Allens Confidential podcast

The Allens and Linklaters global alliance 

In late 2019, hosts Roseanna Bricknell and Geneva Sekula had the opportunity to catch up with Linklaters Counsel (and former Allens employee) Andrew Marshall.

As well as revealing his favourite London tourist attraction and explaining what a 'tombstone' is, Andrew reflects on his experience transitioning from Allens in Australia to the Linklaters office. He also explains what being part of a global alliance means in practice for all Allens employees, as illustrated by his experiences of travelling and collaborating throughout the world, and what stands out most for him about the Linklaters culture.

What did we talk about?

  • Differences in technology, quirks and jargon 
  • The surprisingly similar legal landscape in both regions
  • The importance of seeking constructive feedback 

This episode is part of our 2020 series.

Listen to the episode

Read the transcript

Roseanna Bricknell Hello and welcome, everyone. You're listening to Allens Confidential. I'm Rosanne Bricknell and I'm here with my wonderful co-host, Geneva Sekula.

Geneva Sekula  Hello.

Roseanna Bricknell We're joined today by Andrew Marshall, who is Special Counsel at Linklaters, and we're very lucky that we've caught him while he's in Australia. Welcome, Andrew.

Andrew Marshall Hello, guys, and welcome.

Roseanna Bricknell Thank you very much for joining us. Now to, begin the podcast, we always start with the same question, which is 'What's your favourite podcast'? Do you listen to any? If so, what gets your ear juices going.

Geneva Sekula  Why would you say ear juices?

Roseanna Bricknell Look, I know, it came out and then I regretted it immediately.

Andrew Marshall Sounds like the kind of phrase that I should know what it means but I don't, and that probably is similar to the podcast side because, I must confess, I feel a bit old and maybe a bit weird by not really being a huge podcast listener, but I know that that puts me a bit out of step with probably many of the people listening to this; and that actually was brought home to me recently when I met a couple in London and we were talking about our commutes to work, and I live about 20 minutes by tube, or about an hour to walk into the office, and I told them that I liked walking into the office, and the guy – he sounded quite surprised by this – he said, 'An hour, that's a long time, do you listen to podcasts on the way?' and I said, 'Oh no,' and then he said, 'Oh well, do you listen to or do you talk on the phone?' and I said, 'No, no,' and he was, like, 'Oh' and he looked a bit perturbed; he said, 'Do you listen to any music?' and I said, 'No, no,' and you could see his girlfriend kind of elbowing him, saying, 'Don't probe any more, maybe there's something wrong with this guy,' but having spotted that, I had to confess. You know what, in London I just feel like a tourist in many ways. I'm very happy just walking through, looking around at the buildings and just feeling happy to be there. So, I guess that's the long-winded answer to your question, saying I'm not a big podcast listener but I like the podcast of life, if you like.

Geneva Sekula  The podcast of life – I love that. I personally cannot walk anywhere without having something to listen to, be it podcast, music or call Rose to chat.

Roseanna Bricknell You're a millennial with a short attention span, what can I say.

Geneva Sekula  That's right.

Roseanna Bricknell What's your favourite tourist attraction, as far as being someone who lives in London but something that you look at and think 'Oh wow, I can't believe I live here,' Andrew?

Andrew Marshall Well, do you know, I went there just the other day. I took my girlfriend, she had never been before, and it's been on my 'to do' list for more than a year. If anyone's going to London and they're looking for a tourist attraction and they're anything like me; it's called 'The John Soane Museum' and this guy's an architect, long since dead, but he had a house in the 19th century that, when he died, he just kept it exactly as it was, and I just think it's fascinating because you've got lots of things there about architecture and about history and about literature and reading, and so on. It's right in the middle of town. I think, from memory, it's free to go into but if anyone is going through London and they've got a bit of time, I really recommend it. So, I promise they're not paying me commission, The John Soane Museum, my favourite, favourite attraction.

Roseanna Bricknell Thank you. Especially because I love a free attraction.

Geneva Sekula  That's right, especially in London. So, Andrew, you're not from London originally. As I understand, you're from Adelaide. Can we talk about your career trajectory and how it came to be that now you're at Linklaters, you're in London, living this very fun-sounding life from this end. How did you come to be there?

