Guru in the Spotlight: Sophie Andritsos

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Q: What area at KWM do you work in and what is your specialisation?

A: I am a rotating grad.  I'm currently on secondment at the Human Rights Law Centre, which has been an amazing experience.

Q: How long have you been with the firm?

A: I was part of the 2019 Melbourne grad cohort and was a KWM paralegal for about a year before that.

Q: Why are you passionate about our Community Impact programme?

A: I think it is important for lawyers to be involved in pro-bono, community and human rights work – we are so lucky to have the opportunities and resources we do, and it feels good to repay some of that good fortune in some way.  It has also been a great way to get to know people around the firm and to get carriage of some smaller matters.

Q: What projects or programs have you been involved in recently?

A: I've really enjoyed being involved in TalkLaw, Cyberlaw and the JusticeConnect program, as well as some of the strategic litigation and research pieces through the Human Rights Law Group. The Competition and Tax teams (where I rotated) both get involved in using their expertise in pro-bono work for charities, which has been another way to get involved.

Q: Any stories you can share?

A: At the end of last year we had a successful outcome for a pro-bono judicial review on a very technical point of law, and it was an outcome that simply wouldn't have happened if KWM wasn't involved due to the high caseload volume of the clinic that referred it.  There were six KWM solicitors at all different levels from four different teams involved – it was a pretty cool example of how well things can work and what our programs can achieve.  In this case, it was an outcome that will have a very tangible and positive impact on someone's future.

Q: What skills or experiences have you gained through this work?

A: It has been beneficial both in terms of getting to have opportunities at a more junior level (like briefing counsel, drafting and strategy), and also by exposing me to all sorts of areas of law that I might not have otherwise come across.  I've also been lucky through my current secondment to get to work on the law reform side of things, like preparing evidence for and attending a Joint Parliamentary Inquiry or making submissions to Inquiries and Commissions.  I think the law is one of those industries where experience is king, so the more different processes and strategies you can see play out, the better.

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

A: Do it! There are all sorts of different ways to get involved, ranging from less-time-intensive but regular clinics, to more demanding strategic litigation or case-based opportunities.  There will be ways to leverage your commercial expertise, or also less "legal" options – like helping host the TalkLaw kids in a mock trial, which was one of my more fun days at work.  If you are curious, have a chat with the people involved and see what progamme (…or programmes!) might suit you.

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