The variety and challenge of working in-house
Seeking out variety and opportunities to learn has helped this award-winning young lawyer rise to a number of in-house challenges.
Molly Carr-Walsh is an in-house legal counsel for insurance at Toll Group — and won the Rising Star of the Year (In-House) category at the Australian Law Awards earlier this month.
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Speaking to Lawyers Weekly, Ms Carr-Walsh said she was “honoured” to have won an award.
“It has been a long-standing career aspiration to be named a finalist at the Australian Law Awards and I am humbled to have achieved it so early on in my career,” she said.
“I submitted my entry as the capstone to what has been a proud and rewarding year in my professional life. Toll has granted me a variety of exciting opportunities in support of my career progression, I was completing my master of laws (on a novel topic which I believe could progress the legal industry) and I am co-chair of the national committee for the Association of Corporate Counsel, endeavouring to help new in-house lawyers.”
Ms Carr-Walsh first started her career in private practice — first as a lawyer at Thomson Geer and then as an associate at Clyde & Co before moving in-house, which she said has given her more variety and a different understanding of client needs.
“I made the move in-house as I was approached by a company I had represented while in private practice, and therefore knew I thoroughly enjoyed working with. Although the opportunity presented itself sooner than expected, I considered that it would enable me to further develop and expand my skillset and, importantly, deepen my understanding as to the client side of insurance law,” she said.
“My favourite part about being in-house is that I get to work directly with the business on a day-to-day basis, assisting in bringing favourable resolutions in our matters or with any other business needs as they arise. Also, I love the variety (and challenge) that each day brings as I am fortunate to be assisting in different areas and projects.”
Moving in-house also afforded Ms Carr-Walsh with opportunities to learn and grow, something which she regularly seeks out in her legal career.
“I have always sought out opportunities to gain unique learning experiences including a mini pupillage in London while in law school and multiple secondments while undertaking my graduate year,” she said.
“I believe this enthusiasm and curiosity has contributed to the opportunities which have come my way and also allowed me to work with a wide variety of clients and individuals.”
In terms of what younger lawyers should be doing to advance their careers, Ms Carr-Walsh had some valuable advice.
“I would let young lawyers know that it is OK to trust themselves and not be afraid to speak up if they believe they can add value, regardless of what stage of their career they are in,” she said.
“I also realised quite early on how important it is to have a mentor whom you trust and feel comfortable with for those days when you need some advice or guidance. I have a few mentors whose friendship, and counsel, is so important to me.”
And looking to the future, Ms Carr-Walsh said that rather than having a specific career plan, she is looking to focus on becoming an expert within the insurance space.
“Honestly, I am not exactly where I thought I would be five years ago and the last two years have proven that life can’t be controlled or meticulously planned out,” she added.
“So, rather than having my goals as milestones subject to a timeline, I will focus the next five years on being subject matter expert in my field and business and continuing to add value and contribute to my company to the best of my abilities.”