Tell us about yourself?
My name is Tayla Byatt, and I am starting as a graduate at the Perth HSF office in 2021. I completed the Juris Doctor at UWA in 2020 and also hold a Bachelor of Commerce. I completed my vacation clerkship in Jan//Feb of 2019 in the Technology, Media and Telecommunication Team. I was also a paralegal in the Real Estate team for 10 months.
What was your pathway to HSF?
The first memory I have of HSF was a seminar organised by the Law Faculty Club, where they put together a skit on ‘interview tips. The skit was hilarious and engaging as the grad who was the ‘bad example’ walked in 20 minutes late, talked back to the partner and started texting during the interview, all while sporting a fluoro wind breaker jacket. It was nice to see a firm that could have some fun and seemed to all get along. When clerkship applications came around, I was intrigued to find out more about the firm and their culture. During my interview, we spent most of the time talking about my family chicken farm and our favourite movies – it honestly didn’t feel like an interview at all. From this, I was not only lucky enough to be offered a clerkship, but also a paralegal position. During both roles, I loved the variety of work, the opportunities available, and the fact everyone treated each other like family. Whether it be the tailored birthday emails from Pam (the team’s Legal Secretary) or the way the firm kept in touch even when I was not working and overseas on exchange.
What were your expectations before joining HSF? How did your experience match or differ from your expectations?
Being the first in my family to go into law, most of my expectations prior to clerkships and starting law school came from TV shows like Suits and The Good Wife. The classic junior solicitors are hidden away in cubicles away from the partners, not being allowed to talk to them or ignored. At HSF, this could not be further from the truth, as no matter your role, you always sit with your team, allowing you to listen and observe everyone completing their day-to-day tasks, and constantly receiving advice and feedback. I was also able to work directly with the partners of the firm on numerous occasions, and never felt like I couldn’t approach them with questions.
The most interesting/surprising thing you’ve learned – either about law, yourself, or HSF – during your time here?
I think the fact that everyone’s legal career was different. There were lawyers with backgrounds in physics, engineering and data science, those who have moved into entrepreneurial roles and working on technology to move the firm forward. There was also a range of working arrangements, allowing people to work across different offices and from home (even before COVID). It was interesting to see how each person was able to shape their legal career to reflect who they were and what they want to achieve.
Can you think of a time when you had a meaningful impact at work?
I was lucky to work on some really interesting tasks during my clerkship. This included doing some work for Natasha Blycha on the Australian National Blockchain project, and drafting research notes on various topics, such as the GDPR and ‘Right to be Forgotten’. I also helped draft a contract for a race car event.
What piece of advice would you give someone considering a role at HSF?
Make the time to reach out and talk to a variety of people from the firm, and from different practice groups (even the ones you don’t think you’re interested in). Everyone has had a different journey, and can provide their own perspectives as they are all willing to make some time to speak to you and pass on advice to help you make decisions about your own career.
How has your experience, background & skills outside of your legal skills, helped you contribute as a grad/clerk?
It’s a bit niche, but the fact I grew up on a chicken farm and continued to work there throughout my degree, always acted as a really good conversation starter when meeting clients or anyone else at HSF.