenging, but for many people, it is also a time for figuring out what they want to do with their lives.
FIND YOUR PATH
Choosing a career is no easy decision, especially in todayâ€™s job market! No matter how often people may tell you that you can always change career, it is understandable to want to figure out the direction you want to head in.
TO PRACTICE OR TO NOT PRACTICE? Although it might seem like the most obvious pathway out of a law degree, statistics show that only about 50% of law graduates end up practising as lawyers. While this may have something to do with a difficult job markets for legal graduates, there are also many people who put their law degree to use in pathways other than traditional legal practice by choice. With individuals from Australian comedienne Rebel Wilson to current Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull possessing a LLB, the path out of law school does not necessarily need to lead straight into a law firm. Of course, for many students, a job as a practising solicitor or barrister is the end goal of their years studying the law. A career in the legal industry has so much to offer; a chance to work in an evolving, interesting field that often combines multiple disciplines (such as business in a commercial context), becoming part of a respected profession, and, in many instances, a career that
can provide financial reward and stability.
consultancy firms often value law degrees, and for those with an interest in business, The other great thing about this can be an exciting and a legal career is that there fast-paced career path. are so many options. Flipping through this guide, it is clear Other law-related jobs include that life as a community lawyer heading for academia or provides different challenges even considering teaching at and benefits than life as an secondary school level. This in-house lawyer or working as often provides the opportunity a solicitor in a big law firm. to continue the study of law, in a more theoretical way. It may Further, while many even provide opportunities to practitioners specialise, that add your voice to law reform. is not to say there is not the opportunity to change the Still other students end up in path you’re on later in life. One careers entirely removed from of the most obvious examples the legal industry. From the is moving to the indepen- entertainment industry to dent bar, a path frequently floristry, it is suprising where undertaken by experienced law graduates end up! solicitors looking for something However, nearly all will tell you different. that the skills learn in law school particularly critical thinkHowever, for other students, ing, writing, persistence and legal practice may never have research skills were been the aim - or maybe it invaluable in their career. loses its appeal partway one experienced through law school. If for some As reason you are thinking of practitioner told me, ‘almost heading for a different track; none of the people I went to don’t panic! law school with are exactly where they thought they’d be Current UniSA alumni are in a when we graduated. I know variety of positions that aren’t I’m not.’ So, whether you are strictly legal. Financial and sizing up a career as the next
OVERVIEW OF PATHS A theme repeated often through this guide is the flexibility of a law degree, both in and out of practice. If you do wish to practice, there are numerous career paths available. Here are some of them.
Solicitor After being admitted to practice, you can choose to work as a solicitor. A solicitor is usually the first point of contact for a person seeking legal assistance. Solicitors generally advise clients as to their legal rights and obligations; appear in court; assist corporations with compliance; prepare legal documents; provide legal advice. Solicitors usually take following career path: • Solicitor • Associate • Senior Associate • Partner/Principal
Private Practice The hierarchy of solicitors in a law firm (generally): • Junior solicitor • Associate • Senior Associate • Partner/Principal • Practice Manager Sole practitioner firm A sole practitioner firm is exactly as the label describes – there is only one principal Solicitor who owns the practice. Sole practices make up a large percentage of law firms. Very hands on. ‘Small’ firm Two to five partners/principals.
Small firms generally offer graduate lawyers almost immediate responsibility for client briefs. High level of ‘exposure’. ‘Medium’ firm Six to 20 partners/principals. Your work will be more specialist (particular areas). Medium firms often work in more specialist areas. Clients ranging from large corporations to small businesses, and individual clients. Junior solicitors often given more responsibility than those in large firms. ‘Large’ firm More than 20 partners/principals. Very structured recruitment, induction and training programs. Complex infrastructure including a law library, provision for continuing legal education and training and pro bono initiatives. Tend to offer a wider spectrum than small or medium firms, especially in commercial law. Regional firm Offer opportunities which may not be available in a city law firm, such as: more reasonable working hours; more direct and personal relationships with clients; a wide variety of work, and a faster track to being offered a partnership.
Barrister It is generally held that, while solicitors work in offices and undertake legal work dealing directly with clients, barristers undertake court work and advise on matters, but only when instructed to do so by a solicitor. In South Australia, law graduates are admitted as both a solicitor and a barrister, although there are a number who practise as barristers only. G enerally speaking, those who choose to practise as barristers become members of the independent Bar and operate from chambers. Most South Australian barristers voluntarily practise in the same way as barristers from other states (as independent legal practitioners), although some large firms employ or retain ‘in-house’ barristers. Each state and territory in Australia has a Bar Association which prescribes its own practising requirements for Barristers. (information courtesy of Legal Services Commission of SA Law Handbook: http://www. lawhandbook.sa.gov.au/ch26s03. php).
Court System consumer protection The court system is made up of • Australian Defence Force: the following roles: military justice, military administrative law, • Judge international law and • Judge’s Associate commercial law • Magistrate • Australian Federal Police: • Support staff, such as: litigation and forensic and Registrars; Legal Assistants; commercial investigations Law Clerks, and Legal • Australian Government Executives. Solicitor: representation for the government. Organised Corporate Sector in the same fashion as a Large corporations often have commercial law firm their own legal departments, • Australian Law Reform sometimes referred to as Commission: advises the in-house counsel. federal Attorney-General in relation to particular areas of The role of the in-house counsel law is to provide legal advice to the • Australian Tax Office: corporation, add value by having taxation law expertise in the corporation’s • Commonwealth Director of business specialty, assist in the Public Prosecutions & Office management of corporate risk, of the Director of Public ensure compliance and manage Prosecutions (State): change within the organisation. prosecution of offences against the Commonwealth, Graduates can work for and the State, respectively. organisations such as banks, • Human Rights and Equal insurance companies and Opportunity Commission: investment firms. inquiries into alleged infringements of the federal Government Sector human rights and Such as government antidiscrimination legislation. departments, statutory Also a state counterpart authorities and administrative and regulatory bodies. Federal Community Sector and state public services have Community Legal Centres (CLCs) regular graduate intakes. are independent, not-for-profit organisations concerning social Most government departments justice and access to justice. employ graduate lawyers to CLCs can range from centres work in legal, policy, research staffed solely by volunteers, and advisory positions. to federal/state government funded facilities. Examples of federal government departments with CLCs provide legal advice, graduate lawyer intakes: referral services, legal information and education, •Attorney-General’s law reform activities and Department: policy and legal sometimes advocacy. These development services are generally free of • Australian Competition charge. and Consumer Commission: industry regulation, Some CLCs are generalist, while competition policy and others are specialist, such as
the Women’s Legal Service in SA (women’s issues) or Welfare Rights in SA (welfare issues). Legal Aid Sector There are 8 independent Legal Aid Commissions in Australia, one in each state and territory (I.e. Legal Services Commission of South Australia). Legal Aid Commissions mainly provide practice in criminal, family and civil matters. Most Legal Aid Commissions offer free legal advice and duty lawyer services at courts. Most Legal Aid Commissions offer: • Admin and business roles • Community legal education and publishing • Law reform and policy development • Legal work • Social work Academia Going into academia usually requires high academic chievement, and sometimes a post-graduate research degree is expected. Academics help shape and develop legal minds, forcing students to critically consider legal issues. Academics generally look to developing a deep understanding of the law both in application and as well as theoretically, whilst imparting knowledge and experience and influencing the way law students think. Academics undertake further research in a specialist area of law, contributing papers and theses. A career as an academic also, apparently, provides you with a forum to express your obsession with morris dancing and cougar hunting, by including it in your exam problem questions. Page 35
WHAT TO EXPECT
AS A FIRST YEAR LAWYER The early years of practice as a lawyer offer both enriching and challenging experiences. This article aims to provide a brief and pragmatic overview of what young lawyers can expect in both criminal and commercial practice and what skills they will need to harness along the way.
By Patrick Leader-Elliott
Nature of Work The nature of the work you undertake is likely to depend more on the firm at which you are employed than the area of law in which you practice. As a general rule, the smaller the firm, the broader the range of tasks expected of a junior lawyer, and the greater the responsibility you will be expected to take on at a relatively early stage. In South Australia, firms that practice criminal law are generally small to medium in size, and operate exclusively in the South Australian jurisdiction. On the prosecution side, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is a large government organisation.
• Communication: whether with your client, the other side, counsel, experts or potential witnesses, and most importantly your supervisor and coworkers, you will be required to communicate both orally and in writing. Doing so in a clear and constructive way is essential;
Corporate firms range from smaller outique practices specialising in a particular field to multinational law conglomerates. Between these two extremes there exists a range of firms practising in the commercial and corporate sphere.
• Time Management: you will always have competing demands on your time, both from different matters and different issues within a single matter. You must be able to prioritise your work in such a way that you meet deadlines;
Regardless of the firm you work at, or the area in which you practice, you will need to develop and utilise a set of basic skills, including:
• Document Preparation: the practice of law, regardless of the field, generates substantial quantities of documents: affidavits, witness statements, pleadings, chronologies and so forth.
There are different conventions in different areas of practice, but invariably you must be able to produce high quality documents; and • Legal research: it is inevitable that you will come across legal issues about which you are unsure, if not entirely ignorant. On occasion you may have the luxury of a wellresourced client happy to fund detailed research; often you will not. Usually it will be imperative that you are able to produce a satisfactory answer in a short period of time. You must be able to prioritise your work in such a way that you meet deadlines.
Criminal and family law practice will likely involve issues that may be emotionally difficult, distressing or confronting, for example sexual offences or matters involving the welfare of children. It is vital that practitioners dealing with these important matters maintain their capacity to exercise professional judgment in such cases. Clients For most people, seeing a lawyer is a rare and stressful experience; it generally means something has gone awry in their lives. Your clients may well be stressed. This is especially, but by no means exclusively, the case in criminal or family practice. Particularly in criminal practice, clients may have mental health or substance abuse problems. Obtaining coherent and comprehensive instructions may be difficult. It is also likely that you will encounter clients with very limited resources, which will constrain your ability to prepare their case as thoroughly as you would like. If you are employed by the DPP, your client is the Crown. However, you will be required to engage with witnesses and victims of crime, who will most likely be emotionally invested in the outcome of proceedings. While it is important to remember that these people are not your clients, you must deal with them in a sensitive and respectful manner.
firm, you will probably very quickly acquire your own files and be required to deal with clients directly. In corporate practice you are more likely to encounter experienced litigants, for example liquidators, insurers and banks. This experience means it is less likely that emotion will play as significant a role as in the case of other private litigants, who will often be encountering the legal system for the first time. Similarly, practicing in commercial transactions (such as mergers and acquisitions) may not involve the acute stresses of litigation for the client. However, it is important to bear in mind that commercial disputes can personally impact clients and you should be alive to this. Conclusion Regardless of the field in which you practice, you will need to develop and apply the skills of a lawyer. These skills are not limited to the application of your legal knowledge to the facts of a case, but also require that you address your clientâ€™s needs in an efficient, effective and sensitive fashion. Above all, you will need to learn how to balance your work life and your personal life, and take care of yourself both mentally and physically â€“ a challenge well worth rising to.
