Similar to the application period, clerkship offers at Allens are made in line with the law society guidelines. Receiving offers will seem like a big day. It may seem your mood will be wholly dictated by what clerkship offers you do or don't receive. It doesn't have to be this way.
If you've used the clerkship application process to reflect on yourself, you'll be a more confident and resilient applicant, regardless of clerkship offers.
If you've received your preferred offers, congratulations! You've succeeded and deserve to celebrate. Make sure to bring the skills you've developed to your clerkship and enjoy it.
If you haven't received any offers, give yourself time off to process your feelings, reflect on your performance and formulate your thoughts.
Here are four reasons you can celebrate, regardless:
Undergoing this process has helped you become a stronger, more resilient and capable job applicant.
You have a clearer indication of the type of law or firm you're suited for.
You have a greater awareness of your abilities, strengths and unique life experiences.
Identifying and asking people for help has shown you're not alone.
These aren't second-class outcomes. They are character building and will help you go further in your future job applications. How will you respond on clerkship offer day?
How to formulate a Plan B
You may have spent countless hours researching firms, writing cover letters, and sitting through interviews. The outcome may look promising, and you've connected with people at certain firms. However, it's still useful to have a backup plan prior. A plan B can give you peace of mind beyond offer day. It does so by diversifying your career alternatives, providing more options than the traditional clerkship pathway.
Law graduate and paralegal positions
If you missed out on a clerkship, rest assured that you still have your final year to apply for law graduate positions. Every year, a handful of firms go out to market for graduate positions. Prime candidates for these firms are those that have solid work experience, existing paralegals of the firm and so on.
Throughout the year, many firms and businesses also often advertise on Seek, Indeed and LinkedIn for paralegals, law clerks, legal research or legal administrative assistant positions. Starting in these jobs will still provide a solid base for legal practice. Furthermore, working in these roles will increase your chances of attaining a junior lawyer role if and when they come up. Most universities also offer placements with a diverse range of organisations.
Other internship and volunteer positions
Clerkships are not the only type of practical placements that may potentially lead to a job after university. Most universities are getting better at offering placements with a diverse range of organisations. The legal placement program website for your university is the best starting point.
Although clerkships can feel like the be-all and end-all of your law degree, this is not the case. Be smart, be open-minded and formulate a plan B.
Preparing for your clerkship
It's suddenly so real — your clerkship start date is imminent!
Preparation is key to maximising your time at the firm and getting yourself in the right headspace. Here are some suggestions to take on board before beginning your clerkship.
Brush up on your knowledge of the firm
Review the firm's website again, read up on the practice areas, and do some background research on the partners you'll be working with. No one expects you to know all the relevant legislation or cases. In fact, they probably don't expect you to know anything at all! However, it doesn't hurt to come prepared with some background knowledge, even if it's only for your peace of mind.
Read about news topics or industries that interest you
Keep abreast of news and industries that interest you. Chances are you will be involved in work that spans various sectors during your clerkship, such as energy, financial, consumer, public service, technology, or property development. It's good to recognise what's happening around the world so that you can spot new opportunities.
Touch base with people you already know at the firm
This is a good networking opportunity to grab a coffee with them once you're there, get to know them better, and even seek their guidance on making the best impression during your clerkship. It's also nice to see a familiar face in the office!
Choosing your practice group
If you are successful in receiving a clerkship at Allens, we will ask you to submit your preference on which practice group you would like to join. The clerkship process is an excellent learning opportunity and provides the chance to try areas you know you're interested in but equally areas you may not know much about. We encourage you to keep an open mind and expose yourself to as much variety as possible – you might surprise yourself with what you end up enjoying!
While you'll spend your clerkship at Allens in one practice group (or two if you're based in Sydney due to the length of the clerkship program), take advantage of the opportunity to learn more about other areas of commercial law, whether that's through collaboration on work, attending sessions during your clerkship on our various practice groups or catching up with lawyers across the firm to learn more about the work they do.
Gain insight into the work of a commercial lawyer before you even start
Have a look at one (or more) of our virtual internship programs where you can take on some of the real-world challenges that our graduates are tasked with every day.
Get your wardrobe together
Before you start your clerkship, prepare some outfits so you don't have to stress about it later. Dress codes will vary depending on the firm, but ensure you have enough of the appropriate clothes. If this is your first full-time gig, you'll be surprised by how much of a difference it makes to think ahead. You'll meet with clients and partners, so keep your look clean, sleek and professional.
Clerkships provide a place to make friends and meet colleagues and contacts in the legal industry, so it's a rich opportunity to form meaningful connections with people you interact with. Try to relax and have an authentic experience by getting to know your colleagues, participating in clerk events and putting your best foot forward in the work that you produce. You've worked hard to be here, so be open-minded, ready to learn, and enjoy the experience.
What to expect from an Allens clerkship
You'll work with some of the most experienced and highly regarded lawyers in Australia and gain first-hand experience in the type of work you could do as a lawyer at Allens. You'll work as part of a team on real matters for real clients and have the opportunity to immerse yourself in life at Allens by getting involved in pro bono work, our committees and social activities. Your allocated supervisor, performance coach and buddy will be there every step of the way to support you and help you grow while you're with us.