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LIV President's Blog 2012

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A life in the law: Tips from the top

A life in the law: Tips from the top

YLS struck a major coup last week by being granted the opportunity to sit down with LIV President and tax lawyer extraordinaire Reynah Tang for a one on one chat in which Reynah shared his professional insight and tips to young lawyers.
 
 Many young lawyers will know Reynah through his role as 2013 LIV President or as whip waving enforcer at the 2013 Comedy Debate.  Others will be less familiar with the fact that Reynah is one of the top tax lawyers in the country having recently been recognised on the Australian Financial Review Best Lawyers List 2013. Frankly, this is an outstanding achievement, particularly given the fact that Reynah also juggles his time as proud father, husband and passionate Carlton supporter.
 
Interestingly, Reynah started work in an accounting firm, while studying and then completed his articles at Corrs Chambers Westgarth before moving to Singapore in a tax role at (former) accounting firm Arthur Andersen.  It wasn’t surprising that Reynah ended up back at the tax group in Corrs when he returned to Australia, and has remained there ever since. 
 
Reynah’s advice for young lawyers
Given the above, Reynah is ideally placed to share his tips regarding work life balance and getting the most out of your legal career.  
 
His first tip is don’t become LIV President. 
 
Work life balance and technology
On a more serious note he recommended that despite ubiquitous mobile technology, young lawyers should strive to be disciplined with the separation between work and personal life.  Allocating set time periods after hours to switch off the smart phone, tablet and laptop is a good starting point. Given he provided this response to me via ‘iPad’ before our sit down discussion, he recognised that he is not the best role model on this point (but assures me he is getting better).  However the point is an excellent one in the current technological climate where young lawyers are constantly accessible to clients and their firms at all hours. 
 
Career development and change
The LIV President had a few choice tips for young lawyers successfully changing direction in their legal career (which he noted was very topical for modern Gen Y lawyers).  Reynah advises that it is best for young lawyers to get things like international experience or study out of the way early in their career before they have a lot of commitments and are also likely to be at their most marketable.  Unlike his earlier technological tip, Reynah clearly lived by this mantra given his stint in Singapore earlier on in his legal career.
 
Achieving career goals
Reynah’s three top tips to young lawyers regarding achieving their career goals is simply

  1. Be clear about what you want in your career
  2. Plan (and update your plan regularly)
  3. Be patient. Young lawyers shouldn’t expect all their goals to be achieved straight away and should take time to settle into their career.

LIV Membership
The LIV membership is recognised by Reynah as being a key component in achieving his career goals (even though he recognised that he took it for granted earlier on in his career).  He found that it allowed him to expand his networks and participate in important issues (particularly by joining different LIV committees).
 
Reynah likes to (mis) quote JFK by saying “ask not what the LIV can give to you, but what you can give the LIV”.  Reynah proudly points to many examples of seeing this in action such as young lawyers presenting at CPD seminars or making submissions on important legal issues through the Law Reform Committee.  Indeed Reynah is genuinely impressed by the number of young lawyers who actively contribute to the different committees of the YLS and certainly encourages young lawyers to participate where they can.
 
The big picture
Finally, Reynah advised that the most rewarding thing about being a lawyer is being able to make a difference in people's lives. No matter whether young lawyers are doing something dry such as tax in a large firm or practising criminal law in a boutique regional firm, the LIV President encourages young lawyers to look for these opportunities where they can contribute (such as volunteering at community legal centres). 
 
Reynah notes that it doesn’t even have to be legal per se (retelling a story where literally dozens of lawyers recently put their hand up to act as tribunal members at a suburban football competition). Remember it is National Volunteer Week this week so… there’s no time like the present.
 
On behalf of the LIV YLS we would like to sincerely thank Reynah for taking the time out of his hectic schedule to share his invaluable insights to young lawyers and wish him continued success in his role as 2013 LIV President.
 
Q. Here’s your chance: If you could ask Reynah any question, what would it be?

 
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