When I first started law back in 2009, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my degree though I was sure the answer would come to me down the track. Fast forward to graduation mid-year 2015, and I still didn’t know! The fear started sinking in… All I knew was that I wanted to practice law but didn’t want to get funneled into an area without trying everything first. At that point, I had been working as a legal assistant in a top tier firm in the city, as well as having clerked at a boutique firm in Kalgoorlie.
After thinking hard about my options, I decided to take up the offer to come on as a law graduate at the firm in Kalgoorlie, and I haven’t looked back!
I guess I was at a slight advantage as my dad lives in Kalgoorlie, so it was through him that I was introduced to my future boss, at the gym of all places (networking never stops, and is definitely not contained to organized events). Regardless, all it really takes is a phone call or friendly email with your resume and you never know what may happen!
One of the best things about working in the country is that people keep sensible working hours! There is a great work life balance here and I have never worked past 5:30pm, with a one hour lunch break and no work on the weekends.
The work itself is incredibly varied and hands-on, from large scale commercial litigation to drafting wills to reviewing complicated mining contracts and everything in between. I have already liaised with clients, handled matters through from start to finish and drafted letters of advice, all under the watchful eye of some amazing and very experienced solicitors! Moreover, country firms have a real down-to-earth vibe where you can gain exposure across the whole gamut of the client’s issues, rather than being subjugated to just a subset of any particular matter.
I also feel that you acquire a deeper understanding of the subtleties of the client/solicitor relationship, which may not be so readily available in firms where there are multiple levels of hierarchy between you and the client. Here, I am included in the decision-making which is a pretty amazing feeling for a fresh-faced grad.
Outside of the office, there are lots of other young people in town who are also starting out whether it be in mining, medicine, dentistry or teaching. There are always things happening, and never a dull moment!
For all of you who still haven’t made up your minds, or haven’t received the coveted clerkships on the terrace or even for those who have, I would urge you to consider working regionally. If I could offer any advice to students, I would say this – find the job that fits you! Be dedicated and focus on what you want and know that sometimes, you have to sacrifice some things to gain a lot more. Sometimes, the best opportunities lie a little further away…