Debunking the Horror Stories of What Law Firms Look for in a Graduate Lawyer -Johanna Byrne

While it is important to remember that law firms are conservative places, it is important to find ways to be noticed when applying for a position. This is especially because the vast majority of firms delete bulk emails faster than you can say ‘I object’. Firms like to see that you stand out from the pack. This can be shown by researching the firm you are applying to, and understanding what makes them different and why they are the right fit for you as opposed to the other firms. A good way to make an impression is to mention that you have followed matters that the firm has worked on and why this interest you personally. Further you could link your work or extra-curricular activities to the areas they practice in.

While grades are important they are not the most significant attribute that is required. If you have had a bad session explain why this occurred and how over the next session/s you have demonstrated that you were able to recover and succeed. This shows potential employers that you have the ability to balance life and the demands of study; as all firms are aware that people do have times when things in life may not go smoothly.

Meet Our Committee - Hilina Benson (President)

Why did you decide to study law?

In 2012, I chose to study Legal Studies as an elective for the HSC. I was already interested in debating, so I thought the class would be a good fit. I was right – I loved Legal Studies. It got me interested in the law and legal advocacy, and there weren’t any other classes that I was taking that I was really interested in pursuing outside of the HSC.


So, I thought, why not become a lawyer?


What are you most looking forward to, in your role of SCULSS President?

I’m looking forward to learning how to work more effectively with, and as, a team.


Do you have any hobbies?

Yes! I love playing Netball, and I have joined a team with SCU Netty Rats. I started playing netball in Year 3, and played for 8 years before quitting, so I’m really enjoying being back at the Lismore netball courts.


What has been your favourite unit (so far) and why?

My favourite unit would have to be Contract I. Which is interesting, because I’m mostly interested in Criminal law! Nevertheless, I loved the content and the lecturer was friendly and helpful.


You have been an active committee member with SCULSS for some time now, what has been your most memorable moment?

It would have to be the time SCULSS organised a trip to the QLS Legal Careers Expo in 2015. I had a fantastic time with other law students and members of the SCULSS committee – I caught the bus up from Lismore with a few other people to the event.

And, surrounded by all the representatives from Corporate law firms, it was the nail in the coffin for any thoughts I had of pursuing Corporate law.

Do you have any advice to give to new students?

If you see a networking event being held anywhere, go to it! In my first year, I went to literally every event the law school held – even ones that were supposed to be only for second year students or above (although I did so with permission).


 Any event where you have a chance to meet people in the legal profession is an opportunity – and don’t waste any like I did! After the event is over, if anyone gave you their business card or email address, consider sending then an email to say that you enjoyed talking with them. But be careful you don’t spam anyone

Meet Our Committee - Rai Molki (VP Education)

What is your position with SCULSS and what does it entail?

I hold the executive position VP Education for SCULSS. It's an easy position and I get to have a lot of fun with. I keep an eye out for opportunities for students and share those on the SCULSS Facebook page. I've been one of the main organisers of our Online Events, like 0-Week Meet & Greet,  Legal Research Refresher and Citator Q&A. This session I hope to organise more of these.

Why did you decide to study law?

The year before I started my law degree I worked out that I had been grossly underpaid by my employer. I thoroughly enjoyed the process of reading the Fairwork Act, understanding what award I should have been paid under and negotiating with my employer for back page and above award wages. After completing the process I felt great satisfaction in helping my colleagues to also receive fair pay.  

Do you have any hobbies?

I love tabletop gaming with my kids. Our current favourites are Magic the Gathering, Dungeons & Dragons, Forbidden Island, Mysterium, and Flux. 

What has been your favourite unit (so far) and why?

Philosophy of Law. Loved the collegiality with my fellow students and studying together online.

What has been your most memorable moment with SCULSS?

Our online events, I've thoroughly enjoyed being able to help SCULSS be relevant and useful particularly to our Online Students.

Do you have any advice to give to new students?

Get involved. Get on the mic and say hello to your classmates. Your classmates will be your colleagues one day, you'll find lifelong friends who you can support and be supported by in your studies.