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Hall & Wilcox

  • 500 - 1,000 employees

Nicholas Salagaras

Every job has its limitations, but particularly working in a litigation practice there are often short deadlines, and a requirement to turn around tasks quickly and at a high quality.

What's your job about?

I hit the ground running in the busy Darwin insurance practice, predominately working across workers’ compensation and compulsory third party insurance matters. I had a significant amount of responsibility from day one which was excellent, but also petrifying. A normal day can include attending court or a settlement conference, drafting pleadings, preparing instructions to a medical practitioner for an independent medical examination or drafting an advice to a client.  

As a graduate, I also had the opportunity to meet up with the national cohort of graduates in Sydney and participate in a ‘hackathon’. This involved coming up with a tech solution for innovating client experience and firm efficiency. It was a great way to engage with grads from different offices, using problem-solving skills and ‘smarter law’ to create innovative solutions to legal and business problems. 

What's your background?

I grew up in the beachy suburb of Grange in Adelaide and completed my schooling at Christian Brothers College. I decided pretty early that I wanted to be a lawyer, well before I knew what it was all about.  I announced it at my Year 7 graduation when we were invited to say ‘what we wanted to be when we grew up’ and my teacher kindly responded ‘a lawyer or a liar.’ Classic dad joke.  
I studied a Bachelor of Law and Legal Practice and a Bachelor Commerce (Sustainability) at Flinders University. I tried to make the most of my time at university, getting involved with the law student association and participating in legal skills competitions. A friend and I won the negotiation competition and the opportunity to represent Flinders University at the Australian Law Students Association Conference national competition in Canberra. I also undertook two study exchanges to China and to the Netherlands, which was a great way to see complete fantastic electives, see the world and understand the law in different jurisdictions.  

Prior to commencing my graduate year at Hall & Wilcox, I was a clerk to a senior counsel barrister in Adelaide and I also got involved with volunteering opportunities at the Environmental Defenders Office and Justice Net SA, a pro bono legal referral service. Outside of the law, I worked at a popular ice cream shop and dessert bar in the CBD. A hospitality or retail job is a great way to develop your interpersonal, time management and teamwork skills whilst undertaking your studies.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Absolutely, law firms are filled with all sorts of characters with different skills. For my role in particular some key attributes required include organisation, time management, confidence and an ability to work autonomously.  
What's the coolest thing about your job?

Working in a unique jurisdiction and busy practice, I have the benefit of being exposed to and involved in a high calibre of work, with a high level of client interaction and comradery with colleagues in the profession. 
What are the limitations of your job?

Every job has its limitations, but particularly working in a litigation practice there are often short deadlines, and a requirement to turn around tasks quickly and at a high quality. A wise senior practitioner in my practice group describes these high pressure times as ‘when it’s on, it’s on.’ This has required some late nights and weekend work, however often rewarded with an early mark on a Friday or a quality team lunch.  

Three pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...

  • Remember the people that you’re sitting in class with will one day become colleagues, opposing solicitors, barristers you instruct, or even judicial officers that you may appear before. 
  • Keep doing the things you love, studying law and practising can be tough and you must preserve your ‘me time’. 
  • Travel. Use the large blocks of holidays to travel far and wide. It won’t be too long before you’re reduced to four weeks leave.