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A Mastermind Success Story with Paul Horvath

Since 2019, I have been hanging out with 10 amazing lawyers in a yearly Mastermind program. 10 months, 4 workshops, private coaching and a whole lot of stuff getting done.

Paul took part in the Mastermind program for 2021. These are his experiences and successes. 

1. Please tell us a bit about your Mastermind journey... (Where you started, the bits in between and where you are one year later?

I started wanting to get clearer on where and what I want my practise to be. In saying that, I am a sports lawyer, which in itself tells you what I do and like. I also practise in the area of employment law, which pays the bills when sport is quiet. I am now much clearer. My two key learnings for 2021 are “connections”, and “reduced financial stress”. I have been applying these especially since about mid-year, and feel I’m making good progress. I am ending the year in a “good place”, ie good headspace (despite some health challenges), and looking forward to what 2022 holds!

2. What are you deeply proud of achieving or doing this year?

Taken on an Associate lawyer as encouraged by Mastermind colleagues. I’m working solidly to keep her challenged, interested and taken care of for the long term.

3. What is your 2021 highlight?

I’ve had a few good results in various sports and employment cases. The big win for me has been sharing the wins with barristers and staff. In the past, if the client wasn’t happy, that made me a but unhappy and dissatisfied by proxy. Now I look at the case and think – I got a good result, based on the instructions I had, so if the client isn’t happy with the outcome (or cost) that’s on them, not me. So I can still enjoy the win and conclusion and closure of the case, regardless. This makes me feel more connected with barristers I regularly work with, and my Team. I get more job satisfaction this way. The connections within the HLHL group and MM especially we’re very positive this year too. Some of the subtle changes to my practice and Team have been quite impactful in a good way.

4. Your Mastermind experience in a word?

Sharing. 

I have enjoyed working with lots of great lawyers over the past few years doing 1 on 1 coaching, which is something I will continue to do, but I know myself, there is something to be said for being in a group when it comes to really getting stuff done!

And so, for 2022 I am again rolling out my 10 person Mastermind and if you think that is something for you, I would love to have you join me.

I have come to learn that one of my super powers is the ability to ‘kindly’ push people off virtual cliffs by giving them the confidence (and the tools!) to achieve their goals and the Mastermind in 2022 will do that and more.

To read about more Mastermind experiences, you can check out Fiona’s story here , Emma’s story here and Cara’s story here.

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A Mastermind Success Story with Emma Heuston

Since 2019, I have been hanging out with 10 amazing lawyers in a yearly Mastermind program. 10 months, 4 workshops, private coaching and a whole lot of stuff getting done.

Emma took part in the Mastermind program for 2020. These are her experiences and successes. 

1. Please tell us a bit about your Mastermind journey... (Where you started, the bits in between and where you are one year later?

My mastermind journey started with a reasonably successful business, but little clarity about the future steps I would take in that business. A year later I have far more clarity on my purpose and a plan for the next few years in place.

2. What are you deeply proud of achieving or doing this year?

I am proud of growing my business behind the scenes. It is easy to get caught up in external factors like awards or what your competitors are doing, but to achieve internal focus and implement goals consistently while largely ignoring those external factors has been really liberating.

3. What is your 2020 highlight?

While 2020 is largely a blur of covid, in amongst the madness I formed deeper connections with a group of other legal services business owners who have become dear friends.

4. Your Mastermind experience in a word?

Clarity.

I have enjoyed working with lots of great lawyers over the past few years doing 1 on 1 coaching, which is something I will continue to do, but I know myself, there is something to be said for being in a group when it comes to really getting stuff done!

And so, for 2022 I am again rolling out my 10 person Mastermind and if you think that is something for you, I would love to have you join me.

I have come to learn that one of my super powers is the ability to ‘kindly’ push people off virtual cliffs by giving them the confidence (and the tools!) to achieve their goals and the Mastermind in 2022 will do that and more.

To read about more Mastermind experiences, you can check out Fiona’s story here and Cara’s story here.

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A Mastermind Success Story with Fiona McLay

Since 2019, I have been hanging out with 10 amazing lawyers in a yearly Mastermind program. 10 months, 4 workshops, private coaching and a whole lot of stuff getting done.

Fiona has taken part in the Mastermind program for 2021. These are her experiences and successes. 

1. Please tell us a bit about your Mastermind journey... (Where you started, the bits in between and where you are one year later?

Whenever I am considering spending serious money on something like Mastermind, which is really spending serious money on me, I always quibble and wonder if it’s worth it. I always think, I know what I need to do, I can just do it. But in fact, everytime I do make the investment, I radically shift into a better place.

There is magic in being surrounded by other smart business owners who are committed to doing great things. Getting such support, feedback, consolation and a cheer squad is such a wonderful thing. It took off some of the pressure at home- I wasn’t always bothering my wife about “what do you think about….”. And I am full of admiration for what they have achieved and feel honoured to know them better.

Last year I had an idea of the business that I set up the year before but hadn’t really done much with. Now I have a business earning money, a clear idea of my business plan and much more confidence about the road ahead. I’d applied for so many jobs and had so many interviews over the past few years, searching for an elusive “better place”, it had dented my confidence. Now I know what my special sauce is, I see where it is needed and I realise that I would have been unhappy in those jobs. I just needed to focus on carving out my own better place.

