The Courier-Mail - Career One - - News -

ETHIKATE prin­ci­pal lawyer Kate Ritchie fell into her pro­fes­sion af­ter first pur­su­ing po­lice work.

“I didn’t re­ally like lawyers,” she says. “I was go­ing to join the po­lice force but I ended up tak­ing a job be­cause the po­lice look for peo­ple with of­fice ex­pe­ri­ence rather than straight out of school.

“I worked for a large con­struc­tion com­pany and one of the de­part­ments we over­saw was the le­gal depart­ment, which I took a lik­ing to.”

Ritchie, who al­ready had a Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence (Psy­chol­ogy) and a Bach­e­lor of Arts (Crim­i­nol­ogy), went back to univer­sity to study a grad­u­ate-en­try Bach­e­lor of Laws and Di­ploma of Le­gal Prac­tice, fol- lowed by post­grad­u­ate study in trade­marks law and prac­tice to be­come a trade­marks lawyer.

“Law school equips you with the abil­ity to find an­swers but not ef­fec­tively ap­ply the laws yet,” she says. “There is a lot of self doubt and frus­tra­tion and it’s chal­leng­ing, but then you start to see the light and it’s quite re­ward­ing.”

She rec­om­mends stu­dents get work ex­pe­ri­ence be­fore they grad­u­ate be­cause em­ploy­ers can tell the dif­fer­ence be­tween ap­pli­cants with and with­out it.

“The way (grad­u­ates with ex­pe­ri­ence) work with sup­port work­ers and other lawyers is very dif­fer­ent. It’s not just about the grades,” she says.

LE­GAL AD­VO­CATE: Lawyer Kate Ritchie looks af­ter her clients’ le­gal in­ter­ests. Pic­ture: NICKI CONNOLLY

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