Grad­u­ate Inter­view Series | Fiona Deng

Why did you choose Swaab?

I chose Swaab because I was drawn to its diverse prac­tice areas and oppor­tu­ni­ty for growth as a junior lawyer. At uni­ver­si­ty, I stud­ied a vari­ety of elec­tives as I was nav­i­gat­ing my way through dif­fer­ent areas of law. As such, I felt that Swaab would be a per­fect place for me to explore dif­fer­ent prac­tice areas because of its unique and high­ly acclaimed offer­ing of both com­mer­cial and fam­i­ly law in a mid-sized firm. More­over, I was drawn to the close-knit teams at Swaab, which would allow me to ben­e­fit from a high­er lev­el of men­tor­ship and engage in mean­ing­ful work. 

What was the Swaab selec­tion process like?

I sub­mit­ted a writ­ten appli­ca­tion for the gen­er­al grad­u­ate posi­tion which involved two rota­tions in liti­gious and non-liti­gious prac­tice groups over 18 months. I attend­ed a first round inter­view and sub­se­quent­ly, I was invit­ed to a grad­u­ate lunch. At the lunch, we had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to meet lawyers across var­i­ous prac­tice areas and learn about their expe­ri­ences work­ing at Swaab. I was for­tu­nate to meet the peo­ple who I cur­rent­ly work with, and I could eas­i­ly see myself being part of a firm with a wel­com­ing cul­ture. Fol­low­ing, I attend­ed a sec­ond round inter­view and sub­mit­ted an arti­cle on an area of interest. 

What has been your expe­ri­ence to date?

I have com­plet­ed my first rota­tion in the cor­po­rate and com­mer­cial team and wills and estates prac­tice group, and I am now pro­gress­ing in my sec­ond rota­tion in the lit­i­ga­tion team. Although we com­menced our grad­u­ate pro­gram dur­ing lock­down and work­ing from home, I have always felt sup­port­ed by my team and the firm. I had reg­u­lar catch ups with my bud­dy who was always hap­py to answer my ques­tions and pro­vide me with feed­back. I have worked on a vari­ety of inter­est­ing mat­ters includ­ing assist­ing with due dili­gence for a share sale trans­ac­tion, attend­ing the prop­er­ty of the deceased to ascer­tain a will and finan­cial doc­u­ments, and research­ing and prepar­ing legal advice on hemp fibre-based prod­ucts in Australia. 

How would you describe the Swaab culture?

When I attend­ed the grad­u­ate lunch, I had a strong impres­sion of the warm and invit­ing cul­ture of the firm. Since start­ing with the firm, I can con­firm that the Swaab cul­ture res­onates with­in its peo­ple who are always will­ing to help and are gen­er­ous with their time. I have always felt com­fort­able around senior lawyers and part­ners who are eas­i­ly approach­able and encour­age me to take on new chal­lenges. For exam­ple, I had my first court appear­ance and I under­took a busi­ness devel­op­ment oppor­tu­ni­ty to present at the fir­m’s Busi­ness Excel­lence Sem­i­nar on Recent Trends in Estate Lit­i­ga­tion. I have also become close friends with my grad­u­ate cohort who have con­tributed to a fun and enjoy­able experience.

Giv­en the com­pet­i­tive nature of the mar­ket, do you see the pos­si­bil­i­ty of a long term career at Swaab?

I have had a won­der­ful time in the grad­u­ate pro­gram so far and I am excit­ed to see myself in a long term career at Swaab. In addi­tion to the learn­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties and pos­i­tive work cul­ture, the peo­ple at the firm have a gen­uine care in your well­be­ing as well your per­son­al and pro­fes­sion­al devel­op­ment as a lawyer.