LLB (Hons), BCom 2019
Tell us about your life and career after UNSW.
I’m the Co-Founder of DDLoop, an Aussie LegalTech company that helps lawyers automate parts of the legal due diligence process for M&A, financing and investment deals. DDLoop is backed by Startmate, Australia’s largest start-up accelerator and is working with some of Australia’s largest law firms to save lawyers from boring and tedious work.
Before this, I worked at King & Wood Mallesons as an M&A lawyer. After a few years in practice, I moved to the legal innovation team, where I specialised in buying and building LegalTech to help lawyers eliminate boring and tedious aspects of corporate legal practice.
Reflecting on your first year at uni - did you imagine yourself doing what you do today?
No way! When I started studying at UNSW, I thought I’d go into marketing or advertising.
I initially enrolled into a dual Bachelor of Commerce/Communications (PR & Advertising) and spent half a year as a part-time intern at an advertising agency. In second year, I transferred into law and had never heard of LegalTech.
How did your time at UNSW help shape who you are today?
During my time at UNSW I met great people – colleagues, professors and mentors. People who challenged my world-view; people who I could grow with; and people who helped rewire my thought patterns. Most of this came from the classroom approach to law classes and participating in negotiation and mediation competitions.
What were your most memorable experiences while studying at UNSW?
Heading to Paris to compete in the International Chamber of Commerce’s Commercial Mediation Competition – we had such an intense training schedule that had us negotiating against real lawyers! I had the best time with the team (shout out to fellow alums Nadhirah Daud, Nanak Narulla and Brittany Young) and picked up skills that I still use every single day. All the training, advice and hard work paid off when we won the competition under the supreme guidance of our super-coach, Dr Rosemary Howell.
Sleeping through my alarm and showing up late to the Public Law exam in my first year of law school was also memorable... for the wrong reasons!
Why is studying law important?
Studying law forced me develop arguments and points supported by principled reasoning. This has really helped in the startup world, where it’s important to weigh up and assess options before committing to a decision where there might be no exact precedent to follow – only analogous ideas or principles from other successful companies or industries.
What are some common misconceptions about careers in law?
LegalTech, LegalOps and legal innovation are areas of huge growth in the industry and where having knowledge of the law and technology skills can be a huge X-factor. By technology skills, I don’t necessarily mean coding (though it’s a great skill), but there are so many lessons the profession can learn from the software industry in the areas of design and UX. I’m slightly biased, but anyone who can bridge the worlds between law and technology will have a very impactful career.
If could you change one thing in the legal profession tomorrow, what would it be?
Experimentation. I think the profession could be more open to trying new things or to borrow ideas from other industries a bit more. Maybe don’t experiment too much when you need to minimise risk (put away that far-fetched, novel legal theory when giving advice!), but there are certainly areas (especially day-to-day operations) where the profession could be open to new ideas, workflows or tools.
Just because the foundation of the legal profession is set up to respect and revere decades and decades of legal precedent, doesn’t mean we avoid pushing against it and testing the law. It’s actually the opposite! We should apply the same principle to how we practice law on the day-to-day. The push to understand and adopt AI has been a great example of this playing out – it’s awesome to see the industry roll up its sleeves and experiment.
What is one of the biggest challenges you face in your field of work?
As a lawyer, you’re trained to focus on and avoid risks. But as a founder, I’ve had to rewire those parts of my brain and accept there’s always going to be risk when doing something new. I’m grateful for the legal skillset as it gives me a principled approach to navigate uncertainty and ways of managing risk.
What advice would you give someone considering studying a Bachelor of Laws at UNSW?
The classroom is only about 30% of the law experience. Like most things in life (at least I’ve found), law school and uni life are “pull systems” – you don’t get pushed towards the best bits, you have to pull them towards you by putting yourself out there.
Do all the extracurricular competitions and double down on the ones you find fun. Get involved with the UNSW Law Society and other societies – especially the ones that help you travel the world!
What advice would you give current law students approaching the end of their degree, as they look ahead at their early careers?
Back yourself and your ability. Be open-minded and assertive at the same time and don’t be afraid to give your opinion and insights, even if you’re the most junior person in the room. You’ve got a fresh perspective and your employer (or investors) already think you belong in that room by bringing you there. Prove them right.