If you are working on a large matter in a large firm, it is possible that you will have very little to do with your client; meetings and correspondence are likely to be handled by more senior practitioners. On the other hand, if the matter is relatively small, you may be given day to day conduct. In a smaller
OLAF BORTUTZ ASSOCIATE Where do you work and what does your role involve?
The law market is tough. What did you do to make yourself stand out? What would you recommend to new law students?
I work as an Associate for the W Group, a group of companies including W Consulting Group – a specialist tax and business advisory firm, W Legal – a commercial law firm and W Sports & Entertainment – a sports and talent agency. I work across these three companies and provide commercial legal and business advice, including advice on property, tax, intellectual property and sports law matters. I also represent various athletes and entertainment figures. What could you recommend to anybody considering pursuing the field you work in? What are the highlights? Work hard, think outside the square and get as much experience as you possibly can. Any experience is good experience and can lead to opportunities you may not have considered. For example, be prepared to volunteer or get involved with organisations at a ‘grassroots’ level, as you never know who you might meet or what might eventuate from doing so. In terms of the highlights of my field, I enjoy providing a wide range of legal advice and particularly, business structuring advice, but the best part of my job would be representing and managing the careers of our sports and entertainment talent and assisting them with their careers and needs.
What is the best advice you could give to somebody preparing for a job interview? Be calm, measured and know the organisation and industry you are interviewing for. If you haveprogressed to the interview stage, most employers have already been impressed by your credentials and/or academics, and now want to know the type of person you are. As such, it’s obviously important you make a good impression and showcase your best personal skills during an interview, and can also demonstrate how these skills will assist the organisation the job is with (for example by showing your enthusiasm for the role and to learn what is required, determination to succeed and so forth).
I landed my first clerkship at a major law firm on the basis of my professional experience in the media and marketing industries (given I worked in these fields while completing my degree). In doing so, I was able to show I could manage high workloads and pressure, had professional writing and business development skills and was comfortable in a professional and diverse working environment. Accordingly, I recommend that all students try and find part-time or casual work (even unpaid) in a professional position or field where the skills learned can be used in a legal based role. Most legal jobs will require experience, so it is important even if you cannot get specific legal experience, you try and get some other form of professional experience that might help land a legal based role (if that is what you want to do) in the future. In short, any professional experience is good experience, and can only be beneficial. Therefore, I would start (even in first year) looking to build any form of professional experience for my resume, which will help you stand out once you have graduated.
LAUREN HANNA LEGAL SERVICES COMMISSION
Where do you work and what does your role involve? I currently work at the Legal Services Commission of South Australia as a Legal Adviser. My job is to advise clients on any aspect of civil, criminal or family law matters. I work both on the telephone advice line and provide face to face advice to clients in appointments. I also provide support and advice at the Magistrates Court for civil matters on rotation. Prior to this, I was a Magistrates Associate working closely with the Magistracy to assist with research, drafting court rules and forms as well as advising on and implementing court procedure and policy. I learnt much about practical court process and procedure as well as observing the ‘behind-thescenes’ aspects of court. What could you recommend to anybody considering pursuing the field you work in? What are the highlights? My work is all about empowering people with knowledge and helping them understand their legal rights. It is an amazing feeling when someone walks into your office really nervous and flustered, and by the end of the appointment you have been able to guide them as to their legal options, and they leave feeling confident. That is the reason why I wanted to work in law! When I was a Magistrates Associate I was also given the opportunity to go on
a court circuit to the APY Lands to observe the workings of court in the outback. This was an amazing experience to see the access to justice issues faced by many communities in South Australia’s remote areas that most of us in the city don’t even think about. This really strengthened my views and passion for advocating for access to justice in Australia.
that you have to sell yourself. I always found this really difficult. But remember, if you can’t show the interviewer that you are confident in your skills, why should they infer confidence and hire you?
What is the best advice you could give to somebody preparing for a job interview?
I believe that work experience helps candidates stand out. During university, I started work experience at a small boutique firm in the city for 1 day a week, which then turned into a part-time job where I assisted with research and archiving old files. I was then tasked to assist with the firm’s debt collection including drafting and lodging court documents. This assisted in my knowledge of court process. Then, after GDLP, whilst I was looking for work I commenced work experience at another small boutique firm and assisted in researching and drafting documents for motor vehicle accidents and wills. Due to my work ethic, I again, received a part-time job from this experience until I received fulltime employment. By volunteering or working in a firm or any other type of business, it shows a prospective employer that you are willing to work hard, that you have some experience or knowledge in certain matters and that you are proactive, organised and passionate about your career.
Make sure you have examples! In almost every interview I have attended, the interviewer wants to know about your skills (i.e teamwork, leadership, organisational skills etc) and then an example of when you have demonstrated this skill. It’s always best to think of one or two examples (preferably in a work context) when you have show these skills. This will make you feel so much more prepared rather than ‘umming and arring’ as you hastily search for any example whilst the panel of interviewers stare at you. Also, if you are applying for a law job, make sure you are up to date with the laws and any recent developments in the area. One of the stand out answers I gave in the Magistrates Associate interview, was that I knew about the imminent changes to the jurisdiction for 2013 as well as thecurrent jurisdiction. This impressed the panel as it showed that I knew the jurisdiction and was interested in the work of the Magistracy. Make sure that you know about the firm or business that you are applying to, and if you have any questions – ASK! It shows the interviewer that you have taken time to research the position and the business and are interested about being a part of the organisation. Finally – remember
The law market is tough. What did you do to make yourself stand out? What would you recommend to new law students?
For new law students, volunteer or get work experience (even if it’s not in law) nearer the end of your studies. Get involved with mooting or the legal advice clinic as these skills are invaluable!
What does your job involve? I currently work for the Department for Communities and Social Inclusion in the Domiciliary Equipment Service. In my role as a Procurement Project Officer, I project manage the tenders that my organisation requires to obtain better quality products and provide better quality services to the people in our community. The best part of my role is that I have the opportunity to be working for an organisation that provides assistance and services to those who most need them. How did you get in to your job,and do you have any tips for people applying for jobs? For anyone looking to work outside of the legal profession, the most daunting thing is realising how much you can do but having no real guidance about how to market yourself, what jobs to look out for or even where to start. This was
the dilemma I faced when I finally decided that practicing law was just not for me. had even undertaken the first half of my GDLP to keep my options open just in case I changed my mind in the future. When I finally decided to stop my GDLP, I was faced with the question “what now?” Luckily for me, I had registered myself on the State Government’s Graduate Register before graduating and through that made my way into the State Government a week after I submitted my honours thesis. Since moving into State Government I have floated from job to job trying to find what it was I enjoyed doing; I had spent the last four years totally immersed in studying law that I didn’t really know what else there was or what I liked! My transition was illogical and unpredictable moving back and forth between roles, focusing on business development, project management or even website content management, until I finally stumbled into my current role. To be completely honest, I had no specific skills to allow me to find success in any of my roles. What I did have was a range of practical experiences gained through volunteering with USALSA, SALSC, ALSA and other external organisations like the Red Cross. Through these, I was able to demonstrate the application of the many skills I gained studying law; written communication, public advocacy, team work, leadership, meeting tight deadlines, problem solving. The demonstration of these skills through volunteering and
the study of law itself put me in a very competitive position when applying for jobs. What are the benefits of looking for jobs outside of law firms, and alternative careers? I have found that I have had the opportunity to learn about areas I would have never imagined, including: the implementation of new technologies for the provision of community services; the development of the first SA GovHack event; advising the Commissioner or Aboriginal Engagement; content managing the website for a whole government department; working on cyber security issues for the state; analysing the implications of earthquakes and pandemics, and much more. Top tips: 1. Your first job may not be perfect, but you will continue to develop valuable skills and you should not be scared to test the waters and find your path gradually. There are many opportunities out there especially for law students, however, sometimes trial and error is necessary to find the perfect one for you! 2. Get involved, it might seem like another thing on your plate when you are undertaking an already full on degree, but the skills, experiences and networks you gain as a result of getting involved will not only increase your prospects for work, but also widen and enhance your perspective on life.
JAMES CALDICOTT CRIMINAL LAWYER
Where do you work and what does your role involve? I work for Caldicott Lawyers as a Solicitor, specializing in Criminal Law but also working in the area of Wills and Estates. My role involves going to court and representing clients in a variety of criminal matters, taking instructions and negotiating files with Prosecutors. What could you recommend to anybody considering pursuing the field you work in? What are the highlights? The area of criminal law allows solicitors to appear daily in court for hearings, bail applications, trials and special direction hearings. All of which can include the calling of evidence and cross examining witnesses. There is also the chance of arguing legal principles.
What is the best advice you could give to somebody preparing for a job interview? Best advice I could give is to be as personable as possible, which is a hard concept to grasp. Criminal law requires you to interact with clients, other solicitors and the judiciary on a daily basis - and employers look for someone they can not only get along with in an office setting but also who presents their firm well in court and towards others. This includes being friendly and confident.
The law market is tough. What did you do to make yourself stand out? What would you recommend to new law students? Fortunately, I am part of a family business which meant I was able to start working relatively quickly out of university. However the advice I have given to students before is to put yourself out in the workforce. Hand resumes in person, and try to meet employers if possible. Pitch your applications to smaller private firms who can always use a helping hand for a couple of weeks. By not only applying to the bigger firms but also smaller firms, it increases your chances of employment and also work experience.
JAKE STONE ACADEMIA What is your role, and what does it involve day to day? I am currently employed as a Lecturer in the UniSA School of Law, with a focus in private law courses such as contracts, torts and property. The role is varied; during term my day usually consists of preparing for classes, course administration and fielding student inquiries. Any remaining time is spent researching and writing. What are some of the benefits of your role? The list is long but the most important to me is that I am now paid to do what I love, study. Other benefits include, flexible working arrangements, clearly defined and accessible pathways for promotion, interesting work, the ability to dictate your own research agenda and pay that is above the national average. What challenges have you faced in your job since leaving university? I have made a very smooth transition from student to teacher, partly because I was already familiar with UniSA and also because of the help of my peers. I am yet to fully tackle this problem but I can see that pressure to continually publish and secure funding will be one of the most challenging aspects of this job.
What made you decide to go into a pathway other than legal practice?
What tips would you have for students who may be interested in following a similar path to you?
I am a bit of a dreamer. Rather than focusing on pragmatic outcomes I would rather analyse the reasoning we use to reach a decision. In legal practice there comes a time when the analysis must stop. That isnâ€™t to say academia is only interested in the purely theoretical, lots of useful discoveries originate in universities, just that academia has a much greater tolerance for theory.
