What's your story?
I am a graduate from UWA, and I studied a double degree in law and finance on the uni's old system. Interestingly, I grew up in Australia, China and South Africa. Uninterestingly, I have all the average interests one could hope for; for example, I play rugby and tennis, and I like travelling, music, books, board games and Nintendo 64. At Clifford Chance, I am currently seated in the Energy and Resources team, in the managing partner's office, and I can tell you, it's been a great move from Your Local fish and chips shop (a past gig).
Why did you pursue a career at Clifford Chance?
I pursued a clerkship with Clifford Chance because I was interested in the deals the corporate team was doing in the renewables space, and the cases the disputes team was running in the investor-state arbitration space.
A highlight of clerking was being involved in much of this international facing work, particularly so because the firm in Perth only has around 40 lawyers. The dynamics of a small office being so important because it means you get more responsibility, and fortunately Clifford Chance has a culture of giving junior lawyers as much responsibility as they are comfortable with, and can appropriately manage – which has meant I have really been able grow my skills and ability as quickly as I can.
At the end of my clerkship I most wanted to work at Clifford Chance because of the mentality and temperament of my colleagues - where the firm has a culture of connectivity and genuine collegiality. From my first day, to yesterday, I have felt listened to, and no matter how busy someone is, they always seem to have time to engage with me on any issue I might have, and lend a hand. For clerks that have had the opportunity to work at other firms I hope they will understand why I think this is quite so important.
What's a highlight of working at Clifford Chance?
A highlight for me of working at Clifford Chance is the international pipeline of work, and the optionality around travel, and travelling for work the firm offers. One of the biggest drawcards for Clifford Chance in Perth has always been that it is one of two magic circle firms in the city, and thus it really is international. Practically for graduates this means that every graduate has the option to do a 6-month rotation somewhere else in the network if they want (think Hong Kong, Tokyo, London etc). Additionally, more senior lawyers continue to have this opportunity, with optionality for further 6 to 18-month secondments elsewhere in the network, and plenty of other opportunities to travel.
What's your advice for applicants?
You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. It’s a big cliché, but for me it’s part of having a growth mindset, and it’s been one of my biggest takeaways from working at Clifford Chance. It’s definitely part of the culture at firm, and is most notably driven by the partners who almost seem hardwired into seeking out new opportunities and pursuing them ruthlessly when they present themselves. And so, for a someone looking at Clifford Chance as an option I think that’s what the partners are looking – they're looking for someone that is already passionate, enthusiastic and curious about how things work, and is keen to have a go at things, because that's ultimately, I think, where the partners want you to end up.