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‘You have to fail in order to succeed’

As law students embark on their journey into the legal profession, securing work experience poses challenges, running from financial constraints to self-doubt. Jonah Farry offers guidance to these students, advocating for embracing the future, taking risks, and persistently seeking opportunities.

user iconGrace Robbie 15 April 2024 Big Law
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Jonah Farry is a final-year law student at the Queensland University of Technology and a law clerk for Brisbane-based law firm HopgoodGanim Lawyers. He is also the co-founder and executive of QUT’s Law Innovation and Technology Society.

Speaking in a recent episode of The Protégé Podcast, he sheds light on the myriad challenges law students face in their pursuit of valuable work experience, from grappling with self-doubt to overcoming financial hurdles. Farry endeavours to empower the next generation of legal talent by sharing his experiences and offering invaluable advice on navigating these obstacles.

For law students, seeking legal work opportunities may not be as readily available or straightforward as anticipated, as they may face various challenges that require prioritisation.

 
 

Farry commented: “I think there are a variety of challenges, and they can be as particular as [the] cost of living. And perhaps changing jobs or going down to a casual or part-time role might be a little bit too financially risky for you.”

Farry expressed that the most significant challenge he had to overcome when starting his work experience in the legal field was building his confidence.

He stated: “For me, I can speak personally, the biggest change [was] confidence. Initially, it was am I good enough to work here or how am I going to feel if I get knocked back. You very quickly realise that’s all part of the process, you have to get knocked back, you have to fail in order to succeed in the long run.”

By sharing his experience, Farry offers advice to other law students with similar mindsets, advocating for an approach that embraces failure and taking risks.

Farry commented: “To any students who share that mindset that I had at the beginning, which was, what if I get knocked back? Or, damn, this might be a little bit risky for me, for whatever reason, I would say take the risk and give it your best shot because on the other side of that is more often than not exactly where you want to be.”

Farry offered further advice to students who may doubt their abilities to secure employment, stating: “You have to be prepared to look like a fool, and I’m not saying that you will. I’d say you have to be prepared to look like a fool in order to get anywhere in life.

“If you’re too afraid of the outcome of a particular course of action, then you’ll never take your first steps.”

Farry advised law students on securing employment, suggesting that final-year students should “take the clerkship route”.

However, he also expressed how efficient it is “to send an email, call firms, be a pest, whatever way you can get in touch with [individuals]”.

Farry also stated: “Just find a way to get involved because, as I said before, it will compound and then you will end up working wherever it is that you want to work.”