We invite applications from students currently enrolled, or who have been offered enrolment, in an Australian university law degree course for two positions as cadet lawyers.
This is a rare opportunity for students with considered personal objectives keen to acquire practical legal skills by working in a modern law firm.
You will also attain a level of financial independence before completing your studies.
These are permanent career positions with reduced and flexible working hours during university semesters to accommodate your studies on a reduced-load basis. They include four weeks annual leave, sick leave and superannuation.
They are not vacation clerkships; nor are they designed to offer temporary student employment. They are unsuited to those attracted to a career in the public or corporate sectors; who yearn to join a multi-national law firm; or people who simply don’t yet know what they want.
The successful applicants will be practical and independent thinkers, good leaders, team players, service-oriented and imaginative entrepreneurs committed to building a technologically advanced law firm.
We offer a high level of supervision, support and regular in-house training; however, we expect you to acquire practical skills quickly in your designated area of employment with a view to making a meaningful contribution rather than embarking on a dilettante voyage of discovery.
We encourage cadets to perform well academically and to participate to a reasonable degree in extra-curricular university activities. In fact, our cadets generally improve their average grades in the time that they spend with us. Our alumni include winners and finalists of the UWA Opening Mooting, Trial Advocacy and Negotiation competitions. In 2017 one of our members spent the year studying in Beijing and Hong Kong on a New Colombo Plan Scholarship.
You will be employed as a legal professional. You will not spend your time photocopying or filing although as the newest member of a small team, you may be asked to run the occasional errand. Subject to our operational requirements (which can change from time to time), you will spend 3 - 6 months in our real estate settlements workgroup. This area has a high volume of client files and well-established systems for delivering services. There you will learn our office procedures and how to use our legal practice management system ContactsLaw.
A mentor will monitor your progress and help you develop the skills you need to hit the ground running and operate as an effective member of our professional team. You will take charge of and manage client files from the outset.
Additionally, we expect you to participate in the management of the firm, for example, in marketing activities, software development, systems administration, or document management.
Thereafter, you will transfer to another workgroup – probably litigation, wills, probate or family law – where you will develop more specialist skills. You will attend conferences with lawyers, liaise with clients, draft correspondence, proof witnesses and brief counsel. If you are working in our litigation department, you may appear in court on (sometimes complex) chamber matters before registrars, masters and judges of the District and Supreme Courts.
The practical skills that you acquire should kick-start your career in law and place you well ahead of your peers professionally by the time that they graduate.
To be considered for these positions you will:
You must be prepared to work an average of 25 hours per week (although there is scope for flexibility depending on exam schedules etc) during university semesters and full-time during university holidays; and to reduce the level of your university commitments accordingly. You must accept that, in doing so, it will take longer to complete your degree.
2018 is the 20th year of our student employment program. You will benefit from our experience in helping cadets manage their work and study loads; however it requires considerable self-discipline on your part (eg studying on the weekends!). Our cadetships are demanding jobs that require a serious investment of time and energy.
We will negotiate flexible working hours so you can meet your university commitments. University and work timetables are planned as a group at the start of each semester and before each exam period. We do our best to be flexible around exam times because we know this is a stressful period. We expect you to assist us by giving us as much notice as possible of your university commitments and any other holiday plans.
We expect you to work hard but we prefer that you work smart rather than excessively long hours. Every professional works overtime when the need arises but it’s counterproductive to make a habit of it. It’s better by far that you put in a solid, well organised day rather than working all hours of the night to impress someone.
Although we have been in business for almost 40 years, we strive to lead as a digital law firm and have embraced the new law business model.
We deploy Contactslaw - our bespoke proprietary legal practice management software. This cutting-edge package has evolved over the past 10 years within our firm under the guidance of our talented in-house developer and with continuing input from all team members.
Legal practice is being transformed by rapid improvements in technology. Contactslaw enables us to automate processes delivering many legal services more efficiently and cost-effectively. As part of this revolution, you will develop at least basic programming skills and participate in enhancing our clients’ experience in transacting with the firm.
We offer fixed price services wherever possible including in real estate settlements, wills and probate. When we charge on a time basis, we do so in real time rather than by six-minute units. We expect all members to focus on delivering results as efficiently as possible; instead of maximising their time recording.
What happens when I graduate?
As with any job, your continuing advancement is dependent on your satisfactory performance. We hope that you will remain with us for many years; if you are still with us by the time you graduate we would expect our relationship to continue uninterrupted.
And my round-the-world trip?
Consistent with our long-term approach to our relationships we will do our best to accommodate your need to see the world by negotiating extended leave arrangements in appropriate circumstances.
Will my career prospects be adversely affected if I delay completion of my degree?
As a cadet lawyer, under the supervision of your principal you are able to undertake virtually all of the duties of an admitted lawyer except appearances in open court. The practical experience you will gain working in our professional environment will more than compensate you for the additional time it will take you to graduate. Your superior skills will give you a significant competitive edge in a market where employers are looking for employees able to get the job done. Although we hope that you will grow with us for many years, we also encourage our people to fulfill their potential. They are highly sought after by our competitors.
Can I undertake Internships with other law firms?
Many firms offer students work experience in their offices as a possible prelude to employment. It is a term of your employment contract with us that you don’t engage in any other form of employment and we don’t see such internships as consistent with the positions that we are offering. We know that it’s a tough call when you’ve had little or no industry experience, but we’re looking for people who have weighed the alternatives and worked out what environment is most likely to suit them.
Will I be able to get to training?
Many of our team members participate in team sports and cultural pursuits (eg orchestras); if you’re involved in such activities we will encourage you to remain so and, within reason, we’ll accommodate your need to get to training and to matches. If you cycle to work, there’s a shower in the basement.
What are the prospects of temporarily working part-time or from home?
Once you have established a track record with the firm, you will find that we are reasonably flexible in this regard. Everyone has remote internet access to our database. In 2016 we welcomed our first baby at work; and we currently employ people who work part-time from home.