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DLA Piper Australia

  • 1,000 - 50,000 employees

Daisy Eales

Get a legal job or volunteer position as soon as possible. If you can land a legal job in your first year, it makes getting a clerkship and subsequently a grad job a whole lot easier!

What's your job about?

DLA Piper is a leading global law firm. We specialise in a variety of commercial practices across many different industries. As a law graduate at DLA Piper, I am lucky enough to be able to do three different 6 month rotations through three of our teams before finally settling in the one that I enjoy the most. Currently, I am doing my first rotation through the Employment team.

Our Employment team works closely with large commercial clients such as hospitals and insurers. We assist them with resolving difficult employee disputes and other employment related matters. We also assist the Corporate team with employment due diligence for any major commercial deals they are making. As DLA Piper is a global law firm, we also have many international clients which we advise about the relevant employment law in Australia. The work is varied and involves both litigation and transactional work, which means you can never quite be sure what you will do in an average day!

My role in the team is similarly diverse. So far, I have been able to attend conciliations with the Fair Work Commission, assist with ongoing litigation involving particularly difficult plaintiffs, undertake due diligence on a large corporate deal and work on a breach of privacy matter that is very unique in its facts. As the nature of the work means we are always dealing with people, every single day is unpredictable and different.

What's your background?

I grew up mainly in Melbourne, Australia but I have moved over 14 times in my life so far and lived in Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales. However, I always felt that Melbourne was home so my family returned here, where I completed high school and decided to attend the University of Melbourne. I completed a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Spanish and Latin American studies and International Politics. I then decided to get a real life perspective on what I’d learnt at University, so I took 6 months off to travel the world, including spending three months in Latin America.

When I returned, I commenced my Juris Doctor at Melbourne Law School. It was hard work but I made so many amazing friends and was able to be a part of some really life changing experiences. I volunteered and worked part-time throughout law school before I applied for a clerkship at DLA Piper. After my clerkship, I was offered a graduate position and now here we are!

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Yes of course! The law is an inherently diverse profession and I actually think the best lawyers are those that have additional skills beyond just knowledge of the law. Law is able to be combined with any background or skillset to provide specialist knowledge and useful insights.

In respect of DLA Piper in particular, it’s global nature and wide range of clients means that we are a very diverse firm who are always looking to find someone with new skills and interests. I feel the main characteristics that are necessary for this job are to be hard-working, resilient, innovative and collaborative. If you are dedicated to doing your best and really contributing to your team, I think you will be able to do this job successfully!

What's the coolest thing about your job?

I think the coolest thing about my job are the huge variety of opportunities that are available to me, even as someone just starting their career! For example, throughout my Employment rotation I am also undertaking a part-time secondment at Justice Connect in their Innovation team. I am assisting with the building of a legal AI tool that will promote access to justice and is also the first of its kind in Australia. The firm was so supportive of me undertaking this secondment as they knew it aligned strongly with my interests in developing legal technology.

What are the limitations of your job?

I think the biggest limitation of the job is probably the hours of work. While it is not everyday and it does depend on the team you are working for, generally commercial law does require longer work days and occasionally can require work in the evenings or even on weekends. This makes loving what you do and feeling well supported in your team very important, as you will be likely to spend a lot of time in your team and at work. However, since the introduction of flexible working, this work-life balance has become a little easier and means less time at the office!

3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...

  1. Get a legal job or volunteer position as soon as possible. If you can land a legal job in your first year, it makes getting a clerkship and subsequently a grad job a whole lot easier!
  2. Cultivate your hobbies while at University. Once you start working full time, it will be harder to find the time to fit anything new into your routine. If you already have those extracurriculars ingrained as part of your daily life, this will give you a mental break from work and ensure you keep a good work-life balance.
  3. Try everything! Potentially the trickiest part of your career development will be finding which area of the law is your passion, especially if you are like me and are interested in a lot of different things. Therefore, while you are at University take advantage of all the competitions, the guest lectures, the clubs and events, and try to discover what your interest areas are at an early stage. This will help you start to adjust your path and eventually end up somewhere where you love the destination.