Andrew Marshall Good question. I started out in Adelaide. Grew up and did my school and law studies here and then, like a lot of folk in Adelaide, maybe some of the folk listening to this, realise, there aren't huge numbers of jobs, certainly in corporate law here, sadly, so I joined the exodus east and I headed to Melbourne. So, the very first place I went to as a proper law firm there was a place called Arthur Robinson & Hedderwicks, which later became Allens Arthur Robinson, which then became Allens. So, it's actually quite sweet now in my relationship these days with Allens. I still see people like the senior associate at the time, now long since a partner, a guy called Igor Bogdanich, who I sat with then, and the principal I had at the time, a guy called Nic Tole, who is now one of our key clients, so I feel a real connection with the past when I see those folk there, but in the end I joined Mallesons, just over the road, and did deals on the other side of Allens for a long time. I've got some tombstones sitting on my desk in London. I rotated around doing something we called an articled clerkship in those days, which gave you the chance to move through about four different departments over the course of a year; and at the end of that, I qualified, you might say, or settled, as an associate in the finance sector. So, I worked there for about six years and then moved across to the UK, originally to do a Masters at Oxford, where I was for a year, and then I have since been at Linklaters since finishing that, and that was 2007, so a long time ago but a very satisfying one.

Roseanna Bricknell Now, before we pick up on a few of those threads, just for a couple of our listeners who might not know what they are. Can you explain what a 'tombstone' is?

Andrew Marshall Thank you. One of these phrases that people throw around. That one, luckily, is quite, I'd say, commonly used in the legal sector, although they are falling out of use these days, as opposed to there are some other things that are really specific to an institution. So, a tombstone is just if you do a transaction or a deal, and it could be the financing side like me or it could be the corporate side, often what the bankers at the end of the deal would typically do is create a little thing, I can't think of a way to describe it – sadly, often made of plastic; they're probably more environmentally friendly these days – that would just list what the deal is, who were the parties, who were the advisers. So, the one I'm picturing with Allens on the other side was about the development of the Newcrest Telfer Mine up in Northern Australia, and it's got a little picture of a big old mine and a list of the parties involved, but some friends of mine have others – they have some really quite cool ones. For example, there was a sale of a BHP unit that created steel and the tombstone is made out of the exact steel product. There have been people who've been involved with the purchase or the financing of planes or ships, and there's a model ship or plane with a little plaque and so on. So, yes, that's the kind of stuff that sometimes you'll see oldies like me have sitting on their desks.

Geneva Sekula  I would love a little plane. They look like little trophies almost or…

Andrew Marshall That's a good word; yeah, trophy, that's the word.

Geneva Sekula  I've also heard them referred to as 'deal toy', which sounds much nicer than tombstone.

Roseanna Bricknell I suppose one of them kind of reflects the amount of work you had to do and one of them trivialises it a little bit, maybe. I kind of like tombstone better.

Andrew Marshall Indeed. There's a lot of other words that if you don't come across … I mean, when I moved to the UK, for example, in credit, they talk about prayers and they'd say, 'We're meeting tomorrow for prayers,' and I'm, like, 'Wow, okay. I didn't realise it was quite a religious organisation'. But, apparently, it's, I think, taken from the English public service, which is, people would meet for meetings that would often start with a prayer and the meeting would typically be just a general catch-up of what's going on and that phrase has morphed into a few different places, or another one is just the word 'icon'. So, some of your listeners, I'm sure, don't use any Microsoft products, they're using all sorts of other cloud-based things, but I think in the corporate world, a lot of us use Microsoft products, one of which is Outlook, which controls our email, and if you send someone a meeting request it can be called a number of different things at different places. So, I've heard it called 'request' or 'appointment' or 'invite', but at Linklaters it's 'icon', and if you arrive and somebody says, 'Oh, yeah, I'll send you an icon', what is that. Yeah, so there's a bit of that jargon that I've had to get my head around over the years.

Roseanna Bricknell It is funny, the nomenclature aspect. Prayers pop up a lot in the Australian disputes arena because when you're sending consent orders to the court, often it will be prayer one or prayer two – that's when someone's seeking orders they call them prayers as well, which surprised me a lot.

