Finding your first legal role can feel daunting. But Leo Cussen is here to help. We aim to provide Law graduates with the practical tools that get them job-ready to hit the ground running in their legal career.
Every year, we help hundreds of graduates prepare for their first role in the legal field. Now we’re sharing some of the insights that have helped others land their first role. Alex Giannopoulos shares his top seven tips that will help you find your first role:
1. Use Job Boards:
Start your job search where the jobs are advertised. It may seem obvious, but there are a multitude of job boards out there. Look at places like Seek, LinkedIn Jobs, the Leo Cussen Job Board, and ‘Beyond Law’, just to name a few.
2. The Hidden job market:
Did you know that around 80% of available jobs aren’t advertised? That means you’re only finding about 20% which are posted! So how do you access that hidden job market? The key is to tap into existing networks and contacts, and to create new ones.
3. Tap into and expand your networks and contacts:
Ask yourself who you already know in the industry and get in touch with them. Set up a coffee chat (even a virtual one) with those in your network, discuss any jobs they may know about, and consider asking your contacts to refer you for jobs. You also need to push your comfort zone and appropriately approach employers directly via email, even if they aren’t advertising. You can ask about job opportunities, but sometimes it is also helpful to seek advice and mentoring from those individuals through what’s called an ‘informational interview’. Setting up a LinkedIn profile is also a great way to expand your professional networks as part of your job search.
4. Don’t just rely on the big commercial firms:
While working in a large commercial firm can be rewarding, it is important to realise that this is not the only pathways to a successful legal career. Your success as a lawyer does not necessarily hinge on getting a clerkship or a position in one of their graduate programs. Smaller, boutique firms provide great experience in your first role too – particularly in non-commercial areas of law such as family, criminal, and personal injury law.
5. Build skills outside of law:
Employers look for more than just legal skills. They also place great emphasis on non-legal experience and transferable skills. These include IT capabilities, business development, leadership, client relationship building, teamwork and problem-solving abilities. These are just as important as the skills and knowledge you learn at university.
Top Tip: Add these to your CV
6. Get work experience and Volunteer:
Gaining work experience and volunteering is a great way to add to your resume and to increase the skills employers are looking for. It doesn’t always have to be fancy work experience! Even shadowing a barrister for a few days, or completing some admin in a legal office will help set you apart from other graduates.
A virtual internship is another great way to gain experience. Leo Cussen currently offers two virtual internships through Forage: one in Criminal Law and one in Human Rights Law. They are free and can be put on your CV once complete.
7. Don’t leave your PLT until the last minute
Getting admitted can make you incredibly attractive to employers. Once you have completed your PLT, an employer can immediately organise a practising certificate and charge you out at a lawyer’s rate.
With PLT you also develop the practical skills you’ll need in your career, helping you to become job ready. So, the sooner you complete your PLT, the more equipped you’ll be for a job interview.
Top Tip: Don’t quit the race! In many parts of Australia, you must be admitted within 5 years of completing your law degree to avoid further potential study.
Take the next step in starting your legal career.