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Work in progress: Kaman Tsoi

Every Issue

Cite as: December 2013 87 (12) LIJ, p.104

In this special LIJ series practitioners reveal how they balance the demands of their professional and personal lives.

Name

Kaman Tsoi

Firm

Herbert Smith Freehills

Position

Special counsel

Hours worked and where

Three days a week in the office. Additional work at home as needed.

Why did you seek a flexible work arrangement?

Fridays in the office after DJing until 3am, then DJing again on Friday nights was getting a bit much. I also do radio with 3RRR-FM and occasionally find some time for my own productions and remixes. Now I have two children and the part-time works well for parenting too.

How did you convince your employer?

I was pretty nervous approaching them. Twelve years ago, part-time work was not so common, particularly for junior male lawyers wanting more time for creative pursuits. Plus I was working for a partner who was a superwoman, working full-time with three children. I sought advice from other part-timers first, raised it in my performance review and we agreed to start it on a trial basis initially.

What are the challenges of working flexibly – for you, colleagues and clients?

Technology is much better now than it used to be, so I can check email and messages anywhere, anytime. Of course the flipside is that you can spend too much of your supposed days off working, so it’s important to keep watch on this and make other arrangements as necessary. Flexibility and support are crucial and colleagues, family and clients are all a part of this, but it needs to be mutual. I need to be flexible and supportive too.

Have flexible hours kept you practising law?

Absolutely. I never imagined that I’d be a lawyer for 14 years, but my work arrangements give me time for other aspects of life that are important to me. It also helps having a team and clients I like, and working in a practice area I find interesting (privacy).

My proudest moment in the law has been . . .

There have been a few. Passing my tax law exam. Having my admission moved by another part-time lawyer and great person. Being listed as one of Australia’s best lawyers based on an Australian Corporate Lawyers Association survey.

Do you envisage working flexibly long term?

Yes. I guess you could say I have already done this and I’m happy to keep the arrangement going as long as it is working well for all parties.

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