Newly minted lawyer and former planetary scientist Jade Bond spoke with Lawyers Weekly about how she distinguished herself from the pack.
Among those competing for jobs in a tight legal market are people who have walked very different vocational paths. According to graduate lawyer Jade Bond, a well-crafted CV and the way skills are pitched can make all the difference for those candidates who do not ‘fit the mold’.
“Because we aren’t the ‘normal corporate person’, we don’t fit standard expectations. You have to think very carefully about the way that you want to present your skills [to law firms],” Ms Bond said.
“Your skills need to be presented in a way that makes sense and conveys that you are actually making the transition into law for a particular reason – but also that you are still bringing something to the table.”
Worlds away from corporate law, Ms Bond carved out a professional path in astrophysics. After completing her science degree in Sydney she moved to the US to undertake a PhD in Planetary Science at the University of Arizona. With a scientific research career behind her, she entered the legal job market at 34.
“I had a lot of people review my CV and resume. Going through them, I pulled out skills and was really careful about how I presented what I had done.
“I didn’t get into too much into the detail of the actual science itself, but looked at the way that I had done things and highlighted how that was in a lot of ways very similar in law,” she said.
Currently on rotation in her first year of the Maddocks graduate program, Ms Bond is working with the employment, safety and people group. She said the corporate law environment can recognise and make good use of the unique skills that those transitioning into a new career in law bring.
“A lot of places saw me as not really being serious about law. Many firms could just see my science background and couldn’t see why I was transferring, why I was changing. Whereas corporate firms were a little bit more open to that,” Ms Bond said.
Although the day-to-day tasks of scientific research and legal practice are “incredibly different”, Ms Bond said her background has equipped her with the ability to make connections faster than most, particularly when dealing with datasets and volumes of information.
“I see some connections perhaps a little bit faster. I have an attention to detail, an ability to handle a lot of information from a lot of different sources very quickly and am able to synthesise and think of it in a slightly different way,” Ms Bond said.
Her new career has also changed the way she approaches outcomes.
“Science is very focused on getting a result or getting answers, or making progress and law is very much about solving your clients’ needs in the way that they want them to be solved. That probably took me longest to adjust to,” she said.
Ms Bond hopes to remain with Maddocks and said she enjoyed both the firm and its culture. Ensuring her CV reflected her truest version was in part what Ms Bond attributes to finding a well-matched workplace.
“No matter what, make sure that your CV is a reflection of you and your personality and not something generic that you’re putting out there,” she said.
“Don’t try to fit the mold that you think these law firms want; very much keep it true to who you are, otherwise you’re not going to end up in a firm that’s true to you."