In conversation with Sinead Nolan, law student and in-house clerk at MNF Group
Sinead is a fifth-year UTS Journalism/Law student, and an in-house law clerk at global telecommunications provider MNF Group. We met the wonderful Sinead in July 2019, as she was one of eight students to participate in the inaugural ACC and TLC in-house clerkship program, where we placed top law students with in-house legal teams. Sinead speaks about what made her want to study law, and shares her learnings from the clerkship program.
TLC: What made you want to study law?
SN: I’ve always loved researching and writing. In fact, when I was a kid, I wanted to be a writer! However, as I engaged in public speaking and mock trial during high school, I soon realised that law would be the perfect way to utilise all of my key passions - researching, writing AND public speaking. My sister is a lawyer so I also always admired how hard she worked to become an expert in her field. The idea of studying law and using my legal expertise to help people and resolve challenging problems seemed very appealing, so I applied to study law at UTS and I’ve never looked back.
TLC: Tell us about your recent in-house clerkship experience. How did you find the experience? What did you learn?
SN: I had an amazing in-house clerkship experience at MNF Group, an ASX-listed, global provider of telecommunications software and services. I was really excited to start the clerkship, especially after receiving excellent training from Jess at The Learned Crew. At the training, I learned so much about the role and skills of an in-house lawyer. I also learned the basics of various areas of law, so that I felt ready to hit-the-ground-running on my first day. The training also provided excellent practical tasks including prioritising emails/tasks in a busy inbox and marking up a contract.
At the clerkship, I couldn’t have asked for a bigger welcome from the in-house legal team. Helen and Kasey never hesitated to answer my questions and provide me with advice on the industry. I didn’t know exactly what to expect, so I was so happy for the opportunity to do a range of tasks for the team. During my clerkship, I learned how to review and mark-up contracts, engage in commercial meetings, research complex areas of law and propose changes to company policies. I also learned about the importance of having business acumen in an in-house lawyer role. Overall, it was a brilliant clerkship experience. I’m excited to continue to apply these new skills throughout my career!
TLC: What is the one skill you learned during the clerkship that you didn't know about before?
SN: Reviewing and marking-up contracts! I had studied contracts at university, but I hadn’t actually picked up a tangible contract and reviewed it or proposed changes for a legal team before. It was intimidating at first, but by the end of my clerkship, I felt confident in knowing what provisions to look out for and what questions to ask.
TLC: What is your one piece of advice to fellow law students?
SN: Never doubt yourself. Self-doubt is often the only thing stopping you from achieving your goals. Instead of worrying about whether you can do a certain role, just apply and give it your absolute best shot. I always apply for a range of positions, even if I know I may not be as experienced as other applicants. The more places you apply and put yourself out there, the more likely you’ll get back offers for wonderful opportunities!