The first #UNELaw and #UNESydney Careers Connect event was a resounding success.

Associate Professor Skye Saunders

Associate Professor Skye Saunders provided a warm welcome to the many attendees. She spoke about the importance of being nimble and flexible when entering legal practice.

Morton Herschderfer from the College of Law was joined by Elicha Reitsma from Coleman Greig Lawyers. Morton spoke about the process of going from law student to lawyer. His key piece of advice was- students should start developing their professional network ‘10 years before they need it.’

Morton Herschderfer from the College of Law

Elicha Reitsma from Coleman Greig Lawyers

Perhaps the highlight of the event were the stories of the six alumni who made time to engage with the many #UNELaw student attendees.   

Mark Elles summarised his legal practice experience since graduating in 2012. His main tips for students were to gain broad experience whilst working up a bank of transferrable skills. He also implored students to focus on creating a good work/life balance whilst working in legal practice.

Marina Dybner Jury, who is Special Counsel for Mercedes Benz, spoke about how she built a successful legal career. She noted the importance of networking and building a digital profile. Marina also suggested listening to podcasts and noted the importance of being a kind and decent person.

James Horsburgh expressed how much he loved being an advocate and lawyer. He noted ‘I actually feel pity for people who are not lawyers.’ The partner at McIntosh McPhillamy & Co in Bathurst referred to the importance of soft skills, such as the ability to be able to speak with clients and display empathy.

Siobhan Hobbs who is currently Director, Defence Collaboration Program at Australian Human Rights Commission, spoke of her legal journey which took her all the way to the United Nations. She expressed the importance of building networks. She also noted her network included people she met whilst studying- ‘my conveyancer of choice was my moot partner at UNE.’ Her main advice related to the importance of working out your priorities and what you are willing to give up. She also noted the value of developing good writing skills which are critical to a successful legal career.

Our Alumni Presenters

Andrew Smith, who is one of only a small field of Indigenous barristers at the NSW bar, spoke next. He quipped ‘I am a black fella from Western Sydney and I am now a barrister undertaking postgraduate study- if you want to achieve you will – you just need to put your mind to it.’ Andrew spoke about his legal career which includes working on the James Hardy inquiries. Andrew will be joining us for the next event.

Kathrine Takac, who is a recent graduate spoke about entering legal practice at an older age. Kathrine’s main tips when applying for jobs related to commitment, resilience, maturity, being a genuine person, passion and the importance of making yourself stand out.

We are very much looking forward to the next two Careers Connect events in the coming weeks. Thank you, Elise Dale and Leisa Rayner from UNE Sydney, for all their efforts in organising these events.