UTS:Law Graduates Among the Best Young Lawyers in Australia
Lawyer’s Weekly has identified 10 UTS:Law graduates as some of the most outstanding young lawyers in Australia, after naming them as finalists in their “30 Under 30” Awards Program.
The Awards recognise lawyers across 10 different categories based on their passion for the law, exceptional professional skills, and dedication to personal improvement.
Michael Compton, UTS:Law graduate of 2011, was recognised for his work as a solicitor at Herbert Smith Freehills after being named a finalist in the Mergers and Acquisitions category.
“I’m really passionate about mergers and acquisitions and transactional work – it’s a real privilege to be able to be a trusted adviser to companies undertaking these sort of major transactions. I was really delighted and humbled to be chosen as a finalist, and am grateful to be recognised,” said Michael.
Despite his success, law was originally Michael’s “back up plan” to his goal of becoming doctor, but he soon developed a passion for his legal studies, particularly in the area of corporate law.
“A highlight for me was my corporate law studies, which really went above and beyond the core corporate law and explored areas like insolvency law and securities markets law. These subjects left me with an invaluable head start in my career in corporate law.”
For Melissa Zen, UTS: Law graduate of 2009 and finalist in the Insurance category, working as a lawyer was always her number one goal, and her business degree was “a bit of a backup”.
“My aim was always to work in a law firm but the great thing with such a versatile degree is the many options that are available beyond the traditional path of being a ‘Lawyer’. The skills that both studying and practising Law provide you with make you a valuable asset to many different industries and companies,” said Melissa.
Melissa started working in the Insurance team at Sparke Helmore Lawyers in the penultimate year of her degree, a decision that allowed her to get ahead and achieve success to early on in her career.
“Choosing UTS above other Universities allowed me to take on a full time role while continuing to study full time, utilising night lectures and tutorials. This was a factor which I feel really set me apart from my peers, forcing me to develop time management skills and allowing me to develop industry connections. “
Time-management and flexibility was also important for Michael, as he sought to balance his involvement with St John Ambulance Australia with full-time studies and work, having volunteered with the organisation since the age of eight.
Through his work as a solicitor, Michael has had the opportunity to further explore his passion for community service and is currently on secondment at The Shopfront Youth Legal Centre, a joint project of Mission Australia, the Salvation Army and Herbert Smith Freehills.
“I would encourage law students and graduates to never lose sight of the importance of serving the community – our profession after all has a proud tradition of community and pro-bono service, and I firmly believe that community service helps to provide great perspective in life, and has provided me with skills and experiences which are helpful to me in both my professional and personal life.”
As a solicitor, Melissa finds her work constantly surprising and exciting, and will be taking on a new challenge next month as she moves to Hall and Wilcox to continue her work as a Senior Associate.
“My advice for law students would simply be to give everything a go. When I began working within the Insurance field seven years ago, I didn’t imagine that I would still be here today and still enjoying it. Sometimes the law surprises you and it is important not to be guided by what you ‘think you should do’ and just be open to the avenues available to you.”
Both Michael and Melissa are excited about the opportunities that winning a “30 Under 30” Award might bring, and feel honoured to be nominated.
“Being nominated as a Finalist is one of the highlights of my career so far and winning would be fantastic, particularly given the calibre of finalists this year. To be recognised for my achievements and hard work within an Industry I have dedicated so much time and effort to would be amazing,” said Melissa.
This year UTS is proud to be one of the top three supporters of the Awards, and has sponsored the Intellectual Property Award, which recognises the best young lawyer in this category.
We congratulate all our graduates on their nominations, and wish them the best of luck for the Award Ceremony on 5 June 2015.