School of Law Mentoring

The Notre Dame Fremantle Law School is pleased to have joined the Young Lawyers Committee of the Law Society of WA (YLC) and Edith Cowan University (ECU) in a Mentoring Programme aimed at helping law students transition from Law School into the profession.

The Notre Dame Fremantle Law School has run informal Mentoring Programmes in the past, drawing on our excellent cohort of alumni. However, with the growth in cohort numbers leading to a disparity between current student numbers relative to the number of alumni, in 2014 the Notre Dame Fremantle Law School decided to participate in the successful programme being run by the YLC in conjunction with ECU. The programme is in its third year of operation and Notre Dame Fremantle Law School is excited to become a partner in this growing programme.

The mentors in the Programme are part of the ‘Young Lawyers’ cohort, defined as having been admitted to practice within the last five years. These Young Lawyers are paired with students in their penultimate and final years of study. Many Law Students have little personal experience with ‘the legal profession’ beyond the experiences provided within their University Studies. Towards the end of their degree, law students are faced with many decisions regarding their studies, choice of professional qualification provider, types of work experience within the profession and, ultimately, applying for graduate positions within the profession. These decisions can seem overwhelming, particularly when students lack family or friends within the profession who they can turn to for guidance.

The Mentoring Programme is intended to provide soon-to-be graduating law students with a personal contact within the legal profession, a contact who has been through the transition from student to graduate to lawyer relatively recently. Students and mentors are encouraged to meet regularly throughout the year and to discuss some of the challenges associated with transitional decisions including choice of electives, the importance of clerkships and internships as well as career path options both within and beyond the big firms. The Law Society has taken a range of professional and personal considerations into account to provide students with a mentor who can provide not merely general guidance, but whose personal experiences are relevant to the student’s own career goals.

The Mentoring Programme officially began with an event at the Law Society of WA attended by Mentors and students as well as members of the Young Lawyers Committee and the staff facilitators Dr Lara Pratt from Notre Dame and Mr Rupert Johnson from ECU.