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The life of a law student promised opportunity

My LinkedIn is full of posts entitled “advice to law students”; however, all fail to encapsulate the limited opportunities available or the poor ways we are dealt with, writes Rahima Masaud.

user iconRahima Masaud 09 February 2024 Careers
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As a law student, you are told on numerous occasions that the world of law is a competitive profession, but most fail to mention how belittling and helpless it can make you feel.

Law school demands a not-so-delicate balance of various responsibilities – demanding mastery of multitasking and prioritisation. Whether this be finishing three mid-semester assignments due in a single week, juggling part-time jobs and obligations that most of us share or trifling tasks like taking a breather, one of these is overlooked, and it’s almost always the latter.

It’s not the act of juggling tasks that proves most challenging; it’s the imminent future and uncertainty of the road ahead, which is truly daunting. The prospect of securing a graduate position immediately after law school with a minimum of two-year post-admission experience can be intimidating.


A paradox emerges here as most firms hesitate to hire fresh graduates, citing a lack of experience and presenting a conundrum for law students and making us question ourselves and the future we were promised. How are we to gain the required experience if no one wants to hire us fresh out of university pops up once a week?

Born in Pakistan, I came to Australia when I was at the age of three, driven by my father’s hopes and aspirations to provide his three daughters with promising futures. He always dreamt that one of us was to become a lawyer, so here I am, the first lawyer (to-be) in my family.

While this is a big achievement, it also underscores my limited exposure to the legal field. Navigating through law school without any guidance has put a strain on the dream my father and I envisioned. Sorry, Dad, the lawyer’s life is proving far more difficult than anticipated.

Much like high school, law school often fails to equip students with the intricacies of the job hunt. Instead, they encourage us to soar high, attend clerkship guides with ticket prices we can’t afford and aim for prestigious positions that don’t guarantee a lawyer role. I wish we were taught about the hardships associated with job hunting.

My experiences with larger firms have been quite disheartening. I sometimes get no response at all after making it through three rounds of interviews and being told that I’d make a great asset. Firms often reject applications without any acknowledgement, leaving us dispirited and yearning for a modicum of courtesy. It shouldn’t be that hard to receive an automated email letting me know I’m unsuccessful in securing the role.

I understand that job hunting has become even more challenging after the COVID-19 pandemic, and people don’t forget to mention that law is competitive. My LinkedIn is full of posts entitled “advice to law students”; however, all fail to encapsulate the limited opportunities available or the poor ways we are dealt with, and by this, I mean applying to seven positions, not hearing back from five of them, being told you are unsuccessful by one, and one just blatantly stating you are too good and overqualified for the position, leaving you in a bubble of confusion.

Change is needed within the legal profession to provide and promote greater opportunities for law students. Firms should embrace the potential of law students, hiring them as legal assistants, clerks, and paralegals with the knowledge that these are the future lawyers of our world. Instead of advertising “no law students to apply” for a legal assistant position, hire a law student who will inevitably become a lawyer. Give them the chance and guidance you so yearned for when you were in law school. This is a win-win situation in theory, benefiting both students and law firms alike, but apparently, this is easier said than done.

It is worth noting that not all of my experiences have been negative, and credit for this goes to smaller boutique law firms that don’t see you as an employee number.

To all my fellow and future law students, they are right in telling you to take a leap and soar high; contact 35 different law firms, get in contact with lawyers and principals every Tuesday, flood their inboxes; one of them will give in and read your 50 emails, as Adelle Jones from Haven Legal Co did. You must put yourself out there to be recognised.

Now, I’ve got an incredible position; I work alongside amazing people who teach me new skills and trust my old ones. The position wasn’t advertised; it was the result of persistence.

Dad, we’re almost there.

Rahima Masaud is a graduate at Haven Legal Co.