Geneva Sekula  That surprises me right now. I'd never heard that before.

Roseanna Bricknell It's a real thing. A lot of barristers will say it, particularly the more old-school ones.

Geneva Sekula  Say your prayers.

Roseanna Bricknell Yeah, well, I guess it sort of is. It's a bit like – you come as a supplicant to the judge.

Geneva Sekula  Does that make the judge God?

Roseanna Bricknell Yeah, I suppose so; in a courtroom.

Geneva Sekula  Yikes.

Andrew Marshall That's good, I've learnt something then.

Geneva Sekula  We all have.

Roseanna Bricknell Yes, I mean, look, let's just never talk about the particular legal meaning of the word 'capacity'.

Andrew Marshall So true.

Geneva Sekula  So, since moving to Linklaters, obviously … I mean, did you find that to be a big difference between how you were experiencing practising law in Australia and then going to London. Did you find that a big difference? That was such a badly worded question. I'm so sorry.

Andrew Marshall No, not at all, and I know the feeling and, look, it's a common question because the number of Aussies always working in London is huge. At any one time, the percentage of our London office amongst the lawyers, who are only, of course, half of the people who work there, and it's a big place, Linklaters in London, it's about 3,000 people. So, of the 1,500 lawyers, at any one time, anywhere from 150 to 200 would be, you might say, Commonwealth folk; so, predominantly Australians but also that's the Kiwis, the Africans, a couple of Canadians and people from India and so on. So, that's more than 10% and people are often quite surprised by that. People who come from other places like continental Europe or Latin America or Asia say, 'Wow, I'm not convinced I'm in London, I believe I'm in Melbourne or Sydney,' because there are just so many Aussies, so it's a common question and I think, for me, it didn't feel like too big a change because in many ways the cultures are quite similar. I think it's quite easy to move as an Australian lawyer typically to a place like London; perhaps, and this is based on chatting to other people, slightly easier than moving somewhere like New York, perhaps, but the same thing is true, I think, for the Brits when they leave London and go to New York, they find that a bit of a culture clash. So, it's a relatively easy move. I think the real trap that I probably fell into, that I think a few other people fall into, is just assuming – and I think this is typical Aussie humility, which many of our counterparts from overseas on the sporting field, never believe we actually have – but typical Aussie humility is, 'Oh, I'm going to go to London; everything is going to be bigger and brighter and better, it's just all going to be amazing,' and many things are; but then there are always one or two things that you think 'We did that better back home', and a typical thing for that, actually, would just be technology, where often Australian law firms, in my experience of working with Allens, demonstrate this, are often ahead of the UK law firms in terms of their adoption of technology and, look, that's partly just a result of size because we've got 30 offices across 20 different countries at Linklaters, so just rolling stuff out across a big network takes a long time. I remember in Australia, I got what we called a Cisco phone in 2003/2002, whereas when I went to Linklaters in 07 we still didn't have those and it took a couple of years later before that was introduced. So, some things like technology are a disappointment, you might argue, but then plenty of other things are actually very similar and, indeed, the expectation of being better.

Roseanna Bricknell Well, that makes me feel quite good about – I mean, particularly the fact that I hate my Cisco phone. I think we're meant to be upgrading them soon.

Andrew Marshall Very good. Well, I think the next step is removing the phones altogether, it's all VOIP and other things like that that I'm not going to pretend I know a huge amount about.

Roseanna Bricknell We have some sort of international chat system that I don't fully understand. I can never start conversations, though; it really annoys me but other people can start them with me from Linklaters.

Geneva Sekula  Yeah, you can.

Roseanna Bricknell Maybe that's a specific thing that Allens put in place for you so you don't distract other staff members.

Geneva Sekula  Geneva is too unproductive so she can't commence Skye conversations.

Roseanna Bricknell We did find out recently that when Geneva and I rotated in our second year here, they deliberately didn't put us in the same office because they thought we wouldn't do enough work.

Geneva Sekula  That's probably fair enough.

Andrew Marshall It's nice to know that people are thinking about you, isn't it?

Geneva Sekula  Yes, well

Roseanna Bricknell All press is good press, I suppose. Speaking of being in different offices, actually, Andrew, at Linklaters obviously there's quite a lot of offices in different countries. Have you ever worked anywhere else?

