Legal Recruitment from Ten-Percent Legal

Friday, May 16, 2008

Jobs for Australian law students

Every year we get emails and telephone calls from law students and graduates in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa with requests for advice. Usually the advice comes in the form of an email about two pages long and lists all qualifications the person has and requests assistance or advice in finding a suitable law job in the UK.

Often the person is fairly gifted, has a bit of work experience, and is travelling round the world on a student visa. They contact a lot of agencies in the UK to see if they can pick up some work whilst they are travelling.

It has got to the stage now where our agency ( is unable to help or even read their emails simply because of the number, and we have to delete them without giving detailed advice.

Therefore I hope this blog entry is picked up by Australian and New Zealand law students as the best advice that our company can give.

Firstly, we are unable to assist you find temporary placements or get work experience in the UK. Our agency primarily deals with solicitors and legal executives with UK experience. Although we do locum work, this again tends to be for qualified solicitors and legal executives and not law students or graduates.

There are agencies in the London area who deal with such placements on a regular basis and are often on the lookout for suitable candidates for short term contracts. I am unable to give details of these agencies, because I am not sure they would be grateful to me for the referrals as I suspect they are fairly inundated with applications. The sort of work you would be doing would be photocopying, proofreading, collating and answering queries on files. It tends to be done en masse, with rather a lot of others checking similar documents in a large room or in a basement. You could find yourself working for the likes of Clifford Chance, Linklaters or Freshfields, being paid a reasonable amount of money for the work.

If you were thinking of doing high street work or smaller commercial practice work it is probably not going to happen for you, as the competition to get unqualified legal work is immense and the posts simply do not come up in enough numbers to enable any one agency to have regular placements for anyone travelling and looking for a few months work. It is possible to get it, and it is also possible to get work in local authority and government departments dealing with legal issues but again, it does tend to be more on an ad hoc basis than with any certainty that the post will be there.

In summary, my advice is that is unable to assist with such legal recruitments, but there are agencies out there who are able to help, although you will need to find them.

Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten Percent Legal Recruitment ( He regularly writes and commentates on the state of the legal profession and gives advice to law students and graduates free of charge on the website or by email at

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