I am currently undertaking my final rotation in the Intellectual Property & Technology (IPTech) practice group in Baker McKenzie’s graduate program, having already completed rotations in our Corporate Markets and Banking & Finance teams. I start the day by checking my emails and updating the to-do list I made from last night. It looks like it will be a busy day. I need to get 2 billable advices and 1 pro bono advice out today, and will also be presenting a Professional Development training session at lunch. Fortunately, nothing urgent appears in my inbox, but I do have an email from my supervising Partner that there may be a new matter kicking off today. I send off a quick email letting her know my capacity and that I will have time to discuss the matter towards the end of today. An important tip for being a successful junior lawyer is clear communication with your work providers so that you can manage expectations accordingly.
Now that I have a clear plan for the day, I message a couple other grads and go up to our firm’s café. One of the great perks about working at Bakers is that we have our own café and barista. Apart from saving us all a lot of time and money, it is also a great tool for doing business development with potential clients and other members of the legal profession, not to mention the great quality coffee. I grab my hazelnut latte and enjoy the view of the harbour for a minute and then head back down to work.
My first piece of work for the day is a billable advice for a multi-national BigTech Company on the soon to be passed Online Safety Bill 2021. One of the cool things about working in the IPTech group is that you always get to work with some really well-known and well-regarded technology clients. Another cool thing is that with all the new developments in this area of the law, sometimes you can become the team’s ‘go to person’ on a particular topic even while still a junior in the group. The first piece of advice I ever worked on for this team was in relation to this same bill for a separate client. Since then, four other clients have requested advice on this exact topic. As a result, I have become the first port of call in the team for questions about this new proposed legislation.
I finish the online safety advice and send it off to the Partner for his final review. Now there is about half an hour until I will be presenting to the firm for a Professional Development training session. Being a presenter is a good way to increase your profile within the firm and also develop your knowledge on particular legal topics. The topic on which I will be presenting today is the implications of the Online Safety Bill 2021. Fortunately, I am in the right state of mind having just finished an advice on the topic, and so I head to the conference room to set up and do a quick last minute rehearsal.
Presentation time! I am a little nervous with so many people in the room and watching online, but I trust that I know the topic well and spend the next 50 minutes going through the various components of this proposed piece of legislation, as well as the industry criticisms of it and a case study of an advice Baker McKenzie prepared on the Bill recently.
The last 10 minutes are reserved for question and discussion time, and fortunately, with the Bill being so new, it seems most the audience is still trying to digest the information and I don’t get any questions that are too difficult to answer.
As I am quite busy today, I head downstairs and grab some sushi and take a short walk along the newly opened Barangaroo Foreshore Walk. The view never gets old!
Moving on now to the second billable advice I need to complete today. This advice is a very fun piece of work, as it revolves around computer and mobile phone game user-interface flows and design. The other really awesome thing about this advice is that the team here in Sydney actually received it from my supervising Partner during my time in the Shanghai office. It is a great way to keep in touch with the connections I made with overseas lawyers and just another benefit of working at such an international law firm.
I get a little stuck halfway through the advice, so I grab a meeting room with my Partner and we spend about 20 minutes brainstorming. Now with the scope and direction of the advice clearer to me, I get back to work to meet the 3:30 pm deadline.
I finish the advice and send it off to the Partner for a quick final review before we send it off to the client. I then head back up to the café to catch up with my former supervising Partner and an Associate from my previous rotation. It is always good to keep in touch with people even when you are no longer in their team. Baker McKenzie is structured in a way where you will often be collaborating with other teams on matters.
I know I have a meeting in about 20 minutes, so there would be no point starting my Pro Bono advice just yet. Instead, I head over to my Partner’s table to discuss the new matter she mentioned in her email this morning. We have just received new instructions from an international company for advice on Australian food labeling requirements. I ask about the deadline for the advice. I have until the end of the week, so I make a note to start on the advice first tomorrow morning.
For the next hour, I have a meeting to discuss the future of work at Baker McKenzie. We come together on a weekly basis to discuss how our workplace should look in the post COVID19 environment. As the youngest member of the committee, it is important for me to present the preferences and survey results of the more junior members of the Firm in relation to topics such as flexible working arrangements, personal and professional development and training, and technology. We brainstorm ideas about training programs to increase the capacity for more flexibility around working arrangements before putting in a date and time for the meeting next week. Being part of this dialogue is very important to me, as it gives me the opportunity to contribute directly to setting Baker McKenzie up for success in the years to come.
Finally, I get to work on the Pro Bono advice I have to complete today. Another Junior Associate from the Melbourne office and I have been working on this advice for about a week. Fortunately, we have already done the bulk of the work, and don’t expect it to take too much longer to complete.
I jump on a zoom call with my Melbourne colleague and we spend the next hour digging through the laws and regulations governing domestic violence in each of Australia’s states and territories as well as at the federal level. I really enjoy doing Pro Bono work; the subject matter is typically very different from the topics usually associated with my commercial work. It is also great that I get to work with a colleague from another office. We organise to grab lunch together when she is next working from the Sydney office at the end of the month.
By 6:30 pm, we are almost done with the advice, with potentially half an hour to an hour left of work. I head up to the kitchen to grab the dinner the Firm provides for a bit more energy for this final push.
We manage to finish the advice. It was a lot quicker than we anticipated. We send off the final advice and I pack my laptop into my bag as I am planning to work from home tomorrow. I like to use my commute to to complete my admin tasks. On the train home, I open up my laptop and close all my time for the day. I also spend 5 minutes making my to-do list for tomorrow.