7 Useful Resources for Every NZ Law Student
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It’s easy to lose perspective when you’re knee deep in textbooks. Looking beyond the lecture theatre and knowing what’s happening out and about in the legal profession is something every law student should do. It’s never too early or too late to start. Bookmark this article so you’ll always have easy access to these resources in the one place!
The most obvious resource for lawyers also proved to be the most elusive for a law student. I came across this as a 3rd Year Law Student by chance – which goes to show how disconnected you can be from the actual practice of law as a law student.
Although the Young Lawyers section is aimed at recently admitted lawyers, it has a really good guide about working as a lawyer which I highly recommend reading: https://www.lawsociety.org.nz/practice-resources/new-zealand-law-society-guide-for-new-lawyers.
My morale booster of the week comes from reading about former law students who have gone on to do great things with their career and the community: https://www.lawsociety.org.nz/news-and-communications/people-in-the-law/lawyer-profiles.
2. NZ Lawyer Magazine The Stuff News of the NZ legal profession covers just about everything there is to know about recent developments in NZ law. Handy for when you’re trying to develop your business acumen or just to know a bit more about law in practice.
3. The New Zealand Law Students’ Careers Guide The most comprehensive guide on legal careers I have ever come across in a NZ context. This guide is updated almost every year (so if you’re reading in 2018 or beyond, search for the updated version). Also contains a tonne of excellent cover letter, CV and interviewing tips.
4. First Steps: The Experiences and Retention of New Zealand’s Junior Lawyers This Law Foundation report by Josh Pemberton presents a very confronting picture of NZ’s legal profession. A must read for any aspiring lawyer.
I found the interviewee comments more useful than looking at the statistical data. The transition from uni to practice is a challenging one and it’s interesting to see how lawyers can be treated at the junior level.
The main takeaway: big commercial law firms are NOT the only employers out there!
5. The New Lawyer A podcast hosted by the lovely Katie, who interviews a range of NZ legal personalities ranging from the President of the NZ Law Society to Josh Pemberton, who wrote the report mentioned above.
Episodes range from 30 minutes to an hour, but canvas a host of issues pertinent to the legal profession and the personal experiences of the interviewees. You learn a lot about people’s experiences from listening – a good excuse for resting your eyes after that 30-page contract case or when you’re travelling to work or uni.
6. The NZLSA Mental Health and Wellbeing Guide Before you start thinking “not another one of those mental health guides”, this one actually goes above and beyond the stock standard ‘look after yourself’ advice (but do look after yourself).
Mental health is a biggie in both law school and the legal profession – and this guide has good advice. My fave line is on page 17 – “Stop and appreciate your achievements so far.” Sometimes it’s easy to feel down after you’ve just been rejected for a summer clerkship or not getting an A on that torts test, but taking a step backwards and thinking – ‘I’ve at least made it this far into law school’ is always a positive start.
(By the way the NZLSA – the New Zealand Law Student’s Association – also have their own magazine called Lex dedicated to excellent law student banter).
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