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Guru In The Spotlight: Andrew Rajanayagam

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1. What area at KWM do you work in and what is your specialisation?

I am in the Banking & Finance team in Sydney, specialising in asset and structured finance.  We usually act for lenders and lessors on the financing of movable assets (planes, trains, trucks and cars are the big 4 but we can finance anything that moves!).

2. How long have you been with the firm for?

I started as a summer clerk in 2011/12, and have been with the firm ever since.

3. Why are you passionate about our Community Impact programme?

It is incumbent on us in our fairly fortunate position to do what we can to give back to the community.  This is at the core of our Community Impact program, as is our focus on the youth.  Making the time to contribute, in whatever small way we each can, is important to me.

4. What projects or programs have you been involved in recently?

I have been involved in the TalkLaw program (previously the "Lawyers in School" program) since commencing as a graduate at the firm in 2013.  The program sees us teaching targeted legal materials to a group of students from schools in lower socioeconomic areas of Sydney.  The emphasis is on affording disadvantaged students the knowledge they may need in areas of particular relevance to them – for example, consumer rights, social media and employment law.

5. Any stories you can share?

Aside from some very thought-provoking questions on the legal materials, the following questions from students were particularly amusing:

  • in open forum at the initial welcome to the program, one student confidently but innocently asked the partner in charge of the program, "How much do you earn?
  • is working as a lawyer similar to Suits?  Do you have a Louis Litt?  (I'm still trying to figure out who in KWM might take this title!)
  • in relation to the intellectual property law session, one student firmly commented "Downloading music shouldn't be illegal – it's too expensive to buy!"

6. Why did you/do you get involved? What were/are your motivations?

Teaching has always been something I have enjoyed – I tutored HSC students throughout my time at Uni and continue to tutor at Law School now.  The prospect of teaching for the purposes of empowering students was particularly appealing.

The program is also just great fun – the students are inquisitive, thoughtful and highly entertaining!

7. What skills or experiences have you gained through this work?

Communication skills are key here, and are being constantly developed and tested.  There is no better test of whether you can communicate effectively than trying to teach legal content to students who are yet to complete high school let alone University.

8. What tips do you have for others thinking about getting involved in the Community Impact program?

There is no shortage of opportunities across the Community Impact program, so you will certainly be able to involve yourself in something you have a genuine interest or passion in that sits outside of your day to day practice.  The firm has always been very supportive of participation in the program, and you will be very surprised at how truly rewarding it can be.

 

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