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Varied work and a career that could take you anywhere
Discover our Melbourne Projects Practice

"It's exciting to be part of projects that make news headlines," says Melbourne associate Andrew Baker. Fellow Projects associate Sarah Oh agrees. "Many of the projects that we work on will have a real impact on communities and improve people's lives, like new roads or tunnels." 

As Australia experiences an infrastructure boom, they agree that working in this area is an exciting prospect for graduates interested in being part of a busy and growing team. 

So what kind of work does a Projects lawyer do? "We're at the centre of major infrastructure developments – anything from renewable energy facilities, electricity grid, roads, rail or airport," says Sarah. "We work on the whole life cycle of these projects, from tendering and procuring, agreeing the financing and equity, through to construction and delivery and then the operation and maintenance phase." 

No such thing as a typical day

They agree that there's no such thing as a typical day. Andrew: "We often start the week with a coffee from one of the great places in our building. We have a team meeting when everyone goes through their current work and then it's on to the to-do list." Sarah explains what that involves, "Depending on deadlines – which can be challenging and require occasional long hours – we might be meeting our clients or working on the details of a particular contract." 

Andrew explains that such projects are large-scale in every way: "These projects are worth billions of dollars and often have a very long life-span. Some lawyers work on the same project for many years at a time, but it's more typical to spend 4 to 6 months on a matter related to one stage of a complex matter."

“Being able to think critically and understanding our clients’ business is important” 

They consider what skills are important to succeed as a Projects lawyer. For Sarah, being able to think critically is important. "You need an eye for detail but also a high level of understanding how everything fits together when you are drafting contracts and managing complex negotiations between parties." 

Andrew says that it's not only legal skills that count: "Having a commercial mindset is really helpful. Not everyone we deal with is a lawyer, so understanding where a business' priorities lie is critical." 

Skills and experience for the career you want

What are the career prospects for a projects lawyer? According to Andrew and Sarah, the sky is the limit. "Being part of White & Case in Australia means that you will receive mentoring and training from some of the best senior lawyers in Australia in this field and you will get to work on some of the biggest and most interesting work in Australia. And if you want to work overseas or on international matters, that's open to you too," says Andrew. The final word goes to Sarah, "Working here means developing both the legal and commercial skills that will be valuable no matter where your career takes you."

Discover more about career opportunities in Australia