2. What are you deeply proud of achieving or doing this year?

I’m deeply proud that I shifted out of the litigation that I was exhausted by and I’m making money doing the legal tech work that I wanted.

3. What is your 2021 highlight?

Getting a contract for tech implementation work at a major law firm and enjoying the work.

4. Your Mastermind experience in a word?

Uplifting.

I have enjoyed working with lots of great lawyers over the past few years doing 1 on 1 coaching, which is something I will continue to do, but I know myself, there is something to be said for being in a group when it comes to really getting stuff done!

And so, for 2022 I am again rolling out my 10 person Mastermind and if you think that is something for you, I would love to have you join me.

I have come to learn that one of my super powers is the ability to ‘kindly’ push people off virtual cliffs by giving them the confidence (and the tools!) to achieve their goals and the Mastermind in 2022 will do that and more.

To read about more Mastermind experiences, you can check out Cara’s story here.

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A Mastermind Success Story with Cara Austen

A Mastermind Success Story with Cara Austen

This is an image of lawyer Cara Austen

Since 2019, I have been hanging out with 10 amazing lawyers in a yearly Mastermind program. 10 months, 4 workshops, private coaching and a whole lot of stuff getting done.

Cara was a part of the first Mastermind program in 2019. These are her experiences and successes. 

1. Please tell us a bit about your Mastermind journey... (Where you started, the bits in between and where you are one year later?

One year later! On the road to the Retreat to do some more work on my #bestlawlife and spend quality time with some amazing people who get me. Last year I was already in the midst of changes: undergoing IVF and working out how to successfully transition leadership of my corporate legal team. I was also working out how to move from being in a fairly senior corporate role to running my own business – I had ideas but at the same time I had no idea! 

This year has been largely one of learning, trying things and being inspired. 

I have learnt technical skills for running my own business. Many of these skills have come from conversations with the other Masterminders, usually just evolving organically so I end up learning things I never knew would be useful from people with real lives experience. 

I have tried things I never thought I would. I’ve built my own website, created a suite of “how to” guides, written articles based on interviews with people in my target industry and I’ve collaborated with real humans to host an industry event. by doing these things I’m now closer to doing what I am really passionate about.  

I’ve been so inspired by the other Masterminders. They have all given so freely to help me and each other, and have also given a great big friendly push when needed. There is no ego and no bullshit.  

A year later and I’m feeling so much more grounded and certain than I did when the Mastermind started. During the year I was also going through a much wanted IVF pregnancy and all the stress that entails. The Mastermind literally kept me sane as I struggled to work out what to do with my career, while not wanting to over commit myself, while also being very scared of missing out if I didn’t do EVERYTHING the world tells you you need to do to #beaboss and #hustle. I’ve not really learnt to balance, but I know that I’ve learnt so much this year that when I’m ready to really hit the go button on the business side of things I will be so ready and will have the most amazing  team of cheerleaders backing me. 

2. What are you deeply proud of achieving or doing this year?

Working out what I like to do, need to do and what I don’t want to do. 

3. What is your 2019 highlight?

Personally it was the birth of my child, Ellis. 

4. Your Mastermind experience in a word?

Genuine.

I have enjoyed working with lots of great lawyers over the past few years doing 1 on 1 coaching, which is something I will continue to do, but I know myself, there is something to be said for being in a group when it comes to really getting stuff done!

And so, for 2022 I am again rolling out my 10 person Mastermind and if you think that is something for you, I would love to have you join me.

I have come to learn that one of my super powers is the ability to ‘kindly’ push people off virtual cliffs by giving them the confidence (and the tools!) to achieve their goals and the Mastermind in 2022 will do that and more.

To hear more from Cara and the Mastermind class of 2019 you can tune into my short video below. 

This is an image of the Mastermind rainbow and logo.
Play Video

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How to ‘show up’ on your off days by Samara Wendt

How to ‘show up’ on your days off!

Author Samara Wendt

In my life, there aren’t too many opportunities for days off. Even so,  I simply love Samara’s tips for how to get the most out of your down time. These tools may seem basic (I mean brushing your teeth shouldn’t take too much prompting) but when we are being pulled this way and that by family, work, or this crazy holiday season, it is so important to remind ourselves to ‘show up’ for our ‘off’ days so that we can keep nailing it on our ‘on’ days. 

Clarissa

Some days you make magic, and other days getting out of bed is an achievement. Here are the small self-care wins that always help you ‘show up’ and make yourself proud.

Practice Gratitude.

My practice of gratitude is quite flimsy. While I do not actively prioritise the practice every day, as my day travels on I acknowledge great things like that first sip of hot bean juice (coffee for those playing at home), how the sun feels on my skin, and how great it is to see with my glasses on! The moment I realise I am having an off day I sit myself down with a note book and affirmation book. Here I list three things I am thankful for. These are usually constant things in my everyday life. Following this I open my affirmation book and write out the first affirmation my eyes land on – I imagine I see what I meant to see in that moment. Through the day I will repeat this affirmation to myself, focusing my thoughts on it especially during trying moments. Mindfulness works differently for everyone and I urge you to give it a go.

Brush Your Teeth.

You know what I am talking about. Yes, you can be bothered.

Pack Your Bag The Night Before.

The best way to support your future self is to pack your bag each night. Just spend 5 minutes packing essentials for the next day and you are almost guaranteed to not forget anything. This includes putting your glasses into the case before packing the case and plugging your laptop in to charge. Regardless of how your morning begins, your bag is ready, and you have prepared yourself to ‘show up’ to the tasks of the day. Please note that ‘packing’ can include throwing items in the general direction of your bag.

