Aman Gaur is studying law and economics at Australian National University and spent his summer clerking with the Australian Government Solicitor in Canberra. Here’s what Aman had to say about his time with AGS…
Approaching the clerkship season in my penultimate year, I had enjoyed a variety of law courses across the spectrum of legal studies. In this regard, I had always especially enjoyed public law and saw the summer clerkship at the Australian Government Solicitor as an ideal opportunity to explore this interest.
The Australian Government Solicitor is the leading provider of legal and related services to Australian Government departments and agencies. It operates on a fully commercial and nationally competitive basis, although the summer clerkship is based in Canberra. The national firm acts primarily for departments and agencies, and other entities in which the Australian Government has an interest, domestically or internationally. Unlike the practice group structure at other large commercial law firms, AGS has three practice areas: Dispute Resolution, Commercial and Office of General Counsel.
I completed my clerkship across the Dispute Resolution and Commercial practice groups. The two practices offer remarkably different services to government entities within the legal sphere, which was reflected in my work experiences. In AGS Dispute Resolution, a lot of work involved legal research into upcoming litigation. This was also partly due to the quieter nature of the practice group over the summer period. However, across the legal research that I completed I engaged with a diversity of legal areas including evidence, criminal law, environmental legislation and medical health. In AGS Commercial, I wrote legal updates and case notes, attended client meetings and checked various commercial documents.
Apart from an introduction to the various practice groups, clerkships also give you a chance to experience the professional legal environment. One of the best experiences I had was working on a criminal matter where I was asked to complete legal research into an argument that the instructing solicitor was seeking to make. This involved getting up to date with all the facts and circumstances of the case, completing significant research into the relevant law, thinking analytically to compose an answer from the research I'd compiled and then presenting this in a short, accessible memo for counsel. The entire process took several weeks and following through on a project of this nature encapsulated the real experience of working in a matter for a extended period of time.
The diversity of the work I encountered stood out foremost from my clerkship experience. Each task requires you to apply the skills you have learnt at law school from the vantage point of government. This latter point cannot be overstated. Although AGS provides legal services in the competitive legal environment, its clients are unique and different from business and accordingly have different needs.
A clerkship is a rewarding way to dip your toes into the legal industry and appreciate whether it is for you and which areas interest you most. If public law interested you during your studies or you're intrigued by the possibilities of working for government, the AGS clerkship will prove to be a rewarding experience.
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