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Summer Clerk Diary: Mihilini Fernando, Maddocks


Monash law student Mihilini Fernando has spent the break clerking at Maddocks. Here’s her take on the clerkship experience…

As I took my first steps into the foyer at Maddocks, I was plagued by the self-doubt that seems to be a universal truth for seasonal clerks: will I be good enough? Six weeks of interviews, cocktail evenings and behavioural questions and here I was on a Monday morning, nervously picking lint off my jacket!

All law firms are similar in that they value teamwork, collegiate culture and work-life balance. How to differentiate between them when they all seem to offer the same thing? What I noticed during my time at Maddocks was that these aren’t just catchphrases thrown around to entice unsuspecting law students. From the first welcome session to the farewell lunch, I was made to feel included, well supported and challenged.

Clerks at Maddocks rotate through two practice groups over the course of four weeks. I spent two weeks in Commercial and two weeks in Planning and Governance. In Commercial, I spent my days becoming better acquainted with the procedural side of law. This included putting together a transaction bible (a mammoth folder documenting every single step in the process of listing a company on the Australian Stock Exchange), and filing litigation searches at the Supreme Court Registry. There’s a whole other world of ‘lawyering’ that goes on behind the black letter law we learn at university and it was valuable learning about what goes on behind the scenes.

My time in planning was different but equally enjoyable. I would research topics including water harvesting and climate change, write case notes and attend panel and tribunal hearings, which I managed to squeeze in between coffees with various lawyers in the group!

Although the work between the two practice groups was different, what struck me most was that everyone seemed to enjoy their jobs while maintaining a diverse variety of interests outside of work. I met lawyers who also teach yoga, lawyers who play touch-rugby, who are committee members of clubs and who are famed for their tiramisu!

It’s clear that Maddocks invests a great deal of time and effort in its clerks, to ensure we have a positive and memorable experience. Highlights include a session with an external consultant on how to manage our careers and make the most of constructive feedback, scheduled lunches with graduates where we had the opportunity to interact with people who had been in our shoes not so long ago, as well as different practice group activities.

For anyone about to embark on their first clerkship experience, remember that being a good lawyer takes time. Most firms haven’t chosen you because you’re an expert in the Personal Property Securities Act. What they want is to see if you’re enthusiastic about learning new skills, can show initiative when tackling work and that you’re friendly and interested. I genuinely enjoyed my time at Maddocks and would recommend this firm to anyone who wants to experience quality work in a supportive work community.

Want to share your summer clerkship experience? Email us at contact@survivelaw.com.

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