Drink A Glass Of Water.

Then drink another. Every day can be a struggle to drink enough water. So, when you feel yourself getting too deep in your thoughts, have a glass of water. This is serious self-care in more ways than one – hydration and distraction. On that note, make sure you are making a conscious effort to eat.

Silence Your Phone.

It may not be practical to silence your phone for the entire day due to work requirements. But take intervals throughout the day to flick it on silent and completely focus on doing one task. Even just eating lunch uninterrupted. Once you are on a role with that task your mind will fade from notifications. Call it a mini-detox!

Finish Work On Time.

Remember not everyday is about making magic. Finish work when you are suppose to. And do not take any work home!

Exercise.

It has been sufficiently proven that movement positively affects mood. Whatever your preferred style of exercise is make it a top priority on these kinds of days. It really does not need to be high impact and sweaty. A gentle walk or yoga stretches will do wonders for your mind and body.

Sleep.

Head to bed at a reasonable time. Before you do, pack your bag, have a glass of water and brush your teeth.

Making it through an off day is called ‘showing up’ for YOURSELF! Today was not about making magic, it was about preserving your energy for tomorrow’s magic. 

Share your self-care essentials with me on LINKEDIN and INSTAGRAM

 

 

Samara Wendt

Blogger and Happy Law Student 

Oh hey there!

My name is Samara. I am a student, volunteer and kindness advocate doing my best to overcome the #lawlife imposter syndrome. Currently, I am studying Law (Honours) at Queensland University of Technology. 

Did you have a light-bulb moment when choosing to study law? Because I certainly did not! After witnessing the extent of injustice around me, I simply wanted to help those suffering vulnerability. This is where law made sense for me.

You will quickly come to learn about the love-hate relationship I have with imposter syndrome. This is as it does continues to teach me so much about myself, including how to still conquering life in a variety of roles. 

Join the journey with me here on the Happy Lawyer Happy Life Student Blog, on Instagram and Linkedin

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The Real ‘How to Study in the Library’ Guide by Samara Wendt

This is a colourful image of a happy lawyer poster.

 The Real ‘How to Study in the Library’ Guide!

Author Samara Wendt

 

I have to say, I’m always impressed when I read these golden tips from our resident Student Bloggers! While it’s been a few years (not that many!) since I had to buckle down in the University Library or host an exam study session, I certainly wished I’d known these things back then! Even still, I think we can put a few of these tips into practice no matter what we are working towards or our stage of career. 

Student Blogger, Samara Wendt is spot on when she says we are all running our own race and you have to run it in your own way! I’m a big advocate for finding your bliss in Law Land and if that means your study or learning habits break the mould, then you do you friends!  

Clarissa

 

So, to firstly address the elephant in the room, this blog will be referring to productive study. This means working through podcasts, readings, tutorial preparation and sipping on hot bean juice (i.e. over priced coffee). 

*Takes sip of coffee sitting on table beside laptop*

In this judgement free zone on the Happy Lawyer Happy Life Student Edition Blog, let us all admit to our procrastinating ways. At times it seems we will never break them. And despite procrastination jokes and memes actually being the most relatable posts on social media, deep down we all wish we could just get case readings done! Including me. So, as I enter another year, I have collated two years of field study to present to you all on how to study in the library. 

Step 1: Just don't study in the library.

If studying in the library does not work for you – just do not do it! 

I am referring to externals, students who travel hours to get to campus/class (including me) and those who just do not like libraries. This idea that walking through a library door will in turn sprinkle you with productivity dust is not true. It might take us until the end of semester to acknowledge it, but we all know it. And that is the hard-hitting news!

If you are like me, and 

  • a) Could not imagine anywhere better to get productive than in the law library with a huge monitor screen in front of you!
  • b) Would love nothing more than to stroll over to the library for a late afternoon study session, or…
  • c) To actually access the 24 hour labs after business hours! 

the jealousy when you see friends post on their Instagram stories doing any of those things is just crazy. Typical law student jealousy. But, if you are also like me and logistically can not study in the library, do not get caught up on it.  

For whatever reason is stopping you from a library study session, you are still getting study done, right? So, before we continue let us first remove the idea that the library will magically make us productive.

Step 2: Go to the library at your most productive time of the day.

Although I cannot be at the library as often as I would love, I still try to include a library session on the days I am on campus. 

For me, my most productive time is in the morning. I am talking from 7am (library opening time!) to mid-morning. Some uni friends have told me they would not even schedule classes before 11am let alone be at the library. Others can be studying from 5am!

If you are like some of my friends and do not function until midday, then that’s when you should get productive! That is the beauty of productivity; despite being at different times for everyone, the concept is the same and you can achieve the same at 3pm as what I might at 8am.

Finding a time for productivity might be a little harder for those who have just joined the study train but fear not! Play with your study routine. Take note of the times of day you feel the most clarity. Find the times of the day that you do not have competing priorities. You will have your answer. 

Also note that what might work for you now, may not work in the future. Just like what has previously worked for you, may not continue to work for you now (parents I am talking to you!). Go with the flow and do not get caught up on it. 

Step 3: Consider Your Options

Remember in primary school when we had to write about our weekend and used the WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY and HOW? It was not implemented just so your grade 3 teacher could assess your literacy skills, it was implemented so you could prepare for a library study session. Take the time while you are packing your bag at home to plan your library study session.

