source // Giphy
The holidays are nearly over and it’s time to start thinking about getting back into uni. Now’s the perfect time to consider taking up some extra–curricular activities to breathe life into your resume.
Most universities offer competitions in areas such as mooting, witness examination, negotiation, mediation and client interviewing. If you’re interested in becoming a lawyer these are great ways to gain and improve skills. Even if you don’t want to practice, they’re a great way to improve your public speaking and problem solving skills.
In clerkship interviews, my potential employers liked to see that I had participated in these competitions. It was an opportunity for me to show how I used these activities to overcome my weakness in public speaking.
Still not convinced? These extra – curricular activities, except for moot court, involve minimal preparation. So they’re quick and easy way to become more involved without having to contribute too much time.
Volunteering at a community legal centre (CLC) is a great way to put your legal knowledge to use. Getting practical experience is a great way to find out whether you actually enjoy being a lawyer. Most CLCs require a minimum time commitment, such as one day a week for six months. Best to send off your resume early as there can be waiting lists. If this piques your interest, check out Survive Law’s series on CLCs:
CLC Legend: Ria Shah (Toongabbie Legal Centre, NSW)
CLC Legend: Andrea Staunton (Peninsula Community Legal Centre, VIC)
If volunteering at a CLC is not your thing, try becoming volunteering in an one of your areas of interest. For the musos theres the Arts Law Centre of Australia who advise artists of all kinds on arts-related legal issues including contracts, copyright nd moral rights. For those of you with teaching or tutoring experience, yuo can put those skills to use at Teachabout, a school holiday program for kids in Minyerri, a remote Aboriginal community. That's just the tip of the iceberg. Check out seek.com, probonoaustralia.com, beyondlaw.com.au and various other websites for a plethora of opportunities that will showcase your willingness to give back to the community.
Get involved at your university
You can also get involved at your university by volunteering at Open Days, O’Week, volunteering as a peer mentor for first year students or teaching a PASS class. Alternatively, apply for a position in your law society or other university groups that suit your passions. These activities can be time consuming but you'll be rewarded with the satisfaction of planning succesful events, new friends and leadership skills. If you've missed election season, most law societies still need volunteers to keep their various arms running. This includes contributing to law society publications, showing off your acting skills as a witness for witness examination competitors and event planning.
If the law society doesn't interest you and none of the university societies pique your interest... Create your own! Speak to your student association to establish a new university association such as Amnesty International (like I did), a sporting, religious or Netflix binge watching group (every uni needs one).
The most important extra-curricular activities to participate in are your hobbies outside of law! This is so important to keeping you grounded and to keep law school in perspective. It's tempting to neglect your hobbies during semester but finding time for the things you love keeps you sane. Whether it be horse riding, procrati- baking, playing sport or simply spending time with friends, make sure you set aside time each week for your hobbies. Remember, obscure hobbies can also be a talking point in interviews.
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