what's ur wam.
Ben here. I am a fourth year University of Sydney law student and am about to start my clerkship at Allens (a top tier law firm) within the next few weeks. A couple of years ago (although it definitely seems more than that!) I sat in front of my computer with tons of questions about law. I received quite a lot of help and, as such, would love to give back. I am open to any/all questions within reason.
I have been involved in quite a few things while at uni so feel free to ask about that too.
For those that don't know, a clerkship is basically an internship with around 95-100% chance of guaranteeing a grad job afterwards. Allens-Linklaters is one of the top 3 firms within Australia and is regularly involved in some of the biggest cases there are in Australia.
what's ur wam.
Is law as intense as they say? (in terms of hours of study each week, content or the like)
What's the pass rate at USYD?
How'd you land the clerkship? (Connections, excellent resume/grades, luck?)
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Are there any tips you can give in relation to maximising your chances in the recruitment processes for Linklaters and is prior experience in a legal firm essential to securing a job in the top firms?
Thank you for your generosity and giving back to the community. As a third year law student, I will be extremely grateful to hear your insights and experiences and learn from them
Last edited by strawberrye; 13 Nov 2016 at 10:37 AM.
What was your study routine like?
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Do you regret chosing law?
Why did you want to do law? And are those the same things that motivate you now?
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On rumourville they also want your grades all the way back to primary school.
pree much you need a D+ wam, have some work experience, do some law comps (mooting etc), be involved in either volunteering/sport etc should be all g. then it just boils to interviews.
What was your preparation like for the application process and interviews?
How did you spend the summer holidays (end of third year/start of fourth year) before clerkship season?
''Some people dream of success while others wake up and work hard at it."
- Winston Churchill.
''You can’t sleep. Broke people sleep. You got to be willing to sacrifice sleep, if you sleep you may miss the opportunity to be successful.''
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''I've never really viewed myself as particularly talented. I've viewed myself as slightly above average in talent. And where I excel is ridiculous, sickening, work ethic. You know, while the other guy’s sleeping? I’m working.''
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Well, I thought I would contribute a bit. Bit of nostalgia being around here againnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn.
By way of context, graduated from high school in 2009, from uni in 2014, work at a mid-tier in Sydney (and my partner just quit his top-tier job). I work in insurance law. I clerked and gradded at my current firm. I was a paralegal during uni at the top tier (same place where my partner worked).
It is intense, but, in my view, no more intense than other subjects (well, maybe with the exception of Arts - I did both, and the difference was noticeable there).
But some do.
Things that motivate me now are that a lot of my colleagues are my friends. So that makes it enjoyable. And I enjoy the work.
Interviews, just be yourself. That's super cliche, but it's good advice, particularly if you're an extrovert. I'm not, but at the same time, I can carry myself in most conversations. Interview questions fall into 5 distinct categories: motivation ("why do you want a job here? why did you pick commercial law?), resume based (tell me about X job or X society position or X sport), commerciality (what are some of the issues affecting one of our clients? tell me what you know about our firm?) and behavioural (give me a time when you exhibited X trait).
At the clerk level, no firm is going to ask you technical questions.
Bit more background, I went to Go8, my average was a mid C (71 ish), but I had decent co-curriculars - state volleyball, swimming and national netball (men's netball, so a lot less good than girls'). Also did some stuff around uni.
Got clerkship offers at some Big 6 (incl where I paralegalled) and various mid-tiers.
BF went to Go8, had a 75 average. He had amazing co-curriculars - was a student politician and did nationals netball too. I think he got all the top tiers except maybe KWM.
What I'm getting at that marks are important. But not the be all and end all. But if your marks are around my level (mid C's), be prepared to have decent co-curriculars and a fairly social personality.
Re: USYD specifically - I just want to tell any prospective students that our university is incredibly black letter law. Also, it is a very stressful university to do a law degree at sometimes because for some units we only have 1 exam and that is worth 100%. I don't count how much I study but basically, whenever I don't have another commitment, I'm studying. The 'recommended' hours of study is 40 per week.
I landed a clerkship by (a) having decent grades, (b) having extracurricular and (c) spending a lot of time on my applications. For Allens, you also have to be good at cognitive testing (e.g. short online tests) which I find it annoying as some of my friends who I perceive as just as intelligent as myself missed out because of a 20 minute randomised test.
Last edited by lawfiend; 17 Dec 2016 at 12:13 AM.
Prior legal experience is not necessary - I know a couple of individuals who got in with no legal experience. However, they are definitely in the minority.
Surprisingly, these are the same things that motivate me. My understanding of law has deepened substantially (when I first started, I thought all lawyers wore wigs and screamed at each other in a court room) but - in the end - I am still motivated by money and the opportunity to change someone else's world for the better.
I started my applications almost immediately after my final exams for semester 1. A lot of my friends laughed at me saying I was being too serious but a good application should take 3-4 hours minimum. The first few took me a day or two each. After all, you have to customise each cover letter and you have to answer (usually) 3-5 questions like 'why commercial law?' or 'why us?' and each of these are approximately 250 words from memory. Sure, some of the firms may ask the same questions/you may only need to modify one paragraph of the cover letter but that still takes time because you have to do research and proofread (e.g. it is very awkward sending a letter addressed to KWM to HSF).
Interview wise I had a large doc (7 pages) where I prepared an answer for all the common questions (e.g. 'tell me a bit about yourself', 'tell me a time you showed teamwork' etc). I also dragged my friends into mock interviewing me and then asking them for feedback (not on the content but how I came across - did I seem nervous etc?). On top of this, most firms will tell you the 2-3 people that is interviewing you beforehand. The night before the interview, I would also stalk these individuals, look at what their interest/work history is and ask questions about them at the end so that I seem interested in them/the firm.
What was the difficulty of Law like over your 4 years ?
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