People who come to the law following a career in a different sector often speak of how they’re able to apply the skills and experience they picked up previously. How would you say your time in the film industry has helped you as a lawyer?
Many of the essential skills I initially picked up through filmmaking - teamwork, problem solving, project management - are also essential skills in the legal industry, and I continue to use and develop them every day. I’m fortunate to be able to continue to work in film in my down time from ABL and find that the knowledge and skills I’m developing as a lawyer are also relevant and transportable - risk management, contracting, time management and negotiation skills.
You started with ABL as a seasonal clerk and returned as a grad. How and why did you choose this firm as a place to start your new career as a lawyer?
Before applying to ABL, I worked for a family law firm and as a part-time assistant to barristers. The lawyers I worked with all spoke highly of ABL, in particular the firm’s legal excellence and commercial savvy, and the enduring client relationships.
I set my sights on ABL because I wanted to grow my commercial understanding and general commercial skills. I was also very interested in working with private clients and I felt that, at ABL, I could achieve both of those objectives. I was right because it’s certainly been my experience in practice.
What is the significance of the Old Lauristonians’ Association Fellowship you’ve been awarded and how do you plan to use it?
I am honoured to receive the OLA Fellowship. The Fellowship is awarded to an ex-Lauriston student, to be applied towards that person’s professional development. I was recently appointed to the board of directors of Channel 31, a community television channel and charity in Melbourne. I have no directorship experience and will use the Fellowship to undertake training to develop my directorship skills.
You seem to have achieved the best of both worlds, working as a lawyer and keeping your hand in the media through community TV station Channel 31. Is it hard to balance the two roles?
Though the time commitment is significant, I actually find that my work as a lawyer, a charity board director and in film production is quite complementary. Working in the law attunes me to the risks and compliance concerns inherent in my other roles and those other roles help me understand how our clients operate their businesses. I am lucky to be so supported at ABL and at home, which gives me the time and space to juggle my various roles.
To read Stephanie's interview with Lauriston Life, click here.