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A day in the life of…
Solicitor at King & Wood Mallesons
Aisling Scott studied a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) at University of Queensland in 2015, and is now a solicitor at King & Wood Mallesons.
My alarm blares and I am up. The early mornings are a hangover from my former life as an Australian swimmer. Even when I try to sleep in, I’m up at this time anyway, so I try to put the early hours of the day to good use (while not waking my housemate!).
I’m lucky enough to live walking (running if I’m feeling up to it) distance from the gym so I head to Martin Place and start the day with a work out! I get ready at the gym and then walk just around the corner to work at Governor Philip Tower.
Today I’m still pinching myself as I arrive at work, as I can see the Opera House and Harbour Bridge from our office. I have been in Sydney since March 2018 as part of KWM’s Secondment Program, working in the Project Finance team. Prior to this I clerked in Brisbane and did rotations in the Projects and Real Estate team, and the Dispute Resolution team.
I’ve arrived just in time for a weekly call we have with a client to discuss the progress of one of the matters I work on. It is a really great way for our team, and the client’s in-house legal team, to stay across what everyone has been working on, and the next steps. There are participants on the call from multiple jurisdictions across Australia, as well as overseas!
On these calls I am sometimes asked to lead the discussion on pieces of work that I have taken charge of. While this is daunting at first, there are definitely times where (as the most junior member of the team) I have spent the most amount of time with some of the documents!
Every fortnight my team runs Project Finance training on a different topic. Senior members of the team run these specifically for the junior lawyers, and we are encouraged to ask questions! This week we are learning about hedging and how the documents are structured. I find this fascinating, but extraordinarily difficult!
The team does this training because of the varied and broad nature of the work we are required to do in Project Finance. The work that we do includes acting for sponsors and financiers in relation to major infrastructure and renewable energy projects across multiple jurisdictions. The team is a busy one, but they haven’t been too busy to ensure that I am being exposed to interesting and varied work, and that I am getting plenty of training. Everyone is approachable, and willing to answer any and all of my questions. They have also been more than happy to involve me in projects that I am particularly interested in. By way of example, I had expressed an interest in acting on renewable energy projects, and I have already been involved in both wind and solar farm projects, and know there are plenty more in the pipeline. I feel very privileged to have such an experienced team invest their time and energy into expanding my legal capabilities.
By now I am desperate for a coffee and some breakfast. I keep an almost embarrassing amount of snacks on my desk at all times, but KWM also has a café so I head up there with some of my colleagues for a coffee and to grab some avocado on toast.
When I get back to my desk after breakfast I’m also excited to see my online shopping has been delivered to the KWM mailroom and is making its way to my desk! I mention this to my colleagues and they laugh because I have quite the penchant for ordering things online!
I’ve settled in for the morning and am completing a task that can be quite common in transactions where KWM acts for banks. On this deal we act for a syndicated group of lenders.
I have the current draft of a facility agreement for an infrastructure project and am preparing a table of key regimes to provide to our clients. As part of this exercise, I am comparing the clauses we are interested in with similar projects KWM has worked on in the past. This is to check whether the current transaction is in line with, or better than market standards.
I have a quick lunch at my desk as we have a meeting to go to at 1pm, and it is all hands on deck to get everything ready. On Sunday I usually cook up a big batch of roast vegetables and throw these into a quick salad for my lunch every day. This saves me precious time (not to mention money) during the week.
I am asked to attend a meeting with some of the more senior members of my team, and we head upstairs to a conference room after a final mad flurry of printing enough copies of all the relevant documents for everyone (as more than 20 people are coming to this meeting!) The meeting is a “page turn” of a particularly large document. After we all order the beverage of our choice from KWM’s hospitality staff, we get to work! The aim of such an exercise is to ensure that everyone is across the drafting of particularly important documents in a transaction, and for KWM to answer any questions our clients have or to explain why we have drafted something in a particular way.
The reason so many people have to attend meetings like this (or similar conference done by phone) is because of the size of the deals we are working on. On major infrastructure projects for example you can have dozens of banks involved, each with a handful of people on the project.
After the meeting I am back at my desk. I fix myself a cup of tea and am asked to help with preparing a package of amending deeds to amend a suite of documents entered into more than a decade ago. This is an interesting exercise as it requires you to work out how the various documents work together and the flow on effect an amendment to one has to the others. Tasks like this are time consuming, but rewarding. I even get a “great work” email from the Senior Associate I am helping.
After I finish what I’m working on, I check in with my team and make sure no one else needs anything from me tonight. Communication and teamwork are so important in a law firm, and I am always keen to help where I can.
I am given the okay to leave, and as I live so close to work, I walk home. Normally I stop in at a few shops on the walk home, or take a different route to explore Sydney a little more… but tonight I’m going to Korean BBQ in Haymarket with an old friend of mine who also moved to Sydney, so I head straight there! We have also made plans to head to the beach this weekend, making the most of my time here.
After dinner I’m home and ready for bed (ie ready for a food coma). I fix myself a cup of tea and settle in with my book! I’m currently reading Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. My eyes are tired though, after a long day, and I’ll probably only get through a page or two!
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