26 Sep From paralegal to lawyer
Ananya started as a lawyer at Women’s Legal this month after working as a paralegal for one and a half years.
Read about Ananya’s experience of taking the ‘next step’ in her career with the Legal team, and what drew her to this work.
What was your role as paralegal – how long have you been in the job for, what did it involve?
In May 2022, I embarked on my journey as a paralegal, coinciding with the introduction of this role. The experience has been a blend of excitement, enjoyment, and occasional intimidation, as our learning process often unfolded in real-time. My responsibilities included managing intake procedures for the Melbourne Magistrate Court and Moorabbin Children’s Court, in addition to providing invaluable support to the legal team through tasks such as drafting legal documents and conducting thorough research.
As one of the experienced paralegals, I took on the role of aiding the new paralegals in settling in and understanding the systems and procedures that this role requires. This aspect of my role has allowed me to not only share my expertise but also foster a cohesive and collaborative atmosphere among the team.
What prompted you to take up your first role with us?
I became a part of Women’s Legal because I felt that my personal values resonated with the organisational values. I have always believed that law should be used to empower those who are in need. When I got the opportunity to interview for the paralegal role, I read how the lawyers worked alongside the social workers and financial counsellors and made Women’s Legal a one-stop shop for women facing family violence. I found Women’s Legal approach of working alongside women in their journey rather than for the women, unique. After having worked here for 1.5 years, I can see that Women’s Legal through its work truly stands for what it believes in.
How close was your experience to what you were expecting?
When I started this role, I had no preconceived notions. My goal was to put in hard work and positively impact the lives of the women I would connect with. In light of this, transitioning from my initial position as a paralegal to my current role as a graduate lawyer, I can confidently affirm that my journey has been both enlightening and rewarding.
Could you tell us a bit about what your new role involves?
My new role entails working as a duty lawyer at Melbourne Magistrate Court (“MMC”). Currently, I am shadowing more experienced lawyers and learning the skills needed to do this fast-paced role. I am really enjoying this phase and look forward to providing one-off legal advice and representation to women at MMC.
I have also been allocated ongoing client files relating to family law. This is exciting as it is the first time that I will be working on a file from start to finish. I would be responsible for interacting with the clients and making all the key decisions in their matters.
Do you think your work as a paralegal will help you in your new role?
I definitely think that working as a paralegal gives me an advantage in my new role. It has made me well-versed with the team, its services, and the back-end processes. I already have a thorough understanding of why things are done in a certain way and what outcomes can be expected.
Is there something about Women’s Legal that made you want to take your next career step with us?
My motivation to start the next step of my legal profession at Women’s Legal were: its incredible people and its nourishing culture.
Working alongside passionate lawyers this past year has ignited a similar enthusiasm in me. I believe in the saying that “you become like the people you surround yourself with”, and I consider myself fortunate to be surrounded by such brilliant minds. This would ultimately help me in achieving my 10-year vision of becoming a highly skilled legal professional.
WLSV has a positive and supportive work culture. This is really important to me because I value personal growth and enjoying what I do. The way different teams come together and mutually support each other, is really inspiring. The numerous good news stories of women that we have assisted, has boosted, and motivated me to strive even harder for their cause and ultimately made me decide WLSV as the place to progress my legal career.
What’s the top piece of advice you’d give to other legal students/paralegals looking to build their legal career?
Always have a growth mindset and welcome every opportunity that comes your way because you never know what it might teach you or lead you to.