QUT law society inc. 2017 Torts illustrated issue three twenty seventeen acknowledgements The QUT Law Societyâ€™s Torts Illustrated publication would not have been possible without the support of its sponsors, as well as its dedicated Media & Communication team. Our sponsors Allens | Clayton Utz | Johnson Winter & Slattery McCullough Robertson | MinterEllison Thomson Geer | QUT PLT | Ashurst | Herbert Smith Freehills | King & Wood Mallesons Content Editors Claudia Choi [Vice-President of Media & Communication] Visual Design and Formatting Claudia Choi [Vice-President of Media & Communication] Royce Adcock [Designs Officer] Article Writers Megan Dudley [Publications Officer] Mellisa Hillier [Publications Officer] QUT Law Students Photographer Izzy Machin Models Yehanka Ranasinghe (left), Kate Jamieson (middle), Claudia Choi (right)
Contents From the Editor ........................................................................................................7 From your President................................................................................................8 Keeping up with your Executives........................................................................9 Splendour in the Courtroom..............................................................................15 Chamber of Secrets...............................................................................................16 Six key steps to retaining your sanity this semester....................................18 Gen Y Lawyers: Is freelance the future?..........................................................22 Life after Game of Thrones season 7..............................................................24 Forcing focus...........................................................................................................28 Options beyond the top tier..............................................................................30 Connect with us on ............................................................................................32 The types of people you meet in Law School..............................................34 Herbert Smith Freehills Paper Presentation..................................................38 Contact us ..............................................................................................................42 Introducing the 2018 QUTLS Committee......................................................43
What’s on this semester Education & Social Events Competitions AUGUST
QUT x UQ Grudge Moot
Russo Lawyers Criminal Law Information Evening QUTLS x Allens Law Cup
Herbert Smith Freehills Paper Presentation Competition Final QUTLS First Year Moot Final
Pub Crawl - Let’s Get Litt
QUTLS AGM & Election
Maurice Blackburn LGBTIQ Legal Careers Forum HopgoodGanim External School Lunch Allens & QUTLS Law Dinner
Clayton Utz Negotiation Competition Final
Ashurst Commercial Arbitration Final
King & Wood Mallesons Intellectual Property Law Information Evening 21-22 Herbert Smith Freehills & QUTLS Law Revue OCTOBER 10
MinterEllison World Mental Health Breakfast 18 Cooper Grace Ward White Ribbon Domestic Violence Breakfast NOVEMBER 17
Disclaimer: These dates above are subject to change. Please like our Facebook page for all updates on our events and competitions.
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From the Editor Claudia Choi
QUTLS Vice-President of Media & Communication Guess who’s back, back again. Claudia’s back, tell a friend. Hi again! We’re well into the semester and I can’t decide whether I wish it were week 13 already or week 1 again. Being back in week 1 would mean I have another opportunity to try and be a good student again… but now that I think about it, who wants to relive the last few weeks of hell again? Being in week 13 means I am just that little bit closer to sitting for exams I am definitely not ready for. So maybe let’s just stay right where we are for now… With mid-sems coming up, I wish all students good luck with their upcoming assignments and exams. As always, it’s going to be a painful process consisting of bad diets, lack of sleep, long nights and frustration with the law. But I believe that we will all be able to pull through and make it through to the other end. Some of us might find ourselves with a few scratches here and there at the finishing line, but at least we’ll make it one piece (I hope).
assisted in counting the votes. Despite this six hour long election, it was worth it to find out the new Media & Communication team for 2018. I am now proud to introduce the Director of Media & Communication in 2018 Charlotte Mann and her officers Rianna Shoemaker, Anna Wilson, Wei-Han Chan, Silvia Lee, Josh Dunn and Zane Jhetam… I wish you all luck in your incoming term. Holla if you need anything from me! I’d also like to take this chance to thank Kate Jamieson and and Yehanka Ranasinghe for modelling with me so that we could get the glamourous shot that you’re seeing on the front cover. The glitter got everywhere and I know for a fact that I’m still sleeping on a pillow that is covered in glitter. I’m going to be haunted by sparkles for months… Well that’s all from me for now, Claudia
This semester has been pretty breezy so far for the Media & Communication team. Our publications officers Megan and Mellisa wrote and sourced articles for this issue of Torts Illustrated. Our photographers Izzy and Rianna did their thang and took stalkerish photos of people at our competition finals and educational events. Our IT officer Tristan worked on the QUT Law Society website and our design officer Royce create the artworks that you see on our digital platforms. As for me, I have been busy managing my officers, assisting the other Vice-Presidents in the creation and advertising of their events and scheduling posts and adverts on Facebook. It doesn’t sound like much but I swear I do a lot! Our elections held on September 2 was a long and arduous day as I was the returning officer. As the returning officer, I chaired the election, time kept and 7
From Your president Harrison Bell QUTLS President
To all of our members, my name is Harrison Bell and I have been extremely honoured to be the President of the QUT Law Society (‘QUTLS’) for 2017. The accomplishments which have been achieved this year are due to many individuals going above and beyond their roles. I know many other organisations whose committee often cruise through their term without taking a hard look at how things operate and their implications for the future. This was not the case for this year’s QUTLS Committee. Some of our Executive members had never been on such an active Society, but they definitely hit the ground running. Taking on various obligations, and not giving up when obstacles arose, speaks very highly of their character. I am confident that the precedents which have been created by this year’s Committee will prepare the society to handle whatever is thrown its way. Some of these achievements include: • Increased sponsorship by 22%; • Rewriting and refurbishing our society’s constitution for the first time in almost three years; • Running a record number of educational events; • Conducting a financial audit for the past 4 years; • Runners up in the IHL Moot at the Australian Law Students Association (ALSA) Conference in Canberra; • Sponsoring the VIS Commercial Arbitration Moot, which reached the top 16 out of 125 global teams – the University’s best result to date; • Record attendance at the QUTLS Law Ball; and • Record number of L card sponsors of 194. The QUTLS is always striving to to create a vibrant, connected and supportive law society. We have come to find that our members are not just concerned with the top tier events but also inclusive and varying events. This is evidence by the strong showing at our LGBTIQ Legal Careers Forum, White Ribbon Domestic Violence Awareness Breakfast, Criminal Law Night, Intellectual Property Night and various competitions held throughout the year such as the Commercial Arbitration, Paper Presentation, First Year Moot and Grudge Moot, where we sadly lost the shield against UQ. 8
We were also lucky enough to partner with the Economics and Finance Society (‘EFS) to have Citi Bank on campus for the first time, discussing with students’ alterative pathways they can pursue with their dual degrees. All of these event, competitions and seminars do not operate without a highly skilled financial and leadership group. I have been lucky to have Alastair Page (Executive Vice- President), Kate Jamieson (Secretary) and Courtney Brown (Treasurer) support me in the various initiatives that we have run. These tasks are rarely taken on by a society, let alone all in one term. I have to thank you all for your significant time and effort which you have contributed to these tasks. You deserve all the credit with which you will receive. I would also like to thank the entire Executive Team for their support and enthusiasm. It has been a tough year for you all, the leadership team has asked a lot of you and we have seen how tough it has been for you to manage university, society tasks, work and also maintain somewhat of a social life. Special mention should also be of our Director of Media and Communications, Claudia Choi, and her team for putting together this and various other publication throughout the year. Thank you. Harrison
Keeping up with your executives With 2017 well underway, it’s time to check in on your executives to see what their portfolios have been up to!
