Unless your name is Elle Woods in 'Legally Blonde', landing a graduate position at a top tier firm these days can seem impossible. With a virtually unsustainable number of law students graduating and competing for limited jobs around the country, securing yourself a graduate position has become something of an arms race. So how do you stand out from the crowd when the majority of your peers have graduated with similar grades, experience and qualifications? Read more for four simple but effective strategies.
It’s that time of year again. Clerkship season is around the corner for many law students around the country, with applications opening on 17 June for New South Wales, 13 July for Victoria, and 20 July for Western Australia. Every year, thousands of students go through this stressful, time-consuming and emotional process. Unfortunately, even before you type the first letter on your cover letter, the odds are stacked against you with less than 7% of law graduates being employed by the commercial law firms that offer clerkships.
At the start of my third year of law school, I landed a brief work experience stint with a judge at the South Australian Supreme Court. Ecstatic about the three weeks which would surely save me from a desperate life of unemployment and give me a wide new perspective, I started preparing. I bought a brand new power suit, a few blouses so conservative my high-school self would have considered them turtlenecks and found a bus into the CBD which would get me to work seven minutes early. I rehashed all my legal researching skills, practiced my handshake and bought a tiny notebook; some article in my law student association’s Careers Guide advised an intern to always be prepared for note taking.
When searching for a job, social media can act as a double-edged sword. A sharp LinkedIn profile can allow prospective employers to assess your professional skills at a glance, while sites like Facebook and Twitter can give you a chance to highlight your presentation, communication and marketing skills. However, for every boon it may offer, your social media presence can present enough hazards to sink your job hunt before you even reach the interview stage.
Meet Edmund Bao, who recently returned from Washington, D.C. after being the 2014 recipient of the ANU World Bank Fellowship. Edmund is in his final year of an undergraduate commerce/law degree from the Australian National University. In this week's guest blog, we interview Edmund about the World Bank Fellowship and his tips for future applicants.
There is no university subject called “plaintiff law”. Torts and negligence come close, but they fail to capture the heart of plaintiff work. Often, when people think of plaintiff law (also called personal injury or PI), they think of ambulance chasing, car crashes, and slipping on grapes. Though plaintiff law might not always have the “sex appeal” of a shiny glass tower or an international secondment, here are the top four reasons I think you should give it another look.
I laughed/cried recently reading a post on the satirical website “The Shovel” – “New ultra-realistic Barbie Doll earns 85% of Ken’s salary.” If Barbie was a lawyer, we could change that figure to 64% - and that’s not satire. The Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) has released data showing that for full time employees in Legal Services the gender pay gap is 35.6%. By way of comparison, the gender pay gap in the private sector is 22.4% and rising, in the public service the gender pay gap is 12.3% and falling.
Are you thinking about applying for a 2016 associateship? It can be a hugely rewarding experience, as well as a stepping-stone to legal practice or further studies, but be warned – competition is tough! The good news is that most judicial officers make their own hiring choices (rather than a corporate HR department algorithm), so there’s room to showcase your individual talents beyond what appears on your transcript. Here are some ideas you may wish to consider before hitting ‘send’ on that application email.
The ALSA (Australian Law Students' Association) Conference is attended by law students from Australia, New Zealand, and South-East Asia. The 2015 ALSA Conference will be held on the 6 - 12 July where the brightest law students will compete in the national finals of six legal competitions. The Conference will be held in Sydney, New South Wales in 2015 at the University of Sydney.