Tell us a bit about yourself and your background.


I graduated in December 2019 with a Bachelors of Law and Commerce. I did a two year traineeship and two months internship with one of the BIG4 accounting firms during my degree and was converted to a grad for six months. I decided to leave accounting to pursue my interest in commercial law last year in June 2019. From there, I was fortunate to gain some paralegal experience at Westpac Institutional Bank, Clyde & Co and Wotton + Kearney.


I am interested in commercial litigation and M&A law.



Describe your experience working through Yegal Paralegal


I had three placements as a Yegal Paralegal. The first placement was at Metis Law, a small Sydney commercial law firm that offers a wide variety of business services. I worked closely with the principal lawyer, My-Linh. My-Linh was a great coach as she has a wealth of knowledge and experience in commercial law. She was patient, understanding and was genuinely invested in my learning on the job. I felt supported and confident in performing legal research and drafting memos.


The second placement was at Clyde & Co. I was part of the Cyber team on an eDiscovery project. This was an interesting first time experience in Cyber law. This time, I was part of a larger team with 4-6 other Yegal paralegals and we performed our work virtually from home. Initially, I thought a remote WFH job would be challenging but I was surprised by how well the Clyde & Co team managed communications throughout the project. Despite having minimal face-to-face interactions, I was able to learn and execute my tasks with ease as the Clyde & Co team was highly responsive and easy to communicate with.


The third placement was also with Clyde & Co. I was tasked with indexing files for a litigation matter. I had the opportunity to closely interact with the Partner and Senior Associate as well as colleagues on the same floor. It was a great way to grow my network and to gain a better understanding in insurance law. 



What was your most recent placement?


My most recent placement was at Wotton + Kearney. I was a paralegal on a large commercial class action and was tasked with reviewing client documents for relevance. During this time, I had the opportunity to deep-dive into insurance law and network with the partners and senior associates on the team. Wotton + Kearney is a small-to-mid-tier firm. Every Friday the firm has drinks and it was a great way to get to know lawyers across all the different insurance teams. The firm also celebrates its small and tight-knit culture by serving monthly birthday cakes for all employees.



Compare the experiences you have had across various firms. How were the jobs different?


Each firm differed by people, culture and service offerings. The experience I had at Metis law was a memorable experience, in that I had a lot of one-on-one time with the principal partner. We often had long and interesting conversations about law, personal life and the challenges in running a legal business. These conversations helped me settle into the firm and made the role more personable.


Clyde & Co was a larger international firm. The work was fast-paced, challenging and we were expected to adapt to constant changing requirements. As I was part of the Cyber law team, which was a relatively new team at the time, our team was constantly navigating new problems. On many occasions, we raised new suggestions to the Clyde & Co team to improve our review efficiency and they were highly receptive. I felt like I was contributing meaningfully to the project.


Wotton + Kearney was a small-to-mid-tier local firm. I felt welcomed onto the Property and Energy team from the very first day. Wotton + Kearney has a great work culture as they have a much smaller lawyer base. First day of induction, I was welcomed with coffee and fresh croissants. The lawyers were open and talkative, so it was easy for me to learn about their team and the matters they have been on. There were many great opportunities to network and learn about the insurance industry.



How important has acquiring legal experience been for you as you head towards Admission?


Legal experience is essential for my Admission. Notwithstanding that it is mandatory to gain legal experience in heading towards Admission, it was an opportunity to see law in action. Gaining legal experience really helped transition my mind from a university student to a lawyer. Through my paralegal experience, I learnt how to think with a practical and commercial mind. This differs greatly from my university experience where I was taught to apply theory to solve hypothetical problem questions.



What advice would you give to any students thinking of applying to Yegal Paralegal?


Yegal is a great way to ease into a paralegal job. Through all my placements, the lawyers I reported to were very considerate of my learning development as they knew I was a Yegal paralegal. Yegal is designed to help students gain practical legal experience, so to those students who are afraid to apply for law firms with no legal experience, definitely try Yegal. 



Tell us about a recent book, TV show or podcast you enjoyed recently?


I am currently reading Never Split the Difference by Christopher Voss. It is a book about tactical negotiation written by a top ex-FBI negotiator. Although the book draws negotiation techniques from hostage situations, it is just as applicable in daily life situations and the commercial context. Voss goes through the different techniques in levering human emotions to persuade your counterparts in agreeing with you. It is interesting as I am beginning to see how these techniques can be employed in the legal profession.


Paralegal of the Month – Pierre Liu




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