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Learnings from entering the legal profession later in life

One BigLaw associate discusses his late journey into the legal profession, the important role networking has played, and gives advice about matching one’s own values with the law firm they join.

user iconJess Feyder 15 May 2023 Big Law
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Recently on The Protégé Podcast, host Jerome Doraisamy spoke with Squire Patton Boggs associate Matthew Endo.

Mr Endo discussed how working across different jurisdictions aided him in his legal practice in Australia. Mr Endo outlined that understanding different cultures and different legal frameworks enhanced his capabilities for practising law in Australia.

Mr Endo started studying law to supplement his career in contract management, yet after finding that law was such an interesting area, he became more interested in studying.


“I just realised I loved everything — learning all about new concepts in different areas,” Mr Endo stated.

An important part of entering the legal profession has been to connect with those across it, Mr Endo maintained.

Mr Endo joined an association, the Asian Australian Lawyers Association, which helped him with networking.

“I found that people were very friendly and outgoing, and I felt very welcomed at the events.

“I also thought it was good because they were working with other associations, such as with African Australian Lawyers,” he said.

“It was interesting that they were focusing on their own thing, yet also connecting and getting involved in other things.

“I felt like, ‘Yeah, this is something I would like to be a part of; I’d like to help out’.”

The Asian Australian Lawyers Association is not just limited to Australian lawyers who have Asian heritage. It’s open to all people who are interested in furthering culturally and linguistically diverse people, outlined Mr Endo.

“This really helps to understand cultural differences,” he said.

Mr Endo also spoke about the legal profession more generally, and the motivations that drive many.

“In my experience, the people that I’ve met didn’t get into law because they were interested in the money.

“They came into law because they were interested in solving problems,” Mr Endo stated.

“Most of the lawyers I know are actually very interested in social issues and addressing some of those inequalities in society.”

“That’s really heartening because I think that the future is in our hands,” he said.

Mr Endo gave some words of advice for those starting out their legal career.

“Don’t start law as late as I did,” he said.

“But one thing I found in the process was that I had to learn about my own values in order to narrow down the choices of which law firms I wanted to apply to.”

“By looking at law firms and their values, I had to question if those aligned to my values, which was a very interesting exercise because I didn’t really know what my values were.

“I had to struggle to understand ‘what are my values and what do they mean to me’, then I was able to take that step to apply to different firms,” he explained.

Another piece of advice, “show up to work as your authentic self — then you can do the best job possible”, stated Mr Endo.

“I would tell law students out there, yes, law school is a hard slog, but in the end, there’s a lot of fulfilment in helping people solve their problems, whether you are working at a community legal centre or in government or in private practice,” stated Mr Endo.