Talk to staff or others you know in the field. They are where you want to be and they have knowledge they are willing to share. Outside of networking, you need to maintain strong grades and develop a genuine passion for study. I was once told by someone I admire that I should only pursue academia if there were issues in the study of law that made me angry and which I thought I could improve. I donâ€™t know whether the issues need to make you angry, but they do need to inspire a deep personal connection if you are going to spend 37.5 hours a week immersed in the law. The same is true of any other field of study.
What skills did you learn in law school that have assisted you in your career so far? Law school taught me both the academic and administrative skills necessary for this role. Administratively, the management of deadlines and tight turnarounds equipped me to deal with the requirements of course administration. Academically, the law taught me to be sceptical and to assess arguments from both sides before reaching a conclusion.
Is there anything else youâ€™d like to add? Academia is a great career path that I would highly recommend to those with a passion for study. With our transition from a mining based economy to a services based economy, education has been identified as future driver of Australian growth. With this in mind it seems like now is a great time to enter the industry.
MATTHEW ATKINSON COMMUNITY LAW What is your role, and what does itbinvolve day to day?
the first few years of your life as a lawyer will likely be miserable – you’ll have even more to learn in a short space of time!
I got involved in community legal centre lawyering in my last year of law school. I worked at the Northern Community Legal Service Inc (“NCLS”) from about 2003 until 2011 before joining the University of South Australia as Managing Solicitor of the Legal Advice Clinic. When I started at NCLS I worked as a para-legal advisor. My role primarily entailed taking client instructions and providing advice under the supervision of a legal practitioner. After admission, I was taken on as a solicitor. This resulted in a pay rise (not a big one) and an opportunity to represent clients. Ultimately, I became the principal solicitor of NCLS and had responsibility for managing its legal practice. I also oversaw a financial counselling programme, which ran concurrently in NCLS. What are some of the benefits of your role? Diversity of work. I acted for clients on a range of matters including criminal, family, and consumer credit matters. I appeared in the Magistrates’ Court including the diversionary schemes together with the District, Supreme and Family Courts. I also provided community legal education seminars and wrote law reform submissions on a range of topics. Community legal centre lawyering is also rewarding work. You get to help people that often have no voice and desperately need help. Getting an opportunity to help a person achieve justice in these circumstances produces a great sense of accomplishment. You get the opportunity to make the world a better place – who doesn’t want to do that?
What tips would you have for students who may be interested in following a similar path to you? Network and look for opportunities in the community legal centre sector. The National Association of Community Legal Centres has a job bulletin board on their website. See: www.naclc.org.au.
What challenges have you faced in your job since leaving university? The learning curve for legal practice is a steep one. I found that I was often having to learn on the spot, and occasionally hope for the best. That said, I was extremely fortunate to work in a supportive environment, and also have a great mentor who ensured that I did not stray too far down the wrong track. Over time, legal practice gets easier with experience. You learn what you need to worry about; in the beginning, you worry about everything! What skills did you learn in law school that have assisted you in your career so far?
Additionally, consider enrolling in Law, Society, Ethics (Advanced Clinical Placement). This course will give you the opportunity to be placed in an access to justice organsation such as the Legal Advice Clinic. What tips do you have for new graduates who have just landed their first job? Don’t be too hard on yourself – things will get easier with time. Don’t be scared to ask for help and guidance. Look for a good mentor within your organisation. If things go wrong, don’t sit on it and worry – speak to someone! Most mistakes can be rectified if they are dealt with immediately. Is there anything else you’d like to add? Find work that you’re passionate about, and be persistent with the job hunt.
What you learn in law school provides the foundation for your legal career. Don’t buy into the mantra, “you don’t need to know this academic stuff in the real world of lawyering.” The mantra is codswallop. Undoubtedly, learning the law of contract, torts, equity, civil procedure, evidence amongst many others is very relevant for your success as a lawyer. Things like legal ethics, precedents, and statutory interpretation help tremendously too. If you don’t develop this knowledge in law school,
START YOUR CAREER WITH A LARGE AUSTRALIAN CORPORATE LAW FIRM. We have 85 Partners and more than 275 other professionals operating out of our offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide. Our industry coverage and client work is diverse. Our clients include companies in banking and finance, construction, energy and resources, healthcare, telecommunications, property development, wealth management, tax, gaming and leisure, and media, broadcasting and entertainment. WHAT OUR GRADUATES SAY ABOUT US “At Thomson Geer, I feel like I am constantly learning and developing. The senior members of my team take an active interest in mentoring their graduates and junior lawyers through open communication, providing feedback, and direct involvement in real work. Having the support of more experienced lawyers has helped me find my place within the firm and given me confidence in my legal career.” Miranda Nelson, Lawyer “During my time in the Graduate program at Thomson Geer I was given the chance to actively participate in many real work opportunities, just some of which included attending meetings with clients, experts and counsel, drafting court documents, attending court for the entirety of a trial and appearing in court. This work allowed me to develop my skills in many different areas and gain invaluable experience early in my legal career.” Lauren Abbott, Lawyer “After two years working in the Adelaide office I applied for a role in the Sydney office when a position became vacant. I was able to seamlessly change offices and live in a new city.” Venks Ananthakrishnan, Senior Associate
OUR CLERKSHIP PROGRAM At Thomson Geer we are looking for law students who have excelled academically, are client focused, commercially minded, and work well in a team environment. We are especially keen to talk to students who have an additional technical degree! We offer a structured four week program where clerks learn through a combination of hands-on experience, training, coaching and observation. There are opportunities for our clerks to continue working with us in casual paralegal and administrative positions in between the clerkship and graduate programs (subject, of course, to study loads).
OUR GRADUATE PROGRAM Students who complete a clerkship with the firm will be eligible to be considered for a position in the firm’s next graduate program, commencing in 2018. This program runs for 12 months and includes rotation among different practice areas to help determine the area of law which best suits you.
APPLICATIONS If your ambition is to develop a career in commercial law and you possess the drive to make your ambitions a reality, then we want to hear from you. If you also have a desire to work interstate one day, let us know! We welcome the opportunity to assist our team members with personal career development. Applications open 3 July 2017 via cvMail or the Thomson Geer website.
ADVICE | TRANSACTIONS | DISPUTES Domestic & Cross Border www.tglaw.com.au Sydney | Melbourne | Brisbane | Adelaide
THOMSON GEER CLERKSHIP – AN INSIGHT Alexandra Meeuwsen - Graduate Lawyer
A clerkship with Thomson Geer is a great way to gain an insight into the operation of a successful, fully integrated national corporate law firm and what it can offer you in your career. Before my clerkship and graduate year I never fully comprehended the vast scope of work and projects that I would be involved in in commercial practice. You are given the opportunity to learn from and work with lawyers and partners who are continually recognised locally and nationally for their knowledge and expertise in their respective fields. Thomson Geer values and invests in continued development and training for their practitioners. Such opportunities are regularly offered and include training in hard skills, such as technical use of software, and soft skills, such as conflict resolution training and managing work life balance. Thomson Geer offers inhouse continued professional development lectures and encourages involvement with relevant professional organisations and associations. But don’t worry, it’s not all work and no play. Thomson Geer values networking and appreciates the importance of relationships with your peers. We have weekly drinks on Friday night, which provides an opportunity to get to know each other socially and professionally. We have a Social Club who arranges various events throughout the year including quiz nights, wine tours, cocktail nights and even a Mid-Year Ball. The Clerkship The four week clerkship program begins with induction week. It was evident from the outset just how invested Thomson Geer was in our development with the firm. These first few days we heard from younger lawyers and current graduate lawyers about the firm culture and general practical expectations. It was nice to have some advice and reassurance from people who had been in our position only 12 months before. We also heard from practitioners from each department who provided insight into their practice area and the type of work they do. This gave a much clearer picture of the services we offer and the diversity of our clients. At the beginning of the clerkship you are assigned to a practice area and a supervising partner. However during your time are also encouraged to experience work with other teams. During my clerkship I worked in the Property team but also assisted the Corporate, Tax, and Employment teams with work. The opportunity to experience multiple practice areas was extremely beneficial and allowed me to reflect on areas of practice I would consider pursuing. The types of work that the clerks were given included drafting, reviewing transactional documents, researching and drafting memos, attending client meetings, discovery and attending court. The work you do is real and worthwhile. Support is offered to you throughout your clerkship. We would meet with HR each week to debrief and raise any issues that concerned us. We were each assigned a mentor who worked in the same practice group – my mentor was a great support and gave a lot of practical assistance. He was always approachable and would make time for any queries I had. The Graduate Program Graduates at Thomson Geer are often recruited straight from the clerkship program. The graduate program runs for 12 months, which includes rotations in different practice areas. Graduates are assigned a mentor, who guides you in relation to your work and performance. You are also assigned a buddy, who is generally another young lawyer, to offer support and advice more generally about being a young lawyer and the transition from University to working life. The type of work you undertake in the graduate program is an extension of the work you performed whilst on your clerkship. The firm encourages graduates to become involved in matters and to engage directly with clients. The training is also ongoing with New Lawyer Training sessions being run every month or so to assist the graduates as new lawyers learn practical skills. These sessions were based on topics such as drafting, court appearances and how to manage files. The most valuable aspect of the graduate program is the rotations. The opportunity to immerse yourself and experience multiple practice areas before settling into one practice area is exceptionally beneficial. As a young lawyer you are able to learn new legal skills and knowledge from different teams and then take that as experience into the practice area in which you ultimately practice. Reviews are also offered quarterly through the graduate program. These reviews allow you to implement and act upon constructive advice before your conclusion with the practice area. The review process is a valuable part of your continued development as a young lawyer with the firm. Participating in the clerkship and graduate programs at Thomson Geer, whilst at times challenging, is very rewarding. I encourage you all to apply for a clerkship with Thomson Geer and wish you the best of luck with your applications.
ADVICE | TRANSACTIONS | DISPUTES Domestic & Cross Border www.tglaw.com.au Sydney | Melbourne | Brisbane | Adelaide
GOVERNMENT SOLICITOR What does your role involve, day to day?
What challenges have you faced in your role?
My role primarily involves the provision of written legal advice and management of the Department’s strategic litigation. Requests for wr i t t en ad v i ce a r e r e c e i v e d f r o m ‘ l i n e- ar eas ’ within the Department and may relate to a range of topics including environmental, employment and administrative law. I spend most of my day reading and engaging in legal research using the resources made available to me by the Department. Resources include online databases and a comprehensive library. This initial research allows me to gain a greater understanding of often complex legal concepts and issues which are relevant to the particular request for advice I am working on. This is usually the most time-consuming part of my day. Identifying, interpreting and applying relevant legislative provisions is also an integral part of my day to day role.