Let’s work through this together:

WHO? Who will be at the study session?
This is useful if this is a group assignment meeting. Do you need to check in that everyone has the same details about where you are meeting and what time? Or do you have a study buddy you are meeting?

WHAT? What will you be studying?
This is sooooo useful in being productive. You will make sure to not only pack what you need for the class/classes, but you will also have a rough outline of what you need to achieve. Perhaps, tutorial prep, readings and a lecture recording. Never underestimate a plan.

WHEN? When will you go to the library?
Kind of self-explanatory but no doubt essential.

WHERE? In the library? Where in the library?
A part of being productive in the library is finding where you are productive. Me? I cannot work around noise, so I march (quietly) up the stairs to the silent level. Ideally, I use a uni computer on this level for a larger monitor screen. Sometimes I like to go to the extreme and book a silent study room on the silent level! The ultimate concentration cubicles! You could be totally different. Find what works and do it!

WHY? Do you have any deadlines that urgently need you to get productive?
Or maybe, you are the most productive in the library and just need your weekly library study session.

HOW?
Just like grade 3 writing, this step is optional. It works for me in the sense of planning how I will work around my classes and life to get this library study session in. Typically, this step involves the TransLink website and some preparatory study of train running times.

This entire plan can just happen quickly in your head. I find it so useful in being prepared for a productive library study session.

Remember...

Always remember you are running your own race and studying towards your own career. Find what works for you! 

I truly hope the many unproductive study sessions I have had to come to these conclusions will help you in acing your library study sessions. If you have your own tips, share them on my Instagram page, or connect with me on LinkedIn. Happy studying!

Samara Wendt

Blogger and Happy Law Student 

Hi! My name is Samara and I am an over opinionated, awkward and Imposter Syndrome suffering Law and Psychology student at the Queensland University of Technology. I never had that light-bulb moment when choosing to study law. I am not sure if many people so. But after witnessing injustice and suffering of those vulnerable in our world, I became determined to help. This is where going into law made sense for me. 

Despite believing in my purpose, I openly feel the dreaded law school Imposter Syndrome. You know, when you feel like everyone else has got ‘it’ together and you don’t even know what day it is. This year I became determined to embrace this clueless feeling by moving out of comfort zone. This included entering an Instagram competition with The Happy Family Lawyer which led me here! 

Here I am blogging about all things law school, student life and comfort zones in hopes to find fellow Imposter Syndrome suffers. 

Join the journey here on The Happy Law Student Blog and connect with me on Instagram and Linkedin

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Give your Final Year your Best Shot! By Jelena Dmitrovic

Give your final year your best shot!

By Jelena Dmitrovic

The start of another year of uni is fast approaching! Thinking back on my uni days I remember the feeling of dread at the thought of the summer holidays coming to an end and another year of assignments and exams ahead. For those of you heading into your final year this is an incredibly exciting and important time so this week recent graduate Jelena Dmitrovic is sharing her tips on how to make the most of your final year. 

Clarissa

Hello again my fellow happy law students and law graduates! 

The hectic time that is the final year of university has meant that I have been a bit quiet on the blogging front lately but I am back and with university now being finished I have every intention to come up with more reading material for the Happy Lawyer Happy Life community. 

After taking some holiday time at the end of last year, I have recently made a big transition from final year law student to law graduate at Brisbane Family Law Centre. As part of this transition I have found myself reflecting on the year that was 2018 and so I have decided to take this opportunity to share some of my learnings with you from my final year. 

Have some 'Me Time!'

As you read this you should still have a few weeks of holidays left; use this time to have a proper rest and to recharge your batteries for the year ahead. In between classes, assessment, work and applying for graduate positions, the reality is final year will likely be your busiest and most intense year. I know that most of us use holiday time to work as much as we can to boost that bank account that takes a bit of a fall during semester however, it is equally as important to make sure that you spend your holidays doing the things that bring you joy and that you normally wouldn’t get the chance to do whilst the semester is underway. Catch up with that friend that lives a while away, go and see the new exhibition at the Art Gallery, go to the beach as many days as you can! Generally just do whatever makes you happy because the good times you have over the holidays and the memories you make will give you the energy to keep pushing on through what is likely going to be the most demanding year yet. 

Set Goals and Take the LEAP!

Before the semester starts again and even before you have done your enrolment for the following semester, spend some time thinking about what you would like to achieve in your final year. By the end of my third year I was pretty tired and so I thought the easiest thing to do for my final year would be to take the easiest electives with the lightest assessment load even if I had absolutely no interest in the content. I thought it would be a good idea to just coast through my last year just so that I could feel a little bit more relaxed and have a little bit more free time than the previous years. I know that at this point you are on the doorstep of graduation, you have been studying consistently for at least 4 years, you have crammed incredible amounts of information into your brain and produced countless assessment items and you are just ready for it to be over and done with now! So this suggestion might come from left field but I encourage you not to take your foot off the gas right now, don’t take the easy way out. While doing the easy electives might give you more free time and create less stress in your life, spending a whole year studying something you have absolutely no interest in will probably end up feeling like a chore by the end and it likely won’t give you the sense of achievement and satisfaction as you will get from working hard and giving final year your best shot. So take the leap and enrol into the Honours program or take that elective that sparks your interest even if it has a big assessment load. It might be hard but you’ve made it this far, you’re definitely strong enough to get through one more year and as I said, I think you’ll gain more from taking the challenge than just coasting along.

