A Day in the Life of / Life / Life after law school

A Day in the Life of… an associate for Gilbert Walker

Name: Ana Lenard
Job title: Associate/ Co-Editor-in-Chief of the New Zealand Women’s Law Journal
Employer, city/country: Gilbert Walker, Auckland New Zealand
Length of time in current role: 9 months
Where and when you studied law: University of Auckland, 2009 – 2016

Describe a typical day in your job

My job involves progressing various cases towards trial. Each day is different and depends on what stage each of the cases I am working on is at.

A typical day involves: discussing matters with the partner managing the case, speaking to clients, liaising with expert witnesses, drafting court documents, researching the law and reviewing documents.


How did you get into this job?

I got in touch with the partners and applied for a graduate position.


Are there any particular study subjects or working experience you would recommend to prepare for a similar role to yours?

All of the core law subjects are important for commercial litigation, as are certain electives like company law, civil procedure and evidence. I would also recommend taking electives in advanced tort and contract law, restitution and advocacy if possible.

In terms of work experience, it is a good idea to summer clerk in a litigation team or for a barrister to get some exposure to the job. It is also good to do the same part-time during the year if you can.

Well aside from working in the area, I focused on developing a broad skill set while I was at university. I had various part-time jobs (including in central government, and as a research assistant, editor, and tutor). I also got involved in a lot of extracurricular activities.


What are the highlights of the job?

Helping clients solve problems, intellectually stimulating and creative work, learning something new each day, working closely with senior lawyers.


What are the challenges of the job?

Coming to grips with the facts of each case and new areas of the law; keeping on top of several cases at once.


What kind of personal qualities are suited to this job?

Being a hard worker, willing to learn and always striving to improve, a quick and logical thinker, an inquisitive mind, a genuine interest in the law, outstanding time and file management skills, the ability to speak clearly and write well, and being professional and calm.


What one thing do you wish someone had told you at law school?

The most difficult and technical areas of the law that you learn about in school are often the most useful once you start work – so pay attention!

Any advice for students wanting to get into a similar role?

Try different advocacy competitions at law school: mooting, mediation, negotiation etc.

Work part-time or summer clerk in a litigation team.

Talk to various litigation lawyers about what their jobs are like.

Take electives that will be useful for the line of work you are going into – you will appreciate the head start!

Check out the NZWLJ here!