Updating Results

Gilbert + Tobin

  • 500 - 1,000 employees

Ashlee Christian

Sure, good grades are somewhat necessary, but being a fully-rounded individual is much more important. Do what makes you happy and research where you would like to be.

Do you identify with a particular tribe or people?

Wiradjuri and Dunghutti

Where did you grow up? 

I grew up in the Hawkesbury on the outskirts of Sydney. After graduating high school in 2016 I was accepted into the Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws program at UNSW.  Throughout my degree I have interned at the NSW Audit Office and Westpac, tutored at UNSW, and worked as a paralegal at G+T.

How did you get to your current job position? For how long have you had it?

I had heard about the cadetship program from a friend who was a few years above me. They recommended G+T and I applied during my second year. I have worked at the firm for nearing two years.

Did you face any obstacles as an indigenous student/graduate? 

My life experiences as an Indigenous person living with an Indigenous family is primarily what inspired me to pursue a career in law. I wanted to be able to make a difference to my family and my community, especially in areas where Indigenous people are disproportionately affected.

This drive to benefit my community in future has always impacted my decisions concerning my career. When applying for jobs I would always research the firm or organisation to ensure they were doing social justice or public interest work. This is an essential factor for why I decided to work at G +T, as the firm has such a strong commitment to social justice and Pro Bono initiatives – especially those concerning indigenous communities.

How did you choose your specialisation? 

I decided to study law before I had even started high school. I had witnessed the law in action and decided I wanted to enter the field. Legal studies in high school only cemented my passion as I learned the law considered areas much larger than the well-known criminal or corporate areas. As I learned more about the law, I learned more about my own personal legal interests and was able to better identify the areas of law that I wanted to make a difference.

What was your interview process like? 

My first interview was with the Head of Corporate Social Responsibility and HR. My second interview was with two partners, including the head of Pro Bono. Both interviews were fairly informal and involved questions about my studies, work experience, why I wanted to pursue the cadetship and my longer-term career aspirations.

What are your areas of responsibility?

My work is to assist lawyers with tasks ranging anywhere from legal research to drafting or proofreading legal and non-legal documents. The work often changes day-to-day depending on the legal matter or the lawyer I am assisting.

Can you describe a typical work day? 

A typical workday for me involves finishing any tasks that needed to be completed from the day before and letting the lawyers know I have capacity to work on any new tasks. This often involves starting legal research on a new legal matter or reviewing documents before they are sent out. The last thing that I worked on was an historical land title search for a property in the 1890s.

What are the career prospects with your job? 

From working as a paralegal, I can gain a variety of legal and interpersonal skills and create connections within the firm for when I decide to apply for a graduate lawyer position. 

What would your career be if you weren’t doing what you’re doing now? 

As someone who has known they wanted to enter the legal field from a young age, I see myself being involved in the legal system in one way or another. If I was not doing what I am doing now, I do not know exactly what I would be doing – but it would be in a position where I could benefit my community in future.

What do you love the most about your job? 

As a history and law student I really enjoy doing research on areas of law that I have not worked on before. I like learning about specific legal concerns and then solving the problem with the law. I love that I am not necessarily working on the same matter as the day before and that I am exposed to a variety of legal issues.

I love that I work in a fast-paced environment, as working to a deadline has meant I am able to work and read a lot faster. This has been very helpful with other areas of my life, as it has meant that I need to be organised, more efficient and hard working. 

What’s the biggest limitation of your job? 

There are times that working to a deadline has meant that I needed to work a few more hours than usual on some occasions. However, this has not happened very often as I am quite junior within the firm. Working in a team environment helps lessen any stress involved with tasks. I’ve found that a supportive team has been essential to my work within the firm.

Which three pieces of advice would you give to Indigenous students nearing graduation?

This advice is not necessarily related to graduating but some general life advice I’d give to fellow law students is that being perfect is not a requirement for success. Sure, good grades are somewhat necessary, but being a fully-rounded individual is much more important. Do what makes you happy and research where you would like to be.