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Young guns 09: Joanne Panagakis

Young guns 09: Joanne Panagakis

One holds a pilot's licence while practising aviation law, another brings his entrepreneurial spirit to his firm, while others are breaking new ground in their ambitions to promote justice. No…

One holds a pilot's licence while practising aviation law, another brings his entrepreneurial spirit to his firm, while others are breaking new ground in their ambitions to promote justice. No matter what their speciality, these ten young lawyers profiled by Lawyers Weekly represent just a sample of the talent an emerging generation of lawyers has to offer the legal profession

Joanne Panagakis, personal injury specialist, Slater & Gordon

For 33-year-old Slater & Gordon lawyer Joanne Panagakis, the year 2009 has been one of sharp transitions.

In January, she returned to work after eight months' parental leave following the birth of her first child, then just six months later she was elevated to the position of practice group leader of the motor vehicle accidents/TAC grouping for the firm's office in Reservoir, Victoria. However she isn't daunted by her newfound responsibilities, and she's optimistic about her ability to balance both worlds. "I expect that in ten years' time I will have consolidated my management skills, expanded my role in the firm and cultivated a successful work/life balance," she says.

A career in law was on the cards for Panagakis from an early age. "I was drawn to the law from a young age due to the drama associated with the courtroom and I as I grew older I saw the law as a profession that was able to positively shape our community and I wanted to be involved in this," she says.

However, when it came to selecting her practice area, Panagakis says she had to look further afield than what she'd been introduced to at law school. She advises other law students to do the same.

"Keep an open mind about the areas of law [you] wish to practice in, as what is taught at law school does not necessarily provide a true representation of the law in practice," she says. "I had no idea how interesting and rewarding I would find running a litigation practice in a personal injury firm. Law students should try and seek out as much practical work experience and as many volunteer roles as possible while studying."

Click here to visit the profiles section of the website for the full profiles of all our 2009 Young Guns.

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