1. What course did you study at University and where did you study?
I completed a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws from La Trobe University. I am also completing a Masters of Law from the University of Western Australia.
2. How did your training experience at Leo Cussen differ from your law degree studies?
A considered focus on the practical application of legal principles and a close-knit mentoring-style of instruction akin to that commonly found in the legal industry sets Leo Cussen apart from traditional university studies. While a solid theoretical foundation developed at university is crucial to the ability of lawyers to identify the right law that applies, the Leo Cussen program hones in on applying that theoretical knowledge to real life issues, while at the same time nurturing ‘big picture’ thinking around quality and execution of work, professionalism, and client and practice management. The program also offers the opportunity to develop effective legal drafting and advocacy skills.
3. Why did you choose to study law, what area of the law do you think you would like to pursue/or are pursuing?
The legal profession is prestigious, and has a rich history and longstanding traditions. And while the road to legal enlightenment is long and arduous, it can be rewarding and fulfilling in equal measures. I was lucky to have developed a passion for the law long before starting my university studies, possibly before knowing what I was getting myself into. I persisted, and after a whirlwind of unique and valuable experiences, found myself on the path of the corporate lawyer. That’s really what makes being a lawyer an adventure; the endless maze of options and possibilities the law offers your professional career.
4. What attracted you to Leo Cussen?
The Leo Cussen program offered me the best opportunity to learn how to become a lawyer. For me, this fundamentally required practical training in a ‘real world’ professional environment and mentoring by experience lawyers – the ingredients necessary to transition into a professional role. Once I began my training, I realised the program offered so much more. Intensive training in all core legal disciplines was on offer, as well as the choice to undertake electives in areas of interest, such as advocacy. Above all, it offered me the chance to forge friendships with peers from all walks of life and begin building my professional network.
5. What areas of the course did you most enjoy at Leo Cussen?
All of it. I really soaked it up – knowing how rare and unique the experience was when viewed against long working career. I encourage trainees to be open-minded about all of the program’s offerings and embrace the chance to learn real-life skills, as you never know where you might end up and what skills you’ll need to bring with you. Also, pause to appreciate how significant non-technical skills are to being a professional lawyer: like delivering quality work on time, within scope and budget and in a way that is meaningful and adds value for the client!
6. How did your interactions with your Mentor assist you with the course, can you give a day in the life example?
My mentor treated me with respect and empathy, and was encouraging. I was given the autonomy needed to learn how to manage my own time and workload, but had my mentor available as a sounding board whenever guidance was needed. With patience and humour, my mentor guided me on how to produce better quality deliverables and to keep the client’s objectives in mind. Day to day, I would make an effort to speak casually with my mentor and develop rapport – often interrupting the work he was doing before the interruption. My mentor always made the time, and I considered him a friend. When it was instruction time, my mentor was engaging and shared invaluable insights from his time in practice.
7. Did your view of the law deepen or change from the beginning of the course to the end of it?
Without doubt. The comprehensive course materials were also an invaluable source of practical legal knowledge and precedents. For many years after completing the course, those materials enriched my research and the work I produced – this was also the case for most of my peers. Being able to take a piece of the Leo Cussen course with me into my foundational years as a lawyer was confidence boosting.
8. Do you feel that your Leo Cussen training experience assisted/will assist you in embarking on a career in the law, or furthering your career and if so how?
Absolutely. This was particularly so for me at the entry point to the legal profession. Having had quality training from Leo Cussen was looked upon favourably by my first employer, who I recall was particularly impressed with the materials folders I brought in on my first day!