QUTLS Executive Vice-President Congratulations on making it to semester two of this year. Here’s hoping that your break was filled with few frustrations and many mimosas. As I’m sure you’ll be glad to hear, this will be my final address as the Executive Vice-President of the society for this year. As such, I wanted to take the opportunity to show thanks to the people that have made this year possible as well as share my excitement on what could be possible for next year’s executive, whoever they may be. Echoing Harry’s sentiments, I wanted to acknowledge the incredible amount of work that the committee has put into this year’s programs. Our core-executive team this year came in with a Trump-esque combination of outsider status and grassroots passion. Thanks to our committee I’d like to believe that we were immensely more functional and sent far less emails to Moscow. Whilst Harrison has done some significant thank you’s already, I wanted to take the time to go into some more specifics about the immense challenges that our society faced this year. We were immensely fortunate to have had our interim secretary, Kate Jameson, over the course of changing our constitution. Acting as the nexus between policy decisions and compliance requirements was an immensely difficult and time consuming task. Kate went above and beyond her role as an effective stand in to ensure that our society kept ticking. The future years of the executive are now significantly more established than before and they will never be able to thank her enough for her efforts.
As a final thank you, I wanted to applaud the entire QUTLS committee for their tireless efforts in running all programs that we had on offer. This year has had no shortage of challenges, and the patience and commitment shown by every one of our team has been essential in dealing with these speed bumps. Turning to next year, I wanted to express my optimism for what lies ahead for the society. It has been a privilege to have witnessed first hand the amount of passion and enthusiasm that our student members engage with us. Whether this passion has been in applauding our efforts or keeping us accountable, I consider it an essential feature of a successful student body. It is for these reasons I look forward to seeing it grow bigger and better for many years to come, whichever path the society takes. On this final point, I cannot stress my recommendation enough for anyone and everyone to get involved in the QUTLS. Whatever your capacity, I promise that you will not regret taking the time to volunteer in a cause that tangibly benefits your peers. I have found my time in the society to have been a major highlight in all aspects of university, and hope that the rest of the QUTLS feel the same. Best of luck to next year’s committee, and best wishes to all members of the society in their goals for 2018.
At the beginning of this term our Treasurer, Courtney Brown, found herself in the unfortunate position of facing years worth of audit that encapsulated periods of minimal financial procedure. The fact that she completed this task with only a moderate amount of help is a testament to her accounting prowess, and she should be incredibly proud of herself and her achievements. Despite this seemingly dire situation, we are thankful to be in such steady financial hands. 9
Kate Jamieson QUTLS Secretary
What a crazy few months! On Friday August 18, we successfully amended our Constitution. This was a super important task for us to ensure that we are compliant with our obligations under the Associations Incorporations Act 1989 (Qld). One key change under this Constitution was the change to membership. QUTLS now operates on the basis of an annual membership through the sale of QUT L-Cards and is required for all ticketed events. Thank you so much to everyone who gave their opinions and voted on the night. A special thank you to Mr Mark Thomas, Benjamin Gibbons (UQLS) and Courtney Brown for all their assistance in helping me put it together. To all my friends and family - I promise I’ll shut up about it now, at least for a little while. Another big event was our Annual General Meeting and Elections for the 2018 QUTLS Committee, held on Saturday September 1. Thanks to everyone who turned up to vote and congratulations to our incoming Committee! You have a wild ride ahead of you! After all of the above, I’m almost ready to escape to the Bahamas and never look back... except for the fact that I’d get so miserably bored. So here’s to the overcommitted! Keep on doing you, but don’t forget to say no when you need to. Finally, a reminder to be kind to everyone around you. A respectful discussion with someone of an opposing view can go a long way. Always here for a chat. Kate
Courtney Brown QUTLS Treasurer
What a year it has been. To be honest, what a week! The life of a law student is busy, crazy, stressful, emotional and sometimes even downright scary. Rest easy though we’re almost there, seven more weeks until summer and it’s goodbye uni for another semester (unless you’re me and are choosing to take on summer subjects… ew). With the end of the year however also comes the end of my term as Treasurer. Firstly I want to say a big thank you to all of you for trusting in me to not only get the job done but to be a voice for you on the society. It’s been such a big year and whilst I can’t say it has been easy, it has taught me so so much. On that note, a second thank you must go to the amazing people on the society who put in an immeasurable amount of time, emotion and even mental strength to try and make the society just that little bit better for members. Reflecting back it’s so easy to look at the things that haven’t gone exactly as planned but instead I’m choosing to cherish the wins. We achieved so so much not just with regard to finances or the Constitution. I for one can definitely say I’ve made some lifelong friends and have learnt a whole lot about myself as a person. Finally a massive congratulations to those elected to positions on next year’s society I have no doubt that you will be great. All that matters is that you try your best and have fun along the way, no one can expect more than that. Court xx
Patrick Johnson QUTLS Director of Mootclub
Yanery Ventura Rodriguez QUTLS Vice-President of Competitions It’s my last few weeks as VP of Competitions and I couldn’t be happier with how this year has gone. This semester we have the Grudge Moot, First Year Moot, Ashurst Commercial Arbitration, and Clayton Utz Negotiation. The finalists from this year’s King & Wood Mallesons Senior Moot competed against UQ in the Grudge Moot. Although UQ had the moot, I’m sure the competitors and attendees can all agree the rivalry made for a fantastic night. The after party at the Flamin’ Gallah was a hoot too! The First Year Moot saw QUT’s finest newbies taking the Banco Court by storm. The final’s presiding judge, barrister Paul Telford, was extremely impressed with the talent. I truly encourage all first years to keep competing in the junior competitions, mooting is a learned skill and it gets easier and more fun each time. The Ashurst Commercial Arbitration saw some senior competitors take on a 10 page problem with finesse and great determination. Our final competition, the Clayton Utz Negotiation is set to be a competition and a half, with over 40 teams, our most popular competition of the year!
