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Joshua studied Bachelor of Law/Bachelor of Commerce at Deakin University
What's your job about?
Lander & Rogers is a national firm that advises and acts for a range of clients (big, small, private, public) in areas of commercial law such as property, acquisitions, insurance and employment. My role in the Corporate group is to assist clients who are looking to buy and sell businesses with any legal issues that may arise.
Buying a business is a big step for any company and can be quite a complex process. There are a huge raft of legal issues that need to be dealt with. Some examples of what we do include drawing up the contracts for the sale, advising on corporate governance structures, setting up any trust structures for the purchase and taking care of the employment agreements for staff that will be on board the new venture. As a first year lawyer I will often have the first crack at drafting the various contracts. This involves gathering information from the client, drafting the contracts using precedent documents where possible and researching any legal issues that pop up along the way (there's always a few).
Most acquisitions are highly confidential and time-sensitive. If we are working on a big deal it's very important we keep it confidential so the market does not become aware of the deal until it is made public. Tight deadlines to get the deal done mean our work is fast paced and energetic. This keeps the work fresh and exciting, and is a big part of why I love what we do.
What's your background?
I grew up in the inner east of Melbourne attending Carey Baptist Grammar School. I went straight from school into a commerce/law degree at Deakin University. I took my time with completing uni, fitting in some memorable overseas trips and a one semester exchange program to a university in the Netherlands. I never planned to be a lawyer, I wasn't sure what I wanted to study and everyone told me law was a good way to keep my options open. It was when I started to get some experience volunteering in a community legal centre that I took a liking to the practical side of the law.
When it came time to apply for jobs I felt like I still didn't know what I wanted to do. I struggled with trying to fit in with what everyone else in my class was doing. I applied widely for a range of commerce/law jobs, and ended up doing internships in a few different areas. I almost ended up in tax at an accounting firm, before landing a job at Lander & Rogers. I soon found that Landers was a workplace that fit well within my own values, and a place where I didn't have to pretend to be someone else. That realisation was both relieving and exciting to me. I love my job because it allows me to keep up my other passions in life.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
Absolutely! There is no generic mould for the role of a Corporate Lawyer. If you break down the work we do, everything comes back to basic principles like problem solving and strategic thinking. These skills don't come from any particular type of background, they come from the passion to think laterally and solve complex problems. Going to law school definitely helps with the technical stuff such as spotting issues and legal writing. It's also a good chance to practice time management and put in place good habits that will help your professional career. More and more we are seeing that successful businesses are the ones that hire people with different backgrounds and different life experiences, because it brings together different ideas which drives creativity and innovation. A wise person once said "there is no conversation more boring than the one where everybody agrees".
What's the coolest thing about your job?
One of the best things about my job is working across so many industries. The principles of what we're doing stay the same but the content is always changing which keeps things interesting. I remember a day where I spent the morning working on an advice to a model airplane association regarding the privacy laws of flying drones, and the afternoon attending a board meeting for a chamber of automotive organisations.
What are the limitations of your job?
Working in M&A means there can be long hours from time to time. The nature of the work means we have to manage tight deadlines. However, I'd say the biggest challenge is time keeping. Like most law firms we have a billable unit model which means keeping track of what you are doing pretty much all the time. It can be time consuming but setting good habits early has definitely helped (so far).
3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...
- Don't compromise who you are to get what you think is the job you should get. You'll be much happier in a workplace that aligns with your values. It sounds like a cliché but stay true to yourself and your values, and try to find a workplace that sits well with them.
- Marks do matter, enjoy university but don't enjoy it so much that you have to work like crazy to get your average up in your last 2 years.
- Don't grow up too fast! You have your life to work, enjoy the freedom that university life allows. Explore your hobbies and keep them alive when you do eventually join the workforce.