Slow Down and Enjoy the Ride!

It is no secret amongst university students that even the mere thought of the end of holidays and the first day back can bring about a sense of dread, without mentioning the thought of assessment now taking up what free time you had during holidays. Like you, I too have found myself having an internal whinge on the first day back and thinking ‘holidays flew by too fast’ and ‘I don’t want to go back yet’! In my final year though, I tried really hard to look forward to my first day back and I encourage you all to do the same. Think of it this way, this will be your last first day back at uni as an undergraduate; if you reflect on your journey to uni, you might come to realise that your last first day is pretty special so try to enjoy it. Once you are back into the swing of things, try to make a conscious effort to slow things down. I encourage you to enjoy the learning process, the steady routine of scheduled classes, the time you get to spend with your friends at uni. This year is important because it is your last opportunity to do these things as an undergraduate so try not to rush the time or wish it away. 

Treat Yourself!

When you finally make it through to the other end, when the semester has come to a close and graduation is imminent make sure you enjoy graduation, celebrate all your hard work and the adventures ahead of you with your friends and family and most importantly, have some uninterrupted ‘me time’ before you start your new work or study commitment. Do something to treat yourself for your continued commitment and achievements over the course of your undergraduate studies – go on an overseas adventure, book in a spa day for yourself, buy yourself those clothes or the pair(s) of shoes you’ve been eyeing off for a while now; whatever it is again, make sure you take this time to celebrate yourself, your incredible achievement and do the things that bring you joy!

I have turned my tips into a downloadable for your desktop, picture frames or instagram!

Happy Friday and weekend everyone!

Jelena

This is a photo of gorgeous Jelena Dmitrovic

Jelena Dmitrovic 

Blogger and Happy Law Student 

Hello! I’m Jelena, a PLT student at The College of Law and Legal Graduate at Brisbane Family Law Centre.

My path to law school took some twists and turns and I am grateful for the learnings I have gained along the way: embrace every opportunity that comes your way, even when is seems more like a setback than an opportunity, as nothing is ever wasted. 

Along my journey in law land I have enjoyed pursuing my interest in family law both at university and through volunteering at the FLPA Family Law Residential 2017, attending networking and professional development events, and partaking in work experience programs. 

In November 2017 I had the pleasure of joining the BFLC team and within this unique little firm I have made some great work friends and gained an incredible amount of practical experience in just a short time. 

If all goes to plan I will be admitted at the end of 2019 and until then I look forward to all the new experiences that are yet to come my way as a Graduate and of course spending as much time in the outdoors as possible.

I would love to connect with you on LinkedIn and Instragram

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To the Graduating Class of 2018! By Kiarah Grace Kelly

To the Graduating Class of 2018!

Author Kiarah Kelly

The last few weeks of this year have seen the usual Christmas chaos for most of us but for many of the students around us, these weeks have been filled with Graduation ceremonies- those important days when all of that hard university work is finally acknowledged and the next big step in their professional lives is about to begin.  To bring us into Christmas and celebrate all of those of you who have been throwing those graduation hats in the air, Kiarah is back with a wonderful piece that makes for perfect reading for law students, graduates and even the most seasoned of lawyers.

Clarissa. 

I dedicate this post to all the 2018 Graduates out there, I think you’re amazing. You’ve poured over hundreds of thousands of typed words, stayed up far too late to complete a task only to get to bed and not be able to fall asleep because you were worried the work you did was not enough. Maybe you woke up on too many mornings thinking that your day ahead was too difficult, too full. Maybe you juggled five classes, a part-time job, your families’ expectations, work experience, clerkship applications, maybe a few breakups, definitely some fun times and absolutely a handful of free LSA lunches in exchange for sitting through yet another PLT presentation AND you endured all of this madness all while trying to remember that the footnote needs to go AFTER the full stop (wait, was that just me?). In October of this year I was asked to deliver the Graduating Student Address to the end of year Law Ball at my university. I thought I’d reproduce my speech as a blog post here where you’ll find my anecdotes of my time at law school, a few attempts at humour and me doing by absolute best to do justice to the unbelievable hard work of my fellow 2018 Graduates. I don’t claim to have all the answers, I just simply don’t. In fact, I’m terrified of what lies ahead for me and I need your help with that; I have put together a list of lessons I’ve taken from the interwebs and from those more clever than I, a list of promises that I think we can look back to when we need them, as I fear the hardest parts of our journeys are still ahead.

1- Let's promise to make friends without fear!

There will be times in our career that we will second guess ourselves, where we will fear what we propose to do next, and that’s okay! Remember that every single thought you’ve ever had and ever will have, is founded in biology in some way. Fear is the brains tool used protect us. Fear stopped you when you were climbing trees as a child just at the moment where you were about to climb too high. Fear taps you on the shoulder each time you cross the road, just to remind you to look both ways. Fear isn’t anything to be scared of, I like to think that fear can become a sort of friend who is just trying to look out for you. I guess you also have to know when to tell your fears to step aside, that you’ve got this and that you’re gonna give whatever scary thing happens to be in front of you your best shot.

