Practical placement in the UK provides hands-on experience across a vast range of cases.
When law student Jonathan Aldor was offered the chance to tackle real-world legal problems in the UK, he knew it was an opportunity too good to pass up.
Jonathan, a fourth year Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws student, has recently returned from the University of Sunderland Student Law Clinic (SSLC) in England which offers free professional advice to clients who may not be able to afford other legal services.
He learned of the international opportunity while working at the Deakin Venture Law Clinic and says it was immediately appealing.
‘I was excited by the chance to visit part of the UK I would likely to never see otherwise, and gain experience in the UK legal system across a diverse range of practice areas.’
Working fulltime under the supervision of experienced lawyers, Jonathan spent a month gaining hands-on experience within the UK legal system and exploring the similarities – and differences – to Australian law.
‘The range of cases that are managed by students at the clinic is incredibly vast and occasionally, fiendishly complex,’ he recalls.
‘I was able to contribute to a broad range of cases including disputed wills, structuring, civil disputes, and powers of attorney. I worked closely with local students to provide assistance and legal research on a number of matters and I really enjoyed being able to interact with many clients and provide them with quality legal advice.’
Jonathan says that working with SSLC gave him important exposure to a broad range of legal cases which he may not have otherwise encountered.
‘The experience of providing supervised legal advice in the UK jurisdiction was invaluable. I also enjoyed being able to spend time working and interacting with many people from diverse backgrounds.’
Jonathan’s UK work experience was an important building block to the 11-week stint he completed with the Deakin Venture Law Clinic where he helped provide basic corporate and commercial legal advice to emerging Australian start-up companies.
‘This clinic is set up to mimic professional commercial law firms in terms of atmosphere and workflow. It has a strong focus on developing soft skills to prepare students to transition into a commercial law environment. As someone with a well-developed interest in the start-up ecosystem, I was interested to see venture law up-close and its potential career pathways,’ he says.
Entrepreneurial business is an arena Jonathan enjoys and outside his studies, he’s worked with a number of start-up companies and organisations.
‘I was commercial partnerships manager for a travel-shopping company and I also spent time managing research projects for top-tier Australian companies at the Israel-Australia Chamber of Commerce. I’m particularly interested in the contact points between start-ups and established large companies. Much can be done in this area, of which an important portion is related to the legal field,’ he explains.
Also a regular attendee of Young Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce events which are held in Melbourne, Jonathan has been able to tap into professional insights from a range of visiting, distinguished speakers.
‘This year I am also taking part in Chamber’s mentoring program and I now meet regularly with a senior executive and mid-level advisor to discuss my future career,’ he says.
Ideally, Jonathan would like to focus his future career around the areas of commercial law and business as this is where he feels most productive and comfortable.
‘I am increasingly interested in start-up law as a nexus between these interests and the future pathways that I know can lead to a variety of excellent legal careers. The application of law provides a unique opportunity to problem solve in a dynamic and complex environment,’ he says.
Planning to complete his studies in 2019, Jonathan says he feels a strong connection to Deakin Law School and its staff, and appreciates the learning opportunities offered during his study journey.
‘In terms of innovation, forward thinking, organisation and teaching styles, I strongly believe that Deakin is a market-leader.’