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Beyond the Books: Practical Experience in the Legal Profession
Deakin has not only equipped me with the academic skills necessary to become a successful lawyer, but it has played an instrumental role facilitating practical experience.
by Scott McKenzie
I am a final year Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws student studying at Deakin’s Burwood campus. For the commerce component of my degree, I have completed a double major in Human Resources and Management.
From day one of my law degree I was keen to gain practical experience. However, as a third year student I was unaware of how I go about 'getting a foot in the door' at a law firm. After scrolling through Deakin's Student Services website, I noticed that the University offered a practical placement program. I was lucky enough to be selected to volunteer at Victoria Legal Aid's Dandenong office where I was able to get a fantastic experience of what life in the law is like. To students who are looking for their 'first break', I strongly advocate looking at volunteer positions either via Deakin's support staff or by other means.
After completing my placement at Victoria Legal Aid, I was very keen to find ongoing work at a law firm. Thanks to Deakin's Jobshop website, I found an advertisement for the position of a 'Law Clerk' at a highly respected boutique family law firm in Melbourne's CBD. I was fortunate enough to not only get the job, but continue working with the firm for two years. Working as a Law Clerk allowed me to put my academic skills into practice and taught me how to forge and foster relationships both with clients and other legal professionals.
With the combination of a solid academic transcript and the experiences above, I was offered a Seasonal Clerkship with a market leading mid-tier firm and also with a top-tier firm. I was exposed to a broad spectrum of ‘high level’ commercial law during these clerkships.
These two Seasonal Clerkships allowed me to gain in-depth exposure to the areas of Financial Services, Litigation (Commercial Disputes and Insolvency) and Corporate Advisory.
As my law degree winds to an end, I am very proud to say that I have had valuable practical experience in five different areas of law. I highly recommend that other Deakin law students familiarise themselves with the vast array of practical experience options available so that entry into the legal profession is as seamless as possible.