The preliminary and final rounds of the High School Moot took place over two weekends in mid August. As I predicted in my last submission, the students again managed to impress all the judges through the rounds with their keen advocacy skills. The standard was very similar to what you might see in the first year moot final, which was absolutely excellent to see. Of course, there can only be one winner in the end. Corinda State High School managed to beat St Patrick’s College in the grand final. Each speaker demonstrated a completely different style, with different strengths. It was truly awesome to watch. The Moot Club would like to thank Bernard Porter QC, Florence Chen and Amy Low for volunteering their own time to judge the final. Their questions and feedback were useful to all who are interested in mooting. I would like to take this opportunity to again thank my officer, William Zhou, for all of the hard work and organisation he did. Without his effort, the moot would not have run so smoothly. Finally, I would like to thank all of the volunteers, whether they were preliminary round judges, student mentors, or bailiffs. The more experience that the volunteers bring to to this moot, the more useful it is to the high school students. I’m sure that whoever is running the Moot Club/ High School Moot next year will be as impressed as I was by the quality of this moot. I’d put the house on it. Patrick
Before I go, I wanted to give a few special shout outs. To all the QUTLS committee, thank you for your constant support and for respecting my threatening sticky-notes on my snacks. To all the competitions volunteers who have generously helped us with timekeeping or finals set up, your help does not go unnoticed. To the comps team: Annalise Spurge; Rebecca Le; Ebony-Lee Corbyn; and Rana Lateef. I will sincerely miss your positivity, perseverance, and all our chats on comps nights. You have been the best team I could have hoped for. 11
QUTLS Vice-President of Education Semester Two started off incredibly well within the Education portfolio. We had insightful presentations from both Russo Lawyers and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions who presented on the topic of criminal law and the possible career avenues available to students interested in this area. To those who are considering working for the ODPP, they have a WEPP internship program open to all students. For more information, please contact Mungo Crawford at email@example.com We were also thrilled to host our first LGBTIQ Legal Careers Forum to discuss diversity within the workplace and the future of law reform in this area. QUT Law Society supports the pursuits and welfare of all members including those who identify as LGBTIQ and we thank the members who attended our inaugural event. Special shout out to our sponsors, Maurice Blackburn, for bringing together industry experts for what was an informative evening. I cannot thank enough the Education Team made up of Josh, Charlotte, Amelia and Mikaela as well as the rest of the QUTLS Committee for their hard-working efforts over the past few months. We have achieved so much. Stay tuned for more information about our upcoming Domestic Violence Awareness and Mental Health breakasts scheduled for later on in the semester. Please feel free to contact me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org should you have any career or equity related concerns.
QUTLS Vice-President of Events
Hello friends! The wonderful Nick Arndt has stepped down from the QUT Law Society to explore the next chapter of his life. A huge thank you to him for the wonderful work he did for the events portfolio in semester 1. But now onto me! My name is Yehanka Ranasinghe and I’m a third year Law/Economics student. As a big fan of events that have a bar tab, I have been entrusted with the responsibility of running the events you alcoholics love. Semester 2 has been jampacked with events! A few weeks ago we had our pub crawl and in honour of every law student’s favourite show, the theme was Suits. Everyone was running around bars in the CBD and paying homage to our favourite character Louis by getting “Litt”. Despite the crazy demand, we purposely kept numbers low with the intention that despite being a first or final year, everyone got to befriend everyone on the crawl. The Law Dinner was a more civilised affair, with a sit down three-course meal at Rydges Hotel. We are grateful to Allens Linklaters for sponsoring our event and helping to make the fantastic night happen. We all thoroughly enjoyed a pompous night of dancing and drinking with our kick-ons continuing at Soleil Bar. Following tradition, #Letsgetrekt6.0 will be held on Friday November 17 (final day of exams) as a celebratory goodbye to the year! As always, Elena Dimeski and Jack Bristed have been a magnificent help as events officers. We still have QUTLS merchandise available- jump onto our Qpay or visit us in the office to purchase.
QUTLS Vice-President of Sport & Health Hi all, Semester 2 has been off to a flying start for the Sports and Health portfolio. The QUTLS Social Sport teams have been a force to be reckoned with with special mentions to touch mastermind Tom Klepper and the notorious netballer Kate Adnams for constantly demonstrating leadership and a strong knack for witty weekly post-game wrapups. The students participating in the social sports have built up strong team bonds and get to compete in the QUT Guild Competition that runs weekly and culminates with the prestigious social sport awards at the Botanic. August 26th saw rival University Law societies and firms such as Mccullough Robertson and Freehills clash in the annual Law Cup at UQ Sports Fields. Teams faced off in netball and touch to a backdrop of friendly banter and the classic sausage sizzle. QUTLS played valiantly, leaving nothing left and achieved some lasting moments. The next time QUTLS will flex their sporting prowess is against UQ in the Rugby Grudge Match! This will not be a game you want to miss so stay tuned for the signup sheet to participate in the game of the year. Alex
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Written by Anonymous QUT Law Student
Splendour (nOUN): magnifIcent and splendid appearance. It is a truth universally acknowledged that many females at Splendour in the Grass are magnificently dressed from pretty normal crop tops, crochet clothes and mum jeans, all the way to see-through tops, bras and stick on nipple covers. Oh, and let’s not forget about the abundance of glitter from head to toe. Many festive-goers are also female law students who may or may not have aspirations to be the next Susan Kiefel, who became Australia's first female Chief Justice of the High Court just earlier this year. Unfortunately, while many of these female law students are dominating at Splendour, the same cannot be said for their seniors in the courtroom.
“The appointment of more women to this court recognises that there are now women who have the necessary legal ability and experience as well as the personal qualities to be a justice of this court.” − Kiefel CJ In 1997, Australia’s first female High Court Justice Mary Gauldron put a spotlight on the absence of women at the bar. Justice Michael Kirby also stated that despite having had hundreds of barristers appear before him in court, he had only seen and heard from six women.1 In 2017, more than 60% of law graduates are female, as are 63% of those admitted to legal practice.2 With 20 years having passed, the gap should have closed by now... right? Unfortunately, despite women being fabulous (if I do say so myself ), only 117 out of the 529 (22%) barristers appearing in the High Court were female in 2015-2016. Additionally, the number of male barristers speaking before the High Court was 438 compared to the disheartenedly low 42 appearances for female barristers.3 In most cases you would find the female barrister playing the silent support role. While these statistics are not something to be proud of, they should be used as motivation to work harder in breaking that glass barrier. Susan Kiefel CJ has paved the way for us, and we should most definitely take advantage of it. One could say that it’s similar to being the baby of the family and having older siblings. Your parents were most likely more strict and unwavering in their decisions to let your older siblings do something, but by the time it got to you… your siblings had paved the way for you to get what you want. So what now? I call for all female law students to rock law school like it were Splendour. Rock it with confidence and dominate. Break those barriers! You could be the next High Court Chief Justice! And if you’re ever confused or lost, just ask yourself, WWSKD...What Would Susan Kiefel Do? ABC News, Susan Kiefel sworn in as Australia’s first female Chief Justice of High Court (30 January 2017) <http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-30/susankiefel-sworn-in-as-first-female-high-court-chief-justice/8222868>. 2 George Williams, Female barristers are barely seen and rarely heard in our High Court (27 February 2017) <http://www.smh.com.au/comment/femalebarristers-are-barely-seen-and-rarely-heard-in-our-high-court-20170224-gukfec.html>. 3 Ibid. 1
CHAMBER OF SECRETS The perks of clerking for a barrister instead of a firm. Unless you have a guaranteed position at your father’s firm upon graduation, you may be at a stage in your law degree where it’s probably time to get some practical work experience in the legal profession. Others reading may be veteran law firm employees, but are looking to spice up your career (before it’s even begun). Whatever your current professional status, I’m here to give you an insider scoop into the magical experience of working in a barrister’s chambers, and why it should be desired over working in a law firm. For those of you who don’t know what a barrister does, at least past the ‘vibe’, fancy wigs, and coffee making – wait no… that’s a barista – let me explain. Law firms are structured as a business with partners, associates and employees. Barristers, on the other hand, are like lone wolves. They work as sole practitioners who are contracted by firms to do more specialised or complicated work, usually in relation to court proceedings. Most barristers are part of a chamber group, a number of barristers sharing office space under an official business form. In case you were wondering, some chambers do meet the stereotypical form of candle lit rooms with endless leather bound books on rich mahogany bookshelves (although I am yet to come across quills and ink I haven’t given up). Although most barristers share secretarial or reception staff, chances are if you secure work as a clerk, you will be working directly for a single barrister. Although your boss may be afforded barrister’s immunity (ie can’t be sued for negligence), this isn’t a free pass to be reckless or slack off. Working for a barrister is challenging and you will constantly be faced with the unexpected. 16
Finding the right barrister
If you are hoping to secure work for a barrister, it’s incredibly important to find the right one for you. When it comes to the crunch time of a trial, you could be spending a lot of one on one time with your barrister to perfect those submissions. No one wants to work for a Cleaver Greene (or maybe you do… no judgement), and you should also aim to find a barrister who specialises in an area of law that interests you. Keeping that in mind, be prepared to do non-legal work, and not only administrative stuff, but potentially random tasks such as toothpaste shopping or furniture assembling.
