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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.