Tell us a bit about yourself and your academic background.
Hi! My name is Millicent Weaver, and I am a distinction average student in my fourth year of Law/International Studies at UNSW. I relocated from Western Australia to study in Sydney in 2017, and have never looked back! Over the course of my degree, I have particularly enjoyed private law courses, for which I hold a distinction WAM.
Outside of university, I have completed a legal clerkship with Fortescue Metals Group, and gained valuable legal experience within the Australian Public Service
Most recently where have you been working and in what capacity?
Recently, I completed a summer clerkship with the Australian Public Service. At the end of the clerkship, I was offered a position as a paralegal within the APS, where I currently work to support the cyber-security and intelligence teams. Within this role, I have had the opportunity to review and provide feedback on proposed commonwealth legislation, as well as generally assisting with legal administrative tasks and research.
During your first clerkship, you worked on some e-discovery matters. What software did you use?
In 2019, I was fortunate to secure a summer clerkship with Fortescue Metals Group, rotating within their Native Title and Energy & Resources team. Throughout my time with the Native Title team, I was tasked with assisting the discovery process for a disputed Native Title claim. The software we used was ‘Ringtail’ – a comprehensive A.I system which greatly assisted with the review and analysis of over 7000 e-discovery items.
What did you learn from this experience? How different was this work project to what you learn at law school?
This experience gave me the opportunity to really deepen my understanding of discovery. At university, I had completed a course outlining the process, but having the opportunity to actually partake in discovery is a completely different learning experience. It was fascinating to see how documents can be differentially categorised, and how that affects their admissibility. It was also interesting to actually see first-hand how crucial, and time consuming, discovery is within the pre-trial process.
While learning about discovery at university is an important part of a law student’s education, I believe I learned a lot more through actually getting to undertake discovery in-person. At university, we were not taught about the software systems – like Ringtail – used to assist with discovery, so I needed to rely on my supervisors to walk me through the basics. This experience really highlighted for me how important it is to gain practical legal experience to supplement and further what we are taught in university.
How has your most recent clerkship changed how you view the relationship between technology and the law?
Before my clerkship in the APS, I had no experience working within a legal/cyber capacity, and had never really considered how the two interacted. Fast forward 12 months, and I now give presentations to law firms about how they can utilise technology to secure their systems and provide better outcomes for their clients! My clerkship has shown me first-hand the significant role technology holds in promoting the legal sector, while simultaneously keeping the profession accountable and accessible.
What is your advice for someone looking to secure a paralegal position or clerkship?
It can be tricky finding a position within the legal sector, especially as a law student. My advice to others would be: keep putting yourself out there! Dedicate a few hours each week to improving your cover letters, and reading about what law firms are currently working on. Reach out to law graduates on LinkedIn to hear about their career trajectory and experiences in securing a job. Apply for as many things as you can, and learn from both the successes and failures. Keep trying – you will get there!
Hire Millicent via our Paralegal Directory for Employers