Barrister work vs law firm work Barrister work can also be distinct from law firm work in relation to the level of human connection. If you’ve succumbed to the lawyer stereotype of not having souls or the ability to emphasise, and are hoping for limited client contact, chambers may be a good option. Some barristers don’t necessarily deal with clients often, whereas solicitors can spend all day doing nothing but conversing with clients. Solicitors can act as a middle man for barristers, passing on only the information necessary to get the work done. That information is usually delivered straight to chambers in a beautifully compiled brief, the juicy details ready to be devoured and the subject of which you may never encounter face to face.
Networking within the legal community
Another perk on this endless list is the potential to be exposed to a wide sector of the legal community. As barristers are generally briefed by numerous firms, there is the opportunity to meet a number of talented and experienced lawyers. In chambers itself, there will more than likely be several well practiced, specialist barristers with a wealth of knowledge and wisdom. Furthermore, your extensive time in court will introduce you to the wrath or mercy of a range of judges. There is no doubt that barristers, being self-employed with flexible autonomy of how they spend their time, are sociable creatures who love to lunch. Whether itâ€™s celebratory or to commiserate, there is always an excuse for lunch. If you manage to build the right relationship with your barrister, you may be lucky enough attend. But take it from me, ensuring your working ability or motivation donâ€™t waiver after a few social beverages is an important skill to have. There is no doubt that working for a barrister will give you a range of skills and experience to complement your studies and future career. Although technically you canâ€™t be a solicitor and work for a barrister #neverletgo, the experience will set you up generously for a position in a firm. The range of work you will be exposed to will be incredibly diverse and challenging, and the satisfaction of following a case from start to finish (however that may be) is invaluable. In my learned opinion, the decision has been handed down: any opportunity to work for a barrister should be taken without hesitation.
Written by Hayley Andersen QUT Law Student
six key steps
to retaining your sanity this semester As I strolled through Brisbane Airport I couldn’t help but admire my glorious tan! After basking in the American sun and eating more burgers than I could have ever dreamed of, I was feeling positive, motivated and optimistic about all that lay ahead. Fast forward a mere 24 hours later and I found myself in the law library. I was on the verge of tears contemplating whether life as a Panda Carer was a viable career pathway...seriously though, have you seen baby pandas?! As I looked at my timetable and considered my assessments, my happy memories (read hazy recollections) of Vegas quickly withered away. What happened, you ask? Law school, that’s what. I was surprised and somewhat disappointed by how quickly stress had deteriorated my mental state. I decided I had two choices: 1. Remain in the fetal position and continue sobbing in the reserved section of the library; or 2. Get back in the driving seat and build a strategy to manage stress. After picking myself up of the floor (a familiar sight to the library staff ) I decided on option two. So here, after careful thought, is my humble manifesto for semester success.
1 2 3 4 18
Chill about your GPA
Law school tends to attract highly motivated and intelligent students. Intelligence however can sometimes give way to perfectionism and the latter, anxiety. If you didn’t get the grade you were expecting, you wonder why. If you’re like me, maybe you get a little angry. You start to experience the infamous law school spiral, questioning whether you’re cut out for law or whether you're as smart as you think. Let me stop you there. Achieving 7s or 6s every semester is awesome (kudos to these aliens), but if your GPA isn’t 6.999 don’t freak out. You are not the sum of your grades. Instead learn from your mistakes, consider how you can improve and move on. It’s okay.
Get organised early
It might seem like I’m preaching to the converted on this one, but you would be surprised by how many law students just don’t do this. I have a wall planner where I map out all my assignment dates, important events, birthdays etc. If you don’t have a similar strategy in place, I encourage you to start one. Your future self will thank you.
You might be thinking, ‘one does not simply take a break’ during the semester. Wrong. Scheduling breaks gives you permission to disengage from the chaos without the guilt of ‘I should be studying.’ Breaks during the busiest periods of your life are actually valuable. Be it a beach day or simply a do nothing day, take a break every now and then to reenergise, reorganise and recalibrate.
Holla if you need help
I don’t think enough students take advantage of QUT’s support networks. Be it staff consultation hours or free counselling sessions, I encourage you to use these resources. Talking to the right people can help alleviate your worries, give you a fresh perspective and equip you with the knowledge you need to take your next steps.
Practise the art of mindfulness
I know far too many people who spend their time worrying. If they’re not thinking about the past, they’re fixated on the future (meticulously planning for something that may or may not eventuate). The tendency to cast our minds elsewhere can distract us from the present and in turn cause anxiety and stress. Clinical psychologist, Dr Rezvan Ameli states that we can combat stress and enjoy peace of mind by practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness is about conscientiously being present. It emphasises appreciating your surroundings, focusing on your immediate tasks, and accepting your thoughts without judgement. There’s proven benefits to mindfulness. A study from the University of Pennsylvania found that mindfulness can “reduce negative emotions, elicit positive emotions, reduce stress [and] boost working memory.” If you want to enjoy these benefits, practise mindfulness. You will eliminate stress and enjoy the simple pleasures to be found in the present.
make time to do what you want
Some students spend every waking moment focused on law. By the time week ten rolls around they end up looking like extras from the Walking Dead. Please don’t destroy yourself this semester. Instead, I propose MAKING time to do what you love. This differs from finding time. In the real world (shout out to ma boi QUT) you will rarely find time. We live such busy lives that if we don’t intentionally make time for what we love, we may never find the time. So whether it’s a sport, an instrument, hanging with friends, working on that blog looking at law school memes – make time to do what you love! Your happiness counts on it.
Now go dominate the semester - you got this!
Written by Kirsten Ceddixa QUT Law Student
 Rezvan Ameli, 25 Lessons in Mindfulness (American Psychological Association, 2013) 20-21.  Ibid, 21.
Visit www.allens.com.au/careers, www.linklaters.com/ukgrads and www.linklaters.com/hkcareers to find out more.