Summarising and articulating complex legal concepts using simple language was initially a challenge. The ability to tailor legal advice to a specific audience is a skill valued highly in the legal profession as it ensures the client’s complete comprehension of legal advice. This is not necessarily a skill which is developed to its full potential during your university studies. Throughout your law degree you are required to engage in tasks such as essaywriting and examinations which are designed to get you to demonstrate your knowledge to the examiner or tutor. Professional legal writing differs in that your audience is usually a layperson or someone who has low level of ‘legal literacy’. The best way to overcome this challenge is with practice and experience.
Research aside, the rest of my time is dedicated to reaching a conclusion and formally drafting the advice itself in an appropriate form whilst using the clearest language possible. I also try to squeeze in keeping abreast of media publications, developing case law and news relating to the Department’s work as I believe this allows me to effectively anticipate the needs of our clients.
If you would like to become a government lawyer, when applying for jobs, remain optimistic and cast a broad net. Lawyers will alwayscontinue to have a versatile and broad professional role and one of the attractions of being a lawyer is that the skills initially obtained in university and throughout a career are largely transferrable. Research, statutory interpretation and the ability to convert complex concepts into plain language are skills which in my opinion give a lawyer the ability and freedom to work with a number of different legal disciplines and environments so do not limit yourself by only applying for one or two Graduate Programs, apply for all of them. Make sure you are developing your professional social skills while at university. Recruitment agencies contracted to process graduate applications focus on your ability to work in a team and communicate effectively with others. On this basis I encourage participation in professional networking programs and events – I highly recommend participation in the business-career entor program run by UniSA. This will assist you in learning professional etiquette and get you accustomed to talking with people who are not the same age as you and who wear suits. Networking showed me that most lawyers are not intimidating, they are all normal people too and they are willing to help you learn and put your brain to good use.
What motivated you to pursue this kind of role? My desire to gain a greater understanding of the internal machinery of the Executive branch of the Federal Government and its relationship with the Legislature was certainly a motivation for pursuing the role of a government lawyer. As a government lawyer you are exposed to the development, implementation and enforcement of legislation enacted by Parliament. I also consider the breadth of the legal work available to a government lawyer to be a major attraction. As an in-house government lawyer you are not ‘pigeon-holed’ or limited to advising on just one area of the law, rather you develop the skills and ability to advise on many different legal subject areas. What are some of the benefits of your job? The Department of Environment has provided me with many different benefits as an employee, including a friendly and stimulating working environment, the opportunity to learn from an experienced cohort government lawyers and continuing professional development opportunities. I consider working with a closegroup of likeminded professionals to be one of major benefits of my job. We learn a lot from each other and also get to have a lot of fun. The Department puts on many different events throughout the year, including trivia nights, an inter-divisional sports competition and a truly entertaining Christmas party.
What tips do you have for students who would like to pursue a similarcareer?
What tips do you have for new lawyers, in their early days of practice? Despite some of the horror stories you may have heard, the legal profession prides itself on its collegiality. If you make the effort to build strong relationships with your colleagues, they are likely to reciprocate. Having the confidence to confirm instructions and to ask questions when necessary will be essential to your development as a young lawyer. Remember that no one expects you to be a legal virtuoso on your first day and that it is important to set yourself achievable goals in practice.
REGIONAL, RURAL & REMOTE PRACTICE What was your role and what was your job like, day to day? Tenancy Solicitor in a community legal practice situated in the remote Kimberley. One word, “Busy”. Providing advice, legal assistance and advocacy to clients (majority being from our First Nations People). What kind of opportunities exist in remote, regional or rural practice? Truly amazing experience like no other in an urban legal practice. To provide clients help who are in desperate need of your legal assistance and making a real difference to peoples lives. The privilege of providing advocacy to some of the most disadvantaged and neglected individuals in this country. What were some of the challenges you faced working and living in a remote location? There were many challenges for a Tenancy Solicitor based in a busy community legal practice situated in the Kimberley in far northern Western Australia. The first challenge was that the service area the size of Victoria with only myself and a paralegal to assist. Another challenge was the geographical difficulties of serving communities often cut off due to heavy rain and no serviceable road. Many clients had not seen legal counsel for years on end. Added to this was an expectation
that you could help them with far more than your limits of practice allowed. There was only so much a sole lawyer could do no matter how much you wanted to assist them. Often you spent time chasing up other services to refer them to and attempt to get the client much needed help. There was never enough time to address everyone’s needs. What were some of the benefits of rural and remote practice? Spectacular location and the ability to see the country. Experience and broadened understanding of the legal system in various jurisdictions. What advice would you give to students who are considering moving to a remote area to practice?
work and lunch times can replace late nights for that social fix. -Listen hard and try to take detailed notes when a senior is giving you directions. Get into the habit of carrying a note pad and pen with you everywhere....best trick I learntearly on. You never know when you’ll get asked to do something. -Make a daily list of jobs to do. Cross them off as you do complete the tasks and add them as you are given new jobs. Re-write the list each morning and try to put the oldest task at the top of the list to complete. Sometimes making the list will be the only time you feel you’ve made sense of your day. -It does all get easier with experience, so just hang in there.
Do your homework in looking into accommodation and the area you going to be based. Understand the services (or lack of services) in the place you are going and be prepared for the differences to your current situation. Be prepared to feel a little homesick at first but understand it does get easier and getting out meeting new people helps. What advice do you have for graduates in their first law job? -Try to focus solely on work for a little while. This might mean putting a busy social life on hold for the first year. It might seem a little hard but you’ll make new friends at
If you are interested in pursuing a career in regional, rural or remote Australia, visit rrrlaw.com.au for jobs, updates and tips.
PRACTICE OVERSEAS While your law degree might be Australian-based, your career doesn’t have to be! Here is some advice for living as a lawyer across the pond.
Australian lawyers admitted in any Australian jurisdiction can apply to practice in New Zealand under the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act 1997. Australian graduates yet to be admitted can apply to the New Zealand Council of Legal Education. Australian residents seeking to work in New Zealand are not usually required to obtain a visa, provided the character requirements are satisfied.
Australian graduates must apply to the Canadian National Committee on Accreditation, a committee of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada. They will look at the applicants’ academic and professional achievements, may issue a certificate of qualification, or recommend further study. Australians wanting to immigrate to Canada to practice law temporarily require a Work Permit that specifies both the employer and the duration of the permit.
Australians seeking to be admitted in the UK are required to the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Test (QLTT), and satisfy other eligibility criteria as prescribed by the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Regulations 1990. Prior to sitting the QLTT, applicants must obtain a certificate of eligibility from the Solicitors Regulation Authority. In order to obtain this, applicants must prove they are suitable for admission to practice in England and Wales by disclosing all relevant matters and any convictions. QLTT covers four subject areas: property; litigation; professional conduct and accounts; principles of common law. Applicants may also be required to satisfy a two-year legal experience requirement, although an exemption can be sought on the basis of prior legal experience. Australians seeking to work in the UK must obtain a working visa. Australians may be eligible to work under the Highly Skilled Migrant Program. Applicants must obtain a certain number of points across a range of criteria including qualifications, earnings, experience and age. This visa lasts for 24 months, with an option to renew for a further 3 years.
Most foreign lawyers are unable to advise or act in relation to Chinese legal issues and are generally not admitted in China. However, they are able to practice their home jurisdiction’s law through international firms. Chinese citizens seeking to be admitted in China should refer to the website of the Ministry of Justice. Australians seeking to work in China require an Employment Visa (Z Visa). The Employment Visa is valid for here months. Visa holders must apply for residency from the local Public Security Office within 30 days of arriving in China.
Australian Graduates wishing to practice in Hong Kong as solicitors or barristers, are required to complete a Postgraduate Certificate in Laws (PCLL) and undertake either trainee work as a solicitor, or a pupillage for Barristers. To qualify for admission to the PCLL, an applicant must hold a degree from a common law jurisdiction. Usually graduates undertake â€œtop-upâ€? courses in the three Hong Kong specific subjects; Constitutional Law, Hong Kong Land Law and the Hong Kong Legal System. Australians intending to work in Hong Kong must obtain a work visa prior to arrival. Special visas for professionals seeking to work in Hong Kong are granted under the General Employment Policy (GEP).
A United Arab Emirates (UAE) National is required for court appearances in UAE courts. These courts follow Sharia law and all proceedings are conducted in Arabic, especially in family and criminal law matters. However, Australian graduates who have also completed their GDLP, and are looking for international exposure and experience primarily in civil law, can apply for a working permit with the Ministry of Labour. They may then work for an international or local firm on International law and the law of any jurisdiction they are qualified in, under the jurisdiction of the Dubai Financial Centre Courts. Australian lawyers are well sought after and have been successful in obtaining work with international firms who see them as a good cultural fit to their organisation but it is important to note that that expatriates are mainly considered for their experience, expert knowledge or specialised skills.
In order for an Australian law graduate to be able to practice local law, they will need to hold a permit for permanent residence in South Africa and further hold a Bachelor of Law degree from a South African University. This can be achieved by submitting their Australian degree for credit and then completing any relevant courses needed to qualify. They are also required to complete two years of articles of clerkship with a practising South African attorney and successfully complete the admission exam. Candidates will then need to attend a training course with the relevant law society in their chosen Province before finally being able to apply for admission as an attorney.
Admission requirements in the United States differ in each State. Every State requires applicants to sit a bar exam and satisfy the relevant admission authority that they are of good character. In some States, applicants may be required to take additional course in US Law at an ABA approved law school. Alternatively foreign lawyers may practice with a Foreign Legal Consultant Licence. This allows lawyers to engage in restricted legal practice within a State, based on their home jurisdiction qualifications and experience. Australians seeking work in the US must obtain a work visa. Australians may apply for the special E-3 Visa which permits Australians to work temporarily in specific occupations. In order to qual- ify for the visa, the applicant must have a job offer from an organisation in the US prior to departing Australia.
Australians interested to practice law in Japan may be admitted as Foreign Special Members of the Japanese Federation of Bar Associations. Once admitted, foreign lawyers are limited to advising on the law of their home jurisdiction. Australian lawyers seeking admission must apply to the Minister of Justice and be qualified in their home jurisdiction with three years post-admission experience. They must satisfy the Minister that they have the will and financial means to act as a lawyer, have residence and also meet the character and bankruptcy requirements.
