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Careers in Law Profile: Jasmine Pisasale, Associate, Slades & Parsons Solicitors

Careers in Law Profile: Jasmine Pisasale, Associate, Slades & Parsons Solicitors

By LIV Young Lawyers

Jasmine Pisasale is an associate at Slades & Parsons Solicitors, and is a practising criminal lawyer. She is a member of the LIV Criminal Law Executive Committee. The LIV Young Lawyers recently spoke with Jasmine to find out more about her career as a criminal lawyer. Why did you decide to pursue a legal career? I had difficulty finding something I could imagine myself doing. I cringed at the thought of being stuck behind a desk all day , which was hard to reconcile with my fascination with the law . However, I was particularly drawn to advocacy. A career in criminal law ma de sense as it struck the right balance between working out of the office – attending court and taking instructions from clients in custody – to preparing for hearings and conducting conferences. Moreover, my passion for working in the criminal justice system aligns well with my strong sense of social justice . In my experience, often the accused person can find the criminal justice system overwhelming and intimidating. Representing these people allows me to take on the role of facilitator and guide them through the criminal justice system. How did you get your first job in the law? My first job in the law was at Slades & Parsons – where I am today. At university I realised that most criminal law firms don’t offer the traditional seasonal clerkships , meaning that If I really wanted to take my career in this direction then I needed to think outside the traditional “recruitment box”. I completed my College of Law course immediately after graduation. I asked a family friend who was a commercial barrister to forward my resume to any criminal law barristers he knew. Soon after, I was contacted by a criminal barrister seeking research and paralegal assistance with an upcoming drug trafficking trial. My work included a detailed analysis of the brief of evidence, completing evidentiary tables and assisting with preparation for the trial . After the trial he heard of an opening at Slades & Parsons, and recommended me. How and when did you move into your current position? I am currently an associate at Slades & Parsons Solicitors, and have worked here since I was hired in May 2011. A typical criminal law career for a solicitor-advocate is shorter than in other areas of law as many lawyers opt to go to the Bar after they obtain court room advocacy experience. For those who stay, opportunities for partnership begin to open, and I have aspirations to do this. What is the most rewarding aspect of your job? Nothing beats the adrenaline of walking out of court and knowing that you’ve done the best you can. There are often high expectations placed on criminal lawyers working as solicitor-advocates . I have enjoyed obtaining a good outcome for clients and watching their journey towards rehabilitation, finding housing and reconciling with family. What are the biggest challenges you face? T he biggest challenge is client management. The pressure on criminal lawyers can extend beyond the client to their families . It can be challenging representing vulnerable clients who have drug addictions or mental health issues . I can spend a lot of time on the phone managing both the client, and their family’s emotional responses to the criminal process. This reinforces the importance of clear and simplified advice. What advice would you give to people wanting to practice in your area? Prioritise and develop stress management techniques early on in your career, and don’t let work override your obligations to yourself and your family . It is dangerously easy to get into unhealthy habits working in the legal profession, with work easily going to the top of the list because of its public nature and high levels of accountability. What has been the best career advice you have received to date? Back myself and my instincts. On reflection I regret that I didn’t do this enough early on, but can now understand why it is important . Working in crime means that you often have to deal with persuasive and difficult personalities . These people will try to influence your arguments and decisions – be it the prosecutor, the judiciary or your client. While it’s always important to be respectful, don’t be too easily influenced. Did you have a mentor/s? Yes and I still do. Tim Gattuso and Anthony Brand have been fantastic mentors . Tim moved my admission, and invested a lot of time training me in my early years, particularly on core skills such as dissecting a brief of evidence, conducting a plea or bail application and cross examining witnesses. Anthony taught me how to handle the emotional side of being a well rounded professional, to obtain balance and perspective in my work, and to not sweat over the small things. If you had your time again, would you do anything different? I would have had time away from the law after I graduated from university . You do hit the ground running in the legal profession, and I think I would have benefitted from some time away after the stresses . That said, I might not have ended up where I am. What do you like to do outside the law? I run an online Instagram account called The B argain H unter (@thebargainhunter_) which has a large follower base. I post about upcoming sales and often collaborate with brands. I’ve always had a creative side and I really enjoy fashion and interior design, so this quenches my creative thirst and helps me achieve some balance. What is your favourite legal TV show or movie and why? Philadelphia (1993). This was one of the first Hollywood films to approach LGBTI rights and HIV. I am drawn to how powerfully it depicts the suffering of the main character , and the discrimination that he had faced through dealing with his illness personally and professionally. The LIV Young Lawyers thanks Jasmine for taking the time to speak with us. If you would like to know more about a career in Criminal Law , consider coming to our “Ideas for Careers” panel event on Thursday 6 April from 5:30pm at the LIV. Meet and network with our three speakers, and learn from their unique careers in the criminal law. Tickets are only $25 for Young Lawyers members. Register your place here.

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