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Lawyer, Family & Relationship Law
Jack studied LLB (Hons) and BA at Monash University
What is your job about?
Lander and Rogers is a firm with an incredibly diverse range of practice areas. I myself work in the Family & Relationship Law team, assisting with property settlements, parenting arrangements, divorces, financial agreements, surrogacy arrangements, gender dysphoria cases and everything in between! Lander and Rogers is also home to lawyers who work in areas such as corporate transactions, workplace relations and safety, general insurance, commercial disputes, compensation law and property, projects and infrastructure - we're a place for all sorts!
I am currently a first year lawyer, and so on a day to day basis, I could be doing anything from appearing in court at a divorce hearing, meeting with clients and senior lawyers from the group, drafting letters, court orders and affidavits, and arguing with the lawyers on the other side. I have a lot of responsibility, which is terrific, although often a little scary. I feel like I'm constantly learning and growing and becoming a better lawyer. You never know what each new day in the office will bring, so it's pretty exciting work.
What's your background?
I grew up abroad, in a far away land called Tasmania. I first wanted to be a lawyer watching Elle Woods kick butt against a murderous daughter on the big screen, and after my parents were sick of my arguing with everyone, being told "you'd make a great lawyer". After finishing school in 2008, I took a year off to travel, before swimming across to the mainland, and the beautiful city of Melbourne. Over the next 6 years I completed a combined undergraduate Arts / Law degree at Monash University, where in the Arts component, I majored in Spanish. I actually didn't have a whole lot of legal experience while at university, choosing instead to thrust myself into the fast-paced world of retail. I was also heavily involved in the Monash LSS and competing in all the terrific competitions that were offered at university.
In my penultimate (the fancy way of saying second-last) year, I applied for a clerkship at Lander and Rogers. I was lucky enough to get the gig, and completed the four-week clerkship in the Family & Relationship Law team. Having never experienced family law at university, I was intrigued about the group. I, therefore, asked to be placed in the Family team for my clerkship, and after one day, was immediately sold!. I loved the law and the clients and the passion everyone had for their work. I also loved the firm, which was such a happy and inviting place, full of incredibly talented but amazing down to earth people. I applied to be a graduate in 2016, and have been here ever since!
Could someone with a different background do your job?
The great thing about Lander and Rogers is that its people are so wonderfully diverse. We have lawyers with a whole variety of backgrounds and unique skill sets who make up the firm. My one piece of advice if you're thinking of applying for a clerkship, graduate position or seeking to move laterally from one firm to another, is do not under any circumstances count yourself out. Our biggest critics are always ourselves, so do yourself a favour and always aim high. In saying that, you do need a law degree to become a lawyer, but your university or where you studied will not prevent you from applying.
What's the coolest thing about your job?
My favourite things to do at work are anything that involves a good argument (my parents weren't wrong!). I get the chance to hone my advocacy skills each and every day and I find that absolutely exhilarating. It's also terrific that the people I work with acknowledge that I really love court work and client facing experiences, and make sure that I get as much of that every day as possible. When you are doing something you love, and the people around you support you in doing that, it's a match made in heaven.
What are the limitations of your job?
Being a family lawyer is not for everyone. Someone once told me that after working a week in family law, you will know whether it is for you or not. I genuinely think that is true. However, do not be put off by what seems like an emotional and tiring area to work in. Often it's the fact that I am emotionally invested in my matters that makes me work so much harder for them, and makes the reward so much more satisfying. It's not for everyone, but you'll never know it's for you until you try.
3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...
perfect my research skills there…
But in all seriousness, really enjoy your university experience. Don't worry so much about the end goal and the career path you might take. Don't participate in extra-curricular activities and part-time work purely because you think it will look good on your CV. Do it because it will enrich your experience and because you enjoy it!! You'll find that will pay off much more for you in the end.