MEDIATION SA I have been a fulltime caseworker at Mediation SA (MSA) for the last 3 years. After completing a double degree of Law and Behavioural Science I began volunteering at our head office, Southern Community Justice Centre (SCJC). A few months later I started casual work with MSA (formerly known as Community Mediation Services) and from this I was offered the permanent position of Intake Coordinator when it became available. For a time I worked both as an intake and caseworker before being promoted to my current position. As a caseworker I receive files after we have written to the other party/ parties inviting them to participate in mediation. As mediation is a voluntary process if they choose not to respond or decline to mediate, there is nothing more that we are able to do. However, hopefully they wish to enter into mediation and from there we work towards seeking a negotiated outcome that everyone is comfortable with. Our services are available to everyone in South Australia, free of charge. Mediation SA also provides training and education for the community on Conflict Management and Dealing with Difficult Behaviours. The training focusses on what triggers people to react the way they do and how to manage conflict situations in a more positive manner. The majority of our casework is conducted over the phone by speaking with each party separately. Conference calls can be used as well as face to face mediation sessions
or interviews. We can receive information via letter or email from clients but we cannot negotiate via these methods. At all times confidentiality is maintained. This is extremely important as it builds trust and ensures our credibility as a service. Our process is completely non-legal. We remain neutral and impartial and cannot make any decisions. We assist parties to try to keep an open mind so that all possible options or solutions can be explored. Flexible and imaginative outcomes are able to be reached, depending on the willingness of parties. However when parties are no longer able to negotiate they may need to go to court for a decision to be made on their behalf. We adapt our processes to meet client needs. Therefore we can travel to neutral locations close to where parties reside, we can work after hours if needed and we can use interpreters if there is a language barrier. With clientâ€™s permission we are also able to communicate with their support people, such as counsellors or Housing SA managers, in order to better understand their perspective and background which can aid in reaching an outcome. At times mediation is not suitable. This can be due to such things as intervention orders, mental health concerns or the possibility of threats or violence. Throughout mediation, especially with behaviour matters, parties are always welcome to contact the police or other agencies if needed.
Part of my role is assisting colleagues when needed, helping train volunteers/students and also attending local community forums. Our service finds the process of having volunteers assist us to be a valuable and rewarding experience, passing on workplace skills which can then be used in their future employment. As a member of a small, close-knit team, I need to be flexible and assist others as needed. This includes answering the phone, administrative tasks and providing support with colleaguesâ€™ casework as requested. Staff meetings take place once a month while casefile meetings occur more frequently, as the need arises. Even though I have an understanding of the law I cannot give any clients legal advice. At times this can be a hindrance. I can outline my concerns and refer them to seek legal advice if they feel that this could be helpful. Clients who do seek legal advice find that this can aid in mediation negotiations. I find it is most rewarding when parties are able to give and take to reach an outcome that they can all live with. Through this process everyone gains a better understanding of the otherâ€™s perspective and although the outcome is not everything they wanted, they are happy with it because it is their outcome, they controlled the process. Having started my career as a volunteer, I would recommend that all experience is helpful. Obtain as much of it as you can, make connections and be known.
Start your career with the Adelaide GDLP With flexible study options and unrivalled connections to South Australiaâ€™s legal community, your legal career starts with the Adelaide GDLP. For more information, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website www.law.adelaide.edu.au/gdlp
adelaide.edu.au Page 51
GRADUATE DIPLOMA Successful completion of a law degree from an approved institution (such as the University of South Australia) is not the only requirement for legal practice. You must also complete the Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice.
What is the GDLP and who is the best provider for you? The Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice, or GDLP, is the qualification obtained through practical legal training (PLT). In Australia, PLT is a compulsory requirement to be admitted as a solicitor or barrister. With various PLT providers to choose from, students are able to not only select the form in which they will complete their GDLP, whether it be in person or online, but also the jurisdiction into which they will be admitted. Once admitted in their chosen jurisdiction, practitioners may apply for a practicing certificate in other states and territories. Upon the successful completion of your PLT, you will have satisfied the prescribed national competences, developed by the Law Admissions Consultative Committee and Australasian Professional Legal Education Council. Some qualities obtained through your PLT include lawyersâ€™ skills, work management and business skills, trust and office accounting skills, as well as responsible and professional values. Competition for law jobs is as tough as ever, with no employment guarantees after years of dedicated study. So when contemplating PLT options, it is not only important to consider whether a GDLP is required for the
career path you have chosen, or may choose, but also which provider is best for you and what they can offer compared to the others. Here are some questions you may wish to ask of a potential provider when making your decision. Flexibility and Delivery: How flexible is the delivery of the course? Can you study full-time or parttime? Is the course external? How many contact days are required? What support systems are offered to students? Jurisdiction: Where do you want to practice and which provider will allow you to be admitted there? Remember mutual recognition allows practitioners to apply for a practicing certificate in other states and territories. FEE-HELP (HECS): How much of the programs fees can you obtain financial assistance for? Placements: Can the provider help you in securing the required placement days? Are there benefits on offer for completing more placement days? Are there alternatives to placements?
Practical Skills and Group Work: How will the course help build your advocacy and drafting skills? Are there group work requirements? How is group work assessed? Starting Dates: When is the course offered? Can you start your PLT as an undergraduate? What are the minimum requirements to enrol? Reputation and Word of Mouth: How well is the provider recognised in the legal profession? How have previous students found the provider?
JOIN THOUSANDS OF S AT I S F I E D L A W S T U D E N T S ACROSS AUSTRALIA PLT Plus – today’s most in-demand Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice program, delivered by The College of Law. Now in its second year, our new and improved program puts you first. With a renewed focus on flexibility, convenience and practical relevant training, it’s no wonder more students are choosing PLT Plus over any other program. Now it’s your turn to discover what the fuss is all about.
5 Reasons to choose PLT Plus YOU’LL BE MORE ‘PRACTICE-READY’ PLT Plus places greater emphasis on task-based, hands-on learning. It’s also the only program that offers a Legal Business Skills Series – equipping you with vital workplace skills such as time management, leadership and communication.
Y O U ’ L L S T U D Y H O W A N D W H E N Y O U WA N T With only 5 days of face-to-face attendance plus full-time and part-time study options, PLT Plus is truly flexible. We also offer 10 courses a year in South Australia, allowing you to study at a time that suits – not us.
Y O U ’ L L B E M O R E AT T R A C T I V E T O E M P L O Y E R S As Australasia’s largest provider of PLT, The College of Law has a global reputation for excellence. We are also the preferred provider to 9 of the top 10 law firms in Australia.
YOU’LL GET MORE SUPPORT AND GUIDANCE With one-to-one lecturer support, pre-submission feedback and comprehensive Practice Papers to take into the workplace, our goal is to help you succeed the moment you enter the professional workforce.
YOU’LL ENJOY BENEFITS TO LAST A LIFETIME As a PLT Plus graduate, you receive lifelong discounts on all our short programs – plus ongoing invitations to our alumni and networking events. What’s more, two PLT Plus subjects entitle you to automatic credit towards the College LLM program.
For course dates or more information about our PLT Plus program visit The College of Law website www.collaw.edu.au/pltplus or contact our Student Services Team on 1300 856 111 or email@example.com The College of Law is Australasia’s largest provider of Practical Legal Training (PLT), with campuses in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and Perth. We also conduct programs in Adelaide, Canberra and regional Queensland, as well as onsite sessions in London. The College of Law’s PLT program leads to the award of a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice (GDLP) which makes you eligible to apply for direct admission to your state or territory.
Your career. Maximised.
PRACTICAL LEGAL TRAINING 2017 COURSE DATES - SOUTH AUSTRALIA
ONLINE FULL-TIME START DATE
17 Oct 2016
O N L I N E PA R T - T I M E CODE
10 Feb 2017
17 Oct 2016
26 May 2017
05 Dec 2016
31 Mar 2017
05 Dec 2016
07 Jul 2017
06 Feb 2017
26 May 2017
06 Feb 2017
01 Sep 2017
01 May 2017
11 Aug 2017
01 May 2017
24 Nov 2017
03 Jul 2017
13 Oct 2017
03 Jul 2017
02 Feb 2018
16 Oct 2017
09 Feb 2018
16 Oct 2017
18 May 2018
SA ONSITES HELD AT: Adelaide CBD
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Your career. Maximised.
Visit collaw.edu.au/pltplus Call 1300 856 111 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
University is not only about studying and learning the law. It is also about trying new experiences to learn about yourself, and what you want from your career.
Volunteering and other short-term experiences are the perfect way to grow your resume, and also narrow down your interests.
YOUR GUIDE TO VOLUNTEERING Entering the legal job market is frightening. Believing that you lack the experience or the grades to get a job is a terrible mind set to have. To demonstrate that you have the skill set that an employer needs is difficult when you’re a waitress. However, you can set yourself apart from the rest without even having a job. Volunteering will give you that competitive edge that you need. By volunteering, you will see the benefits to you and to others. You will improve your network skills, increase your self-confidence and develop skills that will make your resume stand out. You will also be amazed by the sense of achievement for the volunteer work that you do. The feeling you get from helping members of the community through volunteer work is completely different than scanning someone’s grocery shopping. So, where should you volunteer? VolunteeringSA-NT is the leading volunteering service in South Australia and the Northern Territory. Their website has a fantastic search engine for volunteer vacancies which allows you to limit the search to your interests and how much time you can devote to volunteering. This can give you an idea of what kind of opportunities are out there and you may even find an opportunity that you are interested in. These opportunities do not necessarily need to be law related but can be something you enjoy or have an interest in. The skills you gain can be transferable and demonstrates your dedication to something you are passionate about. Want to travel and volunteer? There are a lot of different overseas volunteer opportunities out there, you just need to know where to look. The Centre for Volunteering has a great list of different organisations on their website for you to check out. A couple of examples are: Real Gap Experience – This organisation has not set up any of their own projects. They instead work with locally run projects which have been established out of the needs from the local community. International Volunteers for Peace – This organisation’s aim is to organise volunteer opportunities around community needs while promoting the appreciation of the problems that different communities face in their struggle for environmental harmony and social justice. World Youth International – WYI takes a ‘hand up, not a hand out’ approach to their projects in areas of health, education and WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene). They implement projects which the communities can continue to access in the long term.
Still have a couple of electives left? UniSA offers students the chance to do electives which involves volunteer work. So, why not enrol in one of the following: LAWS 4007 Lawyers, Ethics and Society (Advanced: Clinical Placement) The pre-requisite for this subject is LAWS 4006 Lawyers, Ethics and Society. Through this course, you have the ability to volunteer in the UniSA Legal Advice Clinic. In the Legal Advice Clinic, you will be interviewing clients, writing letters of advice and putting your legal knowledge to practice. Each client is different and you will be dealing with different areas of law, whether it be family law matters or even dead cats. The clinic operates four days a week at the law school. On Tuesdays they operate out of Elizabeth Magistrates Court and on Fridays they operate from Port Adelaide Magistrates Court. The UniSA Legal Advice Clinic also looks for volunteers during the holiday break, so keep a look out on their Facebook page. EDUC 4186 Community Service Learning Project This subject has no pre-requisites and is a non-law elective. In this course, you will have the opportunity to undertake a community service project. You will be managing real projects with a hands on approach. They offer a range of different projects that you can get involved with include Cleland Wildlife Park, Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience and The Royal Society for the Blind. You also have the option to develop your own initiative. Want to be involved with Social Justice? Women’s Legal Service offers free legal advice and representation to women who are facing a crisis. Volunteers assist with administration work which includes answering phone calls from members of the public and data entry. In this role, you will have the ability to assist disadvantaged women to understand their legal rights. It is confronting but your role will be rewarding. Visit their website if you want to find out more information or want to apply. JusticeNet See more information in this guide! Welfare Rights Centre (SA) WRC is a non-government agency who provide free assist to those with matters relating to Centrelink payments. Volunteers will be undertaking a large portion of WRC’s client-services work of assisting clients to challenge incorrect Centrelink payments. To apply, visit their website for the application form. Roma Mitchell Community Legal Centre This CLC is run by volunteers who provide advice either face to face or over the phone. Volunteers can also help with their Human Rights Volunteer Service. While providing their service, this CLC’s aim is to uphold culturally appropriate protocols to the Indigenous and the Multicultural communities. Volunteers will also have the ability to assist with law reform, training and community education.
