Don’t discount your experience.
So many times I hear “I have engineering experience” or “I have mainly worked in retail” and law firms aren’t interested in this. That, in my experience, is not true. During one of my interviews the HR rep asked why I had put my experience working in a pub at the back of the CV. I assumed it was not relevant and the HR rep disagreed – it showed that I was willing to roll up my sleeves and do hard work, interact with customers in a tense and challenging environment and was trusted with key leadership responsibilities.
Sit down for coffee with as many lawyers as you know.
Use any connection (don’t be shy!) to sit down with lawyers so you can get a more in-depth understanding of the different firms. There is nothing more useful than hearing it straight from the horses’ mouth. It also shows that you are adept at networking, reaching out for help and genuinely interested in a corporate law career. You’ll be able to reference these chats during your interviews and applications which many students won’t be doing.
Don’t discount yourself.
Most students naturally doubt themselves and we can often get caught up in the frenzy of job applications and hear things like “there is a 77.8922 cut-off for marks”. If you’re interested in corporate law back yourself and back your experience and have a go. If nothing else you’ll learn about putting together job applications and have a better understanding of what firms are out there and what experience they’re interested in.
Really think about the firms that you want to work for. Of course many of us just want a job to begin with but it’s worth taking the time to consider where the most well suited firm is and focusing your initial efforts on preparing that application. 5 well prepared / tailored applications will net you a higher return than 10 scattered applications every day of the week!
Got a friend who works in a law firm? Have a neighbor who has a friend who works as a lawyer? Use any connection you have to sit down with people in the industry and pick their brains about the profession, the application process and specific firms. This intel will be invaluable during the application process.
Don’t neglect application management.
So many students underestimate how taxing it can be to apply for clerkships. It’s competitive! You need to apply to as many as possible without losing the quality of your application.
Figure out where you actually want to work.
Interested in doing an international secondments? Well don’t apply to Lander & Rogers first. Want the option of rotating through family law? King & Wood Mallesons shouldn’t be the top of your list. Based on what you want from your future employer, you should order the firms that you want to work for and sequentially work through your applications using that order.
You have worked hard to get into law school and complete this much of your law degree. Don’t underestimate yourself and have a go at applying!
Got hired? Here are five tips for your clerkship journey.
By Tom Brunskill