Wendy Mansell K&L Gates Graduate

Wendy Mansell

Macquarie University
Wendy studied a Bachelor of Arts (Media) with a bachelor of Laws at Macquarie University

Why did you choose K&L Gates?

I chose K&L Gates because they seemed to be one of the truly global firms which to me indicated seemingly endless career opportunities. I was a summer clerk at the firm in 2016/2017 and had a really positive experience as I found everyone to be super helpful, welcoming and accommodating. So when I was offered a graduate position I couldn't say no.

What was the one thing that surprised you most about your graduate year?

It sounds a bit cliché but I have been surprised as to how much fun it has been, particularly in terms of the social aspects of the year.  I think being part of a graduate cohort and therefore having many people who are at the same level as you provides a strong support network. It also means that you have the chance to make friends with your peers who are going through the same experiences as you.

There have also been many events we are able to participate in which makes it easy to develop relationships with people throughout the firm. For example, in August the grads got to run a firm wide trivia night which was certainly an entertaining night. Also, most of the grads along with many others from the firm attended the JP Morgan Corporate Challenge, a running event at Centennial Park which was a whole lot of competitive fun.

What does a typical day look like for you?

I can't really say that I have a "typical day" as pretty much every day is different. I am currently in the Commercial Technology and Outsourcing team where the type of work we do can be extremely varied, due to the interesting and unique clients we work for. Sometimes I spend time researching fascinating areas of privacy or technology law, or I assist in drafting large commercial agreements and contracts, while other days I attend client meetings or negotiations. We also run the Cyberwatch: Australia blog,  so I am usually given the chance to blog about interesting events in the cyber and tech world.

What's the most challenging aspect of being a graduate?

I think the most challenging aspect is learning how to navigate the firm in general. Adapting to working in such a big place with so many different kinds of people brings about many new and different challenges. This is especially so given that we rotate through 3 teams during the year, however the chance to learn from such a variety of lawyers and become a part of several teams outweighs all of these challenges.

Which three pieces of advice would you give current law students?

Get involved in uni as much as possible as your studying will only take you so far. I have learnt this year that social skills and the ability to network and interact with others is just as important as having knowledge of the law.

What was the interview process like?

The interview process included two rounds of interviews with a Senior Associate for the first round and a Partner for the second round. I found the whole process very straight forward without any unnecessary levels of stress.

Are you part of any K&L Gates initiatives? 

I am part of a few initiatives. I am a member of the social club and I sit on the social club committee here in Sydney. I play netball on the firm's team on Tuesdays which is always fun. I am also a member of INSPIRE, our National LGBTI+ network, which has been a very positive experience. INSPIRE organises regular events including trivia nights at a local venue, information training sessions and various other get togethers and meetings. INSPIRE played an important role in the K&L Gates broader Diversity Committee's "Diversity Challenge" where members of the firm joined teams and participated in a scavenger hunt around the city competing for points and learning about the many different aspects of Sydney's history.

Have you been involved in pro bono work?

I have been involved in some pro bono work. I was able to participate in some meetings with pro bono clients and assist in legal research in preparation for some advice we gave to our pro bono client. I have recently signed up for one of the firm's pro bono initiatives through Justice Connect which I am really looking forward to as it will give me a chance to work in a much broader area of the law.

How much client contact do you have has a graduate?

I have had a fair bit of client contact as a graduate – more than I thought I would. I have attended many client meetings, mediations, court and negotiations with clients. I have been given the chance on occasion to liaise directly with clients via telephone and email.