YOUNG LAWYERS’ COMMITTEE Claire Victory – a Young Lawyers’ Committee Profile EVELYN JOHNS & MELANIE TILMOUTH, YOUNG LAWYERS COMMITTEE Claire Victory is a Senior Associate at Duddy Shopov Lawyers, who was a member of the Young Lawyers’ Committee from September 2008 to July 2016. From December 2012 until February 2015, Claire was the also the Chair of the Young Lawyers’ Committee. As a result of Claire’s various and wide range of passions and involvements in the profession, including her work on the Young Lawyers’ Committee, Claire was awarded the Justice Gray Young Lawyer of the Year Award in 2014. Evelyn Johns and Melanie Tilmouth sat down with Claire to discuss to reflect on her time with the Young Lawyers’ Committee and what she’s up to now. WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO JOIN THE YLC? At the time I joined, it was actually called the “New Lawyers’ Committee”. Fairly soon after I was admitted to practice, my boss suggested that I get involved with the committee to meet other young lawyers, as there were no other young lawyers in my office and I did not know many of my peers. When I inquired with the Law Society about how I could get involved, they suggested I join the committee, and I submitted an Expression of Interest HOW DO YOU THINK BEING ON THE YLC HELPED YOUR CAREER AND YOUR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT? I found it has helped me in a lot of ways. I was already involved in lots of committees and volunteer roles, but this was the first time I really got involved with the legal profession beyond my employed role. It enhanced my ability to work effectively with a group of people from different backgrounds and with varying levels of commitment to the work. It also helped me to better understand parts of the legal profession with which I’d previously had no contact, such as different types of firms and practice areas, and gave me the opportunity to get involved in organising professional development and mentoring opportunities for young lawyers. The biggest way it has helped me is by expanding my professional network, particularly through the networking events 36 THE BULLETIN March 2018 hosted by the Committee. I now have lots of contacts in different areas of law, which has been invaluable to my practice. Not only have I been able to refer work to some of those contacts, but I have received a lot of referrals in return. It has also been rewarding to witness the personal and professional development of some of the committee members; watching them join the Committee, then taking on greater responsibilities over time and growing in confidence. Being involved in committees has also helped my work/life balance; if you have a meeting or something to do for the committee, you need to make sure you leave work on time – if you don’t commit to that volunteer role just as you commit to your paid role, you’re letting the team down. I think it’s important as a young lawyer to make sure you have interests outside of work; you shouldn’t stay at work all hours. WHAT DO YOU THINK ARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES FACING YOUNG LAWYERS TODAY? Definitely maintaining that work/life balance. Young lawyers are often expected to work quite long hours and usually for little reward – and even if their employers don’t place that expectation on them, they place it on themselves. Unfortunately, this means other areas of their life suffer, whether it’s not being able to have romantic relationships or not being able to spend time with their families. There is a common misconception that lawyers earn a large amount of money, but there are a lot of lawyers I know who are working really long hours yet aren’t even close to being able to buy their own home. This pressure is made worse by the fact that there are lots of eager young graduates waiting in the wings, which means many young lawyers are worried about their job security and don’t want to rock the boat by seeking to negotiate with regards to their working conditions or by actively pursuing a healthy work/life balance. I am fortunate that I work at a great firm, but I have seen far too many lawyers’ work/life balance, and consequently their mental health, suffer. WHY DID YOU LEAVE THE YLC AND WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN UP TO SINCE? I had been on the committee for about eight years and didn’t really consider myself to be a young lawyer any more. I also thought it was time to hand the reins over and allow some other young lawyers the opportunity to be on the committee and take on leadership roles – if you stick around for too long, there is the risk that you will stifle discussion and brainstorming by imposing too many lessons from the past, when the newer members really need the opportunity to try things for themselves. I’m still involved in a few other committees both inside and outside the law. I am a member of the Law Society’s Mock Trial Committee and I coach one of the mock trial teams. I am also on the board of Cabra Dominican College and I am currently the Deputy President of the St Vincent de Paul Society (Australia) National Council. This gives me balance and continues to remind me that the law does not exist in a vacuum. A relatively new passion of mine is ice hockey – I spend a lot of time watching games at the Ice ArenA, helping out in various ways and sometimes even travelling interstate to support the Adelaide Adrenaline; it’s great to be part of such a passionate community comprising entirely of volunteers. In my “free time” I love spending time with my family – being an aunty is one of life’s great pleasures and privileges – and touring Adelaide’s wine regions. WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 5 YEARS? I would like to still be in my current job, doing rewarding and challenging work while still being busy with my various volunteer roles. I find it very rewarding to mentor younger lawyers and law students so I hope I still have ample opportunity to do that within my firm and beyond. I have also done some mediation training, so I would like to start doing some work that combines that training with my professional and volunteer experience. The Young Lawyers’ Committee would like to thank Claire for all her hard work and contributions over the years. Her hard work has been invaluable.
YOUNG LAWYERS’ COMMITTEE Young lawyers celebrate the end of one year and welcome the next CHANEL MARTIN, ASSOCIATE SOLICITOR, RESOLVE DIVORCE LAWYERS In late November last year, the Young Lawyers’ Committee hosted the Spring Gala. More than 100 young professionals attended, including lawyers, accountants and financial planners. The event was held at the Waymouth Room at the Gallery. Attendees enjoyed a range of delicious canapes and beverages from the list of local wines. A photobooth provided extra entertainment for the young professionals, with everyone delving deep into the dress up box. By the end of the night, most attendee had hit the dancefloor. The event was an opportunity for young lawyers, and other professionals to network, socialise and wind down after what was a big year for most. It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening for all. facebook.com/YLCSA The Young Lawyers’ Committee would like to thank their major sponsor Burgess Paluch Legal Recruitment and silver sponsor Finlaysons. They would also like to thank the Gallery for providing such a beautiful venue, Little Love Co for the floral arrangements, A Wall of Flowers by Emma for the flower wall and Dee Gilbert for providing the music. BBQ & BOWLS TO BRING IN THE NEW YEAR The Young Lawyers’ Committee welcomed young practitioners into the New Year, hosting a BBQ & Lawn Bowls Event at the Adelaide Bowling Club. Attendees, guided by local lawn bowlers, teamed up for some friendly competition. The event brought together practitioners from all practice areas, as well as other professionals, including accountants. It was a great opportunity for participants to network, socialise and work on their barefoot bowling skills. While some impressed with their knowledge of biased balls and ability to rest close to the jack, stepping comfortably into the role of Skipper, others accepted their need to brush up before next year’s challenge. All in all, it was an enjoyable evening. The Young Lawyers’ Committee would like to thank their Burgess Paluch Legal Recruitment for their ongoing support of such events and the Adelaide Bowling Club for their hospitality. The Young Lawyers’ Committee host a number of social events throughout the year. Keep an eye out for upcoming events, and be sure to come along. March 2018 THE BULLETIN 37