Hi Kelly! Tell us a bit about yourself and your academic background?
I am currently in my third year at University of Technology, Sydney studying Bachelor of Law/ Bachelor of Communications (Social and Political Sciences).
When did you first start thinking about securing legal work experience? What steps did you take to try and make that happen?
I started thinking about securing work experience during my second year of studies as I wanted to get an understanding of what it would be like to work in the legal industry, as well as learn practical skills. I applied for paid and volunteer legal roles, and signed up as a paralegal with Yegal.
What was your first legal role? What did you learn while you were there? You have also spent some time in a client-facing role. Did you find that rewarding?
My first legal role was as a law clerk for a firm and it covered a diverse array of practice areas. In this role, I gained a greater understanding of how different cases are handled, and learned how to apply my writing and research skills to assist solicitors.
Working as Client Support Officer, at Marrickville Legal Centre has definitely been a rewarding experience also. My role there involves assisting and interviewing clients as well as general data entry. In this position, I have learned how to identify key issues in the client’s situation and ask essential questions during the interview to assist solicitors’ understanding of cases.
This position requires me to work with a large number of clients and has taught me how to work efficiently in a stressful environment, through time management and prioritisation. Most importantly, being able to hear the stories of vulnerable clients and playing a part in assisting them through legal processes has been an immensely fulfilling experience.
Could you tell us about your recent experience working as a Yegal Paralegal?
For the past month, I have been working as an eDiscovery paralegal on an international litigation case for Pinsent Masons. During this project, I learned how to review and tag documents using document review software (Relativity). I also developed a greater understanding of the eDiscovery process and the role it plays in litigation.
What has your practical legal experience taught you about the use of technology in legal practice?
Throughout my experience, I have learned that legal technology is an amazing tool in legal practice. Not only does it enhance organisation and management, but it improves the efficiency of the litigation team as well. I have seen that this has been extremely helpful especially when you are reviewing hundreds of thousands of documents, or, trying to resolve a large number of urgent cases simultaneously.
What advice would you give to law students and graduates looking to secure paralegal work?
For all law students and graduates seeking paralegal work, my advice is to keep persisting and continue to apply for those roles even if at times you feel that it is going nowhere. Paralegal work, in my experience, is insightful and can help shape your future career in the legal industry, as you can learn more about what interests you! Yegal has been a great support for me and the team is really motivated to help law students find jobs so I would encourage anyone to apply. Good luck!
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