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Home town girl: Ali Matich, Mallesons Stephen Jaques

Home town girl: Ali Matich, Mallesons Stephen Jaques

Ali Matich heard the call of her home town, Perth, after two years abroad and 11 months working in a law firm in Manchester. She sent off her application to Mallesons Stephen Jaques via international post, despite having no previous work experience or contact with the firm.

"I'd actually never met anyone from Mallesons when I started, so it was a bit daunting," she admits.

Matich describes herself as a "big personality", and speaking with her it quickly becomes clear that this is one of her biggest assets.

In her first face-to-face interview with the firm, Matich developed an immediate rapport with her interview panel.

"I interviewed with Alan Murray and Mike Lundberg, and they were great guys. I thought 'I want to work with people like that, with a sense of humour'," she recalls.

Despite joining the firm only a year ago, she's now on a first-name basis with most of the partners at the firm - almost unheard of for a junior in a large law firm. Her secret is simple: just say hello.

"I've just made an effort to just speak to partners as often as I can. I don't know, maybe being 26-27 years old helps as well. You just think 'Oh well, this is me!'."

The first year of practice has been challenging, busy and somewhat of a blur for Matich. She initially completed a rotation in Partner in Charge, Beau Deleuil's, insolvency practice before rotating to and settling in Nigel Hunt's corporate Mergers & Acquisitions practice.

She has been involved in some high-profile matters and recently oversaw a large-scale due diligence. In her downtime, she is active in university sponsorship activities, the "Mallesons in the Community" program, and various pro bono projects. Not to mention completing her PLT. So how has she handled the pressure?

"There's been a few times, well, I can be a bit of a drama queen," Matich says, "But I think once you learn that you've got to learn to put everything aside and focus on what you're doing and just get on with it - as long as you've tried your hardest and asked the question, at the end of the day that's fine."

Guidance from her lead partner, Nigel Hunt, and her mentor, senior associate Tania Jeyamohan, has been pivotal to Matich as she navigates the highs and lows of legal practice.

"I like the way my current partner, Nigel Hunt, works: he's just very intensive with juniors, so you know exactly what you are doing right and what you are doing wrong and I really need that," she says.

"The partners and the senior associates, they know that you are a junior, they've seen the people the year before you. I don't think they ever expect more of you than you can and will give."

Interview by Laura MacIntyre

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