The 24-hour caffeine-fuelled cram-fests are done. Exams are over. You’ve won. A golden, uni-free Monday rolls around and you’re ready for your first sleep-in in eons when…Beep! It’s time for work.
Holiday work experience can be something of a double-edged sword. Consider Edge Number One: more working means less holidaying, and you could really use a break. But then, there’s Edge Number Two: the opportunity to gain some CV-worthy legal work experience. You can find out what it’s like actually working in the law. Heck, you might even be able to put some actual legal tender in your wallet.
On balance, finding a holiday job can be really worthwhile, as long as you don’t burn yourself out before the start of next semester.
So how can you do it - especially when you’ve never worked in the law before and every ad (even the entry-level ones) seems to demand prior experience? Here are a few ideas...
Who do you know?
Ask everyone you can think of (even if they're not a lawyer) if they have a contact that might take you on. Sometimes the family, friends and fools approach is the most effective! Failing that, you may be able to make some helpful contacts for future work experience by joining your state/territory Law Society or Young Lawyers committee.
Keep your options open
Law firms are not the only places where you can get legal experience, and many people have started out working or volunteering with barristers, courts, charities, legal publications, in-house legal teams, etc. Volunteer roles at Community Legal Centres (CLCs) are also a great option, although these positions can be very competitive so remember to get in early!
Can your university help?
Chatting with your uni’s careers service can be a great first step. Also, next time you wander past the faculty/LSS jobs board, stop and take a look. You never know!
Does your university offer placement subjects?
Your law school may have links with a number of workplaces, particularly CLCs, where you can get course credits and work experience all at the same time.
Did you love a particular law subject?
Speak to your lecturer. Even if they're no longer practising, they may still have helpful contacts. Alternatively, your lecturer may be looking for a research assistant, so if you did well in their subject let them know that you’d be interested in helping with their research.
If you’ve found a place where you would like to work but you don’t have a contact, don’t be afraid to cold call. You may be exactly what they’re looking for.
Finally, if you do want a holiday law job but can’t find one straight away, don’t panic. Remember, you’ve been working hard all semester and you’ve earned a break! Enjoy it.
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