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Navigating uncertainty as a junior legal counsel

As predicted recession and threats to cyber security plague the world of law, this legal counsel explores the ways juniors entering the field can best move forward. 

user iconJasmine Siljic 01 November 2022 Corporate Counsel
Navigating uncertainty as a junior legal counsel
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Putting clear goals in place can prevent junior legal counsels from feeling overwhelmed, suggested this in-house lawyer.  

Charlotte Olsen is a legal counsel at the National Rugby League (NRL) and is also a finalist for Lawyers Weekly’s upcoming Women in Law Awards. Speaking recently on The Corporate Counsel Show, Ms Olsen put forward suggestions to aid junior legal counsels in finding their way. 

“It’s really important as a legal counsel to understand if you’re writing advice or communicating with people that you know your audience. Sometimes you have to adjust how you write an email, or how you speak to someone,” she explained. 


These foundational skills are developed over time, but are one of the key skills when liaising with colleagues within your organisation. 

“If you can put your hand up for as many things as you can, definitely do it. It shows that you’re interested in your job and in the business,” Ms Olsen said. 

When asked about her role as an emerging leader in-house and the advice she would give to younger legal counsels in a particularly turbulent period, Ms Olsen offered two fundamental recommendations:

  1. Every young lawyer should have goals and plans in place
“The key thing to remember is that goals and plans are not set in stone. You can change and adapt them when you need to because, over time, things change and your goals may change as well,” she explained. 

Creating short-term goals one or two years into the future allows junior lawyers the flexibility to reshape their plans. Additionally, Ms Olsen described her two- to six-year plans, which enable her to see a stable future with the business. 

  1. The importance of upskilling
Her wide exposure, from intellectual property and litigation to commercial law, prevented Ms Olsen from being “pigeonholed into one area of law”. 

Building an extended portfolio of skills and education through short courses can open up a myriad of legal opportunities. For Ms Olsen, it was a sports management course that enabled her to transition into sports law and land her role with the NRL.

Alongside upskilling, she also encouraged the importance of becoming an expert in your current role. 

“It’s twofold because, one, you’re employed to do a job for the business. Then, two, you obviously want to further what you want to do in your career development. I think having two very clear structures is key: this is my job over here, and this is my plan moving forward,” she said. 

With cyber security and potential recession dominating the media currently, Ms Olsen provided some concluding remarks when looking toward 2023. 

“Be active and be proactive. The law changes a lot over time, and it’s really important to be on top of those changes,” she said.

“In terms of marketing yourself in the current market, the best advice I’ve ever been given is: you just need to be yourself. Be passionate about what you want to do. Yes, sometimes you are going to have to put in some hard hours, but if you love your job and you know where you want to end up, you’ll do it.”

The transcript of this podcast episode was slightly edited for publishing purposes. To listen to the full conversation with Charlotte Olsen, click below:

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