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Clayton Utz

  • 1,000 - 50,000 employees

Shaun Chng

Finding a job is not easy. Be patient and resilient, don't give up and stay true to who you are, and you will find the right role for you. 

What's your job about?

Clayton Utz is a leading full-service Australian law firm providing legal services in a range of practice areas. 

As a full-service commercial law firm, we have lawyers around the country with diverse and broad-ranging legal experience, across a range of industry sectors. Our strength is our ability to bring together teams of lawyers with the right mix of legal and commercial skills to match our clients’ business needs.

As a junior lawyer in the Corporate, M&A and Capital Markets team, my day to day responsibilities (among others) include:

  • drafting share and asset sale agreements, shareholders' agreements, company constitutions and other corporate and commercial agreements for both listed and unlisted clients;
  • extensive corporate due diligence on large M&A transactions and undertaking verification processes; and
  • legal research and corporate advisory work in relation to Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) and ASX Listing Rules compliance, corporate governance, directors' duties, preparing director and shareholder documents and liaising with ASIC.

On a typical workday, I first start the day out with a coffee with my team, and throughout the day I help the partners and senior lawyers in my team on various matters. It could be drafting an agreement or preparing legal advice on an issue our clients are facing. I also attend client meetings, CPD sessions and networking events. 

I also help allocate pro bono matters referred to us by external organisations including community legal centres or charities to our lawyers. And, on Fridays evenings, we have team drinks! 

What's your background?

After completing high school and college in Malaysia, I moved to Sydney in 2013 and studied law at the University of Sydney. Throughout my time at university, I undertook a short term exchange program in Norway, volunteered as an English teacher in Vietnam for three months and completed a field school in Nepal on development and human rights. I worked casually as a paralegal at various boutique law firms throughout my time at uni, and volunteered and worked part-time at Redfern Legal Centre in my last few years of uni. I moved up to Brisbane in 2018 and commenced as a graduate lawyer at Clayton Utz.

Looking for jobs as an international student is difficult because many workplaces have policies which exclude international students in their application process. I had been rejected numerous times by many places including a few major law firms due to my international student status. However, a chance encounter with a pro bono lawyer at Clayton Utz when I was working at Redfern Legal Centre led me to find out about Clayton Utz's merits-based and inclusive policy. Unfortunately, the clerkship/graduate program application season was over when I did find out. Serendipitously, the Brisbane office went to open market to recruit for additional graduate lawyers due to growth and increase in business activity in late 2017. I applied and got the role and started in March 2018.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

To be a lawyer, you will need to have studied law at university or the equivalent. However, if you are a law graduate with a keen interest in the legal profession, a willingness to learn and a positive attitude, you will thrive as a lawyer at Clayton Utz.

Everyone here is unique and we bring something different to the table, and that's very much encouraged. So no matter who you are or where you're from, unique differences are what make us who we are as a firm, and ultimately our people are what sets us apart from everyone else. 

What's the coolest thing about your job?

The people I work with and the work I do every day. I am a people person, and my role involves interacting and working with people whether with my team, lawyers in other practice groups or with clients. There is always a human and people-focused aspect in my job. 

I am also passionate about learning and constantly want to grow and develop myself. I work on something different every day and that lets me learn something new regularly. The variety of work I get keeps me interested in my job and satisfies my appetite to learn and grow.  

What are the limitations of your job?

As a junior lawyer, sometimes you cannot control your workload. That means that during a quiet time you may not have a lot on and during a busy time you may have to manage deadlines and competing priorities, and sometimes this may result in an irregular work schedule. 

However, the partners and the team are very supportive as they understand the nature of work we do. They often encourage us to take downtime, work flexibly during a quiet period and check-in to make sure we aren't overwhelmed when it is busy.

3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...

  1. Don't be afraid to try new things. If you've been thinking about applying for a job, volunteering at a not-for-profit organisation, or even signing up for an extracurricular activity, do it! It's never too late to start. 
  2. Finding a job is not easy. Be patient and resilient, don't give up and stay true to who you are, and you will find the right role for you. 
  3. Don't be afraid to ask questions or make mistakes. That's how you learn! A keen interest and positive attitude go a long way. And, don't forget to relax/unwind and take care of yourself.