Ariel Borland studied law at The University of Melbourne, where a firecracker lecturer ignited her interest in insolvency law. In her first year in practice at Mills Oakley, Ariel has found herself on the frontline, dealing with a range of legal issues related to the Opes Prime collapse.
L2B: What attracted you to apply as a graduate to Mills Oakley Lawyers?
Ariel: I knew quite a few people who had gone to mega-firms and had reasonably limited access to A-class clients and also good quality work. So I suppose that encouraged me to look at mid-tier firms. I applied to Mills Oakley because I knew they were a growing firm, so I thought I would have something to contribute there.
L2B: And so have you found that working in a smaller firm lived up to your expectations?
Ariel: Yeah, I’ve been really lucky, I’ve had fantastic mentors in terms of people having patience to talk things through with me. I’ve also had access to great quality work – both in my articles year and since I’ve been admitted.
L2B: You mentioned that you worked on matters related to the Opes Prime collapse. What was it like to be working on such a high-profile case?
Ariel: It was great. We act for an investor, or former investor, of Opes Prime. It is an area that has been in the papers quite a lot. I was involved in a case where the creditor sought an injunction restraining sale of the shares, which in the end we were successful in getting. That was a really good experience for me, both from a legal perspective, but also in terms of working on a case with a bit of media attention.
L2B: And how much work do you get to handle as a junior lawyer?
Ariel: From pretty much as soon as I settled in here, I’ve been doing active file work. Writing letters of advice, reviewing pleadings, looking into different legal issues and studying case law in different issues to advise clients both verbally and in writing on their position. Because I do a lot of hands-on file work, I’ve also been lucky enough to work with lots of barristers – both QC’s and junior barristers – one on one.
L2B: What sort of mentorship opportunities or networking opportunities have been made available to you?
Ariel: I have had a reasonable amount of exposure to other networking possibilities, particularly, I think, insolvency law seems to be an area which is more disposed to networking than general commercial litigation, because in general commercial litigation, your clients often are happy to finish dealing with you because it means their litigation is finished. Whereas, in insolvency law you’ve got continuing relationships with your clients – continual dealings with them on different matters. I’m a member of IWORK – which is international
women’s insolvency law association. And they obviously invite along the blokes too, so they’re good networking opportunities.
L2B: What would you say to young lawyers considering practising in insolvency law?
Ariel: I really enjoy it, it’s something I studied at uni and I really enjoyed it then. Certainly it’s an area which does have a lot of high-profile media coverage. I also enjoy it because you get some real characters in it – whether they’re your clients or the people you’re acting against, you do get characters in insolvency law. And it’s also a bit of a challenge to try and do a bit of detective work to try and work out exactly what’s happened, and what’s gone wrong, which is interesting from a legal perspective as well.
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