Herbert Smith Freehills and the QUT Law Society proudly present The QUT Law Revue 2017 “Clerk de Soleil”. Is that university life getting you down? Sitting in your week 7 lecture and thinking ‘God damn, I wish I could just spend a night with my friends watching a fantastic performance describing our lives at university with fabulous songs and hysterical comedic timing?’ Well why not roll up on the 21st and 22nd of September to the QUT Gardens Theatre, for a show which has been described by punters as ‘Cirque de Soleil’ meets ‘The Betoota Advocate’. After decades of speculation, years of anticipation, months of physical training, weeks of script writing, and more than a few hours of rehearsals, the QUT Law Revue is only days away. Led by convenors Kate Milward and Eleanor Sondergeld, the cast lovingly prepared what will be the most hilarious, bizarre and truthful assessment of your time at QUT you will ever see. Follow along the journey of law student Cara, a young girl who becomes disenchanted with the torts life, and chooses to follow her dream of joining the circus. Only then will she realise how much good her law school skills can do out in the real world… An all-star cast has been assembled, the likes of which has never been seen before, or ever will again. It features the law school’s greatest singers, actors, comedians, and least qualified dancers, living out every meme, woman and child’s daily thoughts on stage. WHEN: Thursday 21st and Friday 22nd September. TIME: 7pm. LOCATION: Gardens Theatre, Gardens Point Campus. TICKETS: Available for purchase via www.gardenstheatre.qut.edu.au Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for exclusive behind the scenes footage @QUTLS Law Revue.
Gen Y Lawyers
is freelance the future?
Written by Mellisa Hillier QUTLS Publications Officer
A shift in the perception of success has driven young lawyers to challenge the traditional law firm model. A study conducted via twitter using #genYchat, revealed that many GenYers defined success in terms of affirmation from peers, or having greater satisfaction from work ‘happiness’. When asked ‘do you believe that there are generational differences in how personal and material success are defined?’, responses included: @kelly_ashworth: Absolutely! I think GenY will be less focused on $, which failed for many of our parents, and more focused on happiness. I think we have a belief that it will work out, and we’ll figure it out along the way…ties into our optimism. @steve_campbell: Definitely. Gen Y doesn’t necessarily care about following a set path to find happiness. Familiarity with technology helps with our vision of how the world works too, which lessens the worry. @Outlaw_Inc: GenY’s success = having the freedom and flexibility to pursue passions, have great experiences.
What does this have to do with the Practice of Law?
Traditionally, the dream for young lawyers is to become a partner at a firm, with the first step being landing a graduate position, followed my many years of loyal, hard work. However, with the dream of a work/life balance feeling more achievable than ever, young lawyers are embracing the rising gig economy (think Uber, AirBnB), stepping away from full-time “life” positions, in favour of part-time, temporary, and work from home positions.
These type of lawyers are known as freelancers or “flexi-lawyers”, drawn to the lifestyle thanks to increased flexibility, a greater breadth of experience and the ability to pursue and fund entrepreneurial projects. Increased flexibility means that the dream of creating the ideal work/life
balance is suddenly achievable. Freelancers find that they are able to pursue their interests both professionally and leisurely whether that is traveling for 6 months of the year, launching a start-up or jumping industry to gain experience in a variety of fields. Freelancing has allowed three years qualified lawyer, Kay Ma, to work on her business during her downtown between contracts. Ma says that “[She] can be a serious lawyer and have other interests, without feeling like [she’s] committing adultery on [her] career”. 10 years qualified David Wides, says that before freelancing, he was unable to take a holiday and though he would be in the same office-bound job forever. Wides believes that freelancing gives you the freedom to focus on other things without sacrificing your work.
“It allows you to do top-notch work at reputable companies and, in many ways, it makes you even more attractive as businesses are often keen to work with people who have varied experience across different industries.” − David Wides On the flip side, freelancers allow law firms to have a variable cost of labour and meet client pricing demands. Instead of employing a large number of permanent staff, firms only pay lawyers when they have work to pay them from. Andrew Darwin, Chief Operating Officer at DLA Piper said that “the career path of lawyers is shifting to accommodate increasing expectations around achieving work/life balance”. He adds that law firms need to be able to meet such expectations in order to retain and motivate the best talent. The traditional law firm is no longer the only choice for lawyers and law firms need to respond to this. Lawyers On Demand, Vario, and Axiom specialise in finding and placing freelance lawyers with matching clients, some of which include Google, Barclays and Vodafone. Solicitors select jobs with clients that suit their skills and interests and fit with how they want to work. This could be full-time temporary role, working on a big deal – or a week at home reviewing commercial contracts. Of course, as the age old saying goes, “If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is”. Working freelance means that work is never guaranteed and for some, the risk is too great to take. Job security is a necessity for many who have dreams of owning their own house or car and convincing a banker to give you a loan could prove difficult. Another drawback is the potential to miss out on long-term friendships created in the office, which can make freelancing a bit lonely, especially if you don’t have an active social life. However, many freelancers have found that in the end the risk was worth the reward. 23
Life after season 7 Written by Anonymous QUT Law Student
Now that season 7 is over, I just don’t know what to do with my life. The final season of Game of Thrones isn’t expected to be released until at least summer 2018, but 2019 is more realistic thanks to the feature length episodes. Here I am all charged up on salacious politics, war, competing royals, zombies and dragons – walking around my living room in an Ikea rug cloak – now what? Well, the good people at Early Bird Books have compiled a stellar line up of fantasy novels to keep us occupied/sane until... 1. Georgie boy releases Winds of Winter; or 2. Game of Thrones Season 8 is FINALLY here.
Lens of the World, by R.A. MacAvoy
In this New York Times Notable book, MacAvoy launches a series that contains some of the most engrossing characters in all of fantasy. This begins right off the bat with Nazhuret and Powl, an outcast orphan and his mad and brilliant mentor. Together they must pursue Nazhuret’s destiny in the face of war, darkness, and a treacherous family.
The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss
With a miniseries being produced by superstar nerd Lin-Manuel Miranda on the way, now is the perfect time to read Rothfuss’ dynamic series. Riffing on the fantasy trope of the Chosen One, The Kingkiller Chronicles features split narration: the rise of Kvothe, destined to humble kings, and Kvothe in the present, washed-up and telling his story to a chronicler.
The Broken Sword, by Poul Anderson
Published the same year as The Fellowship of the Ring, The Broken Sword also features elves and demigods. But the story boils down to two young men: one raised as a human (he’s not), and one raise as an elf (he’s not either). As tensions between the races rise and old gods stir, a confrontation between the two becomes destiny.
The Way of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson
The Desolation is coming. As it approaches, a broad cast of characters with seemingly unconnected lives are drawn closer and closer. The Way of Kings is Brandon Sanderson’s take on the fantasy epic after finishing up the Wheel of Time series for Robert Jordan. And he’s mad prolific, so he’ll probably finish before ol’ G.R.R. 24
The Night Angel Trilogy, by Brent Weeks
Week’s series follows the battle for the throne of Cenaria and an assassin caught up in the political intrigue and the battles that follow. In the explosively violent Way of Shadows, Kylar Stern jumps the chance to leave the slums and train as an assassin, only to enter a world full of betrayal and old magic.
The Sea King Trilogy, by Nancy Springer
Imagine Westeros after a White Walker apocalypse, and you’ll get a sense of Springer’s Sea King Trilogy. Uneasy alliances, subtle magic, and a fantastically engrossing world set this series apart.
The King Must Die, by Mary Renault
An epic imagining of the mythic King Theseus, The King Must Die is full of sword battles, prophecies, diabolical plots. And Renault’s fantasy credentials are sound; she tutored under J.R.R. Tolkien at Oxford.
The Deed of Paksenarrion, by Elizabeth Moon
The slow but incredible rise from a private in a mercenary army to hero helps make this fantasy series a classic. Like Martin, Moon is merciless when it comes to killing off characters, but the ride is worth it.
The Summer Dragon, by Todd Lockwood
Dragons? Check. Deadly political games? Check. Follow Maia and her family as they breed dragons for war and navigate increasingly treacherous warring factions.
