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.
James Skelton — Senior Associate
What was it like being a part of the program, how did it affect your career?
The Swaab graduate program gave me responsibility for matters and contact with clients from my first day at the firm. The broad exposure to different areas of law across my rotations in the commercial, intellectual property and litigation teams helped to refine my legal knowledge – whether that was by drafting agreements, appearing in court or conducting due diligence for acquisitions. I quickly found an area that I was interested in and Swaab has supported me to develop as a lawyer in that practice ever since.
What did you enjoy most about the program?
A key part about the program is the time spent with other graduates, lawyers and partners in the firm. Swaab’s generosity of spirit is more than a value listed on a page. As a graduate, my supervising partner’s door was always open and I could ask my buddy those ‘silly’ questions at any time. Swaab’s small team sizes also meant that I was continuously involved on interesting matters with a partner and their broader team.
What was the most interesting part of the program?
The varied nature of the work done by lawyers at Swaab means there are always interesting matters to work on. One day you might be helping with a matter for a large ASX listed company, another day you might be working for a private client or family business, then the following week you might be working with another Meritas firm to provide advice to international clients.
What were some of the more challenging moments?
Learning to give succinct and commercial legal advice is a skill you’ll develop as part of the graduate program and it’s not as easy as you might think. Mastering this from an early stage in my legal career was invaluable when it came to completing client secondments as an Associate and Senior Associate.
What advice would you give to someone starting the program?
It’s important to be open about different practice areas. An area you thought you loved at university may be very different in day to day legal practice and rotations will help you identify that. Its also important to work with a number of different people so you learn different styles of working. Finally, it’s important to give everything a go and volunteer to take every opportunity presented to you.