Jun 2014

You’ve spent years at university. You’ve worked more days for free doing your PLT than you’ve worked to make money in your entire life. You’ve been through exam meltdowns more times than you can count on your fingers, which means more times than you can count because after years of law you have little to no maths skills left. Although perhaps you have just enough mathematical ability left to calculate how long you will need to go without food in order to afford the admission fees and law society membership for new lawyers.  

Yes, it’s admission time. Because we can’t all be like Mike Ross, most of us will actually need to prove that we are admitted lawyers before we start our first lawyer jobs.

May 2014

Since your first year of law school most adults/lawyers/distant family members have probably been asking you “what do you want to do with your degree?” or “what area of law do you want to work in?” For the first few years I brushed it off with responses along the lines of “I’m not sure”, “I haven’t decided yet” and “I've got plenty of time.” But once I started fourth year and went back to my hospitality job, I realised that maybe I should figure out a better answer to these questions.

My brother had used his law degree to work for the government and then as a management consultant, so I knew that there were lots of career options, but I found it quite hard to figure out what I wanted to do. Then I realised that I just had no relevant experience and therefore of course I didn't know where I wanted to work after graduation.

So here are my suggestions for what to do when you feel you have nothing much on your resume, and can’t decide whether you want to be a lawyer…

May 2014

Dominic Esposito is a sole practitioner in small firm in suburban Melbourne. After graduating he started work for a suburban practice dealing mainly with small business and family matters. He opened his own firm in 1988 as a sole practitioner and has since expanded to employ a number of other junior solicitors. His firm deals primarily in litigation in a wide variety of legal areas including commercial, family, petty crime and property disputes.

May 2014

Kate Phillips graduated from the Australian National University in 2010. She began work as a paralegal at the Australian Capital Territory Government Solicitor’s office before undertaking an internship in the Intellectual Property Division of the World Trade Organisation.

She began working for the Attorney General’s Department in the graduate program in February 2011. Her role involves developing and implementing anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism funding (AML/CTF) policy at the Commonwealth level. Her department also works closely with AUSTRAC, Australia’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism regulator and specialist financial intelligence unit, as well as international partners.

Apr 2014

I have had the immense good fortune to work as a bench clerk for numerous Magistrates hearing thousands of cases across the summary jurisdictions in my state. I have seen outstanding advocacy and roaring submissions delivered with passion and grace, as well as profusely sweating, mumbling, fidgeting, woefully unprepared counsel. I have, albeit rarely, seen a self-represented litigant act with more skill and panache than a senior member of the Bar. There is an art to advocacy.

Preparing your case, knowing the law and the precedents you’ll rely upon is important, but it isn’t the whole picture. Here are some things I have learned from 12+ years of bench clerking…


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