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  • #5 in Law
  • 1,000 - 50,000 employees

Claudia Wyer

Ashurst seems to attract really fantastic people who make coming to work enjoyable. I most enjoy tasks where I am able to collaborate closely with my colleagues.

Where did you grow up? 

I was born in Brisbane and have lived here my whole life.  I went straight from graduating high school to studying science at university.  After I graduated from science, I was very unsure about my next move.  I didn't consider the career prospects with a science degree to be very promising without further study.  I worked full-time as a medical receptionist for the first half of the year and in the latter half, I worked in Timor-Leste teaching anatomy with a NGO.  It was while I was in Timor-Leste that I decided I wanted to study law.

How did you get to your current job position?

I completed a clerkship in the Disputes team at Ashurst in the summer of 2016.  I was thrilled to be offered a graduate position with the firm and commenced the graduate program in March 2018.  I was admitted as a solicitor in December 2018 and have been at Ashurst for almost two years now.

How did you choose your specialisation?

Ahead of starting my graduate program at Ashurst, I was fairly certain that I wanted to eventually settle in the Disputes team doing insurance work and was particularly interested in medical negligence.  However, after completing my final rotation in Corporate Transactions, I discovered that I was probably better suited to transactional work.

What was your interview process like? 

I found the clerkship process quite daunting at first.  However, my interview at Ashurst was a very positive experience.  The HR consultant and special counsel who interviewed me made me feel very comfortable at the outset.  I was not asked any technical / legal questions (which I was a bit afraid of at the time!) or questions about the firm.  Rather, the interview was an opportunity for me to get a feel for the firm and its people and the interviewers to get to know a bit more about me and my experiences other than what could be condensed to a cover letter and a CV.   

What does your employer do?

Ashurst is a leading and progressive international law firm and a trusted advisor to local and global corporates, financial institutions, and governments on all areas of commercial law.

What are your areas of responsibility?

As a junior lawyer in the Corporate Transactions team at Ashurst, my responsibility is to assist with a range of tasks including drafting transaction and other ancillary documents, undertaking due diligence and legal research.  I am also a team leader of LawRight's Homeless Persons' Legal Clinic at Ashurst.  I really enjoy the greater level of autonomy and responsibility that I have in these pro bono files.  Volunteering with the clinic is a great opportunity for juniors to get hands-on experience (eg interviewing clients) that they might not otherwise get until later on in their careers.

Can you describe a typical workday?

Each day can be very different.  Generally, I come in to work, have a coffee, read my emails, have a look at my calendar, develop a plan for the day and begin to work my way through it.  My day might involve drafting or reviewing documents, attending meetings, working on pro bono files and attending continuing legal education presentations.

What are the career prospects with your job?

The career prospects include the traditional path of becoming a senior associate and then counsel or partner.  There are also opportunities for secondments at Ashurst.  Many lawyers also move to clients as in-house counsel.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Obviously, you need to have a law degree and be an admitted lawyer.  But yes, I think someone with a different background can definitely switch careers and study law.  I think that legal practice particularly lends itself to people with varied backgrounds.  Our clients are from a range of industries and having diverse lawyers brings a variety of perspectives to the table, allows lawyers to understand their client's business better and deliver innovative solutions.

What would your career be if you weren’t doing what you’re doing now? 

If I wasn't a lawyer, I would have liked to have studied medicine and become a specialist.  Journalism, or writing generally, has also always appealed to me.

What do you love the most about your job? 

The people at the firm.  Ashurst seems to attract really fantastic people who make coming to work enjoyable.  I most enjoy tasks where I am able to collaborate closely with my colleagues.

What’s the biggest limitation of your job? 

I think when considering law as a career it is important to understand that many leading law firms will expect you to be committed to providing clients with exceptional service.  This often includes meeting deadlines with fast turn-around times and involves complex issues.  Of course, this aspect of law can be quite stressful and overwhelming at times.  I think it is important to ensure that you are working in an environment that recognises this and has the appropriate support systems in place.  In saying that, I have never worked on a weekend in my current team.

Which three pieces of advice would you give to a current university student? 

  1. Get involved as much as possible, early on, in both your university and extra-curricular life.  It is very difficult to build your CV in the couple of months before you are submitting clerkship or job applications.
  2. This ties into the first, but expose yourself to and accept as many opportunities as possible (even if they are challenging or out of your comfort zone).  I always look back with gratitude on opportunities that seemed daunting at first, but I took on anyway.
  3. Seek out assistance and use resources effectively.  Whether you have your career path planned out or not, your university faculty careers advisor is a great person to consult with regarding work experience, writing cover letters and CVs and interviewing skills.  Often, these people have come from firms themselves so know what they are looking for in applicants.