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Preparing Yourself for a Career in Law

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I wish to challenge you and help you understand you are in a fortunate and enviable position when supported by a legal education as it opens up choices. It is the choices you make during study and postgraduate that will inform your career, and that by taking the time to ‘Know Thyself’ and understand what motivates and inspires you as an individual is what will inform those choices to more likely lead to a fulfilling and satisfying career and a happy life.

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    E.G. The Law Guide 2019–2020; Your Complete Guide to Careers with a Law Degree, published by gradaustralia in partnership with the Law Society of New South Wales; see <>.

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    Although with pollution face-mask sales even a thing, more work clearly (pun intended) needs to be done.

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    UNSW study found a significant number of law students chose to study law for someone else; see Tani, M and Vines, P, Law students’ attitudes to education : pointers to depression in the legal academy and the profession? Legal Education Digest, Vol. 18, No. 2, July 2010: 41–46.

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    This is probably not a two way street, as they are essentially checking out whether you fit with them, not them with you, as they will not change their entire culture to fit in with you.

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  15. 15.; Criminal Law and Procedure; Torts; Contracts; Property; Equity (including Trusts); Company Law; Administrative law; Federal and State Constitutional law; Civil Dispute Procedure; Evidence; and Ethics and Professional Responsibility.

  16. 16.

    Many Universities now offer Juris Doctor post-graduate degrees, often to ‘mature age’ post-graduate students, already immersed or experienced in an industry, profession or discipline.

  17. 17.

    Presuming you Pass.

  18. 18.

    ‘Gofer’ or helper.

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    Anecdotally, 7 out of 10 jobs are unadvertised, hence ‘hidden’. Contacts, networks, referrals, etc. all feed into this hidden job market; thus the importance of a well-polished, professional and up to date LinkedIn profile and a relentless networking attitude and practice. See Levinson, J. C., & Perry, D. E. (2011). Guerrilla marketing for job hunters 3.0: How to stand out from the crowd and tap into the hidden job market using social media and 999 other tactics today. John Wiley & Sons.

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    For an urgent self-review of the passing of your life and the importance of your limited time, see

  21. 21.

    The author has watched all seasons of ‘Suits’ to date, ostensibly about legal practice and deals, but noting there is virtually no law mentioned whatsoever. It is dramatic though, and what is the thing with Lewis..?

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  23. 23.

    For example, see <>.

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  25. 25.

    < Global Award for Excellence in Innovation>.

  26. 26.; Ways in which you might demonstrate Communication skills you acquired during a Legal Work Experience or WIL Placement might include:

    • Building Rapport and interacting with others;

    • Listen, understand and providing constructive feedback to others;

    • Recognise and work with differences and manage conflict;

    • Evaluate, exchange and express information and ideas concisely and clearly;

    • Speak clearly and directly to a variety of individuals or groups;

    • Demonstrate and effectively convey a high level of understanding;

    • Logically summarise legal or factual information or data;

    • Read, synthesise and explain in a way that is comprehensible and relevant to a range of others;

    • Use numeracy to convey ideas or arguments;

    • Recognise communication protocol and etiquette;

    • Communicating Professionally and Ethically;

    • Establish relationships and networks.

  27. 27.; Ways in which you might demonstrate Creativity and Innovation skills you acquired during a Legal Work Experience or WIL Placement might include:

    • Improve or develop existing practices or processes through creative and critical analysis;

    • Synthesise and apply established and new knowledge and skills to situations;

    • Creative innovative solutions to current and anticipated problems;

    • Develop or design novel products, processes or strategies;

    • Challenge or extend perceptions of how things are, and might be, and inclusively generate new ideas.

  28. 28.

    Richard Susskind, Tomorrow’s Lawyers (Oxford University Press, 2013); Richard and Daniel Susskind, The Future of the Professions (Oxford University Press, 2015).

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    See <>.

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    E.G. Martin Ford, Rise of the Robots (Basic Books, 2015); Tim Dunlop, Why the future is WORKLESS (NewSouth2016); David H Autor, ‘Why are there still so many jobs? The history and future of workplace automation’, (2015) 29(3) Journal of Economic Perspectives 3; Eric Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, The Second machine Age: Work, progress and prosperity in a time of brilliant technologies (Norton & Company, 2014).

