Grad­u­ates Pro­gram 2021 — An inter­view with Esther Khoo

At Swaab we are a young part­ner­ship, proud of our entre­pre­neur­ial his­to­ry, our inno­v­a­tive edge, the diver­si­ty that makes us who we are, and the gen­eros­i­ty of spir­it that we radiate. 

A key fac­tor in main­tain­ing our dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion is embrac­ing inno­va­tion, diver­si­ty and the fresh per­spec­tives that come to our firm from employ­ing graduates.

In the lead up to the Grad­u­ates Pro­gram for 2021 we will be inter­view­ing our past grad­u­ates and ask them to reflect on what their most inter­est­ing and chal­leng­ing moments have been, what advice they would give and how the pro­gram has helped them shape their careers.

Asso­ciate — Esther Khoo

What was it like being a part of the pro­gram, how did it affect your career?

The grad­u­ate pro­gram is a com­fort­able way to be able to explore both trans­ac­tion and lit­i­ga­tion work. It gives you the oppor­tu­ni­ty of get­ting to know what you like from actu­al­ly doing the work.

For me, the val­ue in the grad­u­ate pro­gram is that because the pro­gram includes the full cycle’ of law (front and back end), you end up with expe­ri­ences you con­tin­ue to use as you progress in your law career. As a com­mer­cial lit­i­ga­tor, I still find myself draw­ing on my time in the cor­po­rate and com­mer­cial team in my prac­tice. For instance, the same draft­ing tech­niques in prepar­ing com­mer­cial doc­u­ments still prove use­ful in draft­ing deeds of set­tle­ment in set­tle­ment or in read­ing and analysing con­tracts in search­ing for caus­es of action and solu­tions for your clients. Those skills are valu­able, and no part of my grad­u­ate pro­gram went to waste.

What did you enjoy most about the program?

Work­ing in dif­fer­ent teams and hav­ing very dif­fer­ent and expe­ri­enced Part­ners, Senior Asso­ciates and Asso­ciates men­tor you. It is a great way to meet and work close­ly with dif­fer­ent teams in the firm, and is an oppor­tu­ni­ty that is less avail­able lat­er in your career when you set­tle’ into a par­tic­u­lar prac­tice area.

Being part of the grad­u­ate cohort was also real­ly fun, you grow up and togeth­er with your grad­u­ate friends.

What was the most inter­est­ing part of the program?

The diver­si­ty of work in the firm – one rota­tion you might be part of a team work­ing on a com­plex com­mer­cial deal, anoth­er day you might be in Court for the sub­poe­na list or help­ing to pre­pare for hearing. 

The size of the firm means that there is greater scope for a grad­u­ate to do mean­ing­ful work and engage ear­ly with clients and mat­ters, with the over­sight of part­ners and more senior solicitors.

What were some of the more chal­leng­ing moments?

Work­ing in a com­plete­ly new area of law that you might not have tak­en an elec­tive in at uni­ver­si­ty may at first seem daunt­ing in work­ing out where to start, how to tack­le the task at hand and know­ing what needs or does not need to be con­sid­ered. The firm real­ly dis­plays gen­eros­i­ty of spir­it here, and as a grad­u­ate, I appre­ci­at­ed that more senior prac­ti­tion­ers would take time to explain the back­ground of the mat­ter and answer ques­tions I had.

What advice would you give to some­one start­ing the program?

You will get as much from the grad­u­ate pro­gram (and your career in law) as you give. Always bring a notepad with you. As long as you are will­ing to learn and will work hard at any oppor­tu­ni­ty, every­thing else is easy after that.

If you’d like to find out more infor­ma­tion or apply for the Grad­u­ates Pro­gram 2021 click here.

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