Early Careers Stories | 7 August 2023

Seasonal clerks: what we learned and what we bring to the legal profession

Keeping an open mind, trying everything on offer and learning how to put legal theory into practice: these are just some of the valuable insights our seasonal clerks gained during their time working at Hall & Wilcox. We spoke to some of the clerks to get their views about what they learned, why it’s worth putting in a clerkship application, and what their generation will bring as future leaders in the legal profession.

What did you learn during your clerkship?

Drafting letters to clients, seeing Smarter Law in practice, being immersed in Hall & Wilcox’s famed culture and joining sport teams were just some of the highlights for Ben Pohl, who was a seasonal clerk in our Melbourne office.

‘I learnt valuable skills transferrable to any legal workplace,’ he said.

‘I also learnt that Hall & Wilcox genuinely practices what it preaches when it comes to culture. From the beginning, I was made to feel like a genuine part of the firm. I was welcomed to both the ‘Multi-Sport’ and ‘Futsal’ teams. I saw familiar faces at breakfast and Friday night drinks and I did not at any stage feel like I was a “temporary employee” on a clerkship. Rather I felt like an ingrained part of the team, somewhere that I felt a real sense of belonging.’

Niky Parry, who was a seasonal clerk in our Perth office, loved learning about all the different parts of the client journey.

‘I was able to learn the practical side of an area of law that I hadn’t experienced before, be directly involved in various aspects of legal work, and attend meetings with the partners and lawyers.’

Melbourne multisport night - clerks 2023

Hinal Mandalia, another Perth seasonal clerk, believes it is vital that clerks are open to new opportunities and embracing challenges with a ‘growth-oriented’ mindset.

‘I was exposed to a range of legal matters and tasks, from legal research and drafting letters, to attending conciliations and client meetings. Each task provided me with the opportunity to learn and grow.’

Ali Alansari, who clerked in our Melbourne office, learned to adapt quickly to different practice areas and acquired the ability to conduct thorough legal research efficiently.

‘I had the opportunity to work on a wide range of challenging matters that spanned different areas of law. This exposure allowed me to develop a versatile skill set and a comprehensive understanding of various legal frameworks both inside and outside of Australia.’

Anthony Khalil was impressed by Hall & Wilcox’s culture, seeing both the firm’s five Hallmarks and Smarter Law approach being put into practice by all at the firm.

‘Hall & Wilcox is a firm where development of all employees is central and is leveraged to guarantee better client service. It is very clear that Hall & Wilcox is a successful firm that is committed to delivering high-quality legal solutions. As a growing firm, [Managing Partner] Tony Macvean centralised the idea of junior employees getting involved in the development of the firm.’

What will your generation bring to the legal profession?

This generation of lawyers is the first that has grown up surrounded by technology and social media. All five seasonal clerks agreed this generation will be well equipped to handle the challenges and work created by technology.

‘My generation, having grown up in the digital age, is proficient at using technology to enhance efficiency and streamline processes. The advancements in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and automation will see these technologies play a significant role in legal research, document drafting and document review. My generation will be able to adapt to these changes with ease, transforming and modernising the profession,’ says Hinal Mandalia.

Perth paint and sip night - clerks 2023

Ali Alansari agreed this generation brings a fresh perspective and innovative approach to the legal profession. ‘We are a generation that has grown up in the digital age, where technology has transformed the way we live and work. Our technological acumen means that we can excel in the new age of providing legal services, while also having the contemporary knowledge to protect the business from external interference and hacking.’

Another area of importance to this generation is diversity. Ben Pohl says providing opportunities to all people to follow their desired career path is something this generation will push for.

Ali Alansari agrees: ‘We are passionate about promoting equality and fairness within the legal system. By advocating for inclusivity and actively seeking diverse perspectives, we can contribute to a more equitable and representative legal profession.’

Should I apply for a clerkship?

The answer from all five clerks is an overwhelming yes!

‘Do it!’ says Niky Parry. ‘The clerkship program is more than just learning about a practice area. It is an opportunity to learn about the firm and to see if it is the right fit for you.’

‘A clerkship offers much more than just the theory learned in law school. The hands-on nature of a clerkship gave me the opportunity to transition the theoretical concepts I learned at university to real world scenarios, allowing me to understand the practical implications of the law,’ says Hinal Mandalia.

‘The lawyers I worked with were not only knowledgeable and experienced but also genuinely invested in my development. I received guidance, feedback and mentorship that significantly contributed to my growth as a legal professional,’ says Ali Alansari.

‘Make the most of your time, wherever you end up,’ advises Ben Pohl. ‘I had a go at pretty much everything the firm had to offer. I think that by doing so I got a genuine sense of how it is to work at Hall & Wilcox. A month sounds like a fairly long time at the beginning of the clerkship, but it absolutely flew by and, before I knew it, we were finished.’

‘I would highly recommend a clerkship at Hall & Wilcox,’ says Anthony Khalil. ‘The ongoing level of support, mentorship and learning opportunities I experienced during my clerkship will no doubt be very helpful for future practice. The clerkship program has been well developed to ensure clerks are exposed and involved with all aspects of the firm, from exposure to the work the firm engages in to social activities.’

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