Graduating and starting a law career in COVID
I’m lucky to be a graduate lawyer at prominent LGBT law firm, Dowson Turco Lawyers. My career at the firm has been dynamic and started off while I was completing a Bachelor of International Studies / Bachelor of Law at UTS.
I have been at the firm for more than four years and love that I can generally choose my hours of work and even take career and study breaks.
Here are a few things I learned studying at UTS and becoming a lawyer.
1. Graduating and starting a law career during the covid-19 pandemic: anti-climatic and frustrating!
Due to the pandemic, my university graduation and subsequent law admission were two of the most underwhelming experiences that I have had in my transition from a UTS university student to a graduate lawyer.
Without having the monumental life experience of a physical celebration for my graduation and law admission, it was difficult to be career-motivated and to aspire for greater things, considering the uncertainty of career and employment prospects during the pandemic.
But, I am grateful for my job at Dowson Turco and, in many ways, I know that there are bigger things to come.
2. Resilience and adaptability
Like most of the students at UTS (and the graduate lawyers in Sydney) I had to remain resilient and adapt to the unexpected and difficult conditions of life and a graduate career in the time of coronavirus.
Prior to the first lockdown in 2020, I was in my final semester at UTS. In between my studies, namely my Honours Thesis, I worked as a Research Assistant to Dr Sara Dehm in the UTS Law Faculty, for a Research Project, “Healthcare as Border Control in Australia’s Offshore Detention Regime” as well as a paralegal at Dowson Turco.
My work experience inspired me to pursue a career in human rights, aspiring to study and work internationally following my undergraduate degree. Of course, the pandemic hit and international borders were closed, meaning I had to be resilient and adapt to this disruption and reinvent my future career path.
So I started skating, bought a puppy, took my landlord to NCAT to retrieve my bond deposit (and was successful) and moved in with my partner. Working from home was difficult and I missed the comradery of the office. Days went forever and all of the firm’s clients have been affected, in some way, by the pandemic.
Image: Life in Lockdown (as featured in the LSJ June Edition 2020)
3. Remaining open-minded when exploring areas of law
For me, it made sense to become admitted into legal practice. In February 2021, after having been welcomed into the legal profession (albeit via a Youtube link), I had to remain open-minded and realistic in exploring areas of law, as opposed to specialising in one area of law.
At Dowson Turco Lawyers, I currently work across the property, wills and estates, and family law practices, under the supervision of senior lawyers and the partners.
I have also been able to work in the litigation team when a property law client became entangled in a dispute with a neighbour, that escalated to NCAT proceedings.
I have also been asked to do court mentions for our crime team when they have been occupied with other matters, and have relished the chance to get in front of magistrates and judges.
This experience has provided me with diverse legal experience and allowed me to explore areas of law which I did not previously envision in my career aspirations during university.
In remaining open-minded and flexible, you may be surprised by the fact that you are drawn to a certain area of practice.
Image: Katherine standing outside Newtown Court House
4. Being open to other career paths
Not all law graduates become lawyers and from my perspective I think it’s always good to keep your mind open to alternative careers, even if you choose initially to be a lawyer.
Legal skills are transferrable to many other professions and roles within companies, government and non-government organisations. We can think on our feet, problem-solve, manage complex projects, articulate ideas concisely and plan strategically. All of these skills I employ as my work as a lawyer but I know that should I move to another career in years to come, I am well prepared.
Image: Katherine’s dog, Appa
Featured image courtesy of Pexels
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