Practical experience gained at Parke Lawyers

Meet the future faces of the Australian legal profession, who this month are engaging in practical work activities at the three Melbourne offices of Parke Lawyers.

Lisa George, Vikas Reddy and Jessica Phoa completed their degrees last year at Swinburne and La Trobe Universities and are undertaking their practical legal training at the Leo Cussen Centre for Law.

Parke Lawyers has been a long-term partner of the Leo Cussen Centre for Law with our lawyers imparting knowledgeable advice and giving lectures across various legal practice areas. Students of the centre are offered practical onsite work and mentoring at Parke Lawyers, working one on one with lawyers to gain confidence in their work and grow their experience for future job prospects.

From degree to choosing an area of law to practise

Lisa George graduated from La Trobe University with a Bachelor of Business and Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and is gaining her practical experience under the stewardship of Robert Wilson at the Parke Lawyers Ringwood office.

“I’m learning a lot about property law, wills and estates and commercial litigation,” Lisa says.

“Working with Rob, I’m assisting and shadowing Rob with wills and estates matters, grants of probate and estate litigation. An interesting matter I currently am assisting with is advising trustees how to distribute from a superannuation fund.

“Before coming to Parke Lawyers I hadn’t done much in the wills and estates area. I studied Wills and Estates in university but did not take the practical unit at Leo Cussen. So my knowledge was largely theoretical. Being able to assist in estate litigation has allowed me to apply that theoretical knowledge in a real-life setting,” Lisa says.

Vikas Reddy graduated from Swinburne University with a Bachelor of Laws and is working in the Parke Lawyers Kew office and being mentored by Managing Director Jim Parke and property lawyer Oliver Ireland.

“I’ve been learning about lodging caveats and preparing notices of dispositions. It’s been good to interface with PEXA, drafting statutory declarations, deeds of indemnity and learning how to prepare letters of advice,” Vikas says.

“Ultimately I would like to practise in family law. I really have a passion to want to help people who are separating and make the clients’ life easier and help them navigate the way forward during this very difficult time in their lives.”

Jessica Phoa graduated from La Trobe University with a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws and it was her family life experience which has forged an interest in her pursuing a career as an immigration lawyer. She is currently being mentored by Parke Lawyers Special Counsel and Accredited Specialist in Commercial Litigation Roland Müller.

“I’ve definitely ruled out a career as a criminal lawyer. After work experience at the Victorian Legal Aid Centre in Heidelberg, the emotional impact of the situations coming before the courts was very intense,” Jessica says.

Why a law career?

When asked why each of the students chose to study law, the responses would resonate with many young people preparing for their future lives. Lisa says she never much liked the sciences at school and with a mum as a nurse, she could never see herself doing what her mum does.

“I have really good research skills and ability to dissect problems very quickly and easily, so it was suggested to me I would be suited to being a lawyer. I like the freedom offered by a law degree and adding a business degree gives me a lot of options,” Lisa says.

Vikas says his parents, immigrants from India gave him two choices – he could become either a doctor or a lawyer so his career path was pre-destined for him.

Meanwhile Jess is one of five children of Cambodian Chinese refugee parents who fled their native homeland.

“I’ve always been an all-rounder at school and saw the hardship my parents went through with their poor upbringing, poor English and poor capabilities and wanted to do something to make them proud of me and be able to help them and others.”

Her siblings have also undertaken tertiary studies in various fields.

Beyond a law career

Beyond their careers, Lisa, Vikas and Jessica enjoy passions that see them embracing all life’s opportunities. Lisa is a very keen photographer and eager to explore more opportunities to develop and enjoy her photography skills. Meanwhile Vikas is a keen sportsman. He is an avid tennis and soccer player and also keen on cricket. Jessica is passionate about her two dogs, a Pomeranian and Maltese Cross and has a keen love of the outdoors enjoying hiking activities.

Outstanding leadership

Parke Lawyers Managing Director Jim Parke says his firm is proud to be associated with the Leo Cussen Centre for Law.

“These students are the future of our industry and our profession and giving them this opportunity not only provides them with the experience they need, but also keeps our experienced lawyers in touch with the new faces and members entering our profession.

“We want lawyers to be the best they can be and our mentoring program pushes there is no place for mediocrity in our profession. We expect our lawyers to deliver the best knowledge and advice to our clients and we train our students to fit in that mould.

“We are proud to give new law graduates strong foundations and stepping stones to launch a successful career,” Mr Parke says.