In this episode I sat down with my former mentor, John Mackintosh, a long time consultant on practice management and the business side of law, and one of the loveliest humans I’ve encountered. John was hugely supportive of my efforts to start a practice that did law differently, and was just as generous in sharing all his wisdom on the pod. We talked about why people go into partnership or sole practice, why he made Stepping Up the way it is, what law gives you that you can take to any other job you like, and how he incorporated his interests in teaching and management into his career right from the start.
This is a really lovely conversation, but if you want even more from John and you’re in your first year of practice, you might like to sign up for his CCH webinar “Making your way in your first law job”, coming on 20 February 2019.
In this episode I talked with Zoë Lawton, an independent legal researcher and writer, and it was so wonderful. Zoë’s career has already taken her to all kinds of interesting places, including a academic research on the implications of complex family law scenarios, to clerking in the Family Court, to research through the Law Foundation about the court system itself, to independent research, analysis and writing for government departments, not to mention her own legal journalism. She also spent much of last year publishing a “MeToo” blog for the profession, documenting anonymous stories of bullying and harassment reported to her, and giving cultural context to the ongoing issues the legal profession has with gender parity, bullying and sexual harassment. Despite the darkness of this last topic I felt so good and hopeful afterwards, and it was lovely, as always, to speak to someone who followed their curiosity and wound up somewhere unexpected and really cool. What an utter delight!
And finally, over at LawTalk,it’s nearly that time of the year where I wonder if this will be the year I try eggnog. In LawTalk column 924, “In Praise of a post-Christmas zoom out”, I talk about my favourite holiday past times, eating Mackintoshs and taking stock.
In this column I posit that our mental capacity is akin to M&Ms, and our activities akin to bowls, and I really just run with that. It’s a model for understanding mental functioning that helps one plan anything from a day to a life, and it’s something that gets missed when people allocate only resources like time and money. It also helps us all be a bit kinder with ourselves and each other, which is only good.
A reader wrote to me to ask whether anyone other than A+ honours students gets jobs after law school, which is a fair question because the message perpetuated in law school seems to be a resounding no (this is wrong).
In Part 1 of my response I address the issue of grades vs jobs specifically, incorporating information I got from a lovely legal recruiter I know. In Part 2 I zoom right out to the issue of grades and worth, an issue that as a recovering high-achiever (who did not do honours, by the by) I have grappled with for decades now. Even if you’re no longer in the position of receiving letter grades for your work, you can substitute feedback of any kind and get a similar result.
Happy springtime, lovely listeners and readers! My third Dear Katie column is out, in which I would like a prize please for answering a question about exam stress in 1000 words. No doubt we will return to the topic for the other 20,000 words I have in reserve. I hope this little method/mindset combo helps ease some of the more extreme stress that upcoming exams will invite.
This was such a lovely episode with grad solicitor Alice, and in it we got to traverse all sorts of topics I have not been able to cover so much with other guests lately, namely the experience of grad lawyers. Finding a job, transitioning from law school to practice, setting yourself up for success and balance in an emotionally demanding job, the culture of law school, so much cool stuff. We also talked about cultural awareness as a means to serve clients and colleagues and the work of a new family lawyer. It. Was. Great.
This month's LawTalk column is all about something I both think is very important and consistently fail to do: having fun.
This week's Dear Katie asks whether you have to take tax law to be a proper lawyer, to which I say only if you want to be a proper tax lawyer, and then tell my fun anecdote about how I fell in love with tax law (it's just puzzles!).