Lucy Stafford - Day in the life
Lucy is an Associate based in our office in Sydney, Australia.
Medical negligence is a personal interest of mine, which is why I’m so glad to be a part of the healthcare team, and this was one of the first matters which was assigned to me when I was newly admitted over a year ago
Lucy Stafford, Associate
I get up at 7.30 after hitting snooze a few times. On the train on my way to work, I have a quick glance over the emails that have come in overnight so that I can hit the ground running as soon as I walk into the office.
When I get to the office, I quickly grab a coffee from the café downstairs. Once I sit down at my desk and open up my emails, I jot down a task list for the day, and respond to the urgent emails which have come through from counsel overnight requesting additional documents.
I need to start drafting the response to an HCCC complaint made against one of our clients, but I’ve not worked on this type of matter before, so I call one of the more experienced associates in my team to get her insight. She talks me through the general progress of these matters, what I need to look out for, and how I should approach the response. After the call, she sends me an example of a response she’s prepared in a similar matter, and I read through it to use as a jumping-off point. I then start drafting the response in my matter.
Once a week, we have a Teams call with everyone in the Healthcare team where we discuss the various matters everyone’s working on, as well as touch base on what’s happening at work generally, and have a bit of a social catch-up with those colleagues who we don’t see everyday due to hybrid working/working from home.
After the call, I then go back to drafting the complaint response. After coming back to the draft with fresh eyes, I realise that I should change the structure so that our client’s position can be more effectively conveyed and understood. Once I’ve finished with my draft, I send it off to my supervising partner for review and comment.
I respond to a few emails that come in with some smaller ad-hoc tasks on my other matters, and I update my task list to re-order the priority of tasks for the day based on what comes in.
I have a call with a senior associate about an insurance claim that we’re working on together, and we discuss our approach to the review of the claim documentation, as well as how we’re going to structure both our internal reference documents, and our eventual advice to the client. She gives me some great insight about how to break up the claim review into it’s component parts, and I come away from the call feeling positive and reassured about what my next steps are.
I have a check-in weekly with my supervising partner once a week, where we sit down one on one and go through each of my current matters and discuss what I’m currently working on, what my next steps are, any upcoming matter deadlines such as court listings, and talk through our case strategy. Today, a lot of our focus is on a complex medical negligence matter with multiple plaintiffs and co-defendants, where we’re currently involved in intense settlement negotiations. One of the co-defendants has just filed a notice of motion to file a cross-claim, and I need to review all of the documentation that they’ve provided us in support of their claim.
After I amend the complaint response to incorporate the amendments flagged by my supervisor, I send it to our client, and also give him a quick call to expect our email and ask him to review the document as a matter of priority.
I then head out to lunch with a few colleagues from my team. I’m super excited as one of our team members is down from Brisbane to visit the Sydney office, and we’ve never met in person before. We talk about the interesting things we’ve been working on, and the more experienced lawyers bring up some of the more quirky and bizarre cases they’ve worked on in the past. One of the other associates has a hearing coming up soon, and she invites myself and another associate, who is also in the early stages of her career, to come along and observe the hearing for a few days.
Full of pasta, I go for a quick walk around the block to get some fresh air, and then head back to the office where I knock out some of the small tasks that have built up over the course of the day, mostly just some quick emails updating my supervisor on the status of various things, and collating and uploading key documents to an online brief to counsel.
I’ve been invited to sit in on a conference with counsel this afternoon on a large matter I’ve been assisting with, both so I can take a detailed file note, and also so that I can get some high-level context on a matter where I’ve largely been doing task-oriented document review up until now. It’s great insight into the matter, and I learn a lot from watching the partners and barristers bouncing ideas off each other about case strategy and drafting our defence.
After the call to counsel, we have an internal call to go over counsel’s feedback and next steps, and assign the new tasks that were generated during the call. I then go back and tidy up my file note, fixing up the typos and strange abbreviations that I had to come up with in the heat of the moment while taking notes, before drafting a summary of the key aspects of the call to be distributed to the wider team working on this large matter.
When things start to quieten down towards the end of the day, I finally get the chance to sink my teeth into a task I’ve been looking forward to today – reviewing the documents in support of the cross-claim filed by one of the other defendants in the medical negligence matter. Medical negligence is a personal interest of mine, which is why I’m so glad to be a part of the Healthcare team, and this was one of the first matters which was assigned to me when I was newly admitted over a year ago. The cross-claimant has served a number of expert liability reports that I need to be thoroughly across in order to report back to my supervisor and properly advise our client.
After all of my one-off tasks for the day are done, I pick back up some document review that I’ve been working on long-term. This is a nice way to finish the day as it’s a task that I’m already familiar with, so I can put on some music and have a snack as I make my way through the latest batch of documents.
Before I leave for the day, I tidy up my narratives before posting all of my time, and make sure that I’ve either addressed everything that’s come into my inbox or flagged it for follow-up tomorrow.
I listen to a podcast on the way home, true crime’s a guilty pleasure of mine. My partner makes dinner for us both when he gets home, and, given we’re both lawyers, no dinner is complete without a spirited debate – today of all things, it’s whether a cup of tea is a required element to properly enjoy a dessert (I’m still more of an espresso person).
After unwinding with some Netflix and a few pages of the latest trashy novel, I do a quick scan over my diary to make sure there’s nothing scheduled first thing in the morning, and then listen to a podcast as I fall asleep, ready to do it all again the next day.