JLU: Junior Lawyers' Union

Asserting the rights of junior lawyers, who have much more power than they realise.

Sunday, December 03, 2006


So the summer's first batch of doe-eyed vacation clerks has arrived and they are currently doing their thing at firms around the nation.

"Their thing" broadly entails:
(a) nodding over-zealously and looking far too interested when engaged in conversation;
(b) pretending to anyone who'll listen that they're desperate to become life-long commercial lawyers;
(c) displaying an abject inability to distinguish between the people who have the final say as to whether they end up with articles and the people who clean the toilets; and
(d) drinking.

As a result of the above, you'll easily be able to identify the vacation clerks at your firm. They're the ones standing in the library, earnestly telling a research assistant how much they enjoyed Equity and how fascinating they found Corporations Law.

Most of all, though, the vacation clerks are distinguishable from the sullen rest of the firm because they still possess that sweet bird of youth long since extinguished in everyone else. We others are worn down by day upon wearying day of air conditioned offices, fluorescent lighting and constant brow furrowing. In contrast, the vacation clerks glide around looking decidedly nubile.

A few other brief observations about vacation clerks:

1. They're uni students so they wear the same suit every day for four weeks. Thus, while they might be better looking than us, we're far more sophisticated.

2. Older partners often find much amusement in chortling, "Having looked over your profiles, if I were applying for articles now, I'd never have got a job here. Ha ha ha."
That's because, in addition to supreme marks and extensive co-curricular involvement, each clerk is now expected to have saved the world at least twice by the age of 21. And most have too. (Or at least that's what their CVs say.) Such breadth of experience is ideal preparation, of course, for a year or two of discovery.

3. HR conveners of vacation clerk events appear to have assumed that entertaining the vacation clerks involves plying them with vast quantities of alcohol. Every event includes drinks. This approach may hold some appeal for the battle-hardened lawyer masses who leap at opportunities to drown our sorrows but the vacation clerks seem to know better. Shame really. They'd be so much more entertaining completely sozzled.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh dear, too true, too true. It's all so sad really. I was never really that successful as a vacation clerk. I didn't get that knack of showing off to all and sundry. Even when drunk!

05 December, 2006 22:18  
Anonymous Final year said...

it's sad because it's true. you accurately described me right down to the same tired suit!
maybe i've seen you in the lift or the corridor, but i doubt i'd pick you out from the rest of the grey matter.

05 December, 2006 23:20  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now, now... let's not say things about free alcohol that can't be taken back.

06 December, 2006 23:20  
Blogger Shop Steward said...

You'd know me, FY. I'm the one with that glint of hope in my eye that only comes with impending freedom.

Hope your suit manages to get a dry clean between any serious Friday night drinks and the following Monday morning. There's nothing worse than trying to scrape bar grime off your trousers on your way to work.

11 December, 2006 14:54  
Blogger Shop Steward said...

Don't be so sure about the alcohol being "free". You'll pay for it in due course. Oh how you'll pay.

11 December, 2006 14:55  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am shocked at how important these vacational clerks think they are. I know of a once vacational clerk (now junior lawyer at a top tire law firm) who was offered articles at two (very different) firms. When it came time to break the news to the firm he was rejecting, this person took flowers to the HR manager and told her in person. I also understand that this bloke was almost close to tears.....

21 December, 2006 05:54  

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