By AUT Law student Emily Kyle
AUT Law Students’ Society acts as a vital link between law students, the faculty, the legal profession and other students. Our aim is to be key source of support to AUT law students’ in every area we possibly can. This includes career and employability support.
AUTLSS supports students in many ways such as:
This year, we are looking at more networking events for our students. We are becoming increasingly aware of how important it is for students to network in order to help their career prospects. In the past, we have organised clerkship information sessions, CV workshops, panel discussions and facilitated the job application process though ADLS. In 2019, we are looking at an event where students can buddy up with someone in the legal industry.
We also hold social and wellness events to build comradery and help keep morale up. In 2018, we had a successful Wellness Week which involved free boxing classes, coffee voucher drops, free breakfast and a panel of graduates speaking on their experiences before and after graduation. Given the success of last year’s Wellness Week, we are planning to hold more wellness events throughout this year.
AUTLSS ordinarily holds social events such as the end of year party, the ball, Log O’ Wood (an inter-faculty sporting weekend event at Waikato university) and the law stein. Sadly, in 2018, we lost funding because of the fallout from the Russell McVeagh issue which curtailed some of our activity. However, for 2019 we are hoping to hold more events that bring the student body together.
At the beginning of the year, we usually hold a mentorship event to pair newer students with more experienced students. It was this event that first sparked my interest in AUTLSS. Being a law student is an entirely new experience and at times it can be quite consuming and stressful. Networking with other students has helped me get through my law degree and AUTLSS events allow other students to meet each other.
Another benefit of taking part in AUTLSS has been the club’s competitions. Every law school in New Zealand has a Law Student Society and every year we run competitions and the winners from each university compete with each other. Last year’s winners went to Christchurch and Adelaide to compete (where our Client Interviewers got runner up). This year the events will be held in Melbourne and Auckland. If students were to get involved with anything in AUTLSS, I would recommend this the most because it is an amazing opportunity to build confidence and meet new people. Also, the competition develops skills you need for the legal professional studies course – the course all graduate lawyers need to complete to be admitted to the bar.
I would recommend that every law student join AUTLSS and get involved in the wellness events and network with each other. Law School can be incredibly hard at times and AUTLSS wants to support students the best they can. We are small, but determined, community that stands out because we are so tight knit! And you never know whether the person next to you at one of our networking events will be the next Chief Justice.
As any keen student would suggest, advocacy is the single most important job for a lawyer. AUTLSS is the main route to advocacy for issues not only between faculty and students, but also between students and the legal profession. There have been situations where AUTLSS executive members have had to hold professionals to account. We are also the messenger when things do not go the students’ way. It can be a very testing and rewarding experience.