You can read the article in the 'Sapere Aude'
published by Dare to Know website here.
Every now and then another TV series based in a high-end law
firm comes along complete with the corner window office, glass
walls, expensive art and a cast replete in tailored suits and
thousand dollar shoes, lunching with the clients in 5 star
restaurants as they fine tune settlements in multi million dollar
And on the surface, what's not to like?
From 'LA Law' to the current favourite 'Suits'
for the uninitiated, life at a Top End of Town law firm is
something akin to reality program of the rich and famous.
And indeed the allure of the Big End Firms extends well beyond
the Hollywood Hills, with local industry mystique feeding the
desire of many a law graduate.
For as long as I can remember the prospect of getting entry into
a Top Tier firm has held the same gravitational pull for many
graduates as the Earth is drawn to the Sun.
Yet the simple laws of supply and demand dictate that very few
will successfully enter that orbit.
For all my years as a lawyer, and once like you a hungry
graduate seeking my first clerkship, the appeal of the big firms in
the heart ofSydney's business district has always run
But as a lawyer who has built a successful and stimulating
career in Sydney's West, I'd like to prosecute the case
that in fact the career that delivers real rewards may not
necessarily be found in the big end of town.
More importantly, the opportunities on offer in Sydney's
West may mean you as a young graduate have a more active legal
career, earlier than your peers.
The reality is that the market for law graduates is
overwhelmingly crowded and there are more lawyers than there are
opportunities for them. In my years of practice, it has never been
as bad as it is today.
That means the already fierce competition for clerkships and
internships in order to undertake PLT is even more ferocious.
Sydney's West has the advantage of having perhaps one of the
highest concentrations of law firms in the state, let alone the
From large players with local offices, such as Carroll &
O'Dea, through to the sole practitioner, there are many firms
and these are only continuing to grow.
That means the opportunities for young graduates are here, but
you have to go after those opportunities and grab them with both
My advice to any young graduate seeking an internship or PLT
placement is to stand out from the crowd and Sydney's West is
the place you can do that.
And what I mean is make a name for yourself, early, when your
peers in the big CBD firms are still undertaking research for the
Because firms in Sydney's West are smaller, that means you
are more likely to be doing more senior work sooner because
you'll need to take on board greater responsibilities
That includes handling client matters, going to court and
working more closely with senior lawyers from whom you can learn
and refine your skills and knowledge.
This sort of early engagement means the opportunity to showcase
your communication skills and this is one of the most important
things to work on.
Effective communication and networking skills are vital to
success and they are what I look at in determining who is best
suited to a clerkship or internship at our firm.
Western Sydney is a community and being able to establish
networks quickly, build them and nurture them, is critical to
success in creating a strong practice and local reputation.
All of this is possible in Western Sydney.
This area has provided me, and I hope will continue for decades
to come, with an incredibly rewarding and stimulating career in law
and to University of Western Sydney Graduates, I would highly
recommend looking local when considering your next steps.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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