What’s your job title?
I am a final-seat graduate, currently in the Litigation and Disputes Resolution team.
What did you study? When did you graduate?
I studied a Bachelor of Laws/ Bachelor of Arts in Communications (Social Inquiry) at the University of Technology Sydney and graduated in March 2017.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in the North Shore in Sydney and went to school at Loreto Kirribilli. From an early age, my parents instilled in me a love of travelling and a desire to learn from different cultures. Whilst at university, I volunteered abroad including developing a social business initiative in southern India and working for a public interest law firm in China.
How did you get to your current job position?
I first joined Clifford Chance through the 2016/2017 clerkship program. Following my clerkship, I was a paralegal in both the Corporate and Litigation and Disputes Resolution teams. In March 2018 I commenced the two-year graduate program and am about to settle as an associate in the Corporate team.
How did you choose your specialisation?
Upon finishing university, I was choosing between specialising in human rights law and corporate law. Whilst these may seem very different, both intrinsically involve working closely with people and understanding how the law plays a role in structuring society. Clifford Chance was an obvious choice for me, it is one of the few truly international firms in the Australian market. Clifford Chance embraces innovation and collaboration in working with clients across our global network, whilst also recognising the importance of responsible business, community and pro bono initiatives.
What was your interview process like?
The interview process was thorough but incredibly rewarding. I was asked varied questions regarding my work experience and studies, ethical scenarios, topical news items, and commercial legal problems. In order to best perform in an interview, a candidate should be able to confidently answer why they want the job, an interviewer will quickly realize if you aren't passionate about or engaged with the work that the business does.
What does your employer do?
Clifford Chance is one of the world's pre-eminent law firms with significant depth and range of resources across five continents. In Australia, the firm has offices in Sydney and Perth, with core practice areas in Corporate, Banking & Finance, Litigation & Dispute Resolution, and Antitrust & Competition.
One of the things that attracted me about the firm is that you get to work at the cutting edge of commercial law, on some of the most significant and complex deals and issues. You can see immediately also that the firm prides itself on its approachable, collegiate and team-based way of working.
The firm's clients include many leading businesses from all the commercial and industrial sectors, governments, regulators, trade bodies and not for profit organisations, operating across a wide variety of markets, cultures, and languages. Often, the work is cross-border, which means it combines local knowledge with the breadth and depth of the firm's global network. As a lawyer, this is incredible for your professional development as you get to work with colleagues from all across the world.
What are your areas of responsibility?
As a graduate, you are expected to support your team, which can involve case or matter management, legal drafting, and research tasks. A great team will encourage you to be invested in your work, develop personal relationships with colleagues and take advantage of career opportunities, such as running a particular workstream.
Can you describe a typical workday?
Currently, I am working on a professional negligence case regarding a publicly listed ASX200 company in the Supreme Court of New South Wales. It is multifaceted and explores aspects of legal professional privilege, insolvency, director's duties and financing. My "typical day" could involve anything from assisting in witness interviews to drafting a court document to participating in team strategy meetings.
What are the career prospects of your job?
Due to the diversity of work that lawyers undertake, your career prospects are endless. In the legal field, you may progress through a law firm to become a partner, become in-house legal counsel for a financial institution or business, be a barrister or even a magistrate or judge. The skills that you develop as a lawyer are also applicable to any number of other non-legal careers, such as working in commercial and industry-focused businesses, governments, regulators, trade bodies and not-for-profit organisations.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
Definitely – you just need to be keenly inquisitive, analytical, organised and proactive. Anyone who has an appetite for problem-solving, understanding the intricacies of businesses and teamwork can be a corporate lawyer.
What would your career be if you weren’t doing what you’re doing now?
I would probably be working for a large multinational corporation, most likely in the tech space.
What do you love the most about your job?
Without a doubt, the people. I thoroughly enjoy speaking with and meeting clients to understand their most complex, strategic and reputation critical opportunities and challenges. I get great satisfaction in helping them grow and succeed.
What’s the biggest limitation of your job?
Any job has its demanding and stressful days, what is important is that you love what you do so that it outweighs those moments. Late night and weekend work can sometimes be a feature of my job, but with the rise of flexi-working arrangements, there is a markable improvement with work-life balance.
Which three pieces of advice would you give to a current university student?