Andrew Marshall So, not for a long period but I've actually been in other offices regularly over the course of my time there and I find that really satisfying, really enjoyable. So, I think somebody asked me this the other day and I think I worked out that of the 30-odd Linklaters offices, I think I have been to all but four or five, don't quote me but it's quite a lot, and that, I think, for anyone, particularly an Aussie, is great. Any time I get on a plane in a suit with a briefcase and I have to pinch myself and I think, 'Wow, people pay me to do this? This is amazing', but I think it does make a big difference when you can see where people are, and I think in Australia we understand that better than anywhere because if you grow up as an Aussie with any sense of the world, and I guess this is a common answer to a question where people say, 'Why on earth would people leave Australia?' because it's such a wonderful place, the people are terrific, smart, good looking whatever, great weather and everything.

Roseanna Bricknell Oh, thanks, Andrew.

Andrew Marshall ….all of that stuff is true, all of that is true, but if you are an Aussie who grows up with any sense of the wider world and that, of course, is not all of us, but it is many people and probably, I imagine, many of those listening to this, then I think you are acutely aware that the world is a long way away; you've got to go a long way to find that, so I think it's important when you're dealing with people by phone or by email and if you can picture actually where they are working, their physical working environment, it just makes such a difference. So, yes, there have been lots of different offices I've seen, even just for a short period of time, and it's remarkably easy to do. We've got systems these days that allow us to take our laptop, plug it in, and that includes anywhere across the Allens networks as well. So I've been very fortunate to take advantage of that network.

Geneva Sekula  That is … it sounds extremely exciting and that is something that the people listening to this podcast are interested in, and we often get questions about moving overseas and how easy that is, and so, I guess, it would be really interesting to hear from your perspective as someone who's at Linklaters, how you see the alliance with Allens functioning day to day and how does that actually play out in practice?

Andrew Marshall I mean, for those listening, they wouldn't necessarily realise just how quickly that changed, because when I was a law student I had never heard of Linklaters; I don't think I'd heard of it until probably several months into my first – my articled clerkship, my first permanent legal job – and at the time, none of the big international firms had presences in Australia, and the internet was still quite new so the information flow was less and, really, in the course of that – nearly 20 years – things have changed so much and I guess that's just partly how the world has changed; Australia is an even greater or more timely integrated part of the global economy and so you've got a bit of a push from this end where people are saying, 'Well, what are we doing here in Australia to follow, as a lawyer, our clients and their businesses overseas; and then ditto at the other end in London, we work with a lot of clients with a deep presence within Australia, whether that's mining companies or whether that's just Australian companies who've got presences in the UK like National Australia Bank, for example, and others who I work with regularly, or just around the corner from us in the London office, and so there's just that flow-through of business that lawyers need to follow and it's just become a much more seamless service. I mean, we talked about technology before and I just mentioned the importance of understanding people's perspective; on the Linklater systems, we can look up and we can see where anyone at Allens is just rattling their name into our internal systems, so it feels very much like part of the family. The one thing we don't have, sadly, within Linklaters, is we don't have the photos of the folks, so therefore if you're worried that somebody from Links is looking you up, they can't on the internal systems for your photos, I'm sorry.

Geneva Sekula  Thank you, huge relief.

Roseanna Bricknell Massive relief, my photo is appalling. Geneva's is really nice, though.

Geneva Sekula  I'm happier with the new one that I have because previously – I got a new one maybe four or five months ago but prior to that it was the photo that was taken before my first summer clerkship interview so I look way too eager, way too nervous; there's just too much going on. This one is more like 'I've just taken a photo'; it's quite normal.

Roseanna Bricknell You're a professional person.

Geneva Sekula  That's right.

Andrew Marshall I've got to say, if ever you come to Links, for example, I'm heavily involved with training and I run courses in London, and often we might have anywhere up to 150 people at a course in London, for example, that's every six months, all about graduates from around Linklaters' network who come there, and often we can use the photos that the people send us, partly to get them to know each other. But at the end of however long the course is, it could be a whole week, I might just put some random photos up on a screen; if they write 'Who is this' and, of course, it's relying on people who've met them that week to be able to 'Oh, yeah that's Bob or that's Jane or whoever,' and, of course, it gives lots of flexibility for hacking on people about exactly the kind of photo you mentioned, you say 'Here is somebody who's really keen, really keen, really, really keen when they started work,' so you can have a bit of fun.

