Having a background in foreign languages and a keen interest in cross-border legal issues, I knew that I wanted to work for a global law firm that would enable me to work for multinational clients and provide me with the opportunity to work overseas. So, when the time came to apply for Seasonal Clerkships, I was immediately drawn to Bakers.
I completed my Clerkship in the Dispute Resolution team in February 2018 and subsequently stayed on in the team as a Paralegal prior to accepting an offer for a Graduate position. During my Clerkship, I was fortunate to work closely with my supervising Partner on various disputes, ranging from insolvency to white-collar crime. I also had the opportunity to attend client meetings, undertake pro bono work and attend all social events, including the infamous BakerBowl lawn bowls championship.
Building the foundations
Graduates at Bakers (in Melbourne) complete three four-month rotations across three practice groups in the Firm.
My first rotation was in the Employment team. The team environment is fast-paced and I was frequently asked to undertake urgent research tasks for clients on niche aspects of employment law, ranging from adverse action to anti-discrimination to workplace health and safety. I was also exposed to the litigious side of employment law and had the opportunity to work on multiple unfair dismissal and workplace health and safety disputes. In addition, I travelled interstate with an Associate to work from a client's premises as part of one of the disputes. While initially daunting, I knew that one of the reasons I chose to start my career at Bakers was the exposure to hands-on work and my time working interstate was my first exposure to that. All in all, my first rotation was a steep but enjoyable learning curve!
My second rotation was in the Dispute Resolution team. I had the opportunity to work on a number of high-profile matters that went to trial in the Supreme Court of Victoria and the Federal Court of Australia while I was in the team. What I enjoyed most about litigation during my Clerkship, was the opportunity to work across many areas of law - and my Graduate rotation with the Dispute Resolution team certainly delivered! I had the opportunity to work on a class action, a judicial review dispute, several high-profile consumer law disputes and a white-collar crime trial. I have now settled in the Dispute Resolution team and have no doubt that I made the right choice.
My third rotation was in the Intellectual Property, Technology & Media team (or "IPTech", as we say for short). As the team name suggests, this team assists clients with a broad array of legal issues, ranging from data and privacy law to trademark infringement to defamation. I was primarily involved with the "Technology" part of the team and had the opportunity to work on advices for some of the world's largest tech companies. I was required to undertake contract reviews, localise foreign contracts to comply with Australian law and draft advice concerning Australia's privacy and data protection laws. I also had the opportunity to do some work for the "Media" part of the team which involved research on topics like defamation, injurious falsehood and journalistic privilege. This even led to me and a Senior Associate writing an article on the scope of the journalistic privilege in Australian evidence law, which is going to be published shortly in the Communications Law Bulletin!
An unrivalled international network
I was also fortunate enough to be selected to undertake an International Clerkship in the Firm's Singapore office, where I worked in the office's Dispute Resolution team. I had the opportunity to work on various international commercial arbitrations as well as a white-collar crime matter that involved Bakers lawyers from 14 jurisdictions! I am grateful to have already had the opportunity to work in an overseas office so early in my career.
Giving back and getting involved
Bakers has an excellent pro bono program and Graduates are strongly encouraged to be involved in pro bono work. I currently volunteer at Refugee Legal through the Firm's pro bono program and have previously undertaken pro bono work for Women's Legal Service Victoria and Justice Connect. Bakers' international network means that there are also global pro bono opportunities. For me, this has included undertaking research for UN agencies and international NGOs on global legal issues.
I also feel privileged to be a part of two of our Diversity & Inclusion committees, BakerWomen and BakerLGBTI & Allies. It is really rewarding to be able to effect change and make a difference to the people in our Firm via these initiatives!
It's not just about the work
Bakers prides itself on having a supportive and collaborative culture where every employee enjoys coming to work. From the first day of my Summer Clerkship, I felt welcomed and supported by the Firm to be myself and to become the type of lawyer that I want to be. I feel fortunate to work alongside intelligent, driven and friendly people and to be able to call many of my colleagues my friends.