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    See <>.

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    George Beaton and Imme Kaschner, Remaking Law Firms: Why & how? (ABA Book Publishing, 2016); Alec Ross, Industries of the future (Simon & Schuster, 2016).

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    Richard Susskind, Tomorrow’s Lawyers (Oxford University Press, 2013).

  34. 34.


  35. 35.; Ways in which you might demonstrate Initiative and Enterprise skills you acquired during a Legal Work Experience or WIL Placement might include:

    • Generate a range of options to address a situation;

    • Think flexibly and independently;

    • Adapt to a range of situations to achieve desired outcomes;

    • Work autonomously, take the initiative and be self-directed in undertaking and achieving tasks;

    • Initiate innovative solutions;

    • Identify opportunities not obvious to others;

    • Thrive through transition and change and adapt and be an early adopter in new situations;

    • Develop strategic, creative, short and long term visions;

    • Liaise with a range of stakeholders and sponsors to develop an innovative outcome.

  36. 36.; Ways in which you might demonstrate Intercultural Competence skills you acquired during a Legal Work Experience or WIL Placement might include:

    • Strive for and commit to social and cultural inclusion and diversity;

    • Effectively engage in a globalized world through understanding of and participation in productive relationships across nations and cultures;

    • Understanding and navigating and effectively interacting with a culture different from your own;

    • Manage personal reactions to difference and work with difference in others;

    • Demonstrate actions which show commitment to social and cultural inclusion;

    • Respond sensitively and appropriately to the needs of different stakeholders and consumers;

    • Recognise and respect diverse beliefs and opinions to achieve goals.

    • Draw on diverse ideas and opinions to achieve goals;

    • Work effectively with people of different ages, gender, race, religion or political persuasion;

    • Demonstrate an outward focus and commitment to local and/or global community.

  37. 37.; Ways in which you might demonstrate planning and organization skills you acquired during a Legal Work Experience or WIL Placement might include:

    • Work autonomously and with others to develop a vision and proactive plan to achieve it;

    • Apply research analysis processes to a range of situations;

    • Plan and organize workload commitments;

    • Establish clear project goals and deliverables;

    • Participate in improvement and planning processes;

    • Manage time and priorities, including setting timelines and coordinate tasks for self and others;

    • Manage resources and plan for contingencies;

    • Take the initiative to make decisions.

  38. 38.

    Conflicting accounts of who first noted the phrase. According to Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations, it is attributable to William Ewart Gladstone, but such attribution was not verifiable (Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations Requested from the Congressional Research Service. Library of Congress, 1989 – Laurence J. Peter, Peter’s Quotations, p. 276 (1977). Alternatively, it may be attributed to William Penn in the form “to delay Justice is Injustice”; Penn, William (1693), Some Fruits of Solitude, Headley, 1905, p. 86.

  39. 39.; Ways in which you might demonstrate problem identification and solution skills you acquired during a Legal Work Experience or WIL Placement might include:

    • Discover and analyse information, critique synthesise and evaluate views;

    • Take the initiative and make decisions to contribute to productive outcomes;

    • Identify and address routine an non-routine problems in order to achieve objectives;

    • Engage with knowledge which is not restricted to traditional boundaries;

    • Consider data and circumstances in order to test assumptions;

    • Make connections and propose creative solutions;

    • Develop practical and effective solutions;

    • Apply problem-solving processes and strategies;

    • Creatively and critically reflect on and learn from own actions and actions of others;

    • Recognise and work with complexity.

  40. 40.; Ways in which you might demonstrate creativity and innovation skills you acquired during a Legal Work Experience or WIL Placement might include:

    • Demonstrate an awareness of ethical considerations and consequences of different approaches;

    • Work honestly, transparently and openly within a role and organization;

    • Recognise and understand explicit and implicit rules, rights and culture of organization;

    • Demonstrate academic integrity in the search for new insight and knowledge;

    • Take responsibility for one’s own professional learning and development within a role;

    • Make decisions about when and how to align behaviors with organizational culture and protocol;

    • Research, discover, evaluate and effectively and ethically use information;

    • Clarify and negotiate work roles and responsibilities;

    • Understand how tasks and responsibilities contribute to roles and work of others;

    • Take responsibility for one’s own actions;

    • Demonstrate social responsibility in relation to organizational operations.

