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How to make the most of transferable skills

How to make the most of transferable skills

By Jade Hopper


Skills acquired as a professional tennis player have enriched Jade Hopper’s career as a commercial lawyer at Norgate McLean Dolphin. Every young lawyer must acquire a collection of mandatory skills. From being able to interpret substantive law to participating in court procedures and appreciating our ethical obligations to represent a client’s best interests, there is a certain skill-set that allows us to be productive in our workplace from day one. However, what really defines you as a lawyer is your unique skills, developed from your unique experiences. Appreciating the distinctiveness of your personal skill-set sets you on the path to being your own innovative lawyer. During my teenage years I was a professional athlete, which involved combinations of travel, jetlag, injuries, wins, losses, tennis practice, gym work, tennis courts and hotels. By 19, I was accepted into a law degree, while competing on the professional tennis tour. The juggle of combining study and tennis culminated in my decision to close the chapter of my life that started at age three and was highlighted by a Gold Medal for Australia at the Commonwealth Youth Games and playing the Australian Open. However, it was during my final years of playing professional tennis that I had to think innovatively about my long-term career direction. A decision that ultimately lead me to studying, and now practising, law. On reflection, I realise that the transferable skill-set gained from my professional tennis career has equipped me with the flexibility and versatility to be my own innovative lawyer. Commitment to hard work No professional tennis player has achieved success without the mandatory 10,000 hours of practice. Day after day, ball after ball – the workload allowed me to master my technical skill, resulting in professional growth on a daily basis. There are no short cuts. You do the work or you don’t improve.

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