DLA Piper has offices all over the world. That's not news to anyone, but what this means in practice for its lawyers is the opportunity to go on international secondment to another office. I'm now reaching the halfway point of my six month secondment from the London office to the Litigation and Regulatory (General Insurance) team here in Melbourne.
One of the reasons I chose DLA Piper when applying for training contracts (the graduate program in the UK) was its international presence and the opportunity to live and work abroad. Working at DLA Melbourne for six months allows me to experience the practice of law in a different jurisdiction, further my experience of contentious work and, perhaps most importantly, gain first-hand exposure to the global nature of modern commercial legal practice and how our firm operates globally.
So far I have been able to get involved in a wide range of matters, drafting letters of advice and case reports and attending mediations and court hearings. This has been a fantastic experience to gain an understanding of Australian law and appreciate the differences and similarities to the UK. Hopefully, once I return to London, this experience of working on Australian matters will enable me to add value on any matter which involves both the UK and Australia.
Admittedly, moving to the other side of the world can be a daunting prospect, but the firm could not have made it any easier, guiding me through the visa application and arranging flights and accommodation. To top that all off, the people in the Melbourne office have been, without exception, welcoming and friendly, and only rarely mocking my British accent. There's always something going on, whether it's Friday drinks, karaoke, mixed netball or a wine tour to the Yarra valley (see photo below).
Add the amazing Melbourne coffee to the mix, and friends and family are getting worried that I'm going to defect and remain here permanently!