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DLA Piper Australia

  • 1,000 - 50,000 employees

Thanaya Naidu

The graduate program is a great opportunity to experience working in commercial law and there is no expectation that graduates have prior work experience in the legal industry.

What's your job about?

DLA Piper is global law firm that offers a full range of legal services with a focus on quality and value to our clients. DLA Piper has offices in more than 40 countries with the aim of positioning ourselves to help our clients with their legal needs around the world. On a day to day basis we work with teams in other countries to provide clients the best possible service.

I clerked with DLA Piper in 2019/2020 and worked in Finance, Projects and Restructuring. This experience was eye opening and rewarding as it gave me the opportunity to work alongside the restructuring team who advised one of the largest steel and power companies in the world. We collaborated with lawyers from our Singapore and London offices.

In 2021 I began my graduate programme and am currently completing my first rotation in Litigation & Regulation. Graduates at DLA Piper get to rotate in three different teams which gives us the opportunity to see what style of work and practice group we prefer. 

Every day I get to work on a few different matters and am exposed to various aspects of the law from construction to insurance to the duties of medical professionals. Generally, timetables or deadlines in litigation are determined by the Court which means that you can prepare in advance. I like this because I can organise my time efficiently. As I have only been in the team for a couple of months I generally complete complex research, attend court proceedings or meetings with solicitors and draft internal documents.

What's your background?

I was born in South Africa and moved to Sydney when I was 2. I attended my local government primary and high school and had inspiring teachers who helped me develop my interpersonal skills and fostered my interests in justice and advocacy. Travelling pre-pandemic was a major part of my life and a passion instilled by my parents. We were fortunate enough to regularly travel and visit family overseas. In year 10 I went on exchange to Germany where I lived with a host family and attended school with my host sister.

As a creative person, my life is filled with dance classes, band practice and drama rehearsals. I considered a career allied to dance but I was interested in law and politics.  After school, I took a gap semester to complete my graduation in classical Indian Dancing, Bharatnatyum. This experience developed my work ethic and tenacity.

I decided to go to ANU and loved living on campus, in a different city.  I was not sure whether I wanted to become a lawyer or work in economic policy. So I did an undergraduate degree and during this time worked in a few law firms, interned in government organisations and decided that I wanted to become a practicing solicitor. Off to law school I went. I was lucky enough to work in a CLC and a law firm as a paralegal during my Juris Doctor and was the VP (Careers) on the ANU Law Students Society.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

100%, yes! There are people of all cultural and social backgrounds with different life and educational experience at DLA Piper. This is something I love about the firm. We all have something unique to offer and it’s really interesting getting to know your colleagues. I think as long as you have good interpersonal skills, are proactive, hard-working and have a law degree you can become a graduate. The graduate program is a great opportunity to experience working in commercial law and there is no expectation that graduates have prior work experience in the legal industry.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

Even as a graduate I get to see my work being used as the basis for an advice to a client, in court documents or by a barrister. It is super rewarding and to see how the work you are completing forms part of the end product my team produces.  

What are the limitations of your job?

In my current team we are conscious of  catering to our clients’ needs as efficiently as possible. As a junior, it can be tricky to determine the best way to deliver our services effectively.

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

  1. Don’t burn yourself out! There is so much pressure to study, work, do internships, be involved in societies etc. It is important to learn what your limits are and stick to them.
  2. Find a hobby or activity which is just for you, not something to bolster your resume or network but just something for fun.
  3. Be genuine and do things that make you the best version of you.