  41. 41.; Ways in which you might demonstrate creativity and innovation skills you acquired during a Legal Work Experience or WIL Placement might include:

    • Work collaborately and inclusively with others to achieve a common vision or outcome;

    • Defend a particular position but be able to willingly change or re-evaluate that position if necessary.

    • Identify and work with strengths and limitations of team members and self;

    • Treat team members with equal respect and foster positive positive working relationships;

    • Coach, mentor, motivate and provide support to others;

    • Contribute to and share information, ideas, expertise and resources;

    • Participate enthusiastically and persuasively without dominating others;

    • Be comfortable and work positively with disagreement amongst team members;

    • Recognize your and others’ roles in a team.

    • Demonstrate leadership, or work with direction as appropriate.

  42. 42.

    Charles Darwin, “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life,” 1859.

  43. 43.; Ways in which you might demonstrate creativity and innovation skills you acquired during a Legal Work Experience or WIL Placement might include:

    • Recognise and use skills, information and communication technology relevant to a role;

    • Understand workplace specific information management systems and protocols and effectively manage information overload; work with current developments in technology;

    • Select and use tools, equipment and applications to promote efficiency and productivity;

    • Use equipment, technology and systems to connect with others, access, organize and present information, manage risk and achieve outcomes;

    • Locate, evaluate and organize information using appropriate systems and tools.

  44. 44.

    I have adapted this ‘Drivers’ section from Tim Urban’s ‘Yearning Octopus’ of wants in his Blog Post, ‘How to Pick a Career (That Actually Fits You)’. See <>.

  45. 45.

    The Social Survival Mammoth, see <>.

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    Crowe, Jonathan, ‘What is Wellness? The Role of Human Values’, Keynote Paper at the National Wellness for Law Forum, Do No Harm 15–16 February, 2018 Bond University, Gold Coast.

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    The common law torts of Assault, Battery and False Imprisonment.

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    Also eventually, potentially not much pleasure in dying of emphysema.

  57. 57.

    Securitisation was a terrific practice for business and law firms in the 1990s, divesting and hiving off debts from corporations and then raising capital in the markets on the back of the shell corporation left with just the shiny assets; less so later contributing to the 2007-8 Global Financial Crisis. Selling sub-prime loans to over-extended consumers was terrific business for banks, until defaults left them with over-valued security on the loans, also contributing to the global meltdown of financial markets.

  58. 58.

    ‘A fish rots form the head’; a greedy, careless, ambivalent, ruthless, disdainful management team will have a different organisational culture and impact than a generous, caring, empathetic, gracious and concerned management; you will feel it!

  59. 59.

    Extroverts do well at sales; introverts with attention to detail in accounts, for example.

  60. 60.

    388,000 tons of napalm was dropped in Vietnam during 1963–1973 period <>.

  61. 61.

    For example, I disproportionately dislike an unevenly folded or soiled, crumpled or ripped document; I much prefer the aesthetic of a clean, crisp and neatly folded document in an envelope. Am I overtly fussy? Probably, but I literally cannot help how I feel about an ugly, misaligned, wonky and dirty letter leaving my office, and I simply will not allow it; it confronts my Good of Appreciation too much.

  62. 62.

    Ancora Imparo is the Monash University motto; ‘We are still learning’ <>.

  63. 63.

    ‘the national average tenure in a job is 3.3 years (3 years and 4 months), based on voluntary turnover of around 15% per annum….assuming they start their working life aged 18 (in a part-time role) and are retired from all work by 75, they will have 17 different employers in their lifetime. Based on 3 jobs before upskilling or career changing, this means that they will also have 5 separate careers in their lifetime.’ <>.

  64. 64.


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    E.G. see <, and>.

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England, L. (2020). Preparing Yourself for a Career in Law. In: Raz, M., Loh, E., Devereux, J. (eds) Careers in Law: A Guide for Students, Graduates and Professionals. Springer, Singapore.

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