Which brings me to promise number 2- Let's promise to be kind to ourselves.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said that the only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be. I believe that with everyone buzzing around this crazy world at a million miles an hour, the most important relationship we will ever have is the one we have with ourselves. You’ll never speak to anyone nearly as much as you will speak to yourself, so don’t you dare spend your whole life putting yourself down. 

3- Let's not ever be boring!

Now there were plenty of quotes I found about being different when I consulted the all-knowing Google Image search, but, in keeping things simple I decided to use a quote by Sir Richard Branson; “it is only by being bold that you will ever get anywhere”. And to be honest, I’m going to listen to Sir Rich on this one (I don’t think we should doubt the guy who is responsible for sending people into space, for fun)! No but seriously, there is no greater injustice then you failing to be yourself. I believe that if you for some reason keep a part of yourself from the world, they’re not going to miss it, it’s only yourself that you are cheating, it’s a part of your own life your declining to live. So, don’t be boring!

4- Let's not forget to put out the fishing net.

We’ve all no doubt heard from those our elder that should we make it to the top of our own personal summit that you’ve got to put out the ladder so that you can help someone else get a leg up, too. That way you’ve got someone to celebrate with, yeah? This all-important lesson has been particularly focused around women supporting other women, but I think it’s one all people should try to live by. Author Kristin Ferguson says that in 2018 we’ve got to ditch the ladder and instead use a fishing net. That is, raise as many people as you can up with you on your journey to success, this way you can turn that party of two into a proper shindig and you’ll have a whole lot more people beside you, the more the merrier! I believe if you’ve done the work, no one can take that away from you, let’s ditch the competition. 

Last but not least, promise number 5- Do your best to weather the storms.

In 1999 Baz Lurman reworked into music an essay by advice columnist Mary Schmich and he called it ‘the Suncreen Song’. Schmich urges her readers to remember that most often, worrying is futile as “the real troubles in your life are apt to be things that will blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday”. This simply means the most challenging moments in your life, the moments of tragedy and actual trial, you won’t ever even contemplate, and certainly won’t get a chance to worry about in advance. So, don’t sweat the small stuff.

To all the graduates of 2018 out there, Congratulations! I don’t know about you but the day I got to wear my robes and throw that $80,000 cap in the air, was one of the proudest days of my life. It’s no easy feat but we’re also so incredibly lucky to have access to the gift of a university education. I wish you all the very best, I can not WAIT to watch each and every one of the graduates I know and to those reading this blog post flourish and do amazing things.   

PS: Believe it or not this is my last post on the Student Edition of the Happy Lawyer Happy Life blog. To follow my adventures in lawland further you’ll have to find me on the Lawyers Edition of this fine website (I know, it’s weird for me too!) 

Kiarah

Kiarah Grace Kelly

Kiarah Grace Kelly

Blogger and Happy Lawyer

Hi! I am Kiarah Grace Kelly, I have just finished a dual Bachelors degree in Law and Government and International Relations at Griffith University on the Gold Coast. I tested my legal toes in the water at a boutique Gold Coast law firm before starting as a Law Graduate at Brisbane Family Law Centre in November 2018. I’ve just been admitted here in Queensland which makes me a Brand New Lawyer or #babylawyer as the BFLC gang likes to say. My sole practice area is Family Law.

I’m looking forward to writing about and sharing with you all that I can at this crazy-exciting but daunting stage of my career. I think there’s a need to talk about our experiences as early career lawyers so that we can all lean on each other as much as we can.

I would love to connect with you on Linkedin and Instagram!

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An Imposter’s Guide to Dealing with Bad Grades by Samara Wendt

An Imposter’s Guide to Dealing with Bad Grades! 

Author Samara Wendt

Grades- something you spend a lot of time thinking about at school and then at University but something I must say I have not had to consider for almost 20 years now!  And that I think sums up just how unimportant grades will ultimately become in your law life, however we can’t overlook the fact that achieving a certain grade will be necessary to land that degree and possibly that job!  

In this week’s Happy Lawyer Happy Life Blog ‘The Student Edition’ Samara Wendt shares her tips on managing some of the challenges we all have to face when our grades are not perhaps what we hoped.

(And just for the record- no-one ever looked at my GPA once I had my first job, and I must say I can’t remember the last time I asked a job applicant in my firm for theirs either…. ) 

Clarissa

The worst thing about ‘Imposter Syndrome’ is that there is no time of the year where it stops. During the academic semester, mid-semester breaks, waiting for grade release, and possibly the most crippling – grade release. During the semester the hard work you put in to try and prove to yourself that you belong is almost bearable by hoping that you might be alright in the end. But, once those grades are released and it’s not what you had hoped, the imposter thoughts are loud. Very loud. I will be the first to admit that I am no honours student. I thoroughly enjoy studying law and, frankly, I would not change it for the world. So, this is what I do and how I move forward when I don’t get the grades I had truly hoped for.

1. Chill Out!

Yes, I did just tell you to chill out. Yes, I know it’s really hard to do at a time like this but remember you have completed your assessments and there isn’t a lot you can do now. Every semester my stress release after all assessment is handed in is to cry. I just cry. It is not necessarily because I am sad, it is just built up stress being released and afterwards I feel great! If you need to do this, then do it! But, do not sweat on the issue of your grades. Do not work yourself up so much that you go through every emotion either trying to blame yourself or blame someone else for the end results. You will not win. Just chill out. 

