Life at Allens

Maintaining your wellbeing during the clerkship process

By Melissa Lim, Early Careers Adviser

Navigating the clerkship process can be overwhelming and stressful, especially when you're juggling multiple applications, university assignments, work and personal commitments. While it's completely normal to feel like this, it's important to ensure you are looking after yourself first and foremost.

We caught up with some of our 2020 graduates to find out some of their top tips for self-care during the clerkship process.

Prepare early and be organised

Start researching and gathering information on different firms as early as possible. Once you have decided which firms are of interest to you, write a list of those you will be applying to and the requirements of each application, and use a calendar to keep track of key dates (ie application deadlines, interview dates, cocktail nights).

Knowing exactly what needs to be done, and when, will allow you to manage your time effectively, and minimise unnecessary stress from the mad rush to get applications submitted or interview preparation completed. Working your way through the list and crossing off each completed task will also give you a great sense of accomplishment.

Don't take on too much

To avoid burnout, try not to jam-pack your day with multiple commitments (networking/cocktail nights, interviews, part-time work etc.). Where possible, try to limit or reduce your commitments, to free up time to focus fully on the clerkship process and on yourself.

Maintain a daily routine

Creating a structured routine will help you feel organised, in control and set you up for a productive day.

Remember the basics of self-care

Get a good amount of sleep each night, eat well and make time for exercise. This will help to improve your mood, and help you manage stress and focus on the tasks that need to be completed. Healthy body, healthy mind!

Make time for YOU!

Give yourself a break from anything clerkship related. It's important to do the things you enjoy, whether that be spending downtime with your family and friends, catching up on your favourite Netflix show or going on a hike. You have made it this far, so remember to acknowledge your hard work and efforts and reward yourself!

Find a good support system

Social connection is important and so is finding the right people to talk to. Create a small network of those who can relate to your experience, who you can exchange tips and do practice interviews with, and who you can confide in throughout the process. Take the opportunity to build meaningful relationships and avoid interacting with those who have a negative impact on your thought processes.

Be mindful

Being present helps us to view things with more clarity, not be overwhelmed and make more informed decisions. Identify what makes you feel calm – whether that be meditation, or getting outside to clear your head and listen to a podcast – and acknowledge your feelings and thoughts. Being conscious of your thoughts (especially when they are negative) is a great way for your brain to stop and refocus.

Rejection is inevitable

While it is easier said than done, try not to be disheartened by rejection. The reality is that each firm has a limited number of spots available, which means not everyone will receive an offer of a clerkship. Remember, rejection does not define you as a law student, nor is it necessarily indicative of your capabilities or your suitability for a career in commercial law. Be kind to yourself!

Enjoy the process

Try to enjoy these months and use them as a learning mechanism. You will find out so much about yourself, your career aspirations, which type of work environments and cultures might suit you, and whether or not commercial law is the appropriate career path for you.

At Allens, we are here to support you!

You will be assigned a junior lawyer, who will act as a buddy throughout the recruitment process. Our junior lawyers have been in your shoes, and your buddy will be a great source of comfort and knowledge as you make your way through. They will be there to answer any questions or discuss concerns you may have, keep you on track, help you to grow and, quite simply, be there if you just need a chat.

Applications are now open for our 2021/22 Sydney clerkships. Apply now

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