On the job with a graduate lawyer at Ashurst

GradAustralia met with Amanda Wu to learn about life as a graduate lawyer at Ashurst
Erin Delaney
Team GradAustralia
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Amanda studied a Bachelor of Laws/Science at the The University of Queensland and graduated in 2015

What does Ashurst do?

Ashurst is a leading global law firm that specialises in corporate and commercial law. With offices across the world, we have the opportunity to work on complex matters in many of the world's leading locations. Targeted teams are pulled together to meet the needs of the client, regardless of location.  

What was it about the firm that attracted you to apply?

I was looking for firms with a high level of training and investment in employees, as well as cultural fit.  Ashurst was, and still is, a clear standout on both fronts. Cultural fit is inherently a personal one but Ashurst attracts genuinely friendly people who I am more than happy to spend my week with.  

What's involved in the Ashurst Graduate Programme?

Ashurst has an 18-month graduate programme that features three rotations through various practice groups. This gives each graduate an opportunity to explore their interests in a few areas of law and develop well-rounded skills prior to settling in a specific area of law at the end of the programme.  

What training did you have access to as an Ashurst graduate?

In addition to rotating, there are tailored training curriculums that canvass legal and business skills, including legal research skills, incisive writing and professional conduct. There is also integrated Practical Legal Training (PLT) delivered in-house and completed alongside our client work and training.

What does your role involve?

As a lawyer, my responsibilities are to complete various tasks to progress matters with my colleagues. Since joining the firm, the scope of my responsibility has gradually widened, including taking conduct of smaller matters. I look forward to gaining more responsibility as my career develops.      

What do you love the most about your job?

I am constantly astounded by the level of responsibility put upon me, which has been instrumental in my professional development. One highlight I can recall was that within 24 hours of being admitted as a legal practitioner (lawyer) I was the instructing solicitor for a matter before the Federal Court of Australia.

What has been challenging?

Transitioning from student to lawyer was one challenging aspect. In particular, you need to shift from a theoretical and academic approach to a more practical and commercially driven approach to tasks.  However, there's no need to stress as partners definitely do not expect graduates to have developed business acumen from their studies.

Outside of work, are there opportunities to get involved?

There are many initiatives including sport teams, diversity and inclusion, pro bono and corporate social responsibility.  These are integrated into the everyday and supported across the firm. Personally, I have been involved in the Brisbane office's Women's Network, provided pro bono support to legal outreach clinics and supported our activities in relation to the firm’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).