2. Reflect on the Semester

While I did say not to work yourself up blaming anything for your bad grades, it is okay to reflect and consider events in your life that may have impacted your grades. Life does not stop just because you have a 2000 word research assignment due on Thursday, AND THEN a mid-semester multiple choice quiz 8:30am the following morning. Last year, I was in a job that was not working for me. While I wanted so badly to overcome the difficulties and do well, I needed to realise I had done all I could to make the job work and needed to just move on. This was an incredibly stressful and emotional time for me while trying to succeed in 4 university subjects with 3 group assignments. Needless to say, I did not get the high distinctions I wanted. I took time to consider the self-growth and character building I made during that time. Because there was a significant amount of both, and they are both achievements in themselves! I looked at the bigger picture as well, having character and life experience will also make me a better lawyer, not just having high distinctions. 

I am a firm believer there is also something to learn from every situation. Maybe you took on more hours in your job and it reflected in having less study time. You either learnt to make more hours in your day by sacrificing other activities, or you learnt that you need to either sacrifice some work hours or cut back on units next semester to manage the load. It is no loss either way because you learnt something. 

Also, reflect on what you have learnt in the unit; I guarantee you did learn something. Not all topics within a unit are equally assessed, so you need to acknowledge what you have learnt in the unit not just what was assessed. 

3. Consider Your Options

As far as I am aware, most universities allow grade reviews. If you truly feel that your grades could be looked over again, you can choose to do this. But, remember that in a grade review it is possible your grade could go down further. This is usually reiterated by unit coordinators in emails throughout the semester, as they continuously advise students to sit on their grades for a few days before applying for a review. Pretty much – chill out and come back to it. Allow time for your emotions to settle and your mind to level, before re-reading your assessment or viewing your exam, and the feedback provided. Try to do this as open minded and un-bias as possible. 

What if you failed the entire unit? Despite how you may be feeling, the sky will not fall down, and the sun will rise tomorrow. You do not have to believe me, but I have a feeling I am right about those things. It is not ideal and was not in your course study plan to fail a unit, but it has happened, and you cannot ignore it. Follow the steps above and take some time to process your result. Depending on your university/institution policies, your options moving forward may include re-sitting an exam, or you may need to re-sit the entire unit. Either way you are not the first person in that position and you will not be the last. Use the extra time on the unit to focus on the topics you fell down in, while also, revising and growing the knowledge you retained. Think of the character building and life experience!

End of semester grade release is a rough time for everyone not only ‘Imposter Syndrome’ sufferers. When you do not receive the grades you had hoped, take the steps above. But most importantly remember your unit grades are not a reflection of you personally and you should not let them define you personally. 

Good luck for your end of semester grade release! Connect with me on Instagram and Linkedin. I would love to hear how your academic semester and year have gone!

Samara Wendt

Blogger and Happy Law Student 

Hi! My name is Samara and I am an over opinionated, awkward and Imposter Syndrome suffering Law and Psychology student at the Queensland University of Technology. I never had that light-bulb moment when choosing to study law. I am not sure if many people so. But after witnessing injustice and suffering of those vulnerable in our world, I became determined to help. This is where going into law made sense for me. 

Despite believing in my purpose, I openly feel the dreaded law school Imposter Syndrome. You know, when you feel like everyone else has got ‘it’ together and you don’t even know what day it is. This year I became determined to embrace this clueless feeling by moving out of comfort zone. This included entering an Instagram competition with The Happy Family Lawyer which led me here! 

Here I am blogging about all things law school, student life and comfort zones in hopes to find fellow Imposter Syndrome suffers. 

Join the journey here on The Happy Law Student Blog and connect with me on Instagram and Linkedin

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Happy Lawyer Happy Life Had a Podcast Party! By Kiarah Grace Kelly

In case you missed it: Happy Lawyer Happy Life had a Podcast Party! 

Author Kiarah Kelly

The 14th of September 2018 marked a very special occasion in my business life- the ‘2 years/ 100+ episodes/ Podcast party because you can Party’ went off with a bang of rainbow streamers and confetti here in Brisbane.  This week our blogging regular Kiarah Kelly shares her takeaways from the afternoon with her usual fun style!

Clarissa

For attendees of the Happy Lawyer Happy Life ‘100 Episode/ 2 Year Anniversary/ Party Just Because Party,’ we were promised dancing, good food and wisdoms from Australia’s favourite judicial rockstar, the Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG, all in return for a donation to the Minds Count Foundation, how could we refuse! After a few hours spent eating, drinking and meeting fabulous new people on a perfect Brisbane day on the College of Law’s stunning city rooftop, I’m sold that this passion project started by the Happy Family Lawyer is an addition to the legal landscape that I don’t know how we lived without!

The Rockstar of Law on Happiness

The secret to happiness, according to self-confessed biscuit addict and personal hero of lawyers everywhere, is Vegemite. His Honour told us that earlier that day, after a particularly frustrating flight, he wasn’t feeling his usual chipper self. Recognising that he needed to turn his attitude around to enjoy the rest of his day, His Honour made a bee-line for the airport lounge and fixed himself a lunch roll with a very healthy serving of Vegemite, and he quickly saw blue skies again. Now it was at this point in His Honour’s address that I admittedly tuned out for a quick second because I challenge anyone after hearing that story not to break out in to a one-woman song and dance production in their head to the tune “we’re happy little Vegemites as bright as bright can be!” Anyway, I digress, after deciding I should reach out to Kraft for sponsorship His Honour caught my attention again by setting out on a rapid fire of his wisdoms on happiness. His Honour cites a life filled with love and taking time to catch the early train everyday as things which make him smile. We then learnt that each of the seven Judge’s chambers of the High Court are appointed with the timber from a different tree from a different state of Australia. His Honour told us that when he was invited to the bench of our nation’s highest court he was assigned to the chambers decorated with the bright yellow timber of Tasmania’s most prominent tree. His Honour recognised that a nice view and bright, colourful surroundings made his days in our nation’s top judicial role all the more happy.