The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb
Fitz is the bastard son of a nobleman. Though some seek to conceal him in embarrassment, he comes to the attention of the king and is trained in the arts of the political assassins. Excellent world-building and a slow, tense build to the climax make this series a must read for Game of Thrones and general fantasy fans alike.
MOVE YOUR MIND
Graduates in Law
Aim beyond pure legal knowledge. Beyond commercial advice. Be known for something more: a clarity of thought and an instinct for problem solving that can influence governments and leading businesses the world over. Join us and weâ€™ll help you enrich and expand your worldview, grow your skills and influence new ways of thinking. In other words, weâ€™ll help you move minds.
Begin now at careers.ashurst.com Connect with us on
Innovate Partner Gareth Jolly and Associate Cameron Loughlin after winning the firmâ€™s national Hackathon for their new legal service app.
FOCUS Written by Anonymous QUT Law Student
Have you ever felt like no matter how hard you try to study, you just can’t get into the grind? Have your ever just sat there with the best of intentions and found yourself sitting there four hours later with a lack of purpose and minimal achievements for your time? Then this guide is for you! We all want to minimise the time we spend studying and maximising what we get out of it. This guide will help you study smarter and free up your hours for more important things like buzzfeed articles or top 10 YouTube videos.
Airplane mode and wifi off
Sometimes we can’t be trusted to have our own best interests at heart. Having access to Facebook in the background might seem harmless, a quick look at Instagram isn’t that detrimental and a quick snap of how bored you from studying is definitely going to entertain your friends. What it isn’t going to do is help you get through your notes, finish that podcast or get through those readings that have piled up for weeks. Sometimes we need to put ourselves in a communication dead-zone. Every time we check our devices and our socials we lose time and focus. Limiting your access to these distractions will get you through it much quicker and give you more time to spend doing the things you want. Pro-Tip: Still need to keep the Wi-Fi on to download those podcasts or stream videos? There are apps for every operating system, whether it is phone or laptop to block access to social media and other distractions. Some of these will even give you the option to set a window to access your apps and websites giving you breaks to recharge and come back more focused than ever.
Study when you feel most alert and efficient Don’t force yourself to study when you are exhausted. There is no point in torturing yourself and getting up early on your weekend, downing a few coffees or a couple of cans of red-bulls and forcing yourself to slog through notes you have no chance of remembering. Sleep in a little, wake up refreshed and hit those notes with a clear mind. Feeling tired? Treat yourself to a nap. You may spend less hours studying, but those hours will be far more effective. Who doesn’t want to spend less time studying and more time sleeping?
Moving the goal posts
This is something you have probably done when going for a run or hitting the gym. Whatever you call it, the thought-process is the same. Whether it is just running to the next post or pushing out another two-reps, breaking down an impossible goal will achieve small victories. Fifteen more minutes of research for that assignment, reach the goal, rinse and repeat. It works for marathon runners, so why wouldn’t it work for you? Remember to reward yourself for a victory every once in a while.
Head to campus to study
Going out of your way to go to Uni in your free time may sound like the last thing you want to do, but sometimes the change in environment can make all the difference. There is nothing else you can do in the library but study. Well you can get distracted, but after making the effort to get on campus you won’t want to waste your time. Combine this with Airplane mode and turning your Wi-Fi off and you’ll find yourself up to date in no time.
Options beyond the
Written by Tracey Bryan QUT Law Student
I’m 47 and approaching the end of my LLB(Hons). I did a BSc straight out of high school 30 years ago, I spent nearly a decade as a fighter controller in the Air Force, I’ve been a consultant to Defence Science and Technology Organisation in cognitive psychology, I’ve been a stay-at-home parent, and now I’m planning on embarking on another career in science law with a scientific research organisation.
graduates is headed that way, and the good news is that I’m confident that there’s cause for quite a bit of optimism for “all the rest of us”.
I’ve seen many of my friends and colleagues go through career changes, and I view all the angst many of my fellow students have about their career prospects from a different perspective, and hope that what I offer is helpful to at least some of you.
For me personally, my health isn’t great, and I recognised early on that the hours and pressure of a job in a top tier firm were inconsistent with managing my chronic medical condition, so I have always known that I’d have to find another path, and have spent my degree investigating other options. I’ve been pleasantly surprised to have found it to be a much richer and fertile employment domain than I ever imagined!
We’ve all heard that there are way too many graduates competing for way too few law jobs, right? Depressing, isn’t it? The standard response seems to be that the only option is to maintain a 6.75+ GPA, compete in all the competitions, apply for all the top-tier internships, and just hope you’re one of the “chosen few” who gets one of those rare and prized entry-level jobs with a top-tier firm. Whilst not condemning that path - and hats off to those who both enjoy that and are able to maintain it - no more than a small fraction of
A job at a top-tier firm might be the most obvious entry to a career in law, but not only is it not the only way into a career in law, it may not even be the best option for you.
Most people think about the jobs that are available, and try to find one and hope that it fits them. That’s looking at things the wrong way around!
First you need to figure out what the job that ideally suits you looks like, then find out who’s offering jobs like that.
Start out by asking yourself the following questions, not just at a surface level, but really think deeply about the answers. It can also be good to ask some of your friends and family for input, as to where they think your relative strengths and weaknesses are, as they’re often more objective. • Do I enjoy working alone in an office, or mostly in meetings with people? • Do I enjoy working under intense time pressure? How long can I sustain that for? • How much leisure time do I need? What’s the right work-life balance for me? • How much money do I really want or need? At what point does “more” become not really that important or motivating for me? • How important are skilled mentors to me? How much intellectual and other stimulation do I need to get from my job, and how much am I happy to get from my hobbies and other interests? • How well do I deal with office politics and personality clashes? Do I find it stressful, amusing, ignore it, or do I handle it with finesse? • How important is it to me to work in an area of law of my choosing? • Do I want to work directly in the law at all, or do I want to use my legal training to develop policy, regulate an industry, lobby and influence future legislation, protect vulnerable populations through NGOs, operate or manage a business, sit on boards, enter politics, etc? As an example, I brainstormed with a barrister mentor and we agreed that to kick-start a career for me at my age, I needed to leverage my previous degree and skills, so that I could work part-time (due to my health), yet still have a decent mid-level legal job. I identified biotech law as a potential niche – fortunately biotech was my science major – and then used LinkedIn to
identify a few government research organisations with in-house teams in the region. The first one I met with – a charitable organisation - allowed me to volunteer for 3 months, then created a paid position for me as a legal assistant, which I loved. I hope to get a paid position on the in-house counsel team when I graduate.
Figure out what you want to do, then try and find out who is employing people to do that. Use LinkedIn, your network of fellow students and mentors, your social contacts, previous work colleagues, Google, or whatever resources you have – all the information is out there!
If you’re waiting for jobs to be created and advertised, you’re missing most of the best employment opportunities. Never underestimate the power of identifying exactly what you want, and then going out and either finding it, or asking for it to be created. I know of several other legal graduates who found fantastic jobs by approaching individuals and organisations that weren’t hiring and saying “I want to work for you, and this is why, and this is what I can do for you”.
