3 mins read

A Day in the Life: Meet Annaleise & Deema, Ashurst Clerks!

If you’re considering a career in the legal sector, THIS is the blog you need to read!

Meet Annaleise Forbes and Deema Shadid. They’re both recent graduates completing their Clerkships with leading law firm Ashurst!

Find out what a clerk does, why a clerkship is a great career step and how Ashurst supports young professionals in this dynamic industry.

What motivated your decision to pursue a clerkship?

We decided to apply for clerkships for a number of reasons. Firstly, we were excited to gain invaluable exposure to the various areas of law that a clerkship offers. This provides a unique opportunity to delve into legal specialties that might be challenging to explore in other settings.

Additionally, a clerkship lets you learn from some of the best lawyers! In pursuing a clerkship, we knew we could develop legal skills through the mentorship of seasoned professionals. This has enhanced our understanding of commercial law.

Lastly, the potential for secondment and exposure to diverse opportunities within the legal landscape made applying for a clerkship a strategic choice for a well-rounded and enriching legal career.

What are some of the essential responsibilities and tasks of a clerk?

The firm aims to expose us to different practice areas, clients, and tasks. As clerks, our main tasks and responsibilities revolved around:

  • Conducting research
  • Reviewing contracts, letters, and evidence
  • Attending client meetings and taking minutes
  • Drafting legal opinions
  • Conducting searches (PPSR, ASIC, Insolvency).

There is also a focus on expanding our professional network, providing opportunities to connect with our specific teams and those outside our practice areas. This came in the form of many coffee runs and social activities!

What advice do you have for those considering applying for clerkships?

For those considering clerkships, it’s important not to discard yourself prematurely. It’s common for potential applicants to underestimate and disqualify themselves based on perceived ‘weaknesses’ or ‘inadequacies.

Recognise your strengths, skills, and achievements and present them effectively in the application. Tailoring each application for the specific firm is essential. Rather than adopting a generic approach, you should focus on articulating how your unique attributes align with the values and requirements of each firm.

Often overlooked advice is to include elements in the application that may seem unrelated to law at first glance. Adding a unique aspect, whether a particular hobby, volunteer experience, or a niche skill, can make you stand out.

These distinctive details not only showcase individuality but can also provide an interesting talking point during interviews.

What are some common misconceptions about clerkships? How has this experience proven them wrong for you?

A common misconception is that clerkships are exclusively reserved for students from specific universities. Firms recognise talent and potential across a broad spectrum of educational backgrounds.

This year, Ashurst took students from various universities, including the University of Wollongong, the University of Sydney, Macquarie University, the University of New South Wales, Newcastle University, the University of Technology Sydney, Notre Dame, and the University of Queensland.

Another misconception is that firms solely focus on academic marks. While academic performance is undoubtedly considered, Ashurst takes a holistic approach, assessing various aspects of an applicant’s profile.

Personal attributes, extracurricular activities, and unique skills contribute significantly to the evaluation.

Do you have any tips for clerkship interviews you can share with us?

Our main tips for interviews are:

  • Strike a balance between asking general questions about the firm and specific questions about your interviewer and their practice area.
  • Familiarise yourself with the firm’s background, values, and recent achievements, but also be ready for more personalised inquiries.
  • Avoid regurgitating rehearsed answers. Instead, aim for authenticity and articulate responses that reflect your experiences and perspectives.
  • Less is often more. Providing short, concise answers demonstrates clarity and effective communication. Avoid going off on tangents that may dilute the impact of your response.
  • Don’t limit the conversation solely to legal topics. Introduce aspects of your personality, hobbies, or unique interests. This not only adds depth to your profile but might also establish unexpected connections with interviewers.
  • Remember, showcasing your authentic self goes beyond discussing professional qualifications—it’s about presenting a well-rounded individual with diverse interests and experiences.

Find Out More

Ashurst is renowned for helping clients navigate a complex and constantly evolving global landscape.

With 28 offices across the world’s leading financial and resource centres, they offer the reach and insight of a global network combined with deep local market knowledge.

Keen to learn more? Head over to their dedicated employer profile on Explore Careers. Why not check out their freevirtual work experience programs to get a taste of life at Ashurst today

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