WA Too Old to Get Placement at Family Law Firm?

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Therese Tobin

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19 January 2019
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Hi -

I partially completed a law degree in WA (at UWA) six years ago. I will be 46 in March and if I resumed my degree I'd be at least 48 by the time I finished my actual studies.

Nonetheless, I'm interested in resuming my law degree but I wonder, is there any point, as I doubt I'd readily get a placement for a clerkship with a law firm at my age. I know officially there's meant to be no discrimination on the basis of age but all the same, I feel my age would be a handicap.

I've already got a PhD in Literature and have published a book but due to a complicated family court dispute that went on for years, I had to drop my academic career as I was obliged to represent myself for the better part of my case. Now I'm way out of touch and there are no jobs in my field right now anyway.

I really enjoyed my law studies and did well - I'd like to specialise in family law. I've worked for two different lawyers as a legal secretary and already have quite a lot of practical experience. Even self-representing in my own family court case taught me a lot about legal rubric and legal research.

Is it worth me resuming my studies? Is there an alternative to the clerkship requirement that I could undertake to ensure that spending two or three years finishing my degree would not be a waste of time?
 

Rod

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No. But you will have limited opportunity at mid and top tier law firms, and you may need to be a law clerk for a little while.

I'm older and getting interest, but you need to find the 'right kind' of law firm.
 

Rob Legat - SBPL

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Talk up what business and life experience you have, and your ability to relate to clients from experience. These things can’t be bought, and is often a criticism in young clerks because they simply don’t have those qualities yet.
 

Reag

Well-Known Member
5 April 2018
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Although I'm not a mature aged student, I just laugh at the way society worships youth these days. You just need to look at how all those young managers of tech companies are handling things to know how downward society is going because of this. A simple example is Google, youtube, Microsoft, always changing things that don't need changing. It just makes me laugh when a wealth of knowledge and experience is overlooked for a 'can do', supposedly confident mouth, althouth in reality can't really do swat.
 
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Therese Tobin

Member
19 January 2019
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Thanks for all those replies! Food for thought. I don't have a problem with having to be a law clerk for a bit longer, or not being able to get into a really hot-shot law firm ... all I want, if I do resume my law degree, is the basic right to practice as a lawyer. Making a lot of money is not what motivates me, and I'm not afraid of going it alone. I've had - and seen - such appalling family court legal representation. On the level of that movie "Idiocracy". Worse, actually. Just no concern at all for advocating responsibly, not even when the welfare of small children is at stake ... but that's a topic for another thread!

And interesting observations from Reag.

It often seems to me that there's not enough level ground, not enough time permitted, for anything other than the "supposedly confident" verbals to register. And all our technology becoming redundant as soon as we're used to it? Good for Microsoft and Apple, but it makes for appalling levels of inefficiency which no-one can help.

But I'm showing my age!
 

Reag

Well-Known Member
5 April 2018
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124
I've had - and seen - such appalling family court legal representation. On the level of that movie "Idiocracy". Worse, actually. Just no concern at all for advocating responsibly, not even when the welfare of small children is at stake ... but that's a topic for another thread!
I guess that's what a harsh and highly competitive tertiary environment can do to some people - it can bring out the worse in us, if we let it.

But what can academia do really, when they have all the top students in one cohort competing for top grades.

I'm going to be honest and say that this place has actually helped me the most with my studies. I've had some cordial and engaging online correspondences with law professors at different schools, Dean's, retired high court judges. The funny thing is, when I actually needed help the most, they were nowhere to be found!
 

smeeta sharma

Member
7 February 2019
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Hey! Don't be disappointed. There are many facilities available regarding Job concern. There are many laws passed to support you guys. You will definitely get the Job after 2-3 years but maybe you have to start from the low level. Maybe you will hire at a low payment. But you can grow once you are experienced enough.
All the best for your future.
 

Rod

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I am now proof that age is not an insurmountable barrier for mature age (very mature age :)) law students.

Not easy, and takes a little while to craft your key selling points. What I recommend is practice your approach on firms where you don't stand much chance before going after the ones you really want a job in.
 
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