It's suddenly so real — your clerkship start date is imminent!
In order to make the most of your time at the firm and get yourself in the right head-space, preparation is key. Here are some suggestions you can take on board before beginning your clerkship:
1️⃣ Brush up on your knowledge of the firm
Have a skim over the firm's website again, read up on the practice area(s) you will be clerking in, and do a little background research on the Partner(s) you will be working with. No one expects you to go into your clerkship knowing 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 a little prepared with a bit of background knowledge — even if it's only for your own peace of mind.
2️⃣ Read widely about news topics or industries that interest you
Don't subscribe to the Australian Financial Review just because you think that's what cool corporate kids do. But do keep abreast of news and industries that interest you. Chances are you will be involved in work that spans various industries during your clerkship, such as energy, financial, consumer, public service, technology, or property development. It can be good for you to recognise what's happening in the wide world, so you can detect opportunities to tie the events back to the work the firm is doing.
3️⃣ Get your corporate wardrobe together
Before you start your clerkship, have some outfits prepared so that you don't have to stress about it later. Dress codes will vary depending on the firm, but make sure you have enough of the appropriate clothes to wear. If this is your first full-time gig, you will be surprised by how little time you have to do simple tasks like prepare your clothes for work, so it's good to think ahead. You'll be meeting with clients and Partners, so generally keep your look clean, sleek and professional, regardless of the firm's dress code.
4️⃣ Touch base with people who you already know to be working at the firm to let them know that you'll be starting soon
This is a good networking opportunity to grab a coffee with them once you're there, get to know them a bit better, and even seek their guidance on how you can make the best impression during your clerkship. It's also nice to see a familiar face whilst in the office!
5️⃣ Keep calm
Remember that this is your chance, as much as the firm's, to figure out whether you are both the right fit for each other and how you want your career to start as a junior lawyer. So, relax and try to have an authentic experience — get to know your colleagues, participate in the clerk events, and put your best foot forward in the work that you produce. We both enjoyed our clerkship experiences thoroughly. Many people have told us that their clerkship pool go on to become important friends, colleagues, and contacts in the legal industry, so it's a rich opportunity to form meaningful connections with people you interact with. You have worked hard to be here, so be open-minded, ready to learn, and enjoy the experiences afforded to you.