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A day in the life of…
Melbourne associate, Dion English

What do our associates actually do every day? Meet Dion English, an associate based in our Melbourne office working in our Asia EIPAF and Disputes Team. Read on to discover what a typical day for Dion involves. 

6:30 a.m. 
I wake up and try to avoid pressing the snooze button, but I always lose this battle! It's time for the gym, so I get ready for the day and head into the city to smash out an hour of exercise before work. 

9:00 a.m.
I'm working in the Project Delivery team and we tend to start our day somewhere between 9:00 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. I arrive at the office around 9:00 a.m. and banter with a few of my colleagues before settling into my office. The morning is perfect for getting on top of your emails, checking in with colleagues and planning what you'll be doing for the rest of the day. I read through my emails and flag those that require action from me. This morning, a senior associate has emailed asking me to meet to discuss a new piece of work.

9:30 a.m.
After clearing my inbox and planning my day, I head to my colleague's office. We've been advising a key Firm client on a major infrastructure project in Australia. The client requested some preliminary advice regarding the impact of the novel corona virus on the obligations contained in their project documents. I take notes as we discuss how best to tackle the advice, including potential claims under the agreements, applicable common law doctrines and the stylistic preferences of the client. Now that I'm clear on the task, I swing back by my office to start preparing the memo. 

10:00 a.m.
As the memo involves advice on complex agreements and law, I get started by reading the relevant provisions of the contracts. After setting out the draft headings within the document, I drill down into each element and try and understand each party's obligations and how they may be impacted by the disruptions caused by the virus. I first try to understand and summarise the issues myself, but I jump back to my colleague's office every now and again to clarify an issue or talk through my thinking. 

11:30 a.m.
Thinking is tiring work; it's time for a quick break! I shoot a message to my friend across the floor and we go for a quick coffee. In the Melbourne office, we have a café-grade Italian espresso machine in the kitchen, but if we are feeling lazy, we slink downstairs and pick something up from one of our local haunts. 

11:45 a.m.
Today I have a call with my colleagues in Hong Kong to discuss a pro bono matter. We're assisting a global charity to attempt to set a binding precedent in a cross-jurisdictional anti-human trafficking case. The aim is to push authorities to prosecute the former employer of several human trafficking victims. I started work on the matter during my six-month secondment to the Hong Kong office where I worked in the Corporate/Private M&A team. We discuss our upcoming interview with one of the victims and the next steps in preparing for recording her evidence. 

1:00 p.m.
It's been a busy morning, so it's time for a walk and some food. I meet up with a couple of the other grads and head out to buy some lunch (unless I've been good and brought something in). We like to head back to the office and eat in our communal kitchen. It's a great social atmosphere where we catch up and chat. Completing the daily quiz from the newspaper with the team is a rite of passage few survive, but we give it a crack before finishing our lunch. 

2:00 p.m.
I know I have a client meeting at 2:30 p.m., so I return to my office and start preparing. I like to read over recent client correspondence to make sure I have an idea of what the meeting is going to be about and what the client's key concerns are. Usually the team attending the meeting will have a quick preparatory discussion to make sure we're aligned on who's leading which aspect of the meeting and making sure we're all up to date on the matter. As I'm new to the matter, this meeting will be longer than usual, as the partner and the associates on the deal run me through the parties to the transaction, who our client is, the current stage of negotiations and what exactly we're working on. If anything is unclear I ask them for further details, or sometimes I pull aside a junior associate after the meeting if I want to check that I understood one or two details. 

2:30 p.m.
The deal we're working on is the development of an interstate solar farm. We're acting for the developer who is running a bid process to select which company it will hire to design and build the solar farm. We've been engaged to negotiate and draft the key documents relating to these activities. This meeting is with our client, the preferred bidder and their legal counsel, and we'll be negotiating the terms of one of the key construction contracts. I take notes on the meeting, including what's being discussed by each party, which parts of the agreement will need to be amended and how, what each party's next steps are in progressing the documentation, and a summary of what was agreed. Often a more senior associate will also keep notes and we can confer with each other before sending a summary of the meeting outcomes to the team if necessary. 

4:00 p.m.
Time for a tea or coffee to refocus for the final stretch of the afternoon. I usually walk around the office floor and drop by a colleague's office to see how they're doing, or maybe a quick walk outside to get some fresh air. 

4:15 p.m.
The memo from this morning is still staring me down, so it's time to pick the pen back up. I keep analysing the terms of the relevant agreements and start doing some research on the relevant case law. If it's starting to click, I'll begin drafting those sections of the memo, with some periodic check-ins with the senior associate to make sure I'm on the right track. 

6:00 p.m.
If it's a normal day, I'm clocking off around 6:00 p.m. Sometimes we have urgent deadlines and many matters on the go, so this could be later. Today, however, the memo can wait until morning, so I begin wrapping up. I shoot off any admin emails I need to before the end of the day and check in with the rest of the team to see if they need help with anything before I leave. 

6:30 p.m.
Time to unwind from the day with some socializing with mates. Dinner in the city is usually on the cards, as everyone works close by. After some on-point Melbourne food, we head our separate ways to relax at home and prepare for tomorrow.

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