Connect with us on... QUT Law Society Website www.qutlawsociety.com Facebook www.facebook.com/qutlawsociety/ Instagram @qutlawsociety LinkedIn QUT Law Society 32
As a junior lawyer, your enthusiasm is in overdrive. Everything is interesting. You have a million questions for everyone. You want to be the best. And for me, I wanted to be the best lawyer and leader I could be. Right now I’m a corporate and tax lawyer, buying and selling companies, structuring investments and having the occasional battle with the ATO.
So, a little while after I started at Clayton Utz, I joined the social committee. A powerful assembly fuelled by lunchtime pizzawielding lawyers making important decisions like choosing the Christmas party theme. They knew I liked pizza, but had no idea I was gay. You see, I wasn’t out at work yet and this became a genuine source of anxiety for a good two years. But In May 2015 this all changed... To listen to Luke’s full story, go to: claytonutz.com/graduates Academic brilliance certainly counts, but graduates who thrive here have something extra – a natural passion for connecting with people and a strong sense of self. That’s what staying true is all about. If you have these qualities, Clayton Utz is for you.
The types of people you meet in
Written by Rianna Shoemaker QUT Law Student
So, you’ve decided to pursue a Law degree. Firstly, I believe congratulations are in order. The study of Law is certainly not easy, as I’m sure you’ve been told by your parents, uncle, teacher and perhaps even your next door neighbour. At times, you will find yourself crying, laughing and heavy-duty procrastinating by binging that television show you were intending to watch in the holidays. In fact, I performed all three of those tasks this week (and probably at the same time). In your time at Law School, you will meet many people from different backgrounds, experiences and races and by the time you’re a pruny-skinned graduate you’ll be chocker-block full of wonderful stories to entertain your folks. So, what kind of people will you actually meet in the Law school? Here are just a few (keep a tally in your textbook).
1. The Baby Face
This person is brand-new to the concept of studying. Perhaps they’re fresh out of high school or they’ve taken a gap year (or three) to work or they have been off exploring the world. You can always pick a Baby Face by their rosy cheeks and warm smile. They will be friendly and chatty and may approach you to initiate a conversation that will sound a little something like this:
Baby Face (BF): ‘Hi, how are you going?’ You: I’m well, thank you. BF: I’m so excited to be studying Law!!! Is today your first day? You: Yes. BF: Me too. It’s going to be so much fun.
Oh, how little they know of Law School. Don’t underestimate Baby Faces. If they can survive first year, they will be your best friend when study gets tough. Just the dose of happiness and optimism you need to get you through.
2. The Pretentious One
Sometimes nicknamed the ‘Daddy’s Boy’ (or girl) you will be able to pick this person right away from their stern expression and exceptional posture. Although it deviates from person to person, the Pretentious One usually has connections in the legal field. Perhaps their relative is a judge or everyone
growing up said ‘they would be such a good lawyer because they’re so good at debating’. In any case, this person has confidence, and lots of it. The Pretentious One may sometimes arrive to class wearing a suit and tie and will attempt to boast of their never-ending knowledge and experience by answering every question in your tutorial. Other telltale signs of a Pretentious One are: an expensive watch, the latest iPhone, a button up shirt or very nice shiny shoes. The Pretentious One may humble up after a few weeks of study so don’t be afraid to approach them. They’re usually very friendly and don’t bite.
3. The Mature Aged Student
The Mature Aged Student (MAS) usually sits at the front of the lecture theatre and enjoys responding to questions with vigor, perhaps describing in detail their life before Law. They are always prepared, having answered all the tutorial questions ahead of time and are rigorously organised. This may be their second degree or perhaps they’ve chosen to study for the first time after getting invaluable life experience. MAS are often complained about on University Facebook pages, but don’t discount them. You’d be surprised by how much knowledge and experience some MAS have if you are prepared to start a conversation with them. Additionally, the MAS can sometimes be one of the most conscientious and hard-working students you’ll ever meet.
4. The Human Rights Activist
This person has no issue telling you how passionate they feel about human rights and social justice. They might explain at length that they have wanted to be a lawyer their whole life so they can help people and make a difference. While it is very admirable and respectable, sometimes you’re just not in the mood to hear about it, especially when you have three or four assessments due at the same time. You can pick a Human Rights Activist if they talk a lot about themselves or describe the many hours they have dedicated to volunteering for multiple causes. They are often very vocal, both inside and outside the classroom, and have a knack for Mooting (you know who to ask when you need a partner at the last minute).
5. The One Who Always Studies
They don’t study Law, they live Law. You could be forgiven for thinking they live at the University. This person will be in the 24-hour library at all hours of the morning in their dressing gown with their textbook(s) and an extra-large cup of coffee. They are often quiet and reserved but their resilience and willpower is second to none. They are good people to befriend if you don’t study quite as much and you need help on an assignment. But don’t take them for granted. The studious one is very observant and knowledgeable and they can’t easily be fooled, despite their still tongue. There are many, many kinds of people in the Law School and all have wonderful things to offer. Law School is in many ways like the universe in miniature. At times, it can be fiercely competitive, challenging and tryin, but it can also be extremely rewarding. Those who put in the most work receive the largest benefit. Some of the connections and friends you make now will remain with you for the rest of your life. As cheesy as it sounds, I do belong in the LLB. And I’m proud of that.
Choose a PLT with firm connections. Scott Vanderwolf Stephens & Tozer Solicitors
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We are one of the 10 largest law firms in Australia by size. We have more than 500 people, including 96 Partners, operating out of our offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide. Our industry coverage and client work is diverse.
WHAT OUR GRADUATES SAY ABOUT US “At Thomson Geer, I feel like I am constantly learning and developing. The senior members of my team take an active interest in mentoring their graduates and junior lawyers through open communication, providing feedback, and direct involvement in real work. Having the support of more experienced lawyers has helped me find my place within the firm and given me confidence in my legal career.”
Miranda Nelson, Lawyer “During my time in the Graduate program at Thomson Geer I was given the chance to actively participate in many real work opportunities, just some of which included attending meetings with clients, experts and counsel, drafting court documents, attending court for the entirety of a trial and appearing in court. This work allowed me to develop my skills in many different areas and gain invaluable experience early in my legal career.”
Lauren Abbott, Lawyer “After two years working in the Adelaide office I applied for a role in the Sydney office when a position became vacant. I was able to seamlessly change offices and live in a new city.”
