What's your name and job title? What did you study?
Ana Fruean. Solicitor. I studied LLB and BCOM (Marketing) at the University of Auckland. I am currently ½ way through my Masters at AUT.
How did you get to your current job position and for how long have you occupied it?
I have been at Lane Neave for 1 and a half years now. At our master's orientation, we were invited to attend one of the upcoming seminars; however, I was due to have a baby so I marked on my calendar to attend the last seminar. Presenting was Fiona McMillan, Partner, and Holly Struckman, Solicitor at Lane Neave. Fiona triggered something inside me when she said “find your fit as a lawyer", I was intrigued. I waited till everyone left then made my move. I gave them a 20 second debrief of my life something along the lines of, "I know nothing about employment law but I could work with you and I know I’m a good worker. I graduated in 2010, admitted in 2012, served a volunteer mission in Canada for my church for 2 years, am married with 2 kids, I have a 6-day old baby outside with my hubby and I only want to work one day a week." Fi and Holly both looked at me perplexed and said, "You have a 6-day old baby." Meanwhile, I was thinking "that's what you heard from all of that?" Fiona gave me her business card and asked me to send her my CV. Between breastfeeding, I worked on my CV and emailed Fiona that night. Surprisingly, I received a response the next morning. I told my husband, "I’m going to work there."
The firm didn’t have any part-time roles open so HR advised me to apply for a summer clerk position. I was shortlisted and invited to an interview. In the interview, I was asked one question, "Why should we hire you and not one of the straight-A students because we have a heap of them to choose from?" I said, "I’ll work my butt off and get the job done, every time and I will learn so much faster because I know how to work." Fiona responded by asking what day do I want to work and I said, "Wednesday", and I walked out of that summer clerk interview with a job starting in a week's time. The “interview” was no longer than 10 minutes. The rest is history!
How can students best prepare for interviews?
Be yourself. Before that, learn who you are and what you can offer. You are the only you and that is truer than true (I think that’s Dr. Seuss).
How can students set themselves apart from their peers?
Learn what makes you unique and don’t be afraid to put that foot forward. Also learn what makes you relatable (and have a couple of stories or examples up your sleeves) because you need to “fit in” but have something that only you can offer. It sounds kinda contradicting, but it’s a perfect balance.
What are the do’s and don’ts in an interview?
Do ask good questions about stuff you actually want to know the answer to: "What would a usual day look like for me? (Don’t ask a partner this because their work is so different from a junior.) Do be confident and personable and sell what you can offer (remember that law firms are businesses and want to make money). Don’t recite the partner’s LinkedIn profile or the firm’s website bios. Do show interest into something someone has done in the firm that also interests you (ultra marathons, visited a weird country, etc).
What is your number one tip for students when interviewing?
Be the best version of yourself and sell this to the person interviewing you. Also, know your CV inside and out – make the words come to life and show that.