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Legal Jobs: Tips for Graduate Lawyers

February 8, 2022 0 Comments

If you’re about to start a law degree or have just graduated, here are some tips for starting out in the legal profession.

Having a vocation can be a wonderful thing, and for many who think of undertaking a law degree, this is what drives them towards the profession in the first place.

And there are various other reasons why wanting a job in the law sector is a great career choice.

The law permeates every aspect of our lives, so it stands to reason becoming a lawyer gives you wide scope for practising in one (or several) of a myriad of areas. And, being so deeply connected to human behaviour, the law constantly throws up challenges to keep you interested and engaged.

As a lawyer, you are part of the greater machinery that takes a critical role in how society operates, giving you the chance to fight injustice and help society become a better place for everyone.

Let’s not step around it – the law pays well! Becoming a lawyer puts you in a profession that is always in high demand and with great remuneration, even if this does come with an often demanding work schedule.

Graduated from law degree – what now?

Taking a law degree is a big commitment, both financially (you’ll pay anywhere between around $45K for a standard four-year degree up to $120K for a JD degree in Australia) and personally.

And, once you throw that mortarboard up in the air at the end of your degree, there is still hard work ahead of you to get yourself ahead of the pack and admitted as a lawyer.

The first and most important step when you graduate is undertaking your Practical Legal Training (PLT).  You can learn more about PLT here, but the most important consideration around PLT is doing it with a firm that has a strong focus on the areas of law you’re most interested in and that you have eyes on to practise in once you finish PLT so it potentially acts as the pathway to employment once you’re admitted.

To get yourself into the best PLT placement possible and make you stand out from the other grads angling for the same place, it is recommended:

  1. As obvious as it sounds, going for broke and getting the best great grades you can.
  2. Taking an active interest in the law and society more generally as you complete your studies, with volunteering being a great way to do this if you have time
  3. Setting up an online profile on sites like LinkedIn to establish your digital professional presence.

Gorilla Jobs Blog Tips for Graduate Lawyers
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Three tips while completing your PLT

Once you land your PLT place, the real work begins – it’s time to put into practice all that theory you’ve poured over during your degree and seeing how it can be applied in the real world.

Here are the three important tips in terms of how to approach your PLT placement that are also useful once you are admitted and practising.

1. Don’t be scared to ask questions or for help

As with nearly all academic study, the theory you learned during your degree is only the tip of the iceberg, so the whole point of PLT and your first year in a law job is the practical application of your studies. 

This means you will have loads of questions and shouldn’t be afraid to ask them. In fact, it may ultimately look better on you asking questions and showing the willingness to fill the gaps in your practical knowledge rather than barging ahead and only learning from your mistakes, although you’re only human, so a bit of that will go on too! Don’t let your ego get in the way and that everyone in the firm started exactly from where you are.

2. Don’t rush when you feel pressured to do so

Starting out in law, the hours can be long and the workload huge. You will feel immensely pressured at times to pour through piles of work with tight deadlines. While this is an important part of the practical learning and ultimately helps you be organised and efficient in practice, avoid the temptation to rush even when you feel pressured to. 

If this means some long days to get things done, then so be it, and, although it may seem impossible, it also means it’s OK to say no at times because being honest about your workload shows you put quality over quantity.

3. Be your own person

Getting caught up in how others are doing compared to ourselves is a common human trait, but ultimately your performance during your PLT and your first year practising will be based on what you offer in terms of diligence, intellect and understanding of the law.

This means that while it is important to be the standout grad up against other grads who are also working to firm up their long-term employment prospects, all you can do is your best.

Gorilla Jobs Can Help You

We love what we do at Gorilla Jobs, and while there are challenges, we are always ready to help you as a candidate or recruiting organisation to ensure the best talent ends up in the best jobs. Reach out to us today if you have any questions!