Mentoring program ‘raises the bar’ for Law students

Law students who took part in the Mentor Program in 2016.

8 March 2017

A unique Mentor Program, matching Law students from The University of Notre Dame Australia with practising lawyers, has been credited with providing the perfect segue into the legal profession in Western Australia.

The program connects students in their fourth and final years at Fremantle’s Law School with lawyers who have five years or less experience in practise and who can provide guidance and advice on issues such as choosing electives, applying for clerkships (legal work experience) and, ultimately, applying for jobs.

Final year Bachelor of Laws student, Andrew Weston, participated in the program in 2016. “Having a mentor who only recently navigated the clerkship application process was invaluable for providing guidance relevant to making applications and successfully gaining work experience,” said Andrew.

“My mentor invited me to meet him and his colleagues for lunch, each of whom had previously participated in the same clerkship program for which I was applying. I learned a great deal regarding the particular skills needed to participate in the clerkship program and, as a result, was able to highlight the appropriate experience in my application, which was ultimately successful.”

Karess Dias’ mentor set the scene with in-depth knowledge of the job market and highlighted the core attributes required by prospective employers.

“I found it really helpful to have someone I could go to with questions about what it was like to make the transition from a student to a lawyer,” said Karess, another final-year Bachelor of Laws student.

The Mentor Program is an initiative of Notre Dame’s School of Law, Fremantle; the School of Law and Justice at Edith Cowan University; and the Young Lawyers Committee of the Law Society of WA and has successfully delivered more than 50 mentor/student partnerships during its four-year history.

Dr Lara Pratt, Notre Dame’s representative on the organising committee, said the program has gained momentum as past participants, who benefitted greatly from the program, had become the “new generation” of mentors.

“This clearly demonstrates that the program is making a positive impact on students past and present. Current students find themselves part of a supportive legal community – a community that they can, in turn, contribute to by offering support to the next cohort of students.”

According to Professor Doug Hodgson, Dean of Notre Dame’s School of Law, the growth of the Mentor Program reflects the benefits to both students and the wider legal community.

“The success is further demonstrated by the fact that two additional WA Law Schools – Curtin Law School and the University of Western Australia Law School – will be joining the foundation partners in delivering the program in 2017 which enables the stakeholders to expand opportunities and build on previous initiatives,” Professor Hodgson said.


Leigh Dawson: Tel (08) 9433 0569; Mob 0405 441 093;