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ADVICE | TRANSACTIONS | DISPUTES Domestic & Cross Border 37 www.tglaw.com.au Sydney | Melbourne | Brisbane | Adelaide
Written by Tristan Hall QUT Law Student
QUT Law Student Tristan Hall recently competed in the Herbert Smith Freehills Paper Presentation for 2017. Tristan placed second and won the oportunity to have a sit down consultation with Herbert Smith Freehillsâ€™ HR Guru Tanya Dunbabin to discuss his CV. The winner of this competition, Rebecca Humphries, won a one week (unpaid) work experience. All participants wrote and presented on on the topic: NewLaw firms operating via technology or with low overheads represent a significant departure from how legal practices have traditionally operated in Australia. Discuss the commercial, professional and ethical implications arising from providing legal services in this way. What can global top tier law firms learn from these operators? Please find below Tristanâ€™s response to this topic. The legal industry as we know it has been ripe for development for the better half of the last twenty years. While the profession has traditionally been slow to adopt many new methods of practice, it is now an undeniable truth that the industry is in the process of significant restructure with NewLaw firms leading the revolution. The way in which these NewLaw firms operate disrupts the way legal services are provided by shifting the focus of practice away from traditional means toward more innovative processes. Through redesigning internal structures, their methods of delivering services to clients, and conducting themselves in a new manner entirely, many NewLaw firms are re-defining what if means to remain competitive withi a global legal industry. By endorsing many technological innovations to their highest utility and prioritising the minimisation of overhead costs, NewLaw firms are on the frontier of innovation. While 38
these methods are a significant departure from traditional practices, global top tier firms may learn much from these drivers of the legal revolution, and would be wise to examine their successes and learn from their failures. One of the most significant ways in which NewLaw firms are disrupting the legal industry is through the use of technological innovations. The technological revolution over the past two decades has brought with it many new efficient techniques to help conduct law firms. These techniques link well with the overarching goal of a NewLaw firm, which is guided by the NewLaw philosophy to seek innovative solutions for clients. By using means such as artificial intelligence, cloud storage, and new means of communicating, NewLaw firms have developed novel methods of providing traditional services. These firms are using many of these technologies to enhance partnership and collaboration to the extent that it achieves the goal of innovative solutions. This is being achieved by recent NewLaw firms in Australia via an emphasis on virtual models of practice and an established
online presence. Utilising these technologies allows firms to develop a constant line of communication with clients, opening many opportunities which were once impossible to both firms and clients alike. The technological emphasis in the modern NewLaw structure allows for more effective means of communication and conducting the internal business of a firm, and has become an asset to the structure of the modern law firm. Along with adopting many technological innovations, NewLaw firms have also begun to place an emphasis on strategies which lower overhead costs. As NewLaw firms have begun to restructure traditional processes, many have found that common overheads have substantially decreased. Common traditional overheads such as rent, advertising and travel expenses are now seemingly redundant as NewLaw firms approach their services with a focus on an online presence and the strategic use of resources to improve efficiency. An illustration of this can be seen from the law firm Bespoke. Bespoke is a NewLaw firm founded by Jeremy Szwider and is a current nominee for 2017 NewLaw firm of the year. The success of Bespoke suggests that an efficiencydriven, minimalistic approach to providing simplistic yet innovative solutions to clients is vital to the NewLaw approach. By offering their services in such a way, these attitudes come hand in hand with lowered costs and are often reflected by lower overheads. These processes have allowed many NewLaw firms to significantly lower or make redundant many overhead costs and global top tier firms would be wise to follow suit. Although NewLaw firms are undoubtedly on the frontier of revolutionising the legal profession and the competitive nature of law firms, there are many commercial, professional and ethical risks and implication to consider. With respect converting a firmâ€™s entire professional philosophy to the NewLaw structure, there may be numerous commercial risks associated with the change. The first of these risks is linked to the overarching NewLaw firm goal of striving to find innovative solutions for clients. In pursuing this, firms often implement relatively new practises into their professional regime. One such practise often requested by clients is the adoption of new, streamlined billing strategies to more efficiently meet interests. The ideology of the
modern Australian NewLaw firm, Law Squared, suggests that effective billing practises can indeed minimise many unnecessary costs on the part of both the client and the firm. Law Squared operates under a billing strategy which replaces the traditional model with one which is calculated on a fixed, or ad-hoc basis. While restricting the way in which a firm receives payment for services poses a significant commercial risk, this strategy is best adopted alongside the acceptance of technological innovations such as cloud storage, an online presence and a well-connected network between client and firm. There is risk associated with implementing any new feature which is uncommon to the savvy consumer. By taking advantage of the NewLaw approach and examining how other firms have adopted similar practises successfully, these strategies are likely to exceed expectations in the highly competitive legal professional market. Alongside the potential commercial implications, the NewLaw approach may also offer many professional implications. Professional implications are associated with how a law firm conducts itself within the industry. One of the main ways this is disrupted by the NewLaw philosophy is through altering how the firm is perceived by the client. A driving influence within the NewLaw approach is the impact of an online presence. Adopting an online presence allows clients to always be connected to the firm and their matter, and will have an impact on the expectations of each individual client. This elevated level of connectivity brings with it increased levels of accountability and responsibility, and also allows the client to take a degree of ownership over their own interests. The expectations of clients within the legal profession will likely be influenced by the NewLaw movement to the extent that a virtual interaction of some means will become standard. Insofar as the industry as a whole is concerned, firms which do not meet these expectations will be left behind, suffering significant professional complications. The third impact that NewLaw will have relates to ethical implications. Ethics within the legal profession is undoubtedly a point of great concern to many of the 39
sensitive stakeholders. A heavily scrutinised area is the onus of a legal professional to meet effective communication requirements. Whether the novel forms of communications which NewLaw will provide discharge these requirements is a potentially controversial question. The level of communication which is deemed appropriate is analysed subjectively and depends on each clientâ€™s level of sophistication and knowledge. New forms of communication via online message, cloudstorage or artificial intelligence are undoubtedly novel conceptions, and may pose ethical implications to those seeking to rely on them. The question is raised whether the use of these innovations save just the firm, or both the firm and the client time and money. In the event of the former it is likely that these complications will be subject to significant concern for all stakeholders within the legal community. All firms should be hesitant when adopting these methods of practise to ensure their ethical obligations to the client are met. In respect of specific lessons NewLaw firms may provide global top tier firms, many of the strategies adopted offer significant learning opportunities. For this reason, it appears that many firms would benefit from following those on the frontier of legal innovation and may learn much from those NewLaw operators. One of the most fundamental lessons a global top tier firm may learn from the NewLaw process is how to adopt new strategies to adapt to client needs, such as forming new billing strategies. The way in which firms are traditionally billing clients is becoming an outdated process as it is replaced with more innovative, streamlined techniques. A reoccurring theme across NewLaw firms is the novel billing approach through a model which focuses on either fixed or ad-hoc rates. If larger firms were to follow suit and adopt a similar billing mechanism they would likely find that their billing processes would better align with client needs, allowing them to remain competitive in a heavily populated market. This is a lesson which needs to be learned sooner rather than later, as client expectations rapidly rise alongside the technological revolution. 40
A further lesson which may be learned from analysing the way NewLaw firms conduct themselves is in relation to internal firm attitudes and structures. It is suggested that in order for a firm to truly adopt novel strategies, the incentive to do so must arise from deep within the firmâ€™s structure. The way in which many top tier firms are traditionally set up has slowed industry change to almost a stand still. NewLaw firms have now come in with new hierarchical structures, new practise models, and a new desire to adopt novel techniques. Without the specific desire, any change is likely to be simply superficial and susceptible to failure due to the lack of internal motivation. Global top tier firms, and indeed any law firm seeking to adopt the NewLaw approach, would be wise to consider whether their internal policies would allow for such a change. By taking a close look at the structure and policies of NewLaw firms, other firms can begin to adopt similar procedures and will see significant change in their design. In conclusion, global top tier firms would do well to pay mind to those NewLaw firms on the frontier of legal innovation. It is undeniable that the way in which these firms are conducting practise is changing the legal landscape at a rapid pace. Through the maximisation of technology and minimisation of overhead costs, NewLaw firms have significantly contribute to the evolution of the modern legal profession. Despite commercial, professional, and ethical steps to overcome, global top tier firms would do well to analyse these strategies if they wish to remain competitive in the highly populated market.
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