Boot Camp for law students is one way we describe our internship program at McLaughlin & Associates Lawyers. It is basically a crash course in learning how to fit in and work within a team environment in a legal office.
Most students will get their Law Degree without ever having stepped foot inside a legal office. It is not the student’s fault, but it is remarkable (and sad) that you would have law graduates pouring out of university and never having received experience essential in their future employment.
In my generation, we would serve out what was called ‘articles of clerkship’ which is basically where you were an apprentice lawyer. You sat at the bottom of the totem pole when it came to the hierarchy of the workplace. Overtime you would work your way up, so that upon graduation you had at least two years experience working in a legal office.
I explain to law students during our induction process, that they are one of the many thousands of law students graduation each year. To explain, from an employer’s perspective they all look the same. They have all gone to school, tick, graduated with a Law Degree, tick, and have all worked a part time job such as McDonalds while engaging with a hobby they love on the side. Apart from a law student’s GPA, there is nothing to tell them apart (and a good GPA does not in itself mean you are going to make a good lawyer or person).
The opportunity our interns are given is on to stick their head up above the crowd and be recognised by future employers as someone who has used their initiative and sacrificed their time to get ahead of their cohort and gain invaluable legal experience. The aim of our program is to have interns move onto full-time paid employment; by achieving that we have had a huge success.
We have situations where students whilst undertaking their internship with us will be offered full-time jobs and have to leave our legal internship midstream. That is a cause for success and we celebrate the occasion that occurs because that means our program is working and is achieving its goal. We are getting better at devising and fine tuning our program and it is always a work-in-progress. In the past three years, we have been hugely successful in having our interns take the next step of full-time paid employment.
We do not get subsidised, we do not receive any grants or government handouts. We do this because we want to. because we believe in giving back to our community and we believe in the next generation of lawyers who are embarking on their career.