Confessions of a First Year Clerk
After my final exams, I was exhausted and ready to begin a long holiday filled with doing absolutely nothing. That was until an email arrived in my inbox advertising a clerkship at a small firm.
As a first year student I had heard all about these elusive clerkships but didn’t know what they were all about. I decided to take the plunge and apply. From the outset I saw it as a chance to update my resume and maybe gain some interview skills. I was sure I would never even get a reply to my email, but to my amazement I was asked in for an interview and given the job.
The first day of the clerkship was a particular highlight. Although the majority of the day was filled with orientation, I was asked to file documents in court. Going to court is something I’ve enjoyed since my first visit in high school. Walking into the new Supreme Court building for the first time as a clerk, I felt like Richard Stirling from ABC’s Crownies. I knew what I had to do but I was still very nervous, not to mention I forgot my tie – thank goodness you don’t need one to file documents!
The firm I clerk for devotes a large chunk of their work to personal injuries, but also deals with family law, commercial and some criminal matters. This means that on any day I may begin by filing documents for the PI division, read QP 9s in the middle of the day and finish by filing documents in the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission. The varied work has meant that throughout the holidays I have always come to work with a spring in my step as I never know what I will be doing that day.
This clerkship could not have come at a better time. My first year of law had been full of hypothetical scenarios of Cleaver and Melissa v Barney and Scarlet and other such cringe worthy cases. Although I hate to admit it, I was growing slightly bored of the law school. Now for the first time I was able to see how the law really affects people’s lives. From filing to preparation of briefs, going to court, and attending conferences, this clerkship has opened my eyes to the legal world.
By now you may be wondering if I’m a HD student with a whole list of extra-curricular activities under my belt. Well, I’m not. I’m just your run of the mill law student; obsessed with stationery and a frequent sufferer of mid-semester panic. Even if you’re not getting the best GPA, if you put yourself out there and have a positive attitude, you will succeed. I would encourage all first year students to apply for every opportunity that comes your way, because you never know – you might get the job.
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