find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Insurance Lawyer (3-5 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Dynamic organisation ·
View details
Real Estate & Projects Lawyer (6+ years PAE)
Category: Property Law | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Top tier firm with offices nationally · High profile clients
View details
What to expect as a graduate

What to expect as a graduate

Now the studying is over, many graduates are preparing themselves for the big step into law firms. Deacons HR adviser Anita Conte sheds some light on what that they can expectThe transition…

Now the studying is over, many graduates are preparing themselves for the big step into law firms. Deacons HR adviser Anita Conte sheds some light on what that they can expect

The transition from university student to law graduate is an exciting one. However, as a graduate lawyer you will be faced with challenges that you have not encountered previously.

When you start at a law firm as a graduate your first contact with the firm is usually through an induction program. At the majority of law firms, including Deacons, the induction program takes place within the first week of a graduate commencing and includes general information about the firm, its policies and procedures, as well as training on internal systems for billing and document management purposes.

Structure of Graduate Program

Rotations are a common part of most law firms’ graduate programs, however the number of rotations and structure can vary from firm to firm. Graduates experience a wide variety of legal work by participating in rotations and once they have completed the graduate program, can then make an informed decision about where to specialise. Rotations are usually decided taking into account graduates’ preferences, as well as the business requirements at the time. Regardless of the area of practice you are working in, you will be able to take advantage of the skills and experience you acquire.

Support and guidance

As a Deacons graduate or articled clerk you can expect responsibility and client contact at an early stage. As Jennie Govey, one of the 2005 Deacons graduates states: “I think it would be rare for other law graduates in a top 10 firm in Sydney to say they have experienced the churning stomach nerves of appearing in court, the satisfaction of having your advice sent to the client with hardly any amendments, the feeling of responsibility of managing your own files and the sense of goodness from acting pro bono for clients who you know genuinely appreciate your work on the matter — within their first two months of work”. Graduates at Deacons also have the opportunity to work directly with partners and senior lawyers on a variety of both litigious and non-litigious work. Of course with responsibility comes support, guidance and supervision from the firm to their graduates ensuring they develop the knowledge and skills to provide a strong foundation for the career that lies ahead. Part of this support includes peer mentoring programs or a buddy system, where graduates have an allocated staff member that is a source of support and assists the graduate in settling into the work environment.

Training and development

Other support and guidance from a firm comes in the form of training. Ongoing training is imperative to the development of graduates and as a graduate in a law firm you can expect to undertake both formal and informal training. For example, Deacons runs the Core Skills program that has been developed and tailored specifically for Deacons’ articled clerks and graduates. The program aims to develop fundamental legal skills, and includes such modules as client interviewing skills, negotiation skills, legal drafting, advocacy skills and professional communication.

In addition to the Core Skills program, Deacons’ articled clerks and graduates participate in firm and business unit Continuing Legal Education as well as external professional development seminars and courses.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

What to expect as a graduate
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Aug 21 2017
Is your firm on the right track for gig economy gains?
Promoted by Crowd & Co. The way we do business, where we work, how we engage with workers, ev...
Scales of Justice, Victorian County Court, retiring judges
Aug 21 2017
Replacements named for retired Vic judges
Two new judicial officers have been appointed in the Victorian County Court, following the retire...
Aug 21 2017
LCA applauds proposed Modern Slavery Act
The Law Council of Australia has welcomed new recommendations for the development of a Modern Slaver...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...