Hello all and welcome to 2014!
While many students have been enjoying their summer on the beach, catching up with friends and adventuring, I made the decision (unpopular to most) to complete a summer placement. During November and December, I completed a four-week summer program where I was able to experience criminal law in a practical setting. Over this time I was able to experience the day-to-day life in a busy law office, working alongside lawyers and their paralegals. I was able to complete a wide range of work, including legal research, communicating with other law firms, as well as drafting letters and documents.
As this was my first work experience in an office environment, even the minor aspects of the placement amazed me; I’d work full-time hours, dress the part (suit up!) and even have my own desk to work from.
Although at times feeling like I was thrown in the deep end with some of the work, all of the staff were happy to answer questions and share their experiences with me. Learning first hand through practically completing work was extremely beneficial and allowed me to make several connections with concepts I’d learned through my law study.
Working alongside law practitioners also opened up opportunities to sit in court and observe a number of criminal law matters. Through spending time in court observing, I quickly became familiar with processes of a trial and the functions required by each of the court personnel.
The summer placement also had plenty of other highlights, including the opportunity to attend professional development seminars and was even able to tag along to the work Christmas party. The professional development sessions were beneficial in explaining the practicalities of criminal law, and in enhancing legal research skills. It was great to be able to take my learning beyond the lecture rooms into a practical setting, and I’m sure to use the skills I learned to my benefit in my final year of university.
At the end of the four weeks I had made a number of professional friends and I had the satisfactions of knowing the work I had completed was of great assistance. To step out of my comfort zone in completing tasks was a huge learning experience, which has allowed me to develop both personally and professionally. Needless to say, it was an eye-opening experience and one which has helped me to think more clearly about career aspirations.
I am so grateful for the experience I had over summer and I look forward to taking up any opportunities the New Year has in store!
Enjoy the rest of summer!