What's your job about?
Allens is an international commercial law firm with offices throughout Australia and Asia. Allens' alliance with Linklaters connects the firm and clients with a global network. I am currently a graduate lawyer in the Brisbane office, where I am completing my first 12 month rotation in the Corporate (Mergers, Acquisitions and Capital Markets) team. The team has expertise in the energy and resources sector and the practice areas range from competition law to native title.
My workload is diverse and I have had the benefit of working directly with associates, senior associates and partners. Since rotating into the Corporate team, I have assisted in preparing legal due diligence reports, conducted commercial and legal research, drafted articles about the business sector, reviewed contracts and contributed to pro bono matters.
The graduate program has a strong focus on training. Preceded by a week-long induction in Sydney or Melbourne, Allens offers a combination of online and face-to-face seminars to all of their graduate lawyers, focusing on both technical education and professional development. As a graduate lawyer, I also have the opportunity to get involved in different committees and interest groups across Allens. I intend to contribute to the community through the Reconciliation Committee and volunteering at community legal centres. For example, I will be volunteering with the LawRight Court and Tribunal Services.
What's your background?
While studying at university, I worked as a legal clerk at a mineral processing company, a research clerk at a commercial law firm and completed clerkships at multiple law firms. I also had the unique privilege of participating in a variety of extra-curricular activities. These ranged from competing in national and international debating, model United Nations and business case competitions to leading multiple student-led organisations. In doing so, I competed, volunteered and studied across a variety of countries and cultures, including an exchange semester in Hong Kong followed by month-long Chinese language course in Taiwan.
After completing my studies, I was an Associate to a Queensland District Court judge. His Honour is the resident judge in Beenleigh and presides over predominately criminal matters. As a judge's associate, I had the opportunity to go on circuits with the judge across regional Queensland, including in Gladstone, Mount Isa and Warwick. I was also admitted to the legal professional as a lawyer in December 2022, ahead of starting at Allens as a graduate lawyer in February this year.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
Yes - with some caveats. Aside from meeting the pre-requisite work, study and admission requirements to be an Australian lawyer, the Allens graduate program has a clear focus on diversity and inclusion. Allens employs people from different backgrounds that have a diverse range of skills and experience.
Of course, it is important to have an interest in pursuing a career in commercial law. However, from my perspective, the three key characteristics and skills required to do the job include:
What's the coolest thing about your job?
I believe the coolest thing about my job is the opportunity to work with like-minded people on complex matters that significantly impact corporate Australia (and internationally). I have always been fascinated by how businesses operate, execute strategic plans and deal with challenges in a changing world. Considering these issues through a legal lens and drawing on my own knowledge and experience is something I find extremely interesting. It's exciting to work in teams of highly experienced lawyers – I am constantly impressed by the mentorship and guidance they offer!
What are the limitations of your job?
Allens provides a lot of support and resources to all of their lawyers, and this is because the work is challenging and you will be given certain tasks and responsibilities from the outset. As a lawyer in any position (whether you're a graduate lawyer or a managing associate) it is important to manage your time effectively so that you can meet your deadlines and manage competing priorities. You just need to remember that if you don't understand something or need further clarification, you can always ask the question.
Like many people at the start of their professional career, imposter syndrome can sometimes be difficult to navigate. It is important to remember the process it took to secure a graduate role and the privilege it is to be mentored by highly intelligent and experienced lawyers who are invested in your success.
3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...
If I could go back in time and meet my university self, my three pieces of advice would be: