What's your job about?
I am first-year lawyer at Lander & Rogers in the Workplace Relations & Safety group. As a first year, I am getting a broad range of experience of all the types of work done in the group. This includes unfair dismissals and general protection claims in the Fair Work Commission, discrimination, industrial relations, training about the law and how it applies to our client's businesses - basically any issue that comes up to do with or at work, we deal with!
There is also a significant pro bono program to participate in which is different and interesting work but, significantly for me, feels like a contribution back to the community.
The best thing about my job is that every day is different - I might be in court or at the Fair Work Commission, attending mediations trying to negotiate settlements, interviewing witnesses, drafting letters or contracts or researching particular points of law.
I generally work in a team, working with more senior lawyers in the group. But I also am very well supported and supervised to take on more responsibility on smaller matters.
What's your background?
I grew up and went to school in Melbourne and studied Arts/Law at Monash University. I started studying law thinking I would never want to be a lawyer. I was lucky enough to get a part-time job at a boutique law firm in my first year of uni and seeing what lawyers do day-to-day started to change my mind. I took my fourth year of uni off to go overseas to study in the first half of the year and deferred second semester to travel. When I came back I was much more motivated to study and pursue clerkships - the time away had made me realise how much I liked what I doing and enjoyed the challenge of law.
Lander & Rogers was my first clerkship in the summer before my last year at uni and I worked part-time as a research assistant during my last year at uni. This was a great experience, not only in terms of gaining technical legal skills but for meeting people and getting a sense of the work different groups did.
After my clerkship I was offered a grad job which I started in 2016 which was great. I started with 8 other grads in Melbourne, all of whom are great fun and have been great supports throughout the year.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
Yes of course! I think diversity, whether that be experience in different industries or fields of study, social or cultural diversity, is great and necessary in a law firm.
My job requires me to work in a team, be able to think laterally and creatively about a problem and communicate with and understand people with from a wide range of backgrounds. I have found the more diverse your team is, the more perspectives and more skills you have to tackle a problem with - a definite advantage!
What's the coolest thing about your job?
The moments I love my job are when I get to debate a point of law or an idea with another person or persons in my group - when I get to have an argument essentially. I am lucky to work in a group where everyone's opinions and views are valued and listened to. This is great in an area of law as dynamic and changing as employment and industrial relations where there is plenty of scope for debate.
I also love that I get to do pro bono work. During my grad year, I did things are varied as representing a pro bono client at a hearing to making pancakes at my local community centre. I feel very lucky to work somewhere where pro bono work is well supported and is part of my day and role.
What are the limitations of your job?
A difficult aspect of my job is that it is competitive. This has both good and bad aspects - the good is that there is real drive and ambition to get better and continue learning and improving, the less good is that you can feel under pressure to perform and to compete with your peers.
3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...