ELLY STANTON INSIDE THE U.N. What was your internship and what was it like, day to day? I undertook a six-month internship at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). The ICTY is a United Nations court of law situated in The Hague, Netherlands, that deals with war crimes that took place during the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990’s. I was assigned to the Office of the Prosecutor, Trial Division, and worked on the case The Prosecutor v Ratko Mladić. It was a full time role, and the duties that I undertook day to day varied from legal research, to helping with witness preparation, to assisting drafting motions and responses. How did you apply for this opportunity? I applied for my internship through Inspira, which is the UN Careers website. Because these internships are very competitive, and essentially you’re competing against people from all around the world to obtain a position, the application process is quite time consuming and the application itself is very detailed. I had to include documentation such as samples of my work,
written recommendations, my academic transcript, as well as answer a number of questions attached to the application. What were some of the most enjoyable and/or interesting aspects of the internship? The most enjoyable aspect of my internship was the friendships that I made. Because the ICTY draws on interns from all over the world, I got to meet people from many different countries and cultures. It was a very unique experience going to work each day and hearing so many different languages being spoken under the one roof. It was also quite a surreal experience to be working on such an internationally high profile case. It’s difficult to explain how it felt sitting in a courtroom mere metres from an infamous war criminal. What challenges did you face while completing the internship? I was quite lucky during my internship and didn’t face any notable challenges. The ICTY provides a housing list for interns to source accommodation and it was relatively straight forward to find somewhere to live. The Hague is a very easy city to live in, principally because it’s quite small and English is so
widely spoken. Fortunately the working languages of the ICTY are English and French. Do you have any advice for students who are interested in doing something similar? Are there any particular skills or experiences you think are important? When I tell people about my internship, I often receive the question “how did you manage to secure that?!” My first piece of advice to anyone considering such an internship, even if they aren’t confident of their prospects of being accepted, is to try regardless. Even at the beginning of Law School, I knew I wanted to intern at the ICTY at the end of my final year, so I just went for it, even though I didn’t think I had any chance of being accepted. No one was more surprised than I was when I received my acceptance email. I think it’s also really important to go into an internship like this with a very open mind. Because you work with people from so many different cultures, there are always going to be cultural differences and quite often misunderstandings created by a language barrier. You just need to learn to go with it and embrace the differences.
VOLUNTEERING IN THE SUMMER BREAK By Jessica Punch
how different practice in comparison to the theory components in a law degree. I made phone enquiries to various firms in my local area as to whether they were able to take on a work experience student and submitted my resume to those who were interested.
Upon completion of my first year of studies I decided to undertake volunteer work experience at a general practice law firm over the summer university break to gauge an understanding of what legal practitioners do and how it differs to undergraduate law studies.
Undertaking volunteer work experience allowed me to gain beneficial insight into what legal practice entails and how the knowledge I was gaining at university was applied in practice. The benefits of volunteering at a general practice were apparent in the first week as I was exposed to multiple areas of law. It was refreshing to see a variety of matters come in and as such I was able to gain a limited understanding of how experienced practitioners would approach different matters in different ways.
Prior to volunteering I had no exposure to the world of law outside the constraints of a university lecture theatre and I soon realised
With the guidance of the solicitor overseeing my work experience, I gained valuable practical skills that I have yet to be exposed
to in my undergraduate degree such as drafting fundamental documents, how client interviews are run and how court documents are filed. I gained exposure to areas of law that I had not yet come across in my degree which developed my research skills as I would have to wrap my head around a matter that was completely foreign to me. It also enabled me to refine my understanding of subjects I had already covered in my studies and gain additional knowledge of concepts that were not covered in the subject. By undertaking work experience, my desire to practice law upon completion of my studies has been solidified and it has allowed me to develop skills that will benefit my studies later on in my degree. Despite giving up my summer holidays, the experience was well worth the sacrifice and I would encourage all students to take up any opportunity they may come across gaining work experience.
PHILIPPA JONES SHORT EXCHANGE Studying overseas is an amazing opportunity to travel, experience a new culture, study in a different environment and make friends. But if you don’t have the time to go on a six month exchange, or the electives left, or the money, or if you just don’t want to be away from home for six months, there are still options to study overseas. Short overseas courses are a great alternative to the traditional six month exchange as it still enables you to have the overseas study experience.
I studied overseas for three weeks in January 2016. The course was International Law and Human Rights and was taught at Masaryk University in the city of Brno, the Czech Republic. The course was organised through AIM Overseas which is an organisation that arranges short term courses at universities all over the world. The course I studied was taught combining classroom teaching and professional visits. Topics of study included human rights and human dignity, discrimination, freedom of expression
verses hate speech, and the role of the European Union and the United Nations. Professional visits included visits to the UN Office in Vienna, the UN Refugee Agency, the European Roma Rights Centre, and workshopping with a variety of NGOs. The course was taught by people very experienced in law (in particular international law) and included a supreme court judge and a lawyer who worked at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and at the Special Senate for War Crimes at the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Many short term courses attempt to combine learning with giving student a cultural experience. Local student guides from Masaryk University were with us throughout the three week course. They showed us Brno’s attractions and gave us a local perspective of the city. They showed us the best tourist attractions, the best local food to eat and the best places to out. On weekends we went on trips organised by the exchange program to Prague, Budapest and Vienna. Here we not only went on professional visits but had plenty of time to be tourists. A further advantage of short term courses is the people you meet doing the course. Not only do they become great friends but I found that as everyone
had travelled overseas to study the course they were really interested in the content of the subject. In my experience the class was filled with people passionate about the subject, who wanted to be there to learn about the topic. This made class discussions interesting as everyone was contributing and engaged in the topic. Many overseas university courses can be counted as an elective or a law elective depending on the subject and its content. This means that you can get credit for the course. It is important to check this before you go overseas to ensure you will be able to get credits and OS-HELP for the course. To find more information about short term exchanges and possible courses search the UniSA page or for information on the course outlined above and other courses organised by AIM Overseas visit http:// aimoverseas.com.au.
Going on exchange is a valuable experience which allows you to experience life in a new country In January 2016 I went to Israel ato study a short term exchange in International and Israeli Law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalemâ€™s Rothberg International School. This is a 3 week intensive program that is designed to give you an insight into Israeli domestic law and considers international legal issues in depth. We covered Constitutional law, the Law of Belligerent Occupation, the Gaza 2014 Conflict, Human Rights issues and issues of a domestic nature such as the military exception for Yeshiva students and the strict rules for marriage that do not allow inter-faith marriages to take place within Israel. This is only a small sample of the content we explored as the course was very in depth and provided for many fascinating debates among us both in class and at lunch! My journey to Israel was a oncein-a-lifetime experience which enhanced the learning I have been doing as part of my Law Degree in Australia by experiencing a completely
different legal system and a different culture. I had the opportunity to watch a sitting of the Knesset and meet with Justice Meltzer of the Israeli Supreme Court to hear from him about his role and the challenges facing the Israeli legal system. We met with Israeli law students and had the opportunity to hear from the Bereaved Parents for Peace representatives and from students who work with the Human Rights Clinic as volunteers. In addition to classroom learning (the 5 hour constitutional law class was a real highlight!) we had many excursions and a lot of free time to explore Israel. On a 4 day long weekend my housemates and I hired a car and went on an adventure through the occupied territory in the West Bank, went down and floated in the Dead Sea, rode camels into the Negev desert and slept under the stars! We went to the markets and explored the night life, visited the tourist sites, haggled
our hearts out and ate our way through the country. Going on exchange is a valuable experience which allows you to experience life in a new country and culture which may be an eye opening and challenging experience. You can scratch that itch for travel while gaining life experience and new skills and attributes that spice up your CV. You may also find that your future employers are impressed by your willingness to step outside your comfort zone and challenge yourself!
If you are interested in participating in this program in 2017, funding as a scholarship is available from the Australian Friends of Hebrew University and you may also be eligible for the Business School Mobility Grant and the OS-Help loan. If you have any questions or would like more information on studying at the Hebrew University please contact Moran at email@example.com and she will be more than happy to assist you.
SEMESTER EXCHANGE By Dusty Grant In the second half of 2015 I undertook a semester long study exchange to Stetson University in Florida, USA. If you are thinking about an exchange but still are not quite sure, firstly I want to say JUST DO IT! Hopefully I can impart some helpful information that will convince or reaffirm your interest. I researched, found and applied for my exchange through UniSAâ€™s study abroad program. Though at times the amount of options can be overwhelming (better to have too many than too few), once you have a general idea of where in the world you want to go and find a uni that meets with your study requirements, the process becomes far more streamlined. For me, I knew I wanted to go to America and knew I wanted to be somewhere warm. On top of being in the very tropical
Florida, Stetson has a renowned law program, so my decision became very easy. Actually applying can be scary, waiting for replies and acceptances but the international office are very keen to have their students travel; they do everything they can to get you your first option and will work hard with you to get you your second. One of the biggest concerns students have about undertaking an exchange is the potential financial burden. Having a structured budget is immensely important to any travel of an extended period like this. However, once again we are fortunate that UniSA is so supportive of international study. Students going on semester long exchanges receive a grant of up to $2,500 and there
are other grants open to be applied for as well, depending on your area of study, academic merit and/or financial status. On top of this, the Australian Government offer up to $7,500 (depending on your location) as a loan that can be added onto your HECS debt. This means that before you start you can have $10,000 or more. I was fortunate enough to receive a Business Mobility Grant as well, which is open to any student in the Business School to apply for. These grants and loans helped me to cover almost all the costs of accommodation and meal plans. But of course, I needed my own money as well. Six months of living in another country can be expensive, especially when exchange rates are considered too. Even with all the help that the uni and Government offer, it is important to save and budget effectively, leading up to and during your exchange.
