It’s a new day! My alarm goes off and I stumble out of bed and proceed to go through my daily work prep. As I do so I make a mental note of the items to cover off for the day ahead. After changing into business wear I drive to the station, park my car and wait for my usual train to the city. I have just enough time to buy breakfast right next to the station (a delicious banh-mi) before my train arrives.
I walk into work, greet some fellow graduates (‘grads’) on the way up the elevator and say hi to my team members at our team ‘pod’, asking them about their weekends. Corrs is an open plan office, which is great for people starting their legal careers like myself as you can more easily watch, listen and learn from other lawyers. But don’t worry, ‘quiet rooms’ are available if anybody chooses to use them!
As I set up, one of the lawyers in my pod asks me to join him and another lawyer for coffee (“For sure!”). I ask him to give me another five minutes while I get set up.
Two other lawyers and I make our way up to the Terrace, an in-house café at Corrs. This is a shared space for all Corrs employees, but it is also an area that Corrs employees take clients to as well. We discuss our plans for the day – I tell them I have a relatively busy one ahead so this coffee is much needed!
After attending to some emails, my team members and I attend a bi-weekly ‘Catch-up Meeting’ where we debrief on work we are involved in, the timeline for certain projects and whether we need assistance with anything. I appreciate these meetings a lot because it is an opportunity to learn more about what the team is up to – it’s also a good time to flag whether you need help or want to be involved with anything interesting mentioned in the meeting.
Back at my desk, I prepare the documents for a negotiation session I will be attending with my supervising partner in the afternoon. For the past few months, I have been assisting with drafting and bringing together legal documents that facilitate a construction project. Now that the documents have been prepared on behalf of the client and circulated to the counterparty for review, it is necessary to attend meetings with the counterparty to negotiate aspects of those documents. Ideally, a consensus will be met where both parties are willing to execute a document, allowing for the construction to begin.
It’s not always about the law! One of the great things that I have been involved in while working at Corrs has been Pride@Corrs, our firm’s LGBTI+ network. Pride@Corrs aims to support the LGBTI+ community and their allies at Corrs and to enhance the firm’s engagement with the LGBTI+ community. Each office has local working groups who coordinate local activities in that office while the National Committee coordinates initiatives across all offices.
Since being at Corrs, I have had the privilege of being the working group co-ordinator in the Sydney office. Today I have a National Committee meeting scheduled.
These meetings are a great way to break up the day, and a fantastic way to be involved in a cause I am passionate about.
Back to negotiations preparation! I meet with my partner after preparing all the documents, and we discuss our to-do items for today. After lunch, we have a meeting with our client to run through how we intend to respond to some of the comments the counterparty has with respect to the documents.
Time for lunch - I decide to go upstairs to the inhouse café again as some of my fellow graduates have told me they would be having lunch up there. It’s great to start the graduate program with fellow grads as you can support one another and learn about the other interesting work that they’ve been involved in.
After lunch, I go with my supervising partner upstairs to meet our clients. We shake hands and go inside a meeting room to discuss the negotiation. I take down notes, making sure that anything discussed was consistent with what my partner and I understood before the meeting.
We are informed by the receptionist that the counterparty has arrived and the negotiation begins. As a junior lawyer, my main role in this negotiation is mainly to take notes and to display the relevant parts of the document on screen. There is a lot of skill and practice required to be an effective negotiator so it’s interesting to see how the lawyers for both parties raise their positions in a negotiation, and how a decision (if any) is met. The clients of each party (who may or may not be lawyers within the business) equally contribute to the negotiation.
The negotiation ends for the day. I meet with my supervising partner back at our desks and we briefly discuss the action items arising from the negotiation.
I go back to my desk, check-in to see how my pod is going and am offered a KitKat from my legal assistant. I respond to some emails that require my attention and begin to review and summarise the notes that I took down during the negotiation, taking some additional notes for myself to clarify issues I may need to go back to later. After making the notes more succinct and understandable, I circulate these back to the client and my supervising partner.
After tying up some other loose ends, I pack up my bag and leave for the day.
I am back at home winding down, cooking some pasta while half-watching SBS Food on TV. If I finish dinner early enough maybe I’ll finally be able to push myself to practice guitar (at least half an hour a day my teacher tells me!). Or I might open and start to read the book chosen by the Corrs Book Club, which has been sitting on my bookshelf the past month…
Alas, the call of social media, mindless YouTube browsing and a spontaneous call from a friend derails earlier plans. It’s now bedtime – always good to get some good rest to be refreshed and ready for the next day!