After countless alterations to my CV, filing online applications, and sitting in several interview rooms, I was fortunate enough to walk into Norton Rose Fulbright in November last year, keen and ready for my ten-week clerkship.
It is difficult to describe what the ‘typical week in the life of a clerk’ looks like because every week has brought unique challenges and rewards. From drafting and filing affidavits to inter-firm cricket matches, it has been an action packed two months. But it's not always lunches and coffee, a typical day involves meeting new people, taking notes, doing research, learning to draft client letters and compiling memos.
Law Stuff I’ve Done
My clerkship has been divided into two five-week rotations. I spent my first rotation in IP, which in the Melbourne office has a large focus on patents. However, as several of the lawyers I worked with also worked in franchising and litigation, I was given the opportunity to gain some exposure to this practice group, which intersects with IP.
My current rotation in M&A is a vast contrast to the contentious nature of IP, and has provided me with an understanding of transactional-based legal practice.
Fun, and the Rest of it
What has made my clerkship experience so memorable has been the people with whom I have had the opportunity to work. The people I’ve worked with are so talented, capable and down to earth that it creates an incredibly dynamic, stimulating and enjoyable workplace. No matter how busy things became, everyone took the time to help each other and share their knowledge.
The friendly feeling within the office made it very easy to ask questions, get to know others better and build connections that I hope will last for years to come. The firm included its clerks in all aspects of firm life including the winter wonderland Christmas party and firm drinks.
How to Make the Most of your Clerkship
If your clerkship is anything like mine, you will learn more than you ever thought possible in a small amount of time. My tips for would-be clerks are:
Be confident and be yourself, you were picked for a reason.
Be open to learning and carry a note pad wherever you go.
Observe everything and take every opportunity.
Be flexible, as everyone works differently.
Approach everything with an open attitude; you really never know what area of law might catch your eye.
Get to know everyone you can, especially the other clerks, as they’re fantastic and may be your colleagues in the future.
Learn to speak up and communicate when you have too much work or don’t understand a task.
Follow the progress of cases that your group or the firm is acting in, as it’s fantastic to watch the progress of a real case that you’ve worked on.
The clerkship application process isn’t easy, but it is worth it.
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