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The secret of success? Take your chances says Sam Hall

"Studying law lets students explore numerous life trajectories."

Sam Hall sounds normal enough speaking on the phone as he heads to a top tier Melbourne law firm, where he works as a paralegal.

He lists his achievements like they’re everyday successes of an ordinary legal mind.

But while Deakin Law School (DLS) student Sam is keen to normalise his efforts, he has achieved a great deal in a short period of time.

The good news is, he believes others can do the same.

Last year Sam, was a member of the winning team from DLS at the Vis Moot competition held in Vienna.

Revolving around developing and presenting cases of commercial law in a moot court scenario with the aim of reaching resolution through arbitration, this contest attracts some of the best legal brains and presenters from law schools around the world.

Winning the competition tends to propel people into the legal professional stratosphere, and Sam is grateful for the kudos.

‘The moot win is something intriguing on the CV, a real talking point.’

But beyond this it has also given him a personal edge in job interviews, signifying the real worth of the win in Vienna, and has opened doors he never thought possible.

Sam has already completed three seasonal clerkships in commercial law at some of Australia's top legal firms, and has been so inundated with job offers that he has been obliged to stretch his degree by two years.

It wasn't always so smooth for Sam. Employers weren't knocking on his door with job offers.

‘It took until my third year to get any legal experience or networking,’ he recalls.

It’s the notion of success being 90 per cent perspiration and 10 per cent inspiration that perfectly embodies Sam's initial experience.

‘Hard work and perseverance are the passwords to getting roles in law firms.

‘Students need to keep trying.’

The key, he says, is knowing an opportunity when you see one and acting on it.

Don't be afraid. Take every opportunity that comes to you.’

Based on his experience at Deakin, Sam can’t stress enough the importance of getting to know academic staff.

‘Some students can be a bit intimidated to approach their lecturers and so on, but it really helps to develop these relationships. Some have become referees for me in job applications.’

Studying law isn’t always about becoming a lawyer. The study lets students explore numerous life trajectories taking them in directions they might never have considered.

‘There are different opportunities out there. Even if you don't want to be a lawyer, the skill sets are transferable.

‘What opens doors is being able to think critically, to think effectively.’

Strengths, says Sam, that apply pretty much anywhere professionally. It's all about taking the opportunity.

For Sam, capitalising on what comes his way has already set him on a path to being a leading commercial law litigator and practitioner.

His hard work, willingness and determination appear likely to open many more doors in a bright future, starting with a recent graduate offer from a global law firm, with whom Sam will commence his commercial law career in early 2016.


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