By Georgia Briggs
There are two main things that I recall being told as I finished my last semester at law school, and they run almost simultaneously:
- “It’s tough to get a legal job straight out of law school, good luck.”- said by the occasional legal academic as a throwaway comment.
Accurate Translation: You think you’re going to get a job straight out of law school. LOL, unlikely my friend. That is almost certainly not going to happen.
Unlike the HSC, where people would have you believe that without a good mark you are going to end up homeless somehow, but everyone got into Uni anyway and you know no classmates living on the streets, this one is actually true. It’s is TOUGH to get a legal job straight out of law school. It does happen to some, but it’s very much a non-event.
- “How am I supposed to get experience without experience?”- AKA what feels like the most common cliché ever in the whole world.
Accurate Translation: WHY when I search for ‘junior solicitor’ or ‘graduate solicitor’ every job opportunity says 2-3 PAE (post admission experience). 2-3 minutes? I’ve got that. 2-3 days? Yeah… probably. Nope, that would be years… Great! But seriously life, HOW am I supposed to get 2-3 years PAE when no one will hire me without 2-3 PAE? *sobs in anger*
Volunteer work is a good idea, and one of the only ideas you have, however *quoting Homer Simpson* “do you know so called ‘volunteers’ don’t even get paid?!” So you need to balance the ability to volunteer, which I strongly recommend as it’s super fun, gets you experience and is good on the resume, with maintaining the ability to afford to live. So keep that in mind.
Got any friendly academics at your old Uni that you got along with? Ask them for any tips too.
Do extra short courses to become more learned in certain legal fields. Do things that make you more desirable to employ. Don’t waste away this odd time of limbo between finishing Uni and finding full time solicitor work, utilise! You already know how to juggle study and the type of job you have now, you’ve been doing it for years. So make the most of the time. Below are some links for CPD and other courses to check out.
SA: https://www.lawsocietysa.asn.au/ (unfortunately you can’t get to SA CPD without login.)