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A day in the life of…
Consultant (lawyer), Deals, Tax & Legal at KPMG
Bianca Weiss studied a Bachelor of Arts (Media & Communications) (English Literature) and a Juris Doctor. Bianca is a lawyer in Deals, Tax & Legal at KPMG.
I’m always up early, because I live a while away from the office (unless I work from home in which case I’ll always sleep in!). First priority when I get up in the morning is coffee, which I grab from a cafe across from the station. On the train I’ll normally read a book or browse Reddit technology and legal boards. From Southern Cross station it’s a very short walk to the KPMG offices, which is very appreciated during winter!
I arrive at the office and pick a desk for the day. We are not allocated desks and have different types of desks for the type of working day you’d like. Some desks are in talking zones, others silent and some desks are ‘pods’ that are walled to minimise distractions. For today, I’ll sit in a talking zone right next to the windows. At 31 storeys high, the view of Melbourne is impressive!
After I grab my stuff from my locker and set up, I’ll review my to-do list and new emails. This helps me create a plan for the day. As I work in the Legal Technology, Data and Intellectual Property team my work is always varied and I’m constantly learning.
Currently, I have multiple clients in different sectors. I really enjoy this because I’m always dealing with different content, which keeps my work interesting. Today’s tasks are to write a memo for a large Victorian university regarding transferring data across borders under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR); finalise the intellectual property ownership section for a due diligence report for an ASX-listed multinational, which I have been working on for our M&A team in Sydney; and to review an agile software development agreement for a not-for-profit. Big day!
I begin my research for the memo that outlines transferring data under the GDPR. I start by reviewing the adopted opinions of the European Data Protection Board, which outlines the operation of the GDPR. I find a number of relevant adopted opinions and begin to plan a draft outline.
It’s really important to keep memos and advice written in a format that is practical for the client. They don’t have time to read law for the sake of it, so I make sure that my plan outlines the most important aspects of the relevant laws in relation to their particular uses. The filtering of relevant information is informed by the three-month secondment I had at the client’s offices, where I worked in the client’s Office of the General Counsel and met with many internal stakeholders. It’s important to understand how an entity operates and the concerns of all the stakeholders within the entity, so your advice will be drafted to address their needs and requirements.
We have a team catch up, where we discuss our individual capacity to take on matters for the next few days. It’s great because you get an overview of all the matters the team is working on and you can volunteer for interesting work. I quickly catch up with a senior associate to review my memo framework, to make sure that I’m on the right track. She provides a few additional points that I should research and asks me to clarify a few of the points that I intend to make.
In a few days the Sydney M&A team needs to respond to their client with a final vendor due diligence report. This report is used when an entity completes a review of its assets, obligations and operations to present to potential purchasers (or bidders). Some vendor due diligences that I have worked on previously have been extremely sensitive; you can’t even talk to other members in your team about them! One task for me is that I need to search the intellectual property register to make sure that no changes in registration or any claims have been placed on the client’s intellectual property assets since I submitted my draft report to Sydney. I finalise my search of the trade mark and patents register and submit my final report to Sydney.
Done, and off to Sydney it goes! I go back to the GDPR memo and begin a first draft.
I grab lunch downstairs, where there is a large food court with lots of options. I really love the sashimi, my lunch time go-to. I also head into the supermarket and stock up on some chocolate. It is a tradition of my team to have chocolate around 3.00 pm on a Friday and being prepared is key!
A client experiences a data breach and needs urgent advice. Drop. Everything. Now. The partner, senior associate and I are in a ‘pop-in pop-out’ meeting room that is used for quick meetings. We allocate tasks and get to work. We find out that a limited amount of Australian-only data has been compromised, but that the breach has been contained. Under Australian law, we have 30 days to complete an evaluation. The client will be sending more information tomorrow. I put a data protection assessment in my to-do list for tomorrow, when I will have more information on hand.
I have a coffee with a friend from the Shared Services and Outsourcing team in management consulting. She just got back into the office after being at a client’s site for the last few months on a large project. I really enjoy catching up with people from different service lines and divisions because KPMG has such diverse services and you will always have interesting discussions about their work day and recent experiences. I head back to my desk to finish up the GDPR memo and send it off to the senior associate in my team. She will review my work and then we will discuss any changes to the document.
I begin on my last task for the day reviewing a contract for the development of software for a not-for-profit using an agile development. Contract review is difficult because it requires a lot of concentration. Each piece of the contract interlinks, all clauses must be precise and all clause references must be accurate. I mark up the document using track changes so the director in my team can review the changes I have made and provide his feedback.
Time to make my smart watch proud by going to the gym to work out. I go to a gym just down the road from the office. I dislike the gym, and well, exercise in general, but the guilt of not meeting my goals annoys me more! After working out, I walk to Southern Cross station to head home on the train with my fiance. We talk about our days and make plans for the weekend.
At home, we have dinner and watch some TV.