‘The law is about more than being a great lawyer’

‘The law is about more than being a great lawyer’

The opportunity for upskilling is alive and well in the legal profession, with lawyers encouraged to consider their options even beyond the early stages of their careers.

According to Lawyers Weekly’s Innovator of the Year finalist Wenee Yap, the current education market is presenting ample opportunity for lawyers to explore their career pathway in areas outside of their comfort zone.

Ms Yap, alongside College of Law’s Linda Kochanski, spoke at the inaugural Careers Expo & Emerging Leaders Summit (CEELS) about progressive pathways, sharing valuable information about what lawyers should consider about specialisation.

When asked, following the session, about the resources available to those interested in business development training, Ms Yap said: “The law is about more than being a great lawyer, just as medicine is about more than being a great doctor. In fact, this is true of any career – you need deep expertise matched by broad commercial skills. This is even true of the arts.

“How do you go about acquiring these ineffable skills? A targeted subject is always a great way to expedite your upskilling; you’ll learn from the failure and successes of others much faster than failing your way through without a guidebook. (Trust me, I know – I’ve done both).

“The College of Law’s Master of Legal Business program offers a range of targeted subjects like innovation, leadership, attracting and retaining clients, etc, which provide a deep, quick dive into BD, client relationship management, innovation and what it really means to be a leader – all ideas our already-crowded law degrees just didn’t have time to cover.”

Ms Yap noted there are a number of groups that offer support and upskilling opportunities.

“The Legal Forecast is fantastic; I was a mentor in their first mentoring program, which kicked in as soon as the first COVID lockdowns phased in during March 2020,” she advised.

“The Centre for Legal Innovation also runs a number of great free sessions, and ALTA provides student memberships and valuable content too.

“Most of all, start something! Do something. Get involved. Fail (productively...and within a reasonable margin of error that works for you).”