As a mother of two, Natalie could not drop everything to pursue a traditional internship. However, she needed legal work experience in order to make the transition from psychology to law.
Natalie started her career off as a psychologist and worked in the field for many years, often with victims of domestic abuse. Her desire to help ended up pushing her towards law, because she wanted to do more and help them fight for justice. To do so, she went back to school at Macquarie University for her Bachelor of Law degree. During her studies, she worked with Levy & W. as a Legal Clerk on top of working full-time as a Witness Assistance Officer at the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, but was still looking for ways to differentiate herself.
“I wanted to do something more that would make me stand out when applying for jobs because the legal job market is very competitive”
Natalie found this opportunity to stand out through Forage. She completed the Leo Cussen Human Rights Law Virtual Experience Program as it dealt with the area of law she hoped to go into. The opportunity fit perfectly with her life as she typically felt excluded from traditional internships as she could not drop her life to accommodate them. Forage allowed her to do everything on her own time. For Natalie, “Forage was all about equity for me, it was something that made an opportunity accessible to me that ordinarily would be off the table”.
Closing the learning gap between textbooks and real-life
The skills Natalie learned from the experience helped her grow and develop in the legal field. From the program, she learned more about legal interpretation and drafting in terms of the amount of detail needed in different types of legal documents. The videos, reading materials, and model answers all provided her with beneficial information for her career. Within the program, the refugee and immigration law unit helped her to get a better understanding of the emotional component of law and how to handle it.
Landing her dream job
Natalie claims the program, “helped me stand out a bit more” especially in a sector as competitive as law. With the experience on her cover letter, she was asked about it during interviews where it acted as an engaging talking point. For example, in her interview with a law firm, she was able to use the program as a way to connect with the employer as they have never heard of this type of experience before. Thus, making her a more memorable candidate. Her hard work paid off when she landed her dream job with Sydney Family Law Specialists as a Family Lawyer.
“It’s good to get practical skills early”
Natalie urges students to try out different opportunities as early as possible in their educational and professional careers to ensure they are on the right path. Completing any type of professional experience or connecting with people in the industries helps to have a clear idea of what you want to do in the future. Natalie noted, “Forage was an invaluable opportunity” as it allowed her an accessible way to experience different types of work while maintaining her busy schedule. It worked for her in a way the typical recruiting process couldn’t.
Connect with Natalie on LinkedIn here.
Follow Forage on LinkedIn here.