Making Maddocks: in the community
Working with a range of clients and witnesses and being able to pursue my passion for social justice by coordinating the pro bono program have been some of the defining moments in my career at Maddocks.
There is a lot of variety in the employment team so my days really vary.
I typically spend most of my time at the moment responding to employment law queries from clients, drafting advices/policies/employment contracts and mentoring junior lawyers. When I am working on litigation, I spend time talking to witnesses and attending VCAT or the Fair Work Commission.
I also do a lot of pro bono work and coordinate pro bono in the Melbourne office.
Last year I was able to work on a pro bono case for a client who was significantly underpaid; treated very badly at work after suffering from a workplace injury; and ultimately dismissed because of his workplace injury. At a conciliation in the Fair Work Commission we were able to negotiate a significant settlement. The employer signed a deed but then did not pay the money. Over six months we were able to assist the client to recover the money and the client was so grateful.
I am also passionate about social justice and have been able to incorporate this into my Maddocks work through the pro bono work I do.
I have recently finished a part-time secondment at Westjustice in their employment team, assisting international students with employment law queries. I also attend Refugee Legal clinics approximately once a month, assisting refugees and people seeking asylum with the bridging visa process.
We are given full budget recognition for pro bono work and Maddocks is a signatory to the National Pro Bono Target. Pro bono work also provides great experience and training for our lawyers. In Melbourne, lawyers are able to attend Refugee Legal clinics, while in Sydney, lawyers attend homeless law clinics and assist people experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness with legal enquiries such as tenancy. The employment law team in Sydney also assists the Fair Work Commission with its free workplace advice service, providing phone advice for unrepresented litigants. Maddocks also works closely with Justice Connect and directly with various community organisations in order to provide legal assistance to those in need across a range of legal areas.
Apart from the work, there are two other important factors that I love about working at Maddocks.
The first is that I really like the culture – the people tend to be very down-to-earth as well as very engaged and smart. It is also a very supportive place – for example, I was able to take a year off to go overseas and study a Masters. The firm sends me on secondments, the training is excellent and I feel like I matter to the firm.
The second is that I love the people – I find it very rewarding to work with such smart, kind and passionate people. I also love employment law – it affects so many people and it is so important to have a good workplace. I enjoy the stimulation of working in so many different areas (ranging from industrial relations, to litigation, to more standard employment law, to OHS, to due diligence) and with different clients (all levels of government, non-profits and private sector). Employment law is constantly changing, so I am constantly learning and developing.