Sarah talks networking that feels good, finding your fit in Australia or New Zealand, and law adjacent careers

I know I say this a lot but I am so excited about this episode. We covered so much interesting ground! In the episode I chat with Sarah Alderson from PocketLegal about her ten years in practice in New Zealand and Australia, including how she went about finding jobs throughout, leading to her recent move to establish her CPD and networking business. It was so lovely to talk about finding fit and non-formulaic ways through one's career, and how she is going about improving the experience of legal practice for New Zealand lawyers now.

Sarah worked at the Public Defence Service early in her career, and if that option interests you I recommend listening to Tom’s episode, which goes into the specifics in more detail.

The book I mention several times is Range: How Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein. I can’t tell if this is a book everyone should read or if it was just really For Me, but it really was For Me. I have long felt I was inadequate because my interests range all over the place and hyper-specialising feels terrible to me. Turns out we need the generalists as much as the specialists, and we need them more to deal with complex, systemic, or unexpected challenges. If any of that feels like a pull to you, I recommend the book. It was also lovely to read a book in this genre that made such a good effort at drawing its references from women as often as men, and from non-American bases as often as American. (I’m looking, disapprovingly, at you Malcolm Gladwell.)

Of course, Sarah’s business is Pocket Legal. If you like the cut of her gib and would like to do CPD or other events that are run by someone who thinks like she does, I suggest signing up for her mailing list at her website and going along to her next event. Plus, if the podcast prompts you to think of a topic or subject or mode of delivery you’d love to see in your CPD, get in touch with her to discuss.

And finally, this week is Mental Health Awareness Week. A few weeks ago Tony Southall took his own life and we lost a great campaigner for the wellbeing of lawyers and the general public in New Zealand. Before his death Tony drew on his long experience of depression and the mental health system to raise awareness, reduce stigma, and serve his fellow travelers. We corresponded briefly this year about our wish for more to be done to serve lawyers’ mental health in New Zealand. It is a terrible loss for him, for his family, and for our community, and reminds us ever again that mental health issues really are life and death.

May we all take care of ourselves and each other and continue our work to improve or transform the systemic factors that contribute to poor mental health, including many aspects of the culture of law. The podcast this week felt like a lovely examination of the myriad different avenues cultural change might take.

Till next time, listeners.


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