Sonia Goumenis

This is my place for the perfect balancing act

By Sonia Goumenis

Listen to my story.
02:23 MIN


I started at Clayton Utz as a graduate back in 2001 working for three very different, but fantastic partners who these days you would call "sponsors". The work was challenging but rewarding and we had a fantastic client base and transactions.

I was given lots of autonomy and with their support I became a partner in 2008.

After that, I left Clayton Utz, only because I was presented the unique opportunity to work for a London head quartered international firm without actually having to move overseas.  For me it was not well timed as I took maternity leave to have my daughter less than one month after starting. I was part of the founding group of partners of the Sydney and Perth offices. We built the business from the ground up and it was an amazing challenge.

Longer term I needed an environment that was more stable - where decisions about the business were made in Australia, and in light of our market. I also needed an environment where we had deep and broad relationships with domestic clients - in particular the domestic banks. So I returned to Clayton Utz.

At my previous job, I was in a small office, so I didn’t have any role models for making it work as a full-time working mother. I felt like I was the odd one out trying to run out to daycare to pick up my daughter in time. But back at Clayton Utz, in a big domestic firm, I no longer feel that way – I’m surrounded by amazing women, and men, who have challenging full-time careers but also value making time for their family. 

I guess for me it was about not being the odd one out anymore, but the firm is very supportive more broadly of everyone making room for their life outside of work. Last year we refreshed the firm's flexibility policy and have a manager who helps with putting in place flexible work arrangements. The role ensures there is a single point of contact who has helpful information on the sorts of arrangements that might work for the particular individual and team involved. 

Flexibility is obviously not just for the benefit of working parents, but for everyone who has interests or commitments outside of work. In staying true to the needs of both my career and my family, I'm delighted to have found a fulfilling balance at Clayton Utz. 

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