Arabella Tolé, Graduate
I am currently completing my rotation in Energy + Resources and have been assisting in transactions involving companies of all sizes and dealing with a range of minerals and oil and gas. I commenced at Gilbert + Tobin as a Winter Clerk in the Energy + Resources practice group in June 2014. I have been a Graduate since August 2015 and completed a rotation in Litigation prior to starting in E+R. I’m often asked to assist by conducting research into niche areas of law, preparing correspondence and attending client meetings and court. I’ve been given a lot of responsibility pretty early on which has been daunting but I’m learning to enjoy it and become more confident!
I was born in Melbourne but moved to Perth when I was 8 for my dad’s job. I commenced a double degree of a Bachelor of Arts (majoring in Ancient History) and Bachelor of Laws at the University of Western Australia in 2009 and I graduated in September 2015. During my time at university I was heavily involved in campus life and I held multiple positions within the UWA Blackstone Society (the law student representative body) and other social clubs. I also participated in legal competitions, volunteering programs and held at least two casual jobs during my time at university. These experiences have strongly assisted my career by teaching me the importance of time management, how to work within a team and be a confident and effective leader.
I believe that you could answer yes and no to this question. While I think someone with a different background could do parts of my job, core requirements such as a law degree and practical legal training are unavoidable. However someone with these qualifications but different life experiences such as studying overseas or coming to a law firm after working in a different industry would be able to do my job. G+T has many lawyers who have come to the firm with many different life experiences and qualifications, all of which are valued.
I love how much responsibility I have been given from the get-go. While it was (and still is!) daunting to not always have the buffer of a senior lawyer, the extra responsibility has made me feel like a more valued member of the team and that I’m actually making a difference! There are some days where I feel like I can’t do anything right or I feel completely overwhelmed but I always know the team supports me and only push me to take on more responsibility because they believe in me. It is a great feeling to know that I’m seen as an asset rather than a hindrance!
The main limitation that I find with my job is the lack of control over my hours. The workflow (especially in the current market) seems to ebb and flow quite erratically so it can be difficult to maintain a work-life balance. There are some days when I’m walking out of the door on time and others where we won’t leave till the early hours. However this is a limitation faced by most lawyers in lots of different teams so I’ve learnt that you need to be flexible and willing to help regardless of the time of day.