Your career path?
I started in JWS’s workroom when I was in my first year of university. This provided a great opportunity to meet a broad range of people from across the firm and develop an understanding of the work environment and culture. By the time it came to applying for clerkships, JWS was at the top of my list. I had the opportunity to stay on as a casual clerk three days a week during my final year of study. This not only enabled me to continue building my skills and confidence, but importantly, further cemented my desire to be part of the JWS team.
Why Johnson Winter Slattery?
As a new graduate, JWS is proving to be the ideal size firm. Whilst we have large clients for whom we undertake complex work, the smaller team structures provide the opportunity to get to know everyone and there is a strong emphasis on mentoring.
As the graduate program is quite flexible, you can seek out people that you want to work with and learn from. Having developed connections and a network of mentors across the business, I have gained different perspectives and have been exposed to different approaches. It has also been helpful to seek guidance from a range of roles across the business. From Partners and Senior Associates, through to junior lawyers, secretaries and support staff – they have all been happy to share their insights and offer guidance.
Working closely with the regulatory team, I have been entrusted to take on higher level work as my knowledge and confidence grows. I have been included in communications with clients, counsel and other parties. Having the opportunity to draft court documents and letters of advice, prepare information for barristers and watch hearings has been invaluable and enjoyable. Moreover, I have been welcomed and made to feel like an integral part of the team.
The diversity of the matters makes this area of the business a great place to work. I have learnt a lot about different industries, regulatory bodies, government agencies and niche markets. Each has its own unique work cultures, challenges and priorities and learning how to be adaptive and open-minded has been a critical learning for me.
Has the firm’s unique model helped you progress?
There is a really strong culture at JWS for involving graduates and clerks in high-level work and exposing them to end-to-end processes. I have already found myself working on the first drafts for many court documents and am frequently invited to sit in on hearings and settlement conferences. This is, without doubt, the quickest and most satisfying way to learn. Having the opportunity to see how my draft work is amended at a higher level provides tangible examples of where I can improve.
JWS has a focus on developing their graduates and monitor both our work hours and learning opportunities. The workload has been very manageable and the people I have worked with, from associates through to partners, are mindful of what I have on my plate, checking in with how I am going on a regular basis. Understandably, there are busy periods however during these times, the team pulls together and I always feel supported. I am still able to play weeknight netball and catch up with fellow grads on a Friday night.