This month we recognise the performance of Yasemin Sargin who we recently placed on an e-Discovery project with national law firm CBP Lawyers.
Hi Yasemin, can you start by telling us where you are up to with your legal studies?
Sure! I have completed all of my legal studies, having graduated from La Trobe University with a Bachelor of Laws in December 2021 and completed my Practical Legal Training (PLT) at Leo Cussen in December 2022. Now I’m eagerly awaiting my admission ceremony on 16 May 2023 which will be super exciting!
What drew you to the study of law initially, coming out of high school?
My favourite subject in high school was legal studies, I always found it so intriguing and exciting, when I think back I never really considered any alternative paths. It was always law so it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what drew me to it but I would say some of my childhood experiences definitely contributed. As cliché as it sounds I have always wanted to make a difference and have a positive impact on people’s lives. I love to be intellectually challenged and the ability to help others through the use of the law is something that has always felt enticing and rewarding.
In the early stages of your degree, what subjects did you enjoy most? Did this experience lead to you wanting to practice a particular area of law?
I enjoyed subjects that had a criminal component to them the most such as criminal law policy and reform, mental disorder and criminal responsibility and international criminal justice however, I also really enjoyed subjects like civil procedure, dispute resolution and legal practice and conduct. Throughout the duration of my degree, I only had an eye for practising in criminal law with the ultimate goal of becoming a prosecutor, I was so sure that was where I wanted to end up. That has now changed considerably, since gaining varied experiences I have discovered that I really do enjoy other areas such as Wills & Estates which I would have never thought I’d find interesting! As I progressed through my PLT I definitely became more open minded and excited to explore different areas of law.
When you found out about Yegal what were you hoping to achieve by applying?
I’m currently on a shortlist of applicants for potential judges associate vacancies at the County Court which could arise any time up until May 2023. When I received a Yegal job alert through Leo Cussen advertising for a temporary e-Discovery position at a national law firm, I was instantly motivated to apply as an interim job. By applying, I was also hoping to expand my professional network and increase my reachability while exploring a new area of law without the pressure of having to commit to a permanent role.
How would you describe the process that led to you securing your current role at CBP?
I am still in awe of the efficiency, professionalism and communication involved with securing my current role at CBP. Within a week of applying, I had spoken with Michael on the phone and had a zoom meeting with Swaroop to get to know and ascertain what I was looking for before deciding that I would be a good fit for the firm. Even though I was nervous as I’d never worked on discovery before, Yegal provided a free training module to give me a brief overview of what e-Discovery entails to prepare me for my final interview with CBP. The whole process from applying to Yegal to being offered the role at CBP was only 8 days, which is still crazy to me. It was very evident that a lot of genuine care went into the process and I was over the moon.
Tell us more about the work that you are doing and the firm culture more broadly?
My role is within CBP’s Insurance team and is specifically confined to e-Discovery for a complex biosecurity Federal Court proceeding which has been on foot since 2018 and is finally due to commence trial in September 2023. Approximately, 205,500 documents were discovered between the Applicant and four respondents. My role is to review documents for the purpose of discovery which are allocated to me in ‘assignments’ through a software called Nuix Ringtail. This includes reviewing correspondence, investigations, biosecurity documents, invoices, internal emails, assessing documents for case issues, briefing documents and investigations including in depth targeting briefs and enforcement documents, detailing summary comments and coding documents for importance to assist Counsel. I have also recently been tasked with reviewing and considering potential statistician/mathematician experts for the purposes of obtaining expert evidence on the probability of our client’s actions contributing to the loss alleged by the Applicant.
In terms of CBP’s culture, I have been blown away with their level of organisation and commitment to new starters feeling included and valued, I especially thought this was amazing given that I am not a permanent employee. CBP creates such a great culture by displaying genuine care for their employee’s wellbeing, examples that I have experienced already in my short time with the firm are the free monthly 20 minute massages, monthly birthday cake celebrations in the communal kitchen called ‘The Hub’, Friday night drinks and more. The Social Committee frequently sends out calendar invites for social functions and events. In my first week we had a Tennis event during the Australian Open which was a great way to get to know some of my colleagues. More recently we had an Insurance team morning tea which was catered while a presentation was given into how the team has been operating and our goals for 2023. In my eyes, CBP has set the bar very high for an incredible work culture!
Finally, what are your professional goals for the next 12-24 months?
Up until recently it was always my goal to be admitted and start practising as a lawyer as soon as I can. However, I have come to realise and truly appreciate that there really isn’t a rush as I have the rest of my life to practise! It is my current and ultimate goal to be interviewed and offered a 12 month fixed-term role as a County Court judges associate. It is a role that I have wanted for a couple of years now, I feel as though it would be an invaluable experience particularly as I had always seen myself ending up at the Vic Bar one day. While this goal is an uncertain one as I am not guaranteed a position,I remain hopeful! In the meantime, I’m really enjoying CBP and would love the possibility to remain at the firm once my contract is completed, whether that continues as an Insurance Paralegal or as a law grad. If there are not any positions available, my goal is to just apply for as many mid-tier firms with possibilities to experience and work in different practice groups to find what I am really drawn to. I’m excited to begin my career, however that ends up looking!