Roseanna Bricknell I must say, even though Geneva and I both had appalling photographs taken when we were first summer clerks and, regrettably, mine is still in play, the worst ones were the people who couldn't come here for the interviews and have a photo taken; they had to send in copies of their passport photographs and those photos were their online-system photos that followed them around for two years and I'm just grateful that that wasn't me.

Andrew Marshall I can imagine. It makes me think of, I started in Melbourne with one of two twins, a guy called Kieran who's now a barrister, and his twin brother Kyle had done a summer clerkship at the same firm, and Kieran, the photo he was given was not in fact him, it was his brother Kyle off on his summer clerkship, and when Kieran went to the HR team and said, 'Look, can you change it,' and they were like, 'But it's you' and he said, 'But it's not me' and it took him at least a year, I think, to persuade them that he wasn't having a laugh.

Roseanna Bricknell I like that it's a security concern. I'm pretty sure if we want to change ours, we can just send it to the lovely facilities manager, who fixes it up for us.

Geneva Sekula  I can see that as, like, a wacky sitcom, where they just interchange day to day and, like, one day Kyle can come to work and be a lawyer and one day…

Roseanna Bricknell I really feel like that's professional misconduct.

Geneva Sekula  Yeah, but for TV, haven't you seen Suits? That whole show is professional misconduct.

Roseanna Bricknell It's true, the TV version of what it's like to be a lawyer, it's like, 'Oh, what are ethics?'

Andrew Marshall I should, as a PS to that, Kyle lives in London – in fact, he's still working at the High Commission there, so I see him occasionally – but when I first met him, I always thought he or, rather, his twin brother, was really rude because I know this guy called Kieran but then I'd see Kyle, who worked at a different law firm in the same building, in the lift well and I'd give him a wave and he'd completely blank me and I'd think, 'Oh that guy, I thought he was great but he's a complete clown.'

Roseanna Bricknell Now, Andrew, you touched a little bit earlier on how a big part of your role at the moment is training other lawyers and clients. Can you tell us a little bit about, first of all, your initial career stream in becoming a banking lawyer, and why and how you transitioned into the training role that you have now?

Andrew Marshall So, the banking side, that was never my intention. If anyone here at uni is thinking, 'Finance, banking, boring,' then I'm on your side from how I felt then, and I guess I didn't really know what I wanted to do as a lawyer but I thought maybe that the thing that appealed to me most was around infrastructure and energy. They were a couple of subjects I did at Adelaide that I liked and I did well at, so I thought, 'Oh yeah, maybe I'll work on mines and power stations'. I did a lot of debating as a kid and a uni student, and so people often go into litigation, so I thought, 'Maybe I want to do that.' So when I came to my first articled clerkship, then I thought, 'Oh well, I guess I should be having a chance to pick departments so I'll pick the Projects Team, then I'll pick the Construction Team, that's got some litigation, and then I'll pick the M&A Team because I guess that's going to be important,' and then I thought, 'Maybe it's useful to know something about where the money comes from, it's probably going to be dull but I guess I should know,' and at the end of the four rotations I just found that the finance side was terrific, it was the bit that resonated most with me; it had this wonderful combination of technical bits of law with commercial practice; I liked the flexibility. I mean, not only because finance is so international and I thought, 'Yeah I'm pretty sure I'm going to work abroad at some stage and so that, I’m sure, will help,' but also just 'I might not stay in law, and knowing things about finance would help me and I could become a banker; I could become a consultant.' All of those things came into play but probably the most important factor, even more important than those, was just I really liked the people and, in fact, the principal I had in my rotation is now a partner at Allens – Nick Creed, who I saw passing through Perth on Friday, and he's an absolutely terrific chap and his influence was one of the things that certainly helped me to come back to the group, and one thing I should add on that, just to focus, I've loved it ever since. I really enjoy working in finance. Here in Australia, which is different to other parts of the world, people do law and another degree. So, people often do law comm and you could also do law science or engineering or, in my case, arts, and I think there is sometimes a perception of people saying, 'If I haven't done a commerce degree or the finance or economics degree, I might struggle a bit going into finance' and that's not the case in the slightest. I mean, those of you who are doing those courses, it's certainly helpful but you can happily work as a finance lawyer without ever having done any of that training because you mix it up on the job and many of my colleagues in London who don't even have to do law degrees to be lawyers, they've done classics and things like that as their sole degree, and they're working as some of the most successful finance lawyers around. So, that will give you a bit of a sense as to how I ended up in finance. Some of my friends in London are corporate lawyers and we regularly have a bit of jibe backwards and forwards about that. So, other friends who – she always calls us 'debt geeks', 'Oh yeah, you debt geeks, on the financing side it's so boring,' and we always call the corporate folks 'Ah, corporate heroes; you guys don't know anything about the law but I guess good luck to you,' and then my other half, Elizabeth, she's a litigator, so she thinks this whole world of transactional law is quite weird as well. So, there's lots of different branches and everyone finds their own way but for me, certainly, finance has worked out really well.

