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DLA Piper Australia

4.2
  • 1,000 - 50,000 employees

Claire Robertson

Everyone at DLA Piper has different backgrounds and this is something we celebrate. The diversity brings different perspectives and opinions to the team and helps to challenge your thinking and broaden your understanding of different ways of working.

What's your job about?

DLA Piper is a global business law firm based in the Americas, EMEA and the Asia Pacific. We help clients succeed through innovative and pragmatic legal solutions, relying on our cross-border prowess and sector knowledge.

As a solicitor at DLA Piper, I work as part of a team that services clients around the world. As a morning person, a typical day involves arriving at the office around 8 am (coffee in hand). I like to start my day reviewing emails and catching up on the news. Then, while I have my coffee, I plan what I need to progress during my day which often involves a mix of client work, pro-bono work and business development.

As a junior solicitor, my day-to-day client tasks could be anything from (depending on the team) drafting contract clauses, reviewing evidence, drafting correspondence, attending court, due diligence, preparing for a CLE presentation, researching a difficult legal question or reviewing legislative updates.

Typical pro-bono work involves working with local community legal centres and international agencies to assist disadvantaged clients resolve their legal issues.

I am often involved in business development initiatives too, such as, preparing pitches or drafting articles. DLA Piper’s global presence means my typical day may also involve working with other offices in Australia and abroad which has allowed me to expand my network. Most excitingly, I have the opportunity to work with such a diverse array of clients and projects, in a number of different places, so there really is no ‘typical’ day.

What's your background?

I am Melbourne born and raised but moved to Brisbane for high school. It was there I first became interested in all things extracurricular, such as, basketball, cross country and the saxophone. High school was also the first time I got a taste of living abroad, undertaking a three month exchange to the United Kingdom. My passion for extracurricular activities continued into university, participating in mooting and client interviewing. But, I have to say, probably the most useful skill I acquired during university was in my job as a part-time barista (a good skill for all those late nights in the law library).

I started at DLA Piper as a paralegal in the Finance and Projects team in my fifth year of university. As a paralegal I worked mostly on government client matters and international law issues. In 2019, I participated in the Summer Clerkship program in the Litigation and Regulatory team.

I continued to work at the firm until I graduated and, in 2020, started as a graduate at DLA Piper. As part of the graduate programme, for my first rotation I was seconded to the Government of Timor-Leste at the Maritime Boundary Office (MBO). I managed 12 days in Timor-Leste before having 20 minutes to pack my bag and make it on the last flight out of Timor-Leste before the Australian Government imposed its first mandatory COVID-19 quarantine restrictions. Although back in Brisbane, I was still able to continue in my role with the MBO remotely. I have since rotated through the Litigation and Regulatory, and Corporate teams.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Yes, someone with a different background could do my job. Everyone at DLA Piper has different backgrounds and this is something we celebrate. The diversity brings different perspectives and opinions to the team and helps to challenge your thinking and broaden your understanding of different ways of working. In addition to the unique skills each solicitor brings, the core skills for a solicitor are an ability to communicate clearly, attention to detail, and a willingness to learn.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

The opportunity to make an impact. DLA Piper works with a variety of clients ranging from large global companies, governments, and pro-bono clients. For my first graduate rotation I was seconded to the Government of Timor-Leste at the Maritime Boundary Office, in Dili. Although it was short-lived on the ground, I continued to work closely with the client back in Brisbane to understand their needs, and develop innovative solutions and initiatives that would benefit Timor-Leste into the future. Regardless of who the client is, helping a client to achieve their goals or see a project come to life is a truly rewarding experience.

What are the limitations of your job?

As a junior lawyer, I work as part of a team to ensure we deliver quality work product to multiple clients. Often I work for different clients on different matters and it can be challenging to make sure I meet multiple important deadlines. Sometimes this can also mean I have to work some late nights or the weekend to support my team during particularly busy times or to meet a tight deadline. Fortunately, I have found that, no matter the group, my team has always been there to support me and share the work around.

3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...

  1. Have a hobby – Whether that be reading a book, playing a sport, or cooking, make sure you make time for yourself to unwind doing something you love.
  2. Read the news – It’s amazing how many times a headline in the news can impact your day or one of your clients; maintain a close eye on current events.
  3. Keep an open mind – Just because you loved mooting at university doesn’t mean you are destined to become a litigator. Try as many different areas of the law as you can. You may find you love an area of law you did not know existed or in which you had never considered a career.