The Leading Lawyer Project with Sam Burrett
E16: How to Progress Your Legal Career by Being Yourself - Felicity Gerry, Queens Counsel and Professor of Legal Practice at Deakin University
September 08, 2020
What is your contribution to the legal profession?
This question sits front of mind for many top lawyers. This week's guest on The Leading Lawyer Project, Felicity Gerry QC, has certainly contributed a great deal to the law.
Felicity regularly appears in in the Supreme Court of Victoria and the Victorian Court of Appeal and largely defends in criminal matters, often with an international element.
She is admitted to the list of counsel for the International Criminal Court (ICC) and has advised in major terrorism, international fraud and money laundering matters, multi-claimant and multi-defendant cases, administrative action to heritage list Aboriginal land, a Federal challenge for women and children in Syrian camps and in a potential class action relating to illegal logging.
Felicity is also Professor of Legal Practice at Deakin University where she lectures in Contemporary International Legal Challenges including Terrorism, Modern Slavery and Climate Change Litigation.
In this episode, we discuss:
- What’s involved with her course Contemporary Legal Challenges - more info here.
- The key questions Felicity is exploring, including human trafficking, etc
- “I don’t wait for the case to come along, if there’s an issue that needs to be tackled, I tackle it”
- “My career path went from a town in Lester in England, which no-one had heard of until they found Richard the III buried in the car park, to international practice in Australia.”
- How Felicity balances academia and
- Being yourself in the law;
- “No great circus ever crept into town. If I’m going to do this right, I’m going to be me;”
- How we can improve the position of women in the law, and at The Bar more specifically;
- How to balance progressing your career with taking opportunities as they arise;
- Why Felicity wrote 77 applications to become a barrister, and why only 4 replied;
- Learn the proper or traditional way first - then drop in your own personality;
- The powerful habit of writing up the things that you learn as you go. Felicity wrote up every case she was involved in;
- Why Felicity continues to publish articles and write about areas she’s interested in, even when she’s not briefed on the area;
- How becoming an expert in a niche can have a huge impact on your career;
- Holding onto the ‘thread of history’ in the practice of law;
- Why you should aim to contribute to the development of law;
- The importance of being personable in law and why that helps you become successful;
- “I’m a combination of friendly, jolly and nerdy.
You can find more about Felicity and her work here