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Sparke Helmore Lawyers

4.9
  • 500 - 1,000 employees

Madeleine Mitchell

7.00 AM

My alarm goes off at 7.00 am and I crawl out of bed. I have never been, and never will be, a morning person. It is hard to write about a day in my life because no two days for me are the same. Sometimes (rarely) I go to the gym. Other times (again, rarely) I walk to work. Today, due to the embarrassing amount of time I spent scrolling through Celeste Barber’s Instagram feed while impatiently waiting for my clothes to dry, I took the train. 

8.30 AM

The only thing in my day that is consistent is my coffee. I’ll admit, I am a coffee snob. Fortunately, but only after a lot of trial and error, I have discovered that my favourite coffee comes from the pop-up coffee cart in the lobby of my building – Bar Fino. The barista embarrassingly but very impressively knows my name and order off by heart. I grab my strong cappuccino and head up to level 31 to start my day. 

As I have not yet been admitted, I have not yet appeared in court and, despite my love of public speaking, I am irrationally nervous about it. I tell one of the associates in my team this and she sweetly asks if I would like to accompany her to the directions hearing she is attending in the District Court to familiarise myself with court procedure (and keep my nervous jitters at bay). I throw on the blazer that I stole from my Mum’s cupboard while over for dinner the other night, and as we’re not in a rush, my colleague suggests we walk to the Downing Centre so that she can give me a rundown of the matter on the way. If only she had told me that my new heels were not a match for the 15-20-minute walk. Hello, blisters!

10.00 AM

The directions hearing went well and now it’s time for breakfast. So, I head down to the shared kitchen on level 29 with a few of the other grads to make my porridge. I know it’s a strange choice for a 30-degree summer’s day, but it seems to be the only thing that fills me up until lunch and stops me sneaking to the Arnott’s biscuit tin on my floor.

Sparke Helmore Lawyers Graduate - Young female lawyer serving food on plate.

When I get back to my desk, my boss asks me to go with him to a meeting with a new client. As this is our first meeting with the client, they do most of the talking, while I take detailed notes. The client informs us that they run an events company and recently had to cancel a number of events due to threats of violence. The client wants to know whether they are covered under the company’s events cancellation policy. My partner has read the client’s policy and advises the client that coverage under the policy depends on whether the cancellations were 'necessary', necessity being a policy condition.The client asks us to draft the letter to their insurer, notifying the insurer of a claim under the policy. 

11.00 AM

Following the meeting with the client, my partner asks me to have a first go at drafting the letter to the insurer. The first thing I do is read the policy carefully and highlight all the relevant conditions and exclusions. I spent a lot of time reading insurance policies while on secondment, so this does not take me long. I then spend the next hour trolling the firm’s legal databases to see whether there are any cases that have considered the meaning of the term 'necessary cancellation'. Once I have found what I am looking for, I begin to draft letter.

Sparke Helmore Lawyers Graduate - Young female lawyer sitting on her desk.

1.00 PM

The idea of eating lunch at my desk is depressing and so I always make sure to go outside and get some fresh air. Depending on what work I have to get done in the afternoon, I take up to an hour break. Usually I pack my lunch, but today I am buying a chicken mix sandwich from Deli Ziosa, one the many great outlets in the food court under my building. There is a cute little courtyard next to the lobby of my building called “The Birdcage”, so I take my lunch up there and meet up with a few of the other grads to catch up on office goss. Sometimes, if I have a bit of time leftover I’ll do a sneaky run to Zara, which is just around the corner.

Sparke Helmore Lawyers Graduate - Young female lawyer scrolling on her phone.

2.00 PM

I had planned to finish drafting the letter to the insurer after lunch, however, one of my colleagues has been served with guillotine orders and has to get evidence in by 4.00 pm, so it’s all hands-on deck. My colleague has just been downstairs in a meeting room with her client who now wants to make some last-minute amendments to his affidavit. While she attends to that, I make sure the exhibits are in order. When we are both done, we race down to the meeting room to take the client through the amendments and exhibit and sign the affidavit. With 10 minutes left on the clock, there is no time to wait for the lift, so we sprint up the fire stairs, scan in the affidavit and serve the evidence with 2 minutes to spare. No need for the gym after all. 

4.00 PM

After all that racing around, I finally have time to sit down and finish drafting my letter. 

5.00 PM

Most days, I finish work around 5.30 or 6.00 pm but tonight it’s my team’s turn to host what is affectionally known as “bubbles and cheezels” night. At 5.00 pm, we all drop what we’re doing and roll in the drinks trolley. 

Sparke Helmore Lawyers Graduate - Young female lawyer discussing with her colleagues.

6.00 PM – 9.30 PM

I sneak out of drinks early and, as it’s still light outside, I throw on my joggers and walk home. While I love to cook, I am feeling pretty exhausted tonight, so I head to the pub around the corner with some friends for cheap steak night. I am a bit of a grandma, so am usually in bed by 9.30 pm. As soon as my head hits the pillow, I am out like a light, excited to do it all again tomorrow.