Volume 8, Issue 8
The clerkship process is, in one sense, a LIV coordinated route for getting an internship in corporate law. In another (more accurate?) sense, it’s a grueling psychological marathon designed to weed out those with any faint candle of life still flickering within. It’s probably both. Except that the first sense is a faint possibility, and the second is a given.
Anyway, the defining aspect of the whole process is, one could argue, grief. And some people smarter than me have formulated stages of grief. And maybe applying that framework to clerkships would be valuable, or at least stop me from doing Corps readings. So here goes.*
1. Shock or Disbelief
The moment when that rejection email first gets opened.
“Allensons rejected me!!!!!????!!!!???!!!!????”
“Wait. I must be dreaming. Or hallucinating. I have had nightmares about this before. Stay calm. Pinch yourself”
The time spent either a) denying that the prolonged silence you’re getting means rejection, or b) denying that the rejection you got was real.
“I probably put down both the wrong number and email in my application, I’d better check all of my applications to make sure. Nope, hmmmmm. Maybe my phone just isn’t receiving calls. Someone call my phone! *phone rings* Wait, Google obviously just isn’t letting emails through to my account…”
“Well, someone in HR’s gonna get fired over this. Sent this to the wrong email, fell asleep on the job etc. I hate to do this, but I’d better call to sort out this terrible mistake. Hahahah, I sure as hell wouldn’t want to be those guys!”
“Fuck this.” *Throws phone across room*
“You can’t fire me because I quit! And, I guess, because you never hired me.”
“If I call HR and offer to do one for free, will that bump me up a few places? Hmmmm, it’s a shame that Adelaide place selling grad positions for $20K got shut down.”
“What if I offered you my soul in exchange for a clerkship? Oh, you’d be taking that anyway…”
Incidentally, this period of guilt is a lot shorter than the gnawing, ever-present guilt you would probably feel working in corporate law.
“They don’t want me defending asbestos, tobacco and coal companies for them. I am a terrible person.”
“I should have spent less time convincing myself to sell out, and more time actually selling out. Or maybe just less time convincing myself to sell out.”
“Fuck this.” *Throws textbooks across room*
“I mean, I was going to leave to go to the bar after two years of experience/networking. And now I can’t even do that.”
7. Acceptance and Hope
The moment when you realise that this is probably a good thing.
“Well, I suppose some HR rep saw into my soul, figured I was the sort of person who with enough integrity/morality/self-respect to hate this and drop out within a year, so decided against investing thousands of dollars training me. That’s sort of a compliment.”
“Well, I suppose I still go do that idealistic/interesting thing I entered into law school hoping to do. Wow, I feel better already. Wait, why was I applying for corporate law positions!?” I think I just felt my projected quality of life go up. Like, physically felt it. It felt good.”
*Note that these opinions are purely those of the author, and, in some cases, not even the author’s opinion. Also, this is public on the internet, isn’t it? Shit. If any HR reps are reading this, know who wrote it, and are considering said person’s application, I would advise you (yes you, HR rep) to disregard any/all of these opinions that would imply any critique of corporate law whatsoever. Maybe just ignore all of it. That’s safest.
Clarke Shipley is a second-year JD student.