Life at Allens

11 top career tips from Allens Confidential

As part of our graduate resourcing strategy, we're committed to supporting students pre-clerkship to help equip those interested in a career in commercial law with the guidance and advice to be successful. You may have heard by now we have a podcast, Allens Confidential, which you may have already listened to (if not – you're missing out!). But given how time poor we know you all are with your university, work, extra-curricular and various other commitments, we thought we would do you a favour and share with you the top tips given by our people for your career.

  • Forget passion, be curious: Mark Leersnyder, Senior Associate, season 1 episode 4
    People always say go for things you're passionate about, but don't worry if you're just starting out and you're not sure where you want to go. Forget about passion, just go for the things you're curious about. So many of the opportunities that come up in law firms are about being in the right place at the right time, and you can't really control that. As long as you're being curious and following things you're interested in, the opportunities will present themselves. When you're further along in your career, you might look back at what looks like a fantastic career path, but really it was just a bunch of random decisions that you made and opportunities that you took.

  • Find your people: Victoria Holthouse, Partner, season 1 episode 1
    It's important to go somewhere where you feel at home, where you feel that you're going to be with 'your people'. But you can't find that out from a website, you really need to talk to people (or listen to this podcast). I ended up at Allens because some of my friends were here. I thought: 'if the firm's employing those types of people who are different from me, and they're employing me, that's good, because it means there's a whole lot of different sorts of people there'.

  • Say yes to unexpected opportunities: Anna Collyer, Partner and Head of Innovation, season 2 episode 5
    Take advantage of unexpected opportunities. If you get an opportunity to do something you've never thought of doing, give it a go. That person is asking you for a reason and you never know where it might lead. It may lead nowhere, but you haven't lost anything and you've probably learned something valuable that will help you in whatever path you take.

  • Put yourself out of your comfort zone: Ian McGill, Partner, season 1 episode 3
    Deliberately put yourself out of your comfort zone when you join a firm. Join societies or firm committees; go looking for work you're interested in. That's a great way to start a career, because you're doing so in an environment of incredible support. People are never going to criticise you if you're out there trying to stretch.

  • Have a big life: Richard Spurio, Managing Partner, season 2 episode 5
    We run various Women at Allens events at the firm where we get interesting people to come in and talk about their experiences. One of the pieces of advice that was given by a guest a couple of years ago has always stuck with me, and that was to have a big life. I interpret that to mean making a difference and having an impact. Get involved in things. That can happen in a lot of different ways, but setting out to really make a difference is a terrific attitude to have.

  • Be kind (including to yourself): Felicity McMahon, Partner, season 5 episode 1
    Be kind and professional, and extend that kindness to yourself. This is a profession that can be tough. It's challenging. Make sure you take time out and take time to be with your family. You also need to be kind to yourself in terms of knowing there's a lot of learning to be done, so don't expect to be top of the profession straight away. Give yourself time to grow into the profession.

  • Embrace your difference: Kylie Scott, Head of Diversity, Inclusion & Wellbeing, season 4 episode 2
    Embrace your difference. What makes you different is your strength, and when you find it don't be afraid of it – head into it; double down.

  • Know the facts better than anyone else: Chris Kerrigan, Partner, season 3 episode 2
    When you start out and you're the most junior person it can be difficult to work out what value you add. Be the person that knows the facts on the matter better than anyone else. If you do that, you'll quickly become an integral member of the team. Read everything twice, look at all the emails you're being copied on, look through all the documents.

  • The opportunity is yours to do with as you wish: Mohamed Khairat, Associate, season 3 episode 3
    Be confident and recognise that if you have an opportunity, it's yours to do with as you wish. It's a blank canvas and you can choose what you want to do with it.

  • Run your own race: Lauren Kay, National Manager Graduate Resourcing, season 3 episode 4
    Run your own race. With the rise of social media, everyone is comparing themselves to everyone else, but keep your eyes on the prize and the immediate steps ahead. Don't think so far in advance that you get totally overwhelmed.

  • Be open to the rest of the world, including the rest of the world's law: Andrew Marshall, Counsel, Linklaters London, season 4 episode 3
    Be open to the rest of the world, including the rest of the world's law. Growing up in Australia I didn't know anything about any other country's laws, but working now in London I deal with different laws every day. We Aussies are known as great travellers, but we probably don't exercise our minds so much in knowing how, for example, French law or German law actually works. It feels quite different to our known. It's equally valid, it just arrives at the same conclusion in a different manner, or sometimes arrives at a different conclusion.

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