Want a job in legal? Here’s what the lawyers are looking for…

legal traineeships

Seeking your first role in the legal profession is a challenge. To start with, how can you stand out from the crowd?

When a Barrister calls

Recently I was contacted by a Barrister. They were seeking someone committed to a career in law. They didn’t necessarily have to have a lot of experience but they wanted someone to show aptitude and commitment to the industry. “That’s why I was wondering if you have anyone who’s doing one of your certificates or the Diploma.” said the Barrister.

It’s about commitment, about the type of person we’re looking for. Someone studying has shown their commitment, not just talked about it, but actually, do something that shows not only a high level of interest but more. True commitment.

Did the person need to have years of legal experience?

Naturally, it’s one of the first things that a law firm seek. Someone who’s already done the role in question. That way they can explore the track record. However, more and more, smart firms are seeking someone who displays initiative, someone who’s prepared to invest in themselves and someone who is prepared to go the extra distance.

Having committed to study in the area is one way you can show your commitment to getting into the industry. It shows you are serious and displays the attributes that firms are seeking.

Overcoming the “You don’t have legal experience” objection is half the battle.

Getting exposure prepares you for the industry

The Barrister in question was happy to consider someone studying because they would be more familiar with legal terminology and have a head start on someone without any industry exposure.

While they appreciate that it’s not the same, it’s the next best thing. You can’t always get someone with two year’s experience. When that’s the case, someone who has been exposed to the industry and its terminology has a huge step up from someone coming in cold.

What else will you need?

That’s a great question. Of course, preparing to get into a new industry is about gathering all the information you can. Before you go to an interview here’s our top five:

  1. Research the firm – Take time to review the firm’s website and also Google all you can before you show up for an interview
  2. Dress for success – Dress for the role, as you’d expect to dress every day in the position. Make sure that what you wear and how you present is professional (no sunglasses on your head or mobile phone in sight – two of the most hated things for interviewers – make sure your phone is turned off, so it doesn’t even vibrate)
  3. Be early – Make sure you know where you’re going and allow time for misadventure along the way. Stuff happens, but interviewers don’t have to appreciate that. Make sure you’re there well before time
  4. Know WHY they should hire you – “Why should we hire you?” in one way or another can come out during the interview. Have some clear points as to why you’re a great prospect for this role. If you’re already studying that’s a big tick straight up
  5. Maintain a strong posture – Studies have shown, that someone who sits up straight and holds a strong posture carries that confidence through their conversation and has far more likelihood of actually getting the job than someone slouching in their chair.

All these things may be little, but they do add up.

In this, we’ve suggested you look into some studies in Legal Admin, whether it’s ours or another, it’s a great place to start your journey into the legal profession.

If you would like to discuss the qualifications we offer, feel free to call Melissa anytime on 0409 123 545.


Melissa-MahoneyHaving worked in the recruitment industry since 1997 and launching Melissa Mahoney Recruitment in 2004, Melissa identified a need for dedicated training within the legal industry. Melissa Mahoney Legal College was established as a Registered Training Organisation in September 2006. The college offers quality, online and external training specifically focused on the legal secretarial / paralegal market.

Melissa is passionate about assisting others to achieve the recognition they deserve. She finds great satisfaction in providing assistance with training, and helping others achieve their qualifications, ultimately reaching their career goals. Melissa is well qualified and experienced in assisting others with career advice and facilitating career change.

When a barrister calls
When a barrister calls