Geneva Sekula  I'm going to immediately start using all of those little nicknames for our teams here in Sydney.

Roseanna Bricknell Yes, one of Geneva's and my other best friends here is a corporate lawyer and I'm really looking forward to calling her a 'hero – corporate hero'.

Geneva Sekula  So, one thing you mentioned in talking about that, which was a really fascinating journey to where you are now, but you mentioned you picked up finance because it might be something you could take forward with you if you were to leave the law. What is it about p

ractising in a firm and practising law that's kept you where you are rather than pursuing something else, like becoming a banker or working in house somewhere?

Andrew Marshall And the cliché people say is 'It's the people' but I think it's so true and I find it's just such an exciting professional environment to work in, and at Linklaters there was a tag line that we had for our recruiting campaign a couple of years ago, which was called 'Leave your Ambition' – I can still picture this – it's got big block capitals and so on and looked almost quite threatening.

Roseanna Bricknell We are familiar with it and many of our listeners, I think, will be too.

Andrew Marshall Ah, very good. Okay, great, well, I'm glad it's resonated and that was, I think, from memory, I think it's been replaced by, if I remember rightly, 'Great Change is Here'. So if any of you who are listening now and you see the Linklaters campaign, that's what it is now; I'm sure it will change again in a year or two but people often associate ambition with quite negative things but I think in many ways there's a very positive element of that which I see around the firm. I walk around our London office, or any of the other offices I go to, and I see people who are genuinely committed to being the best in the world at what they do. They woke up, they come to work and they're like 'Yeah, I'm going to be awesome today,' or 'I've got to do whatever I can to be awesome,' and that doesn't mean being unreasonable or being mean, it means working hard and focusing your efforts and so on, to just make their work work well and I just really feel that vibe and energy around people that are often just so good at that. And, I guess, comparing that to any other organisation, I've never really seen that sort of energy, and I keep in touch with lots of our alumni around the world and many of them when they leave us say, catching up after a couple of years, they say, 'The thing I miss the most was the fact that when you ask somebody 'Can you help', they will say, 'Yeah, absolutely,' even though they're really flat out or busy or whatever, there's just a real case that the answer is 'yeah', as was the slogan for a telecommunications company in Australia when I was growing up, which has probably long since changed.

Roseanna Bricknell That resonates with me as well, actually. I remember having a chat with the Chairman of Allens, probably last year now, and she gave me one of the most, I think, easy-to-apply-across-everything pieces of advice I've ever had, which was just 'work hard, be kind'; that was it but it's a good thing to remember in everything you do.

