Episode 73 – Finding your niche by pivoting along the way with legal innovator Andrea Perry-Petersen
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In this week’s episode of the ‘Happy Lawyer Happy Life’ podcast I was joined by solicitor, Andrea Perry-Petersen. I hadn’t really associated legal innovation and disruption with the community or not-for-profit legal sector, but getting to know Andrea this past year has completely opened my eyes to the many great things that are going on! For the past 10 or so years Andrea has been working as a legal educator with LawRight a not for profit legal provider here in Brisbane. Last year I had the great privilege of being present when Andrea was acknowledged for her innovative work in designing a student clinic to assist self-represented litigants to more easily resolve disputes through the use of emerging technology at the Lexis Nexis Legal Innovation Index Awards.
Andrea started out in the insurance litigation sector and is living proof that sometimes your career does not always take you where you think it will go. She is another great example of my now favourite saying ‘there are many ways to be a lawyer’ having gained experience in private practice, before a stint overseas in a Government organisation in London. Upon her return to Australia and a few more career steps forward she found herself volunteering with Amnesty International. Andrea described this role opening her eyes to a path in law she had not previously considered and she soon found herself embracing a ‘pivot’ into a role with Oxfam, the beginning of her work in the not for profit sector.
Andrea was a delight to speak with and shared openly her many learnings along the way. We talked through all things from disruption to access to justice and even ‘design thinking’ which I now can finally understand!
Andrea and I also spoke about:
- Her early dreams of becoming a community development worker or an investigative journalist (or her real dream job of being a Princess!)
- Her early life in Brisbane and completing a double degree in Science Law at UQ
- The importance of doing different jobs ‘not-law’ related
- Her experience working in London for the Ministry of Defence and her memories of that important work
- Andrea’s role in Amnesty International including her position as State President and the opportunities this created
- Her decision to take a ‘less traditional role’ at Oxfam which took her travelling around the world and opened a whole new career world
- Advice to Andrea’s 22 year old self
- Her tips on juggling life as a parent, lawyer, wife and everything else!
- Her experience at ‘LawRight’, formerly Queensland Public Interest Law Clearing House Incorporated (QPILCH) – the opportunities and challenges
- innovation, design thinking, technology and all the ‘buzz’ words (but in good news I was talking to someone who knows their stuff so we are all learning from the best!)
- Andrea’s many great tips but particularly her happiness tip
A great conversation on doing things your own way, finding your niche and not being afraid to pivot and pivot again!
Learn more here about upcoming events and courses and connect with Clarissa Rayward at the ‘Happy Lawyer Happy Life’ knowledge centre- A community for lawyers who want to make the best out of their life in and outside of the law.
Listen to last weeks episode here