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Madelyn Attwood: Corrs Student Success Story

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Throughout her studies, Madelyn always thought she was going to end up as a human rights lawyer. It wasn’t until she was fortunate enough to complete an internship with the United Nations, that she realized it wasn’t the only career for her. 

Entering her penultimate year, Madelyn found herself considering other career paths. She had never entertained the idea of corporate law and wasn’t sure which firm to apply for or what the role actually entailed. She was also worried that there would be a ‘perceived gap’ on paper when it came to her application seeing as she had no prior commercial law experience. 

It was not until Madelyn started doing research into the Australian commercial law landscape that she discovered Corrs Chambers Westgarth.

“What I liked about Corrs is their culture was a good balance, and they have a commitment to Business and Human Rights. I could see from all of the sessions they run, the articles they write, engagement and events, that this wasn’t just lip service or a couple of lines on the website. It was part of the fabric of the firm and flowed into the culture and the way people treated each other and the work they took on.”

Madelyn had found her match – “I wanted to work at Corrs but was unsure about applying because I had pursued a humanitarian legal path and had zero commercial law experience.”

It was then Madelyn came across the Corrs Virtual Experience Program with Forage:

“I was so excited to come across the Virtual Experience Program. I thought this might help me not only make it clear to Corrs that I’m passionate about the organisation and keen to work for them, but also really helpful for me to know I wasn’t going into the application process blind.”

The virtual experience program provided Madelyn the opportunity to build the relevant skills and get a better sense of what a commercial law clerk would be doing. With this newfound confidence, she went into the interviews where she demonstrated and talked about the new skills she learned and also showed her willingness and commitment to learn about Corrs. 

“I think I would have had much less confidence applying for commercial positions without having had the virtual experience program. Completing the program gave me a solid knowledge base as well as peace of mind that I actually knew what commercial law was all about.”

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“Before submitting my application I was conscious that on paper I was going to have this “perceived gap” in my experience. Although I was confident in my ability to learn on the job, doing this virtual experience gave me a lot more confidence that at least on paper, they could see that it was possible for me to have a successful career in commercial law.”

After all her hard work and dedication, Madelyn’s dream came true – she landed a clerkship role with Corrs that summer. “Even going into my clerkship I felt a lot more confident because at least I had my learnings from the VEP to fall back on. If someone asked me to do a similar task, then I knew that I had already done something similar through the VEP.”

Although Madelyn learned a lot from her university studies she felt that the university didn’t fully prepare her for the world of work. 

“University equips you with lots of skills such as presentation capabilities, critical thinking, professionalism, but they don’t teach you what is actually expected of you in the workplace – like how you’re expected to deliver something or perform a task in a commercial setting.” 

“If we are going to move towards a more employable future, and I think this is increasingly becoming a concern for young people, there needs to be greater action taken to make sure the assessments match what they can expect in the workplace.”

For Madelyn, the Corrs Virtual Work Experience helped her fill that void and land her dream role as a graduate lawyer with the firm. 

Connect with Madelyn on Linkedin here.

Follow Forage on LinkedIn here.

By Nicole McCallum