Completing your PLT is a major step in starting your legal career. At Leo Cussen, you get the opportunity to be supported by our experienced lawyer mentors while working with your colleagues to run your own files and gain real experience. We recently caught up with a current trainee, Sophia, to find out how she has found the transition from law school to lawyer school.
What is the biggest difference between law school and lawyer school (PLT with Leo Cussen)?
Sophia: One big difference is the file work that Leo Cussen provides us with. We oversee almost every aspect of the file from start to finish, including making the file opening sheet, preparing the documents for hearing, appearing at the hearing, providing a bill of costs, and making the file closing sheet. It has been a wonderful opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills that I cultivated in law school, in a pragmatic way.
Another difference is the multi-dimensional nature of the PLT scenarios and the focus on pragmatic and non-legal solutions. The scenarios we are given in PLT are not always limited to one area of law, and sometimes the best solutions are not even legal solutions. For example, I was recently preparing for a client interview for a scenario which had a consumer law element. I spent hours researching cases and the nuances of the law. In the end, after speaking to the client, I realised the best advice at that point in time was simply to ‘contact the seller’.
What are/were you most nervous about in starting your career as a lawyer? And what has helped resolve those concerns?
Sophia: One thing I was nervous about was the etiquette in the legal profession. I graduated law school equipped with legal knowledge and legal skills. However, I was plagued with seemingly “insignificant” questions such as whether it is appropriate to wear colour in court or how to address people in a professional email (is ‘To’ too formal? Is ‘Dear’ too weird? Is ‘Hello’ too informal? Can I use their first name? What if I’m sending it to an organisation?). These questions seemed so insignificant, and I was not sure who I could ask them to.
Thankfully, I now have my Leo Cussen mentors, Tiffany and Craig, who have resolved many of my concerns around etiquette in the legal profession. During the first intensive, Tiffany normalised these questions and made it clear that she could be a go-to person for them. The mentors held a Q&A session where I, along with many of my peers, found the answers to our questions. I continue to bug Tiffany from time to time with these questions as they arise in my file work, and she is always happy to help.
How have you found working with other lawyers – your mentors and lawyers carrying out the assessments?
Sophia: It has been one of the best parts of PLT. I have been pleasantly surprised by the level of mentorship and support the Leo Cussen program has provided. Before the program, I thought that we would be given tasks and instructions, and then sent on our merry way. In contrast, my mentor, Tiffany, has been guiding us throughout the files and provided us with practical tips. My mentors, as well as the guest presenters, have openly shared their past experiences, including both success and horror stories. These stories have offered valuable lessons and a sense of reassurance.
Find out more about completing your PLT at Leo Cussen by watching our recent Info Session from 6th October.