Clerkship applications and finding employment in the legal industry can sometimes feel like a feeding frenzy. It’s no wonder lawyers are often compared to sharks! However, instead of adding to this competitive environment, we encourage you to take sometime to support your peers. Whether you are currently applying for jobs, or know someone who is, offer some support and guidance where necessary.
Having a support network during clerkships is vital to your happiness and mental health. Walking into a room of other applicants at information sessions can be super intimidating, especially when Melbourne and Monash students dominate clerkships! Seeing a friendly face at a professional development session or cocktail evening can make you feel instantly calmer and helps when networking.
Outside of firm events, reaching out to other applicants to check on how they are feeling can really help your peers feel supported. As tempting as it can be to want to ask where they’re interviewing, or discuss an interview you have had, recognise that not everyone wants to talk about this. Many students can experience low self-esteem and be very critical on themselves during this time if they have been unsuccessful in securing their dream clerkship. As much as you should be proud of your own achievements, please remember that many of your peers may be experiencing rejection and confusion over their own applications.
Finally, if you find that you are being too critical on yourself at this time, and are questioning whether you will ever receive a law job please consider this. Clerkships are one pathway into the law. Many lawyers have been very successful in their fields without getting their start through a clerkship. Firms are looking for different attributes that are impossible to predict and are influenced by a range of external factors. Fears that all your hard work through law school, the late nights and sacrifices, will be a waste if you don’t receive a clerkship are normal. However, not receiving a clerkship is only the end of your legal profession if you choose it to be. Create your own opportunities, network and work hard. It may take more time, but if you persist you’ll get there.