LORAINE MACDONALD, SOPHIE KAIKO and MADELEINE LLOYD
Vol 11, Issue 12
It’s almost that time of year again. There are networking events all over the joint (oh hai free alcohol just lying around!), and daily pangs of anxiety from seeing everyone else in a suit and wondering which memo you’ve missed this time. The spectre of clerkship/ summer vac applications looms over the entire law building, whether you’re applying for them or not. Knowing that there are a smaller number of clerkships/ other vacation work opportunities than there are students in this building unfortunately makes application season a competitive time that can lead us to compare ourselves to our peers and feel as though we’ve come up short.
By way of procrastination on a fine sunny day, your correspondents found themselves on the grass discussing jobs/ scholarships/ etc. we were applying for, and then sharing the even larger number of things we had applied for in the past and been rejected from. Turns out, while we knew all about each other’s achievements, we had no idea that everyone had had so many rejections and disappointments. Even from a sample size of 3 (we’ll leave those with science backgrounds to work out the statistical significance), hearing that others had experienced an equally large number of failures in their time at MLS made each of us realise that our experiences were not unique, and we all agreed that our past disappointments would not have made us feel so inadequate at the time had we known how common they were.
So, in the spirit of opening up more of these conversations, we have gone through our hard drives, found all (or most of) our applications, and compiled the following list of times we’ve experienced that sweet sting of rejection in the last 2.5 years. The purpose of highlighting these failures is not to complain (those who did get these opportunities undoubtedly deserved them!), but rather to acknowledge that failure is a huge part of the experience at law school, and that when we publicise our successes and hide our failures we create a culture of unrealistic expectations.
· A three-month internship in a Victorian government department;
· Cold-call applications to about 8 employment law firms in Melbourne (no response from any);
· 5/10 public service graduate positions applied for to date (mostly through being knocked out at the online testing stage);
· Advertised legal assistant position for employment law barrister (no response);
· 2 advertised paralegal positions working for work-from-home vaguely commercial sounding firm (no response);
· Advertised call centre job at large national law firm (no interview);
· All commercial summer clerkships I applied for (which included two top-tier firms, one mid-tier firm, one rather large lefty firm, and one government organization)
Law School things:
· a CSP place at MLS (omfg someone said that out loud?);
BUT, as much as some of these rejections really got us down at the time, we have also had some really fun and exciting experiences at law school! Even though there is probably a hit rate of one success to every 10 rejections, the successes have absolutely made it all worth it.
Sophie, Madeleine and Lorraine are third-year JD students
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