When it comes to a career in law, it doesn't have to be about big firms, billable hours and boredom. Claire Chaffey discovers four innovative legal professionals getting paid to do what they love.
|SUCH GREAT HEIGHTS: Adelta Legal's Michael Davis has made his astronautical passion a working success, becoming Australia's only dedicated space lawyer.|
'Do you mean outer space?' they ask, to which Davis offers a brief explanation that yes, he is indeed a lawyer who deals in the business of outer space, rockets, astronauts and satellites.
He even has a Masters degree in space studies from the International Space University (ISU) in Strasbourg, France, and is the only Australian lawyer to do so.
It's a job he loves, and when he's not advising on the impact of international law on launching and operating satellites, liaising with the Australian Government and assisting clients to apply for the necessary licenses, or lobbying and developing policy on behalf of the space industry, he is able to reflect on what has become - quite by accident - a remarkable and enjoyable career.
"It was a pure stroke of luck that led me in this direction," he says, referring to the invitation he received many years ago to chair the Advisory Board Institute of Telecommunications Research at the University of South Australia.
"The projects are always fascinating. Space projects are, almost by definition, complicated, high risk and take a lot of time to design, develop and execute. I have met a number of astronauts and I know some of them quite well. It's the intelligence and imagination and enthusiasm, of not just the astronauts but the young people [in the industry], that keeps me inspired."
For Davis, the road to becoming Australia's only dedicated space lawyer (through his firm Adelta Legal) has been a long and varied one, but ultimately one which allows him to indulge his long-standing interest in the space sector and enjoy the independence and uniqueness that comes with working in a highly-specialised boutique firm.
But space law isn't the only new area of law to have popped up in recent times, with innovative lawyers and practice managers determined to do what they love both outside and inside the workplace.
"The projects are always fascinating. Space projects are almost, by definition, complicated, high risk and take a lot of time to design, develop and execute"
Michael Davis, Adelta Legal, Adelaide
This has led to the establishment of practice areas such as marine, millinery, agribusiness and social media law, often combined with more established niche practice areas such as aviation, maritime and wine law.
These lawyers, looking for new avenues to use their unique knowledge and experience, have created a sub-sector of legal professionals able to provide clients with increasingly tailored service. In a more competitive legal market, this is probably a smart move.
Above all, however, these unique practice areas provide a vehicle for the indulgence of genuine interests and passions, while also contributing to the running a successful business.
And, as Davis well knows, the sky's not necessarily the limit.
|To infinity & beyond: Space lawyer Michael Davis||Law ahoy: |
Marine and winelawyer Marcel Vaarzon-Morel
|Sky's the limit: |
Aviation lawyer Richard Burn
Tweets & bleats:
Bland Law's Vivienne Storey