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Industry leaders show young lawyers the ropes

Industry leaders show young lawyers the ropes

Young NSW lawyers were offered some valuable career advice and expert insight into their legal future at a recent event hosted by NSW Young Lawyers and Taylor Root. From managing time sheets to…

Young NSW lawyers were offered some valuable career advice and expert insight into their legal future at a recent event hosted by NSW Young Lawyers and Taylor Root.

From managing time sheets to the benefits of overseas experience, partners and in-house counsel gave young lawyers some inspirational advice as to where their careers could take them.

Describing how he has advanced from his early days as a summer clerk all the way to partnership at Corrs Chambers Westgarth, partner and litigator Chris Pagent told the young lawyers how his career progression and success depended heavily on the support from peers and mentors, as well as a little bit of luck.

"How did I get where I am today? There's just no magic in it. I had a great deal of support from lawyers at Corrs, former mentors and managers and partners who imparted their craft. That helped me a great deal," he said.

"And there's been some luck. There's simply no doubt about that. Sometimes circumstances undermine elevation prospects [and] that's the reality."

Enjoying the journey is also important for success in the legal industry, according to litigator and Allens Arthur Robinson partner, John Edmond.

"I really enjoy my job....if you don't enjoy the journey on the way through, there's no point in doing it," he said, adding that young lawyers should apply a "flexible focus" and really consider the advice of their mentors.

"I'd encourage you to be focused and to be flexible because there are a whole host of opportunities that open up as you go. [Don't] close yourself off to opportunities."

Edmond also reassured the audience that there is no right answer when it comes to career choices.

"There's no right answer about how you should approach your career," he said.

"There are a whole host of options out there so I would encourage you to think very flexibly about them."

While illustrating their success and how they got there, Pagent and Edmond also gave some insight into the more negative side of the legal world.

"There are some aspects of my job that I enjoy less but they are necessary. Things like dealing with the over-utilisation and underutilisation of our lawyers, making sure the spread of work is equitable...and timesheets, bloody timesheets!" Pagent said to a room full of nodding heads.

"I would say that I love what I do but at times I resent the time it takes. I work hard, usually from about eight in the morning to about 7:30 or eight at night. And frankly, it gets to stage where it's exhausting.

"But for me, the hard work is definitely worth it."

For Pagent, with the long hours and stress comes the camaraderie and security of partnership.

"I really love what I do...If you follow the career path that I've followed, you get to the stage where you can enjoy the fruits of what you generate," he said.

"I love the camaraderie and partnership. It's a joint enterprise, a common purpose and there's real security in that and I find that important.

"I'm surrounded by great thinkers....people that inspire me everyday."

Briana Everett

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