Listen to my story.
I began at Clayton Utz in December 2013 as a seasonal clerk in the commercial litigation team, and was then offered a grad position, which started in March 2015. I've been working in the Workplace group since October 2015.
At the outset I wanted to make sure I continually challenged myself. Working in the Workplace team has allowed me to do that, particularly by giving my opportunities to take on responsibility for matters, even as a junior. For example, towards the end of my graduate rotation in Workplace, I was given the opportunity to take point on a matter that saw me interview witnesses, prepare witness statements, instruct the barrister at trial, and engage with the client directly. The partner was always available to assist where I had questions or needed a push in the right direction, but allowed me to take ownership of the matter. I reached this by continuously showing that I was willing to push myself.
I've kept pushing myself at the firm by having have several roles. The most obvious is a Workplace lawyer. This aligns with my interests of practising commercial law, but with a personal flavour, as most Workplace matters involve human interaction. Working in Workplace allows me to deal with a many types of clients, such as government agencies, universities, and international and local commercial clients.
As well as being a lawyer, I'm also involved in Momentum and the LGBTI Alliance. Momentum is our firm's initiative to promote gender diversity and equality, while our LGBTI Alliance promotes the interests, wellbeing and acceptance of the LGBTI community, both within and outside the firm.
Being involved in the LGBTI Alliance has allowed me to do something I really care about: furthering the rights of the LGBTI community. The main ways I'm doing this are engaging in pro bono work for various LGBTI-focused organisations, and delivering a series of talks nationally on the rights of transgender children. The response to these sessions has been really positive. Like most issues, the key to effecting change is educating people on why the change is necessary. Being involved in the sessions has allowed me to do this, by partnering with a community organisation that advocates for the rights of transgender children.
The next big step for CU is to meet its target for female partnership. Like most other top-tier firms, Clayton Utz does not have the same representation of women at the senior levels of the firm as it does at the more junior levels. There has been a real and noticeable focus on improving this, particularly in areas around flexibility, and everybody at the firm needs to play a role to achieve this.