Andrew Marshall It's true. Actually, the thing that brought it home to me, and I did tell one of my colleagues about this not so long ago, was I was working in our Frankfurt office for a week and I was working at the desk of a guy there called Serjan and he was away on leave, so I was just toiling away at his phone, and I got an email from my colleague Ruth in London and she said, 'Andrew, can you help me. I've got this question on this finance matter' that's not quite her area, she's more real estate, and I thought, 'Yeah, sure,' and rather than emailing her I just called her. So I called her and she answered the phone and she said, 'Hi, Serjan,' and I was, 'Oh, no, no, Ruth, it's Andrew, you just emailed me,' and she says, 'Oh, thanks, Andrew, great.' So we chatted and then I answered her question, it might have taken 15 or 20 minutes, and as we were hanging up, I said, 'Oh, by the way, how do you know Serjan'? because he's a finance colleague of mine but I guessed she might not have come across him, and she said, 'Oh, who's Serjan?' and I said, 'Well, you know, the guy who you thought I was,' and she said, 'Oh yeah, that was this number that popped up on my phone,' and I was, like, 'Wow, but you kind of answered the phone like you knew him,' and she just said, 'Well, yeah, but I just figured it was one of my colleagues that was calling and I know it's later at night over there, he must need some help, so, yeah, why am I not going to help him,' and I just thought, 'Wow'; that kind of attitude I just see so often around so many of my colleagues and I think it's a really great thing back where I work now.

Geneva Sekula  This is something that we come back to time and time again on this podcast is that it is the people who really make going to work special and who make what can be quite challenging or demanding times just feel a lot easier and a lot more enjoyable.

Roseanna Bricknell On that note, thank you very much for your time today, Andrew. We really appreciate you joining us on the podcast.

Andrew Marshall Pleasure.

Roseanna Bricknell It's probably getting to be about that time, unfortunately, that we wrap up, and so we always like to finish with the question of 'What advice could you give our listeners that you would have liked to have had early on in your career?'

Andrew Marshall I think it would be, be open to the rest of the world, including the rest of the world's law. I think growing up in Oz I didn't know anything about any other country's laws, but working now in London I deal with different laws every day, and so I think we as Aussies are known for being great travellers but we probably don't exercise our minds so much in knowing how French law, German law … it actually feels quite different to our own but it often is equally – untenably equally – valid, it just often arrives at the same conclusion in a different manner or sometimes reaches different conclusions. So, part of it would be just be open-minded about other people's laws, and maybe the second thing is just to probe for feedback. I probably, at the early stage of my career, always thought, 'Oh yeah, no news is good news,' and you don't want to be told by anyone, 'Oh, look, you're not doing this as well as you might or 100%,' so if I did pluck up the courage to say to somebody, 'Can you give me some feedback,' and they'd say, 'Oh, no, that's fine,' I would immediately think, 'Oh, thank goodness,' at the time and now I've realised that if you just ask them nicely, just to say, 'Look, thank you, I'm glad you thought that was fine, I'd like to do something like that for you again, there must be one thing that you might want me to do differently next time if that was to happen'. Often I find if it's the right moment and they've got the time, they'll say, 'Oh, okay, yeah, well, here are …' and they'll list about 10 things that they wished you'd done differently. So much better knowing that, so that you can fix them or change them for next time, rather than just assuming that it was all fine and doing the same stuff all over again.

Geneva Sekula  Great advice.

Roseanna Bricknell I'm definitely going to use that, actually, going forward. That's a great way of asking for feedback.

Geneva Sekula  It's fantastic, although I do hope that I don't get 10 separate pieces of advice of what I should have done.

Roseanna Bricknell Geneva, we can pick this up when the podcast is finished.

Geneva Sekula  Okay, thank you, so much for joining us, and for our listeners, thank you again for being with us. We hope you've enjoyed this episode as much as we have and we look forward for you to join us again on Allens Confidential.

About the presenters: Roseanna Bricknell & Geneva Sekula

Roseanna joined Allens as a clerk in 2014 and was a lawyer in the Competition, Consumer and Regulatory and Disputes and Investigations teams. She lives for the Good Weekend Quiz and has developed a good working knowledge of Summer Olympics host cities because questions on that topic come up a lot. She now works in Civil Regulation at the Australian Government Solicitor. 

Geneva is a Senior Associate in our Disputes and Investigations team. She loves brunch, dogs, Netflix marathons, and giving unsolicited advice. A graduate of the University of Sydney, she clerked at Allens in Sydney in 2015 before joining the firm as a nervous but enthusiastic graduate in 2017.

Curious about life at Allens?

Visit Life at Allens, our student hub