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day in the life

jereome keating

law graduate at macpherson kelley

5.30 am

My alarm goes off and after contemplating hitting snooze for the second time, I jump up and into the shower. I put the radio on and listen to the news and finance update. A few weeks ago at our business boot camp, our managing principal – after listening to the news that morning – was firing questions at all the trainees regarding business and trade conditions. When prompted on the Australian dollar, I fired back ‘0.739!’ as quickly as he had churned it out. There is a big commercial focus over ‘black letter lawyering’ at this firm, and its genuinely refreshing.

I meet some friends for our weekly Thursday run. Nice to see a few more faces this week than the last, now that the weather is a little warmer.

8.00 am

I arrive at the office, grab my second breakfast out of the fridge and log in. I always start my day by responding to overnight emails. I have a few emails from principals and clients alike – one in particular from a large manufacturing client regarding a mergers and acquisitions (M&A) deal that all of a sudden isn’t looking so good now that we have our Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) and Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) searches back. I email the client trying to tee up a time to speak over the phone this morning and seek guidance from my principal.


8.45 am

Next on the agenda is the M&A team meeting. Whilst rotating through our broader Commercial team, which has seen me work on a lot of intellectual property matters, ASIC & Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) compliance and terms of trade, predominantly my matters have been with our M&A team.

Out of this meeting I’m asked to jump into three more matters, all of which are sales of business and sound really interesting, so I am excited to be involved and mentored further by the principal.

11.00 am

I have a conference call with company directors and CFO’s of an Australian Pty Ltd and its American parent. The call relates to advice I was asked to draft early last week. I received great feedback about the advice I had prepared, so I went into the meeting feeling confident. The advice centered on ASIC reporting obligations of small proprietary companies controlled by a foreign company (like that of our client).

12.30 pm

I get back to my desk and I have a missed call from the same large manufacturing client regarding the PPSR and ASIC search from this morning. After running through the searches with the client, they ask what they should do. I’m reluctant to shoot from the hip without discussing this with the principal first. After talking it over, the principal and I decide to call the client back together. It is this level of mentoring that I think has helped me really adapt and develop my technical and interpersonal skills as a graduate.

1.30 pm

My mentor in the Commercial team messages me and says he and some of last year’s graduates are going down to grab Vietnamese for lunch if I wanted to come. I take him up on the offer and we sit out on the cafe having our chilli pork noodle special with extra rice paper rolls. After lunch we spend around ten minutes playing table tennis and as I’m down 19–4 I decide that I actually need to get back and do some work.

2.30 pm

As I’m walking back to my desk, I’m running through my to-do list in my head, noting what I’m going to tick off straight away. I have a number of advice files for our IP team that involve potential trademark infringements, which I said I could send on by the end of the week. As I go back to my computer to finish these off, our office managing principal (who handles most of our M&A work) grabs me and says, ‘Grab your laptop. We’ve got a 2.40 pm with John Blackwell Accountants.’ Client contact has got to be one of my favourite aspects of the job. I’m taking as many notes on the conversation as I can, as I know it’s going to be me writing the first draft.

3.45 pm

As I get back to my desk I pop a ‘do not disturb’ message on my jabber (our internal messaging and phone platform), knowing that I need to finish these two advice pieces by COB.

4.45 pm

As I’m sending the two pieces of advice off to our IP principal, my direct M&A principal asks if I can quickly put together a share transfer for a company that our Litigation team successfully concluded proceedings on today. Around five minutes after I send it on for review, I am copied into the email sending it on to the client with no changes. Again it’s great to feel backed.

6.00 pm

Just as I was jumping back into a letter of demand I had been working on, my M&A principal says, ‘It’s 6.00 pm. I hope you’re packing up soon?’ In following the orders of my principal, I update my to-do list and pack up.

6.30 pm

I get home and it’s still pretty warm, so my partner and I decide to take Ted for a walk down to the beach and take dinner with us. We are genuinely lucky to live where we do and I’m pretty happy to work only 30 minutes from home at our Dandenong office. I’m down the beach by 7.00 pm, where perhaps in another life I might have been doing the mad dash from platform one to platform six, to make the sardine-filled express train home.