Now the good stuff. If you ever speak to someone who has returned from exchange, 95% of them will reply with overwhelmingly positive answers. I admit to uttering the phrase â€œbest months of my lifeâ€? far too many times since returning home. For most, an exchange like this would be your first experience away from home. It certainly was for me. If this seems scary, it definitely can
be, but in the most exciting way possible. At Stetson, we were thrown into a hoard of 90 other international students who were all as fresh faced, terrified, exhilarated and confused as we were and this created a family. The friendships I made and the bonds I formed are some of the strongest relationships I have, and this is true of many exchanges. Stetson is a smaller school than many (only 3,000 students in total) so bigger universities will have different experiences but in general, whichever host uni you attend will want nothing but for you to have an amazing experience.
The other amazing part of an exchange is, as I just mentioned, the excellent academic experience available to you. Having the opportunity to undertake study in an area of interest to you in a completely different country, with different ideals, cultures and people, is invaluable. In my experience, the teachers I had there also jumped at the opportunity of having a foreign
voice in their class so discussions were always kept interesting and informative, but also fun. Furthermore, the University requires only a pass/fail grade, meaning that pressure of different exam or assignment systems is greatly alleviated and helps you learn and fully appreciate the experience youâ€™re receiving. The final thing I would add to ensuring you have the best possible experience is to take any and every opportunity offered to you. Even if something seems scary or new or even boring, do it. People will (usually) love the fact that you are visiting and trying new things and will try to help you have
a great time. Do it! Whilst at Stetson I had the opportunity to go to The Bahamas for a long weekend. I almost did not go (worried about costs more than anything) but a friend and I found some economical flights, well priced accommodation and it was one of the best things I have ever done. I went on countless roadtrips, sometimes with people I was close with, other times with people I barely knew who had invited me on a whim. Sometimes things went wrong, sometimes people were rude or unsure about this random Australian guy they did not know. But the vast majority were not like that, and I just want to reiterate; take every chance, do everything you can. That includes applying and going on exchange in the first place. That is probably the hardest bit. Once you arrive at your host uni, you get into your respective accommodation and start meeting people you will likely realise it was all worth it and future you will be immensely grateful.
INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCES Asian Human Rights Commission Location: Hong Kong Duration: Minimum 6 months How to apply: Visit www.ahrchk.net/ Australian Delegation to the UN Human Rights council Location: Geneva Duration: 6 weeks (March - April) How to apply: Complete the application form (www2.ohchr.org/SPdocs/AboutUs/internshipform.doc) and send to firstname.lastname@example.org along with; a list of courses taken and academic transcript, research samples and proof of health insurance. Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development (AYAD) Location: Various locations throughout the AsiaPacific region. Duration: 3 - 12 months depending on the hostorg anisations needs How to apply: AYAD assignments are advertised online at www.ayad.com.au, and with three intakes annually, applications can be submitted anytime. Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative Location: Accra, Ghana Duration: 1 - 4 months How to apply: The most effective way to do an internship with CHRI is via Projects Abroad who will organise food and accommodation for the period of your internship.. Go to www.projectsabroad. com.au or, for further information from CHRI, see: humanrightsinitiative. org
Federation of Women Lawyers of Kenya Location: Kenya Duration: 3 - 6 months How to apply: Complete an application form (www. fidakenya.org/) and email application to, info@fida. co.ke. International Fund for Agriculture Location: Rome How to apply: Fill in an IFAD Personal History Form and email it to email@example.com. Any questions should be marked to the â€œAttention Human Resources Divisionâ€?. International Service for Human Rights Location: Hamburg, Germany Duration: 2 -6 months full-time How to apply: Applicants must have completed at least 3 years of university study and should still be studying at the time of the internship. For more information see: www.itlosorg/. United Nations High Commission for Refugees Location: Geneva Duration: Minimum 6 weeks How to Apply: Fill in application form at www. unhcr.org/admin/3b8a31f94.html REPRIEVE Australia Location: USA or South East Asia Duration: Minimum 3 months How to apply: FIll in applciation form at http:// reprieve.org.au/get-involved/volunteer/
NATIVE TITLE By Georgie McRae
The Aurora Native Title Project is a unique opportunity for interested students to experience work as a native title lawer.
I was lucky enough to complete an Aurora Native Title project in 2013, with local barrister Andrew Collett, OAM. It was a truly amazing experience for so many reasons; both in terms of learning more about native title and other areas of law affecting Indigenous Australians, but also just generally speaking to learn about life as a barrister. The Aurora Native Title program is run by an incredibly passionate and capable team who aim to provide opportunities for students interested in Indigenous Affairs. They have a winter and summer round every year, with ‘host organisations’ all over the country. Although I was placed in Adelaide which was very convenient, it is also an amazing opportunity to visit a more remote place in Australia, with organisations in locations including Port Hedland and Thursday Island. Unfortunately the internships are unpaid, however the Aurora staff cannot do enough to help you. This includes reaching out to past interns and others in their network to help organize free or low-cost accommodation options for interns who are struggling to find a place to stay, particularly in the more regional areas. I applied for the internship at the end of my first year of law school. The applications involved a relatively detailed application focusing on your academic achievements and motivations for applying. The only academic prerequisite was Property Law. I had only completed Property
Law General (now Property Law A), but as that contained the Native Title module, they were happy to allow my application. My first day of the internship was my first big legal experience, and quite nerve wracking! Luckily, I could not have possibly asked for a better supervisor, mentor and eventual friend than Andrew Collett. Andrew recently received an Order of Australia Medal for his illustrious career in Indigenous affairs and beyond, and is passionate about assisting law students as well as the profession generally. Aside from making the most clichéd intern mistake ever and pouring coffee down the front of my new “law clothes”), I was totally at ease from the beginning. During the internship, I had many varied and amazing opportunities. Every day was completely different; from heading to the former nuclear test site at Maralinga on a tiny chartered plane and sleeping in ‘dongas’, to sitting in court during preservation evidence proceedings regarding a stolen generation matter, every day was completely different. Not all of the work was related to Indigenous affairs, although it was certainly the focus. I also assisted with other matters including a discrimination claim, and several personal injury cases. The personal injury matters saw me attend various settlement conferences, and although my work was strictly limited to taking notes, it was a fascinating insight into life as a barrister.
A lot of my work was research based, including searching the Supreme Cour QWAEt library for cases on a long defunct law. Even this was incredibly interesting to me, and has led to a long-lasting love affair with the Supreme Court library. Outside the work, the best thing about the Aurora Native Title project is the invaluable connections and relationships you make. The project really emphasizes finding people who genuinely care about native title and other related issues, and as a result you find yourself amongst like-minded people. At the beginning of the internship, I was forwarded a list of all the other interns Australia-wide. Some time later, I was thrilled to catch up with two other interns for a drink to chat about our experiences. Andrew also introduced me to many other people in the industry. These relationships continue long beyond the end of the internship, and I feel this is one of the real strengths of the program. From the ongoing correspondence with Andrew (which has been absolutely invaluable) to the ‘job alerts’ sent from the passionate team at ‘Aurora HQ’, the benefits of the internship have extended well beyond my ‘end-date’. For anyone who is genuinely interested in Indigenous affairs, I couldn’t recommend this experience enough.
By Georgie Grosset What motivated you to pursue was satisfiying by knowing I was helping people out there this type of role? that may not have recieved I was interested in getting any advice. some practical experience in a number of different areas. It is challenging as many The work in the clinic provides clients have limited legal a perfect environment to knowledge but this provides a work on a number of cases great opportunity to work on across a number of different your legal knowledge and your law areas such as contacts, basic explanation for your client. property and torts. Not only was I volunteering, but I was also able to have credit added to my transcipt for the work I was doing.
With jobs in the legal sector being quite competitive, do you have any recommendations for our current students?
The legal clinic works on a number of different areas and this provides a really Some of the benefits that good base for anyone looking I got out of working in the to work in legal sector. Even Legal Advice Clinic include if you are not sure if you want getting to work with a number to practice in the legal sector of different clients and client the clinic gives you experience that will be very helpful in any flies. work you take on in the future. The clinic is a great opportunity to learn how to interview clients, speak to clients on the phone, write file notes and case updates, run a client file, research law and work on a number of different areas from criminal law to contracts to domestic disputes. What are some of the benefits of your job?
What does your job involve? This requires me to volunteer as a student advisor in the UniSA legal advice clinic. This means I am able to offer legal advice to those who need it under the supervision of the managing solicitors. How did you get into your position? After completing the compulsary law course, Lawyers, Ethics and Society, I decided to take the advanced law elective, Lawyers, Ethics and Society (advanced: Clinical Placement). This allowed me to continue in the Legal Clinic for over two trimesters.
As the clinic is a volunteer practice that provides free legal advice the clients that you work with can generally not afford legal advice. This Page 65
JUSTICENET By Leo Coldbeck-Shackley JusticeNet is an independent, not-for-profit organisation that coordinates free legal help for individuals and charitable organisations. We aim to provide a ‘safety net’ for disadvantaged individuals who are unable to pay for legal advice or obtain help through other legal service providers. JusticeNet is run by experienced lawyers assisted by a group of volunteers. What we do: JusticeNet facilitates free legal assistance in a wide range of areas. Applicants need to meet JusticeNet’s eligibility criteria which involves an assessment of the merits of a case and the applicant’s financial means. However, we are unable to assist with family, criminal, and complex commercial and building disputes, except in exceptional circumstances. JusticeNet services:
Referral Service JusticeNet runs a referral service that links eligible applicants with solicitors and barristers willing to provide advice and assistance on a pro bono (free) basis. Self-Representation Services JusticeNet assists people representing themselves in the Federal, District and Supreme Courts in South Australia and Federal Court in the Northern Territory by offering a one-hour appointment with a pro bono
solicitor who provides legal advice and minor assistance with legal tasks as required. The Supreme Court Service is run with the assistance of Flinders Law School. Refugee and Asylum Seeker Project JusticeNet offers a specialist referral service for asylum seekers who wish to seek judicial reviews in the Federal Court of negative immigration decisions. Volunteering with JusticeNet: JusticeNet relies on volunteers to assist with a variety of hands-on tasks, including taking telephone enquiries from the public and applicants, assessing applications for assistance, preparing briefs for lawyers, legal research and writing submissions on law reform issues. Volunteers can also get involved with helping to run the service, such as fundraising and training events. JusticeNet accepts applications for volunteers year-round and opens positions on an as-needed basis. Places are competitive. To apply, please send a cover letter, CV and Academic Transcript to Louise Young at admin@ justicenet.org.au. Both the University of Adelaide and the University of South Australia offer placements with JusticeNet as part of their Clinical Legal Education (CLE) programmes.
