Doron Goldbarsht is the managing partner at Agmon & Co, a boutique law firm working closely with a number of prominent Israeli-Australian individuals and businesses. In July 2021, Doron contacted Yegal seeking a paralegal assistant. Our team introduced Doron to one of our superstar paralegals Isabelle Nicolas, who was a JD student at the time. Isabelle joined Agmon for the rest of 2021 (working remotely for the most part). In January of this year, and following Isabelle’s graduation, Agmon &Co., elected to permanently recruit Isabelle to join the firm. We caught up with Doron and Isabelle to find out why this has been a great Yegal experience for all involved!
Doron – tell us about your firm and your practice?
We’re a firm with close ties to Israel obviously and Israel is a country where there is a strong culture of entrepreneurship. This in turn leads to many situations where Israeli businesses look to forge expansion into other markets and Australia being just one of those. Today we assist companies of all shapes and sizes with litigation, finance, banking, cyber, biotechnology and business law needs.
What was it that prompted you to seek out a paralegal?
Like many boutique law firms our size, client demands tend to ebb and flow. We were in a position where we knew one or two larger clients were likely to need us during the last half of 2021. We couldn’t justify bringing on a FT experienced lawyer just yet but an extra set of hands at the paralegal/ graduate level was ideal for us. It worked out perfectly with Isabelle.
What skills has Isabelle acquired since she joined the team?
There’s some unique opportunities for Isabelle with a firm like Agmon given a large proportion of our legal practice involves cross border transactions and complex commercial issues. Legal work aside, I hope that Isabelle has been able to learn some of the more fundamental skills around how to communicate with the clients and manage a relationship.
What plans do you have for Isabelle and Agmon for 2022?
We want to create an environment where all team members are coming to work each day with a desire to learn and grow. For someone like Isabelle, she’s been able to add a great amount of value in the time she’s been with us and we hope to reward this by creating a positive, fun work environment for her – one where she can acquire a diverse set of new legal skills and lay the foundation for a successful legal career
Isabelle, tell us a bit about your background? You’ve just finished your law degree?
After completing and enjoying a BA major in socio-legal studies, I decided to expand my legal education by completing a Juris Doctor at the University of Sydney.
When you first applied to Yegal what did you hope to get out of it? Was there a particular practice area you wanted to explore professionally?
As a first generation lawyer, I was determined to build my knowledge and professional relationships. Throughout my studies, I valued all work experience and enthusiastically sought exposure to practical legal environments. I had experience working as a legal intern for an NGO and volunteering at a Community Legal Centre. I also undertook a clerkship at a national law firm and did some paralegal work. While my experience was varied, I knew that working in commercial law would offer a diverse range of stimulating work. Applying to Yegal allowed me to access work opportunities and consider my interests whilst finding a role at a law firm that suited my needs.
The best thing about applying to Yegal is that no work experience is necessary and you can find a role that kick-starts your legal experience despite the volatile work market. Yegal can connect students with work experience in a variety of practice areas.
Upon graduating, I have found that having practical experience in the industry allowed me to make better informed decisions for my future career and confidently follow opportunities that align with my values.
How important was it that you found a legal role that allowed you to work around your study commitments?
In the midst of the pandemic, finding practical work experience was undoubtedly a challenge for many of my peers and myself. Yegal was able to offer a variety of upcoming opportunities despite the requirement for remote working arrangements. My paralegal work with Agmon & Co was almost entirely remote, granting me the flexibility to work alongside my study commitments and exams.
When applying with Yegal, you are able to offer your personal availability and find work tailored to your needs. This is especially important for students with other demanding commitments.
What have you learned from the experience working with Doron and the team at Agmon & Co?
Working with Doron and the team at Agmon & Co has been professionally insightful and personally uplifting. Despite our remote arrangement, I felt supported and guided by the assistance and regular communications with Doron and the team, which has facilitated an enjoyable work culture of connectedness and respect.
Working with a boutique firm has allowed me to liaise with senior partners, barristers and clients from the early stages of my career. The work I do at Agmon & Co., is appropriately challenging and equally fascinating, especially where legal issues require multi-jurisdictional solutions. I have developed a strong business mindset that allows me to put myself in the position of a client and find creative, practical legal answers.
The legal leaders that you meet during your studies can be some of the most influential people in your early career. With the close mentoring I have received from Doron, I am a more confident and passionate professional.
What would you say to anyone who is studying law and looking for legal work experience to complement their studies?
Law firms value work experience. My greatest advice is to get out there and get quality practical knowledge as soon as possible. Not only is it favourable to future employers who see that you are capable of managing deadlines and proactively expanding your skills, but it also gives you an insight into the legal profession which differs greatly from university. You will see what it takes to become a successful lawyer, not just a successful student.
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