LAW STUDENTS from around NSW came together last Friday for Sydney’s Law Careers Fair in Darling Harbour. Firms set up their stalls and sucked young lawyers in with show bags, nick-nacks and information aplenty. The buzzing atmosphere received a positive response from partners and undergraduates alike, both confirming it an overwhelming success.
A new phenomenon in Sydney, the Law Careers Fair is a way for firms to pass on information to potential future employees, where students can check out their options, and where, as some students put it, “we can get a lot of great stationery”.
Until last year, law firms had to make their way to individual universities to advertise and inform, a process which meant a lot of students would miss out. But the convention this year made it accessible to both firms and students.
At the Minter Ellison stall, where ‘mint’ lollies were handed out, and massages were offered, lawyer Chabriol Colebatch said the fair had been “an overwhelming success”. People had come from all over the state, and “one first year student has even come from Wollongong with her mother to be involved”.
Jamie Prell from Mallesons Stephen Jaques was also pleased with the results. “They’re all prospective employees. You can tell they’re interested by the questions they ask, and whether they have done some research about the firm beforehand”.
Students were attending the fair in search of a variety of information. Hunt & Hunt’s Ninette Tadros said she had many two minute conversations; however “some are looking for summer clerkships which we don’t offer”. Handing out jellybeans in Hunt & Hunt colours to the students, Tadros said the response had been positive.
Some stalls were more creative than others in their themes and the ‘goodies’ they had for students. Ernst & Young were encouraging onlookers to think. The firm was handing out bottles of bubbles with their information leaflets. “We want people to think about things, their choices, and the think bubbles are part of this,” said Joanna Martin, graduate recruitment consultant with the firm. The firm’s bright red stall by the entrance to the fair was attracting a particularly large amount of onlookers.
A PricewaterhouseCoopers representative said the fair was much bigger this year. “The layout is much better, and the quality has been excellent”. As the afternoon wore on, the representative said, the large room remained busy, but the morning had seen them “swamped” by a rush of people.
Like other accounting firms at the fair, Deloitte was explaining to students that although it was an accounting firm, it did hire lawyers. “We’re trying to explain that we are not just taking on accounting students with law degrees,” a representative said. At the fair, Deloitte was able to shatter this illusion.
Students were equally positive about the day. Mathew Boomba from UTS said “everyone seems high spirited, and are getting into the goodies”. “It’s like the Easter Show for nerds,” he said.
Marina Ripoche and Ed Biguzzi, both from Sydney University, said they were in the last semester of their studies and had felt like they needed to do something about getting a job. Pressed as to what stalls had most impressed them, Ripoche said, “Hunt & Hunt had less goodies, but the people at the stand were brilliant, very helpful”. And “Sparke Helmore had someone who was quite young, who was really relaxed, and he explained how it really was in a law firm, which made me relax a bit,” Ripoche said.
Biguzzi, Boomba and Ripoche said the fair was “very helpful” and they were “glad we came”. But, they added, “it’s a beautiful day outside and the beach is calling”. They agreed they “might as well make the most of our freedom before we do get a job with one of the firms on show today”.