Associate - C2 (Commercial)
How long have you been at A&O and what were you doing prior to joining us?
6 months. Before this, I worked in Australia for 5.5 years as a TMT lawyer at King & Wood Mallesons, focusing on telecommunications law and ICT contracting.
What initially attracted you to A&O and what did you feel set us apart?
A combination of the high quality work and the reputation A&O had for having really nice people. The latter point was really validated during my recruitment process. I was a little anxious as I hadn’t done a job interview for over 6 years and moving countries was a little daunting. However, everyone I spoke to during the recruitment process was very kind and understanding, and that really made a difference to me.
What was your first ever job? Was working in the legal sector always your ultimate goal?
My first job was working in the womenswear section at an Australian department store, basically putting away clothes people tried on.
I never thought I'd be a lawyer. At school, I was always good at maths so had planned to go into something numbers related like accounting or consulting. However, after doing a clerkship at my previous firm, I realised that my maths-brain was actually well suited to commercial law (as it basically requires the same logical thinking but without the numbers), and that this was an area I would enjoy.
We are proud at A&O to offer an environment where people can be themselves … What gives you a sense of “belonging” at A&O?
My lovely team! Although it’s obviously a very big commercial law firm, in many ways there is also a ‘small firm’ vibe in the team. From day 1, I’ve felt incredibly welcome and supported to be myself at work (loud Aussie accent and all). When I first started the job, I literally had daily check-ins from various members of the team to see how I was doing.
What’s the best thing about the team you work in?
Great work with great people – who will not only help you with the law and your work, but also listen to your inane everyday work stories. (Shout-out to one of my partners who replied to my jabber message about a delicious cake in the café as if it was a completely normal thing to interrupt his day about.)
What three things have enabled you to excel during your time at A&O?
- Support – I’m incredibly lucky to work with senior people who encourage me to give things a go, but always help me when I need it. This helps me learn faster in a very supportive learning environment.
- Humour – I love that my team can have a good laugh. The work we do is serious enough without having to be serious people all the time. Being able to have fun with the team (in between drafting very serious liability and termination clauses of course) helps me to manage what can be quite a stressful job.
- Open culture - I’ve been able to have really great conversations with different team members about expectations and balancing work with other commitments
If you could switch roles with anyone else at A&O, whose job would you want and why?
Business Development – There are a lot of interesting issues law firms are contending with and it’d be interesting to see and consider how some of those trends are playing out in terms of expectations of lawyers and law firms (e.g. legal technology, graduate expectations).
What advice would you give to anyone considering joining A&O?
Give the application a go and just be yourself! It’s the easiest way to know if it’s the right fit, and you’ll always do your best at a firm where you feel most comfortable.