It all depends on what you want to achieve.

If You Want to Follow the Vacation Clerk / Graduate Route

Top Tier firms tend to value:

– Outstanding Academics;
– Extracurricular Activities;

With less emphasis on PAID legal industry experience gained in undergraduate years. For students on this career path, a volunteer internship or community sector role is a strong choice.

If You Are Not on the Clerk / Graduate Path

Non law firm employers respect and admire any charitable or social pursuit however paid experience (in a relevant field) is more crucial for them. It’s worth remembering that a large number of students tend to complete community legal or internship roles as part of their university program. At Yegal we see a large number of applicants with “Community Centre” or “Volunteer Consultant’ on their CV. The thing we ask all law students to consider is this – you need to make your CV stand out. Having strong marks is one way but choosing a unique career opportunities in your undergraduate years is another. If there are 25 applicants for the one job and 20 of them have similar marks and “Sydney Community Legal Centre – Volunteer” on their CV, it is extremely hard for the hiring manager to identify a standout candidate.

If You Really Cannot Decide

Speak to someone you trust during the earlier stages of your legal studies. Ask them to tell you about their career and how they got started. This might open doors for you. They don’t even have to have legal industry experience. Career advice from someone with a different professional background has the potential to apply equally to your career.


What Should I Do Now?

– Ensure that you apply for a mix of VOLUNTEER & PAID roles.

– Understand that a LARGE PERCENTAGE of NON-LAW FIRM EMPLOYERS prefer to see paid experience in roles relevant to their current business.

– Make sure that when you make your application, it’s clear to the hiring manager that you are specifically interested in their industry segment.For example you might look to include, ‘Career Objective – to find a junior legal role in business involved in the production of new technology, which is consistent with my personal interests.”


To learn more about the types of jobs available to you and what you should work towards view our “Career Goals” blog.

FREE CV Template for Law Students (Leo Version)

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Is A Volunteer Paralegal Role or Internship A Good Move for Your Career (#15)