One Student’s experience: “I began volunteering with JusticeNet in my final year of university. My initial motivation was to gain some practical experience in general civil law while doing some work with a social benefit. I was first working in the Referral Service, which involved preparing Case Summaries, and research into the potential legal issues arising from those matters. During this period, we were able to participate in a meaningful workshop related to dealing with clients who might be suffering mental health issues. The work at the SRS has been highly varied and has included: freedom of information requests, real property disputes, a commercial and contractual matter, tax debts and family maintenance. This work has also involved certain procedural and administrative tasks, such as drafting a notice of discontinuance in relation to apending appeal. This is all in addition to regular client interactions, either in person or otherwise. I would fully recommend JusticeNet to other law students who are interested in civil law and making a social contribution to both the clients and the justice system generally.”
BUSINESS CAREER MENTOR PROGRAM The Business Career Mentor Program is one of the most sought after opportunities at the UniSA Business School. It allows students from across disciplines, including law, to be paired with an industry professional and attend monthly meetings with your mentor. I applied for the mentor program in 2015. You complete the application process online, selecting up to three mentors to ‘short-list’. After sending the application, sometime later I was asked to attend an interview for the program. Following the interview, I was advised that my application had been successful and that my mentor would be ‘revealed’ via the online portal. I was excited to discover that I had been paired with Charissa Duffy, a family law practitioner from local firm Tindall Gask Bentley. Before commencing the program, there were a number of requirements to complete. All successful ‘mentees’ were invited to an information
session which included information about being a successful mentee, as well as networking and searching for jobs. That alone was a very helpful session! Being a mentee also caused me to reflect on what I wanted from my career, at least broadly. I formulated a number of questions for my first meeting with my mentor, and this process alone enabled me to narrow down what I already knew about the legal industry, and what I wanted to learn. This experience showed me the benefits of reflecting and setting goals, which is something I continue. I was a bit nervous meeting with my mentor the first time, but she was extremely friendly and willing to answer all of my questions. She spoke very candidly about her experiences as a legal professional, and gave me lots of great tips about approaching firms for work. I was also able to honestly discuss some of my concerns, such as work/life balance and managing
the steep learning curve of being a new lawyer. We met approximately monthly, although it is important to be flexible in the program as the mentors are often very busy and generously giving their limited time. However, Charissa was also happy to communicate via email, and several times I sent in questions that way. Knowing I had someone who I could direct ‘silly’ questions to was extremely helpful, especially during my clerkship which was at the same time. At the end of the program, I also needed to attend a networking event. As someone with limited networking experience, at first this was terrifying! However, it ended up being a great night where I really enjoyed speaking with all different industry professionals. I would recommend the program to anyone at the Business School. I am still in contact with my mentor, and hope that it is a relationship that continues into the future.
SOCIAL JUSTICE ORGANISATIONS
Many not-for-profit organisations and community legal centres (CLC) take on volunteers. Volunteering at these organisations provides students with the opportunity to experience real world lawyering as well as practical legal application with real results. Volunteering will also provide networking and placement opportunities for your future, while giving you a sense of achievement for the work perform.
An onerous commitment is not necessary - usually it is just one day a week and many organisations will be flexible if you show you are willing to help. The UniSA Legal Advice Clinic Students have the chance to work in the University of South Australia Law School’s own Legal Advice Clinic. The clinic assists clients in traffic charges, car accidents, criminal charges, debt claims, faulty goods, tenancy issues and family law matters to name a few. The clinic operates four days a week at the Law School and one day a week at Port Adelaide Magistrates Court. For more information on how to get involved, contact managing solicitor Matthew Atkinson at firstname.lastname@example.org JusticeNet A not-for-profit legal referral service which coordinates pro bono legal assistance to disadvantaged and low-income South Australians. Applications are accepted all year and expressions of interest
should be sent to admin@ justicenet.org.au with résumé and academic transcript. Young Workers Legal Service Free work-related advice is provided for workers under the age of 30. There are usually yearly intakes of volunteers in January and July. However, volunteers may also be needed at other times. See their website for more information and criteria. Roma Mitchell CLC An agency run by volunteers which provides pro bono face-toface and telephone legal advice. There are also e-volunteers who work to actively advance human rights and reconciliation. This is their Human Rights Volunteer Service. Welfare Rights (SA) A non-government agency which provides a free service assisting people with Centrelink dealings and decisions. It also runs the Housing Legal Clinic which provides pro bono legal advice to the homeless, or those at risk of becoming homeless.
Women’s Legal Centre (SA) Inc A community based legal centre which provides legal services to women in South Australia. Volunteers are needed for administration work and legal advice and information. International Volunteering There are many providers who have a range of programs aboard. To find out more, check out their websites, contact them directly or go to an information session. Projectsabroad, Antipodeans Abroad and Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development (AYAD) are just a few. Also see internships abroad under “Want a career overseas?” for more information and other overseas options.
Although for some people, 3 - 5 years of a law degree is absolutely plenty, for others it is just the beginning of their tertiary education. Check out this section for an overview of options if you are considering further education.
FURTHER STUDY? There are many reasons why you may decide to undertake further study after the completion of your law degree. From pursuing a career in academia (which often requires higher research degrees) or gaining an in-depth understanding of a particular area, there are many justifications to complete post-graduate study. Many past students feel that by undertaking a masters degree or going further and completing their PhD, they were able to find work in their desired field and gave them more opportunities after studying. There are a couple of options to consider, either immediately following the completion of your degree, or some time after beginning your career. Generally, fees for higher study can be deferred via HECS-HELP loans, however you should check your individual applicability. For more information about applications, check the website of the institution you are interested in studying at. MASTERS DEGREE A Masters degree is the “next step” after completing your undergraduate degree - but it is a big step up. It provides a higher level of education, and is typically one or two years in length. There are three formats in which the degree is offered for study. Coursework:- A degree which will centre on different coursework, project work and research
questions. This would be most similar in style to an undergraduate degree, but will be more challenging. Research:- This will focus on a research project or thesis which will be expected to take up about two-thirds of course. Some Research Masters are only offered after a Masters preliminary year is completed. Extended:- This would probably consist of a work based project, and can expect to take three to four years to complete. DOCTORAL DEGREE Doctoral degrees are awarded to recognise work which has contributed significantly to the field of study in the form of new information or interpretation of current knowledge. They usually require a Masters degree, or in some cases a Bachelors degree (honours) may be sufficient, and are offered in two formats. Research doctorate (PhD): This will consist almost solely of completing a thesis through supervised research. Note that this usually requires a Masters degree (research). Professional doctorate: This is ideal for professionals who want to advance their knowledge in their field without committing to a more time consuming research thesis. Note this will require considerable professional experience. OVERSEAS OPPORTUNITIES Of course you don’t have to stay in Australia to study, a Masters or PhD abroad is a fantastic way to
live and learn in a new environment. In fact for some subjects it is beneficial to move abroad and be closer to the action so to speak, and primary research may need to be conducted if there has been little written on the subject before. Australian students have been studying at prestigious institutions such as Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard or Yale for many years. Often, study at these respected universities is easier than it may first appear: if your grades are within the top 10% of your cohort, you stand a good chance of gaining admission! Many other overseas institutions also offer post-graduate opportunities for Australian students. In order to position yourself for the best chances of gaining admission at an overseas institution, it is highly recommended you complete your undergraduate law degree with Honours. Many overseas institutions, such as Oxford, do not consider applicants without an Honours degree. Further to a strong academic record, you may also require other supporting evidence, such as a recommendation from a Professor/ the Dean of Law. Other achievements such as the publication of research will also support your application. Overseas study may be expensive, as international students are often required to pay course fees up front. As a result, it is highly advisable to consider whether any scholarships are available.
AUSTRALIA By Meghan Thomas What is the Teach for Australia program? What is the process for becoming a teacher under it? The Teach for Australia program is part of a global movement dedicated to breaking the cycle of educational disadvantage through improving teaching and leadership in education. In Australia, by age 15 children from low socioeconomic households are, on average, three years behind in school than those from high income households. Research has shown that one of thebest ways to battle educational disadvantage is to encourage, support and provide high quality teaching, and that is the aim of Teach for Australia. Teach for Australia now supports a number of different programs, although the one I am currently participating in is their Leadership Development Program. Through this, people from a wide range of industries with academic expertise and a range of skills and experiences become ‘Associates’ who commit to teach in an educationally disadvantaged school for at least two years. The program consists of an intensive 13-week initial program, called the Initial Intensive, where Associates complete approximately 25% of a Master of Teaching (Secondary) degree. Following this Associates fill real school vacancies and teach a 0.8 load in a partner school whilst continuing ongoing study towards their Master of Teachng (Secondary) degree. Associates are highly supported in their teaching and leadership journey, both from their school and from Teach for Australia, in the form of an in-school mentor, a Teach for Australia Teaching and Leadership Adviser and a Deakin University School Academic Mentor.
By the end of the two-year program, Associates will have completed a Masters of Teaching (Secondary), and will have achieved Proficient in the AITSL (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership) standards. What made you decide to pursue teaching rather than the field of your undergraduate degree (science)? I’ve always been a curious person, so science was a natural fit for me. I loved learning about the inner workings of ourselves, our world, and our universe, and being able to explore the intricacies of how and why things happen. However, I enjoyed being and working with people too much to follow a research career in my specialist field of science. Teaching seemed like an amazing opportunity to combine both my passions for science and working with people, and gave me the chance to inspire others to learn, inquire and be curious about our world. Teach for Australia then gave me the added opportunity to achieve these goals whilst being part of a movement that is contributing to real social change, so I jumped at the chance! What have been some of the challenges you have faced during the program? The program is very demanding – both mentally, emotionally and physically. Teaching itself is difficult job, and when combined with studying towards a Masters can be quite stressful. However, the pluses – collaborating and learning from some inspiring staff, and working with some amazing kids – far outweigh the minuses. In fact, it often doesn’t even feel like work at all!
What have been some of the benefits of the program? The main benefit of the Teach for Australia program is their support network. Beyond the official support channels provided by the partner school, Teach for Australia itself and Deakin University, the Teach for Australia community of Associates and Alumni provide invaluable support and opportunities for collaboration. What advice would you give to students who finish their degree and consider lternate pathways? There are so many different opportunities out there available to you. If you are unhappy, unsure, or thinking about exploring something else, I would definitely encourage you to do so. Three years ago, when I completed my Bachelor of Science (Advanced), I would’ve never imagined that I would be teaching middle school science and senior school chemistry, but now I can’t imagine any other occupation challenging, inspiring and exciting me more. Don’t just settle for what makes you feel comfortable, but challenge yourself to find something which makes you excited and inspired to wake up in the morning! Is there anything else you’d like to add? If you would like more information about the Teach for Australia program, please visit the Teach for Australia website: www.teachforaustralia.org
The best part of your first job will be your innocent ignorance of the fact that you seemingly simple ideas have the power to change a companyâ€™s future. Goodluck!
The 2017 UniSA Law Careers Guide. Designed to help students across all levels find employment after and during law school.
Published on Mar 8, 2017
The 2017 UniSA Law Careers Guide. Designed to help students across all levels find employment after and during law school.