A New Look at the Happy Lawyer

The next speaker for the afternoon was our very own podcast-host-extraordinaire Clarissa Rayward. Clarissa’s book ‘Happy Lawyer Happy Life’ follows her learnings on unhappiness in the legal profession and takes the form of how to achieve the five traits of a H.A.P.P.Y. Lawyer, being; Health, Attitude, Passion, Purpose, and staying true to You. But two years on from the start of her podcast Clarissa told us that she’s learnt so much from her 100+ guests that it’s time for a whole new acronym and it’s only right that it spell out L.A.W.Y.E.R

L is for Learner – a happy lawyer should be a lifelong learner, the happiest lawyers Clarissa has met love the work they do and are always challenging themselves to be their best and learn as much as they can in their chosen craft.

A is for Artist – a happy lawyer should be an artist, but maybe not in the traditional sense. Lately, Clarissa has been exploring the idea of the benefits that integrating creativity into your law life can bring, you can read all about the panel event hosted in May on this very topic here. At the end of the day it’s all about embracing the bad-mood-busting, mindful, left-side-brain-loving benefits that creativity can give you.

W is for Worker – a happy lawyer works hard. There’s no doubt that the job of a lawyer in 2018 is never done and whilst we’re so fortunate that talk of work-life-integration and not taking your work home with you is in the forefront of our minds at the moment, you can’t beat the fact that there’s always work to get through. Changing your mindset from “I’ll never get through it all” to “look at all the things I get to do” and giving your work your best self while you are at work will go a long way to you feeling satisfied and proud of the amazing job you do each day.

Y is for Yoga – a happy lawyer has ‘yoga like flexibility’. Clarissa admits that this one may need some work but there is a Y is Lawyer and the HAPPY LAWYER acronym is just too good to give up! Having flexibility in your law school studies and career will enable you to overcome the curveballs that will undoubtedly come your way. Having flexibility is all about acceptance, acceptance that not everything is going to be perfect all the time. 

E is for Ego – a happy lawyer has to have an ego. Clarissa makes the important distinction that the ego of a happy lawyer is one that allows you to back yourself without feeling the need to compete.

R is for Relationships – a happy lawyer has people who love them for who they are and loves others back in the same way. Clarissa says that relationships are the core and key to happiness and when it’s all said and done, long after our lives in law, it will be the people we loved that we will remember best.

Time for Q's & A's

The formal part of the evening was capped off with attendees having the chance to pick the brains of the magnificent legal mind that is the Hon Michael Kirby. The Q&A took many varied turns from whether Queensland should adopt a Bill of Rights to whether we can be optimistic about future law reform and what the future of law will actually look like. The key learnings from His Honour’s answers were these; the best piece of advice that His Honour has ever received is “don’t be boring”, love is most important at the end of the day and it’s His Honour’s 49 year partnership that has taught him that and finally; that when the bench grapples with empathy vs. reason, it must remember that there is a difference between the mechanical, formalistic rule of law and the rule of law which dignifies us. 

Leaving the event on Friday night I couldn’t help but reflect that the most important and meaningful effect that the Happy Lawyer Happy Life podcast has made on it’s listeners is the community it has created. Before, a mission to be happier, healthier and more authentic to your individual personality in law-land might have been a lonely pursuit. Today, all the friends we’ve met and connections we’ve made thanks to Clarissa’s hard work means that we’ve found our tribe and have so many others to share our adventures in law land with, what a great thing to have found!

EPISODE 120- HAPPINESS THANKS TO VEGEMITE WITH THE HONOURABLE MICHAEL KIRBY AC CMG- A HIGHLIGHT OF THE YEAR THAT HAS BEEN (AND A FEW SURPRISES FOR THE FUTURE!)
Kiarah Grace Kelly

Kiarah Grace Kelly

Blogger and Happy Law Student 

Hi! I am Kiarah Kelly a conscientious and hard-working soon to be lawyer living on the Gold Coast with an eye on social justice and effecting much needed change in the community, even if that means starting small. I am studying a dual Bachelors degrees in Law and Government and International Relations as Griffith University on the Gold Coast. I have been testing my legal toes in the water at boutique Gold Coast Law firms and I am currently merrily serving as a Legal Secretary to Merv Morris and Blayne Ledger of Barron and Allen Lawyers- GC in the Property, Commercial and Family Law sectors. 

 

I have also been championing a personal cause of Youth Road Safety Issues over the last 12 months, unrelentingly working alongside the minister for Road Safety Mr Mark Bailey, on numerous projects within his office.

What’s on my horizon? My passion for family violence prevention, family law issues and women’s legal issues will be a guiding light for my future career.  I aim to graduate with dual degrees in November of 2018 and until then, I will travel the world, focusing heavily on volunteer pursuits here at home and continue making waves in the discussion of Youth Road Safety issues in this country.

I would love to connect with you on Linkedin and Instagram!

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