Who do you work for?
I work for Minter Ellison Lawyers, which is a large law firm operating in Australia and the Asia Pacific region. Minter Ellison provides advice to clients across a broad number of industries, including:
- Energy and resources
- Health and ageing
- Technology, media and telecommunications
What does your job involve?
My work involves a mix of legal advice and legal drafting, including:
- Advising companies on the law relating to taking over or establishing a renewable energy project and then operating it.
- Drafting contracts for the purchase of electricity generated by renewable energy resources.
- Drafting contracts for renewable energy certificates and other government incentives for establishing 'green' power projects.
- Advising governments on facilitating and regulating renewable energy projects.
Why do you choose to be an energy lawyer?
Variety and challenge! Energy law provides an opportunity for me to work with clients on projects which involve both established and new technology, as well as systems of regulation. Legal practice requires lateral thinking, problem-solving and advocacy. These were also things I enjoyed when I was at school.
What has been one of your recent achievements?
One achievement has been advising on legal reforms that will help reduce the impact of climate change. I also have advised on the development of renewable energy resources for generating electricity, as well as projects involving carbon capture and storage. In addition I have advised on projects in which electricity is generated at a small scale plant and transmitted directly to a group of consumers in the local region instead of being fed into a state-wide transmission grid. (This is known as ‘embedded generation’.)
What do you enjoy most about your job?
It’s exciting to see your advice lead to the passing of new laws that will help reduce climate change, and to the establishment of successful projects, like a new renewable generating plant.
What are some of the benefits that lawyers have in their jobs?
The key benefits in being a lawyer relate to the people that you work with and the matters you work on. As a lawyer you have the opportunity to work with people from diverse backgrounds to assist clients with their projects. These experiences enable you to develop a broader perspective when providing legal advice.
Like most professions you may be provided with a lap top computer or mobile phone to assist you in your work. There can also be benefits such as ongoing legal training, site visits, membership of professional organisations and attractive pay packages.
What training did you have for this job?
In my senior years at secondary school, I studied a mix of subjects including English, Mathematics and Science. I then completed a double degree in Arts (History) and Law at the University of Adelaide. Continuing education is very important, particularly in areas of new regulation or technology. I recently completed a Masters of Laws at The University of Melbourne, focusing on public law and regulation.
What is your advice to students?
Maximise your opportunities by covering a range of subjects at school. It can be difficult to decide what career to pursue. Think about what you enjoy and the career paths that this may lead to. Having a passion for your work is central to maintaining your enthusiasm and energy, and getting the most from your chosen career.