Summer Clerk Diary: Laura McDonnell, Lander & Rogers
Today’s summer clerk diary is by Deakin University Arts/Law student Laura McDonnell, who shares her experience at Lander & Rogers Lawyers.
Challenge, experience, support and community. These words sum up my seasonal clerkship at Lander & Rogers.
My seasonal clerkship presented me with a range of challenges. The comforts of a flexible uni timetable, writing assignments and attending tutes suddenly transformed into having responsibility as a team member in dealing with a range of client matters. This involved embracing areas of law with which I previously had little experience, getting to know a range of new people from all around the firm and adapting my body clock to full time hours.
As part of my seasonal clerkship, I was responsible for drafting letters of advice, reviewing evidence, compiling chronologies and undertaking comprehensive research tasks. I built on my time-management and organisational skills; I had deadlines to meet, memorandums to prepare and meetings and training seminars to attend.
My first few days at Lander & Rogers involved a comprehensive induction into the firm. A relaxed atmosphere and many friendly faces offered the comfort that I needed to settle in. The graduates, lawyers and support staff were approachable and willing to assist in any way possible. Each of the seasonal clerks was provided with their own supervisor and buddy. My supervisor and buddy consistently maintained communication with me, and always followed up on how my clerkship was progressing. They provided me with guidance and constructive feedback, which helped me to gain a wealth of knowledge during the short period of time I was with the firm. This feedback has armed me with skills that were not only relevant to the work I did during my clerkship, but that I can also take with me into the future.
My summer clerkship provided the opportunity to witness the law come to life. I was involved in discussions with lawyers and counsel, attended meetings with clients and team members, and observed hearings in various courts. A particular highlight was observing a negligence trial with an empanelled jury. I was fortunate to be surrounded by lawyers who were willing to share their experiences with me, and this provided me with invaluable lessons about practice.
A relaxed and supportive culture is a tangible part of life at Lander & Rogers, and my seasonal clerkship at the firm has provided me with a real definition of this concept. I was encouraged to integrate myself into the culture of the firm, through a range of experiences that highlighted the sense of camaraderie amongst the staff.
Friday night drinks provided a perfect opportunity to mingle with various people across the firm, including graduates, lawyers and support staff. In addition, the clerks were encouraged to be involved in various activities, including the firm wide tennis competition, lawn bowls and cricket, where participation was encouraged regardless of skill level.
I found a sense of community when I began my clerkship at Lander & Rogers. Everyone in the firm, including lawyers and support staff worked together as a team, and valued the contributions of its members. I felt as though I was a part of that community.
To many (including myself) the prospect of a clerkship can be daunting and overwhelming. Lander & Rogers went above and beyond to calm those nerves and encourage its clerks to embrace the opportunity of experiencing life in a law firm. The firm ensured that upon finishing our clerkship, we were able to take away valuable skills, knowledge and experience.
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