At the same time, Slater & Gordon takes pride and care with all its cases, no matter how big or small, to fight for consumer rights. It is this worthy pursuit that makes it a pleasure to work at Slater & Gordon.
On a more personal note, it was an opportunity to join a team with a wealth of legal knowledge, which would enable me to develop my critical legal and analytical ability in a supportive environment.
What is it like to work at Slater & Gordon?
The culture at Slater & Gordon is like none other. It is a place of equal opportunity, which recognises and respects the value of human differences. The diversity, inclusive culture and friendly people are what make up this organisation. The collegiality is a stand out at the firm, with people always showing respect for one another and willing to go the extra mile to see you succeed at the firm.
Slater & Gordon understands that you have a life outside of the office and offers the flexibility to strike the right work/life balance through a number of its initiatives.
The firm’s culture is what helps retain current employees and attract prospective employees to join our ever-growing team.
Most recently I accepted a position as a 1st year lawyer in the Public Liability team at Slater & Gordon. This is a reflection of the firm’s commitment to develop its own and a testament that those loyal and hardworking will be rewarded for their efforts.
Describe your day to day tasks in your role as a paralegal in the Projects team.
The day to day tasks of a Projects paralegal vary drastically depending on the demands and deadlines of court procedure. It may be the case that you are working on an urgent research memo, contacting clients or preparing briefs to counsel.
However, given the nature of project litigation, the majority of the work consists document review. Therein, paralegals develop their attention to detail ability. This is a crucial skill, especially if paralegals wish to progress as lawyers in the future.
Slater & Gordon takes on many high profile shareholder class actions arising from corporate wrongdoing or personal injuries claims class actions. A corollary of this is that, the kinds of documents projects paralegals may be exposed to are of a financial or accounting nature (i.e. arrears reports, interest statements and cash-flow projections). Initially, this may seem daunting and unfamiliar territory for those without an accounting or finance background. Nonetheless, this is an opportunity for paralegals to broaden their horizons and improve their commercial awareness.
The skills developed in this role are highly transferrable and I believe they placed me in a good stead to obtain my 1st year lawyer role
What do you consider to be the most important skills in an effective paralegal?
Paralegals are part of a larger legal team within Slater & Gordon which includes: team leaders, lawyers, associates, fellow paralegals, legal assistants and others. Therefore, Paralegals must be able to work effectively in a team. This may mean discussing with the lawyer in charge aspects of the case to inform your research task or simply conversing with other paralegals to be more efficient.
What has been your best experience in the department so far?
The highlight of my experience as a paralegal has been working on a research memoranda describing a company’s financial issues, the deed of company arrangement entered into and whether the company was able to accept debenture subscriptions without a disclosure document.
With a heavy workload, I was given this task with a tight deadline. In order to complete this task I used many of the legal research skills developed during law school.
How has your work at Slater & Gordon shaped your understanding of the law and the role of a lawyer?
As a graduate from law school, you explore the law's importance, limitations, and complexities at a philosophical level. Understanding the fundamental legal principles is at the very core of studies in law. On the contrary, based on my experience at Slater & Gordon, the practice of law involves a number of further complexities which are only experienced through day to day practice.
Further, it is apparent just how important each member plays in the delivery of legal services. Whilst lawyers are generally perceived as receiving the accolades for a job well done, it is the legal assistants, paralegals and support staff that enable lawyers to do what lawyers do – which is to zealously represent their clients' position.
Lawyers at Slater & Gordon are first and foremost officers of the court. In my relatively short term here, it’s apparent that the firm’s lawyers aspire to be ethical and model litigants in the provision of legal services. The high standards the lawyers at Slater & Gordon set themselves is what contributes to the firms successful reputation and respect in the legal profession.