How did you choose commercial law?
Having volunteered at the Innocence Initiative prior to starting my law degree, I was exposed to criminal law and learnt from this experience that I did not want to practice in this area. I enjoyed commercial subjects whilst studying at University and this was solidified when I completed three clerkships, all in commercial law.
What was the clerkship process like?
The clerkship process, in general, is very long and requires a lot of hard work, dedication and preparation. However, it is a great way to not only learn a lot about yourself but about the many firms out there and what they have to offer. All interviews are different, some are very scripted and others are very conversational. Always be prepared for behavioural questions (even if they don’t seem framed that way) and ensure you have an answer which shows off your skills and is backed up by an example. But be careful to read the room, as some interviews are really just a chance for the firm to get to know you so ensure you be yourself. My interview at White & Case was very conversational and I really felt like my interviewer learnt a lot about my experience and skills but most importantly about who I was as a person. Equally, I felt like I got a great insight into the Firm, the culture and the people who work there.
What does your employer do?
White & Case is a global law firm with more than 2,000 lawyers across 30 countries. More locally in Australia, our teams focus on infrastructure and energy projects, mergers & acquisitions, project finance and environment & planning in domestic and international markets.
What are your areas of responsibility?
White & Case offers 3 x 6-month rotations in different practice areas. However, even though you will rotate through specific teams, a graduate will generally work more widely across the teams, especially if one team is busier than another. This is always a great way to work with new people and learn different skills.
Can you describe a typical workday?
I am fortunate that my work is very diverse so one day is always different to the next. At times, you may only be working on one large deal for a period of time, and others you can be spread across various different smaller matters. At the moment, I am working on a public-private partnership partnership for a new hospital in Victoria where we are currently drafting various different design & construction and services contracts.
What are the career prospects with your job?
Having a law degree and experience working at a top-tier international firm provides you with endless opportunities, for example, to move overseas and work in another jurisdiction or you can move away from private practice and to work as in-house counsel within a corporation. Specifically, White & Case provides opportunities to work overseas for six months in your graduate year, as well as provides opportunities to move to an overseas office for one to two years (or permanently). We are also given many opportunities to go on secondment, where we work ‘in-house’ for one of our clients.
What would your career be if you weren’t doing what you’re doing now?
If I wasn’t in law, I think I would be doing something in the health and fitness space.
What do you love the most about your job?
The best thing about my job is the people. We have a great culture and given that our work is very collaborative, it’s great that we all genuinely get along and enjoy working together. I also love the work that I do because it is intellectually stimulating, challenging and very diverse.
What’s the biggest limitation of your job?
It’s no surprise that lawyers work in a stressful environment and work long hours, however, this is made much easier when you genuinely love the work and it’s engaging as well as working within a great team who are all team players and are supportive.
Which three pieces of advice would you give to a current university student?