What does being a Graduate Lawyer at
​​​​​​​a Big 4 really look like?

Take a look into the world of a Graduate Lawyer with PwC. Two years in, James Dickie chats about why he chose Legal, what his role actually entails and why all of your experience is relevant (regardless of whether it was in law).

Having studied a double degree in Commerce and Law, James Dickie found it was the legal aspect of his studies that had him hooked. His time spent as a paralegal and undertaking practical competitions at uni also helped to confirm that law was for him.

However, even though James preferred law he still maintained a strong “interest in commercial business” that was fostered by his commerce subjects. As a result, it became clear that “corporate law was the most logical pathway”.

A former Graduate and now second-year Lawyer with PwC, James finds his role to be the perfect blend of his interests and dynamic enough that he is continuously evolving. The diversity of work means his days are never the same and he’s gaining exposure to different areas of commercial law, quickly.

“I rarely have a ‘typical work day’, as any given day could see me working on something new. The areas of my responsibility vary greatly.”

“In Corporate Law, we work with an extensive international and domestic client base of major corporations and financial institutions, family-owned enterprises, not-for-profit organisations, high-net-worth individuals and public and private companies. This covers a variety of work including mergers and acquisitions, IPOs and other capital market transactions, general corporate and commercial advice, board advisory, entity governance and compliance, and corporate restructures - amongst other things!”

Even though James is able to leverage his commerce degree, he says, “it is definitely not the only combination of degrees that could lead to this job, and many of my peers and colleagues have a variety of different secondary degrees in addition to their law degree.”

Also, if you're concerned your work experience might not hold enough relevance, take it from James that “every experience is a valuable experience.”

“Every bit of work experience is valuable. You don’t necessarily need to have legal experience to learn and develop relevant skills for landing a job in law. For example, hospitality experience will prepare you for dealing with clients well.”

Ask James ‘What’s next?’ and he’ll list a wide range of opportunities available to him and all young Lawyers with PwC. From “progressing up the ranks” to “becoming an in-house lawyer” or “chasing international opportunities”, the options really are endless. Right now, the appeal of working overseas seems to be the most tempting for James.

“Working overseas is immensely appealing to me, and I am fortunate that whilst the law obviously differs between jurisdictions, the commercial legal skills involved in my work are largely transferable and would allow me to practise as a foreign qualified lawyer in a number of overseas jurisdictions.”

Reflecting on his time in full-time work so far, James says the advice he would offer those getting ready to graduate or enter the workforce is to “push yourself out of your comfort zone and try something new”.

“I recommend taking every opportunity which presents itself. Some opportunities only come around once!”

And, as for James’ non-work related advice?

“Make the most of the uni holidays. For me, one of the biggest transitions from uni life to full-time work was going from four months of holidays a year to four weeks. Go and do the things now which you might not have time for later - that show on Netflix will still be there later!”

Interested in a career in Legal with PwC? Find out more.

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