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Intern Diaries: Clerkship, Getting one and not get others

If you are an intern, looking to be an intern, looking to progress from intern, or want to virtually intern,


Meet one of our four interns that we are following for the next six weeks.

About me. I am currently a clerk at a commercial law firm. It’s a good one. I am not from a patriarch of lawyers and I didn’t get straight distinctions. I have an average of 68 (a high credit) and no paralegal experience and I received two offers.

Getting the clerkship:

Marks tend to be the metric which students worry about most during the application process. My law school was buzzing with speculation about whether the coveted distinction average is really make-or-break and whether firms know that it is “easier” to score highly at some universities. Networking – and not just grades – is the key to success.

When you are applying for clerkships it’s really too late in the game to change your academic achievements. Either you’ve picked up a number of prizes, or you’ve cruised along with a few passes and credits and the odd distinction. It’s also the same with your extra-curricular activities – it’s too late to change your interests. What can be changed is how you sell yourself and your achievements, and focus on the particular firm. You did an internship at an international tribunal last summer? A firm you’re applying for has a strong international litigation practice? Link them together.

You did an internship at an international tribunal last summer?


Networking at careers nights:

Firstly, you need to go to these. I went to them even the year before it was time to apply. Normally, I think of myself as a pretty direct and honest lady. For the most part, I know what I want.  But when it comes to law firms, don’t be so narrow-minded.

Law firms are like dates. On paper someone might be great, but despite his sweet nature, you’re just not attracted to him. When you glance his way, instead of butterflies in your stomach and fireworks going off in your chest, you’re overcome with, well nothing. You just can’t get into Mr. Nice Guy despite your best efforts trying to convince yourself of his desirability.  The firm I went with for my clerkship was that guy with the hairy knuckles that I’ve always overlooked. Lesson, at university networking nights you should talk to everyone.

And before you talk to everyone, you should have networked before; asked for some intel on the firm. I brought a graduate lawyer at one my target firms a coffee on her lunch break. I connected with her on Bumble Bizz. I asked her about her experience, what the values of the firm were, which cases she’d personally enjoyed working on, why she liked the firm. When I met the representative from this firm at the university careers night, I was prepared.

We’ve got to thank Bumble for making this series possible. The social networking app with three different modes for making connections in dating, friend finding and business networking. Looking for an internship? Download Bumble now and create a profile in Bumble Bizz mode!


Though, before I tell you about my clerkship, I should tell you about the rejections I got, too.

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I got four rejections before I got accepted. I was distraught. But life goes on. I used all of my face muscles to make a frown then I distracted myself with episodes of Ozarks.  After watching Jason Bateman launder cash under the threat of death, I forgot about my rejection letters and resumed my life. And you will too.

And finally, before I start my clerkship dairy I should tell about the other clerk on my rotation:

The arrogant clerk. Oh God, why does every law firm have a toolbox clerk dude kicking around that thinks he is Chuck Bass. Did I miss a memo? Do you need to have one of these champs on staff to qualify for The Law Society of NSW?

Oh God, why does every law firm have a toolbox clerk dude kicking around that thinks he is Chuck Bass.

He is harmless, for the most part, but becomes severely galling when he listens to music so loud that I can hear it vibrating from his pods.

What I learnt. I haven’t even started my clerkship story, sorry! There is just so much advice about getting in the door. But what I learnt so far:

  • When you inevitability log onto Whirlpool to look at the advice column. Comparing your grades to other Whirlpool users is completely pointless – it’s not as if you will have time to improve them in the two months from when the thread kicks off to when clerkship applications open!
  • Apply everywhere. Don’t take a ‘tailored’ approach, which is actually what my lecturer advisee. Yes, tailor your application, but don’t cherry pick firms.
  • Network and learn.

If you want to hear more about the clerkship process, click here for our round table discussion 

Stay tuned, our next intern shares their day one tomorrow. 

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