Minter Ellison Law Scholarship

Ben Clarke off to a great start

We are thrilled Minter Ellison have again committed to support the annual Minter Ellison Law Scholarship, valued at $4,400 per year, for the next four years. Minter Ellison established the scholarship in 2011 with the aim of supporting full-time students from backgrounds that are currently under-represented in the South Australian legal profession.

These include Indigenous students, students from a non-English speaking background, students who are financially disadvantaged, those from a rural or remote location, and students with a disability.

One of the first recipients of the Minter Ellison Law Scholarship, Ben Clarke, graduated in March this year with a Bachelor of Laws and, independent of the scholarship, was selected for a summer clerkship with the firm. After a successful summer placement, Ben has recently won an advertised position on merit in the workers compensation team at Minter Ellison.

Ben says that he is very grateful for the financial support that he received through the Minter Ellison Law Scholarship.

“In 2012, the scholarship assisted me to travel to Malaysia to undertake a four week internship at Thomas Philip Advocates and Solicitors, a firm specialising primarily in litigation and dispute resolution,” says Ben.

“In addition to this, the scholarship also helped me to travel overseas in 2013 to study on a Human Rights Exchange Program in Geneva, Switzerland, and to also gain further work experience with 9-12 Bell Yard Chambers in Central London.

“Most importantly however, it was through these experiences that I was able to enhance my personal and professional skills, which in turn increased my employment prospects to allow me to obtain a graduate position at Minter Ellison.”

Ben found the Law degree at UniSA gave him a concrete understanding of practising law in the real world.

“For example, you are expected to participate in negotiations, oral presentations and moots, as well as conduct client interviews and witness examinations numerous times throughout your degree,” he says.

“I found this to be extremely rewarding as it gave me the opportunity to develop these skills from the outset of my career, which I now demonstrate on a daily basis in my work as a graduate lawyer.”

We asked Ben if he had any tips for other graduates about negotiating the current tight market for law graduates in South Australia at present.

“I believe it is important to recognise at an early point in your degree that you need to differentiate yourself from the competitive market of law students who are flooding out of the gates of law schools in the Adelaide region,” he says.

“To do this, I recommend putting yourself out there and demonstrating that you have the ability to step out of your comfort zone as a means of personal and professional development.

“In this regard, the best advice I can give is to volunteer as much as time as you can (unpaid work experience in particular), show prospective employers that you are somehow different from the rest by taking responsibility for your own learning